Is a Firm Mattress Better?
Mattress firmness has long been debated, but, how firm should my mattress be!? There is so much literature on the matter that sometimes it’s hard to siphon through it all and come out with an answer that helps is make a choice on the matter!
The average person spends about a third of their life sleeping. That is a pretty significant amount of time, so clearly choosing the right mattress firmness for you and your family is crucial.
In this article, we are going to be discussing and taking a deeper look at the importance of the firmness of your mattress, and answer questions such as: should a mattress be firm or soft? Can a mattress be too firm? And, is a firm mattress better for sleep?
Is a Firm Mattress Better Compared to a Soft Mattress?
The difference between a firm and soft mattress is not definitive and in many ways is partly subjective. That being said, it’s best to consider mattress firmness as being on a spectrum, with extreme-firmness and extreme-softness on opposite ends.
In general terms, however, a firm mattress is one that very rigid to the touch and has less give.
A softer mattress compresses easily when you apply pressure, and is not soft to the touch.
Pros and Cons of a Firm Mattress
Generally, people with no history of back problems are recommended to use firm mattresses. Although if you are transitioning from a soft mattress to a firmer one, initially, it could feel slightly uncomfortable, with time your body will soon adjust.
For individuals therefore with no back problems, sleeping on a firm mattress can be recommended as you are less likely to experience body aches from sleeping.
By design, a firm mattress is ideal for individuals who prefer sleeping on their backs or stomach. It enables the spine to rest in its natural position, and can even help improve the body’s posture. For side sleepers, you may want to consider slightly softer mattress options.
Pros and Cons of a Soft Mattress
On the flip side, people having back problems such as scoliosis, arthritis, or other back issues are advised to use a soft mattress. In such instances, firm mattresses can exacerbate the problem. A soft mattress is also ideal for side sleepers since they provide an appropriate ‘sink’ for the shoulders and hips when lying down, thus enabling the spine to rest in its natural position.
The Spectrum of Mattress Firmness
How firm or soft a mattress is, is a matter of subjectivity. A mattress can be soft for one person, while for another person, the same mattress can feel firm. It all depends on where the subject’s weight versus the mattress’s rigidity balance out on the firmness spectrum.
Below we have a scale from 1-10, with 1 being the extreme end of softness and 10 the extreme end of firmness. Let us explore what range of the scale is appropriate for what type of person.
It is extremely rare to get a mattress rated #1 in the firmness spectrum, and if you find one, it can often be too soft to be comfortable for anyone! The majority of mattresses in this category fall in the 2-3 range. They are soft enough to fit very closely to the body and ideal for side sleepers. As side sleepers tend to have pronounced pressure points at the shoulders and hips and need the mattress to sink appropriately around these parts of the body. Thus the spine ends up lying in its natural position.
However, for back or stomach sleepers, these mattresses are simply too soft and have too many sinks and contours. Laying on such mattresses they may well experience excessive curvature of the spine around their torso. Thus may end up with body sores from the mattress being too soft.
Medium mattress firmness falls near the middle of the spectrum and works for the majority of people, be they side, back, or stomach sleepers. They have just enough contouring to lessen the pressure near the hips and shoulders for side sleepers, and firm enough to support both back and stomach sleepers. They are also ideal for combination sleepers, people who sleep in multiple positions.
Most mattresses in this category are found within the 7-9 range. Getting a 10 is quite rare, and if you do, the mattress can be too firm and uncomfortable to sleep on for the majority of people. Those in the 7-9 range are considered the firmest mattresses in the market, and the majority of side sleepers will find them uncomfortable, as they don’t provide enough sink around the hips and shoulders to keep their spines naturally aligned.
However, they are ideal for both back and stomach sleepers. Although when the firmness scale approaches 10, stomach sleepers will find them more and more uncomfortable; since they won’t provide enough sink for the stomach to rest naturally.
What is the Best Mattress to Buy?
The best mattress firmness for you depends very much on your preferred position to sleep in, and any other underlying health conditions you may have.
Side sleepers, and people suffering from back pain, and scoliosis are advised to go for mattresses in the lower range on the firmness spectrum. Those with no underlying health issues and prefer sleeping on their backs or stomachs are advised to go for mattresses, high on the firmness spectrum.
Of course, when it comes to your children and more particularly young children, different considerations need to be made.
If you are out shopping for a baby cot mattress, you probably have a lot more questions in your mind. One of which might be, how firm should a baby mattress be?
Kindly check our previous article on pro tips for shopping for the best baby cot mattress.
Mattress Firmness: In Conclusion
It cannot be emphasized enough that one should sleep as comfortably as possible. Not only does it help you rest your body, but it plays a critical role in both your physical and psychological health. Your choice of mattress will have a big influence on the quality of your sleep.
So be sure to choose the right mattress firmness for you. Check out our range of organic, sustainable and eco-friendly mattresses today and if you have any further questions on what mattress firmness is right for you, contact us today and we will be happy to help you choose!