Hard Vs. Soft Mattress - Pros and Cons (2021)

Hard Vs. Soft Mattress - Pros and Cons (2021)

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A good night’s sleep is the key to your health. And the right mattress is the key to a good night’s sleep. When it comes to mattresses, people have their own preferences. But should you choose a mattress only based on your preference?

Your mattress is not only meant for your comfort but also for your wellbeing. Since you spend 8 hours a day on it, choosing the right mattress is important. Sleeping on the wrong mattress can cause health complications such as back pain and sleep deprivation. Before choosing a soft or firm mattress, it is essential to understand the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Hard vs soft mattress: Which one suits your needs?

 

A firm mattress feels harder than a soft mattress when you sleep on it. But, hard and soft mattresses are not two distinct categories. The hardness of a mattress varies over a spectrum and is a comparative quality. 

To understand it better, the hardness can be measured on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the hardest. Commonly available beds have a hardness of 4 to 7 as people prefer them more. Very few companies manufacture beds that are extremely soft or extremely hard, as people rarely prefer them. 

Apart from the firmness, you should also consider the support provided by the mattress. While both terms have similar meanings, understanding the difference helps you choose the right mattress. 

Firmness is the feel of the mattress. It can be hard, soft, or in between. But the support is how well it aligns with your body. The best firm mattress might still not provide adequate support. Or it can be soft and still help you with proper spinal alignment. 

One reason why people do not prefer the extreme ends of the firmness spectrum is the lack of support. If the bed is too soft, it will feel more bouncy on your body, and your spine will be out of alignment. If the bed is too hard, it won’t be flexible enough to support the natural structure of your back. It will push the spine into an unnaturally straight position. 

Both of these positions can cause long-term back pain. But choosing the right mattress like an orthopaedic mattress or a latex mattress is not limited to its firmness and support, but also depends on different factors based on the user. To understand better, you need to delve into the pros and cons of each mattress. 

What is a hard mattress?

 

A firm mattress has dense and hard foam filled inside it. It holds shape and prevents the person from sinking in it. Often, people mistake firm mattresses to be rigid, but it is not always the case. They provide enough support to hold the body’s natural curves while lifting the pressure points. These mattresses range from 6 to 7 on the hardness scale.

While it is natural to assume that firm mattresses provide the best support, they are not suitable for everyone.

Pros

  • Proper body alignment: Many types of body pains are caused due to poor posture, even while sleeping. As sleeping heals the body, it is essential to maintain a good position. Firm mattresses provide enough support to keep the neck, back, and hips in proper alignment. It also evenly distributes the body’s pressure throughout the skeletal system, meaning no part of the body takes most of the weight. This is known to alleviate most body pains, especially in the back and shoulder area.
  • Improved oxygen intake: A firm mattress distributes the body’s pressure points evenly, causing less pressure on the circulatory system. This in turn relaxes you and improves your oxygen intake. Proper firmness is recommended for people with pre-existing circulatory issues from conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
  • Better sleep quality: The body feels comfortable in its most natural position, and firm mattresses help it keep that way. Due to this, people who sleep on firm mattresses have better sleep quality and reduced stress levels. 
  • Durable: As the mattresses are hard, they rarely get damaged and are good for a long time. They prevent people from sinking into them and hold shape for a longer time. 

Cons

  • Not for chronic pain: While firm mattresses help in maintaining a healthier body, it is not for those who are already suffering from chronic or acute pain. The firmness of the mattress can in turn increase the pressure on those points and cause more harm. Pain in the lower back area also requires gentle support, which a firm mattress does not provide.
  • Uncomfortable: If a person is used to sleeping on softer beds, firm mattresses can feel uncomfortable. As they don’t adjust according to body movements, people may face discomfort throughout the night. 
  • Additional support: If a mattress is too hard, you may need to use softer pillows over it to provide the right support. This is not only additional work but may also not be as comfortable. 

What is a soft mattress?

