Firm vs Soft Mattress - Which Do I Need?

Firm vs Soft Mattress - Which Do I Need?

Written by Mehran Uzair

Last Updated on Aug 03, 2022

In this article:

    How cool it is to simultaneously sleep on a comforting and supportive mattress! You can enjoy a perfect healthy sleep with the right mattress. Without a proper mattress, you may experience health issues and changes in sleeping patterns. 

    But are you struggling to choose the perfect firmness level for you? Are you confused between a firm vs soft mattress? This article is here to help you to choose between soft vs firm mattresses. Keep reading.

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    Difference Between Firm and Soft Mattress

    Let's compare firm vs soft mattresses to understand the difference between soft and firm mattresses.

    BasisFirm mattressSoft mattress
    Firmness & SinkThese are firm and hence do not provide much sinkingThese are soft mattresses and so they provide much sinking
    Firmness Scale8-101-4
    SupportProvide both support and comfort in multiple positionsProvide much cushioning and comfort but less support
    Ideal for (position)Ideal for back and stomach sleepersIdeal for side sleepers
    Ideal for (body weight)Perfect for heavy-weight sleepersPerfect for petite individuals
    Medical ConditionNot ideal for people with arthritis and scoliosisIdeal for people with arthritis
    Best for (cool/hot sleepers)Best for hot sleepersBest for cool sleepers

    What Is a Firm Mattress?

    The firm mattresses usually range from 7 to 8 on the firmness scale. That means they provide more pushback when compared to soft mattresses. 

    When you compare a firm mattress with a soft one, you find a firm mattress better because it is composed of thin comfort and support layers. These support layers make you feel comfortable when you have back pain. It is composed of stiff and durable layers. 

    In a firm mattress, the comfort layers are only about 1 or 2 inches thick. That's why the firm mattresses offer you cooler sleep and change your sleeping positions. 

    Benefits of Firm Mattresses

    Now, we hope you know better about firm mattresses. Come, let's dig deeper into the benefits of a firm mattress. 

    Great Support to Your Back

    "Nearly 65 million Americans report a recent episode of back pain".

    Do you know that the wrong mattress can induce back pain? Sleeping on a mattress that doesn't suit you can cause back pain. To protect your spine, go for firm mattresses because firm mattresses can support the natural curves of your spine. 

    When the natural curves of your spine get affected, you will end up with excruciating back pain. So, by using a firm mattress, you can keep your spine in a natural position and be free from back pain and misalignment of the spine

    Ideal for Different Sleep Styles

    People with different sleep styles find it hard to sleep on certain mattresses. 

    Sleeping on a firm mattress is ideal for back and stomach sleepers. When you sleep on soft mattresses, you can find a gap between your mattress and the lower lumbar region. This gap will trigger pain in your lower back. So, it's better to use a firm mattress to prevent back pain. 

    Equal Distribution of Weight 

    How your body weight is distributed while sleeping plays a significant role in your health. Your body weight must be distributed equally to avoid muscle problems. In case of a firm mattress, it offers enough support to your body and helps to steadily distribute your body's weight. 

    Say Good-Bye to Bed Sores

    Sometimes, sleeping on a soft mattress can cause bed sores. But firm mattresses prevent bed sores by providing enough support to your body. 

    Now, it's time to say goodbye to bed sores.

    Have a Beauty Sleep

    You should not compromise your sound sleep for anybody or anything else. Good sleep is essential to making you feel fresh and healthier. Try to have at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep to unlock the various benefits of sleeping. 

    Having a good mattress will make you sleep better. A firm mattress provides greater support to your body; you will sleep well and get all the benefits of sound sleep. 

    Disadvantages of a Firm Mattress

    Even though firm mattresses provide numerous benefits, it still has a few disadvantages. Let's discuss that in detail.

    A Big No for People With Arthritis and Scoliosis

    Even though a firm mattress provides good support to your body, it is not advisable for people with arthritis and scoliosis

    These mattresses lead to uncomfortable sleeping positions, which can worsen their pain. 

    So, a big no to firm mattresses.

    Stay Away, Side Sleepers!!

    When side sleepers sleep on a firm mattress, the pressure will build up on the sides of your body. This will cause unnecessary pain. 

    Muscle Tension

    Lightweight sleepers cannot experience enough sinking. So, it may lead to spinal misalignment, and tension will build up in your muscle. 

    So, it's better when lightweight sleepers avoid firm mattresses.

    Who Is This Best For?

    Not all mattresses are ideal for everyone. Everyone's preference varies based on their sleeping position and body weight. If you ask whether firm mattresses are better, actually it depends on the person. 

    Firm mattresses are not ideal for side and lightweight sleepers. Let's see who gets the most benefit from a firm mattress. 

    Back Sleepers

    Back sleepers could find a firm mattress best. The firmness of the mattress is enough to maintain the hip level with the rest of the body. But in the case of soft mattresses, their hips will sink deeper, which causes misalignment of the spine and can tense the muscles too. A firm mattress can also prevent sinking and maintain your hips in line with your head and shoulder so that your body feels relaxed. 

    Stomach Sleepers

    Our spines curve naturally. But sleeping on your stomach makes the curve much larger, and it is not good. Prolonged exaggeration of spine curves will build pressure on your back and neck, which leads to chronic pain. So, using a firm mattress will keep your hips lifted, which prevents unnecessary pressure build-ups. 

    Heavy Sleepers 

    Heavy sleepers who are over 200 pounds often find discomfort in soft mattresses. The extra soft mattresses can sink them and sometimes make them hit the support core of that mattress. 

    It will increase the pressure, which leads to poor sleeping positions. This can affect blood circulation and cause trouble breathing. So, heavy sleepers must avoid soft mattresses and try firm mattresses to obtain more support for their body. 

    People Who Like to Sleep on the Top Surface

    Some people love to sleep on top of a mattress, so they prefer a firm mattress to a soft mattress as they won't sink them too far.

    Hot Sleepers

    Hot sleepers are the ones who feel hot at night during sleep. These people need cooler mattresses to reduce heat in their bodies.

    If they purchase a soft mattress, they are mostly made of memory foam which traps the body heat of the person and reflects it on the sleeper. 

    So their body experiences more heat. But firm mattresses provide more coolness to the sleeper. So, a firm mattress is the best option for hot sleepers. 

    People With Injury

    A firm mattress is also ideal for people who find it hard to move due to injury or any other health problems. Sleeping on a firm mattress makes it easy to move from it.

    What Is a Soft Mattress?

    So far, we have seen about the firm mattress. Now let's see more about soft mattresses in detail.

    The soft mattress generally ranges from 3 to 4 on the firmness scale. When you touch these mattresses, you feel soft, and your body will sink into the mattress. When compared to a firm mattress, a soft mattress compresses easily when pressure is applied to it. 

    The soft mattresses have 12 to 14 inches of thickness, and it has at least 2 to 4 inches of comfort layers. Soft mattresses are made up of lighter coils, and they have