 

Soft mattresses are made of foam and coil which are set to let a person sink in the bed. Though they provide some support, soft beds are better known for their comfort. A memory foam mattress (mattress without fibreglass at that) or a layer of memory foam on a soft mattress helps provide additional comfort and support. These mattresses easily compress but also maintain healthy sleep posture with the right softness. They range from 4 to 5 on the hardness scale. 

Though soft mattresses are usually more expensive than the harder ones, you can find a cheap soft mattress at a local store.

Pros

  • Ideal for chronic pain sufferers: Soft mattresses are gentle on the body and hence, ideal for those suffering from chronic pain. People having back pain find it comfortable to switch from hard to soft mattresses. As these mattresses properly fit the body’s natural contours, they are also recommended for people with hip pain.
  • For petite sleepers: People who are light-weight can find hard mattresses uncomfortable, as they don’t compress under their weight. This puts their body in an unnatural position which can lead to body pain. Soft mattresses compress easily and provide adequate support to lightweight users.
  • Easier movement: Soft mattresses adjust along with your body. If you are someone who moves a lot in your sleep, soft mattresses are better for you. They move and let you sink in, providing a night of uninterrupted sleep. Experts recommend a soft mattress for side sleepers.
  • Light-weight: Soft mattresses use lighter foam with less density, which makes these mattresses light-weight. They can be easily taken around or carried, which helps if you change the layout of your bedroom frequently. 

Cons

  • Bad alignment: Our spine has a natural curve that is best maintained on a firm mattress. Soft mattresses compress easily and put your body in a comfortable position, which is not always the natural position of the spine. People who practice bad posture throughout the day may continue in a similar posture on a soft mattress, which can lead to health complications in the long run. 
  • Not durable: Soft mattresses bend and compress under a person’s body weight. As they keep changing, they may lose shape within a few years. They may also turn rigid after a while of regular usage. 

Not ideal for bed sharers: As soft mattresses move along with the sleeper's body, it can get uncomfortable when two people are sharing the bed. If both of them have stark differences in their weights and sleeping styles, the varied levels of sinking can cause discomfort.

How to decide which one is for you?

 

Even though both beds have their own pros and cons, choosing one doesn’t depend only on the mattress. The user should also evaluate their needs to select the best mattress for themself. 

  • Spine alignment: The right bed will support the neutral position of the spine with its three natural curves. Your head, back, and buttocks need to be in a single line, and you shouldn’t feel any pressure on those points. The proper firmness should make your body feel comfortable and promote good posture.
  • Sleep posture: If you are a side sleeper, your mattress needs to accommodate more curves. Most side sleepers prefer a soft pocket sprung mattress as it adjusts to their body. But stomach sleepers usually don’t prefer soft mattresses as it is difficult to maintain a comfortable position. Back sleepers can choose either of the two types, depending on other factors such as body weight and personal preference.
  • Bodyweight: Petite sleepers should use a softer mattress as the weight of their body cannot compress a firm mattress. This pushes their body in an uncomfortable position and can contribute to body aches.

Heavier sleepers, on the other hand, should choose a harder mattress. A soft mattress might sink in too much and not provide enough support to their spine. They can find a soft mattress back pain-inducing. A firm mattress compresses just enough while also providing adequate support. 

  • Personal preference: No matter which bed is deemed more suitable for your spine or sleeping type, you need to listen to your body. Even the best soft mattress can feel uncomfortable if you don’t prefer it. If your body faces any discomfort or develops pain by sleeping on a certain mattress, you need to adjust the firmness to your liking.

Summary

 

Choosing a mattress may look like a trivial aspect, but it is actually very important for your body. The right mattress can bring immediate results in terms of comfort and posture, and also lead to better sleep quality in the long run. 

Both firm and soft mattresses have their own pros and cons. Depending on your body’s requirements, health, and comfort, you can choose the firmness you need. Some mattresses like the best orthopaedic mattress or an open coil mattress are more suitable for certain people, but it all comes down to how you feel when you sleep on them!

FAQ

 

Still, having trouble choosing the perfect mattress? Go through these questions for additional information!Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

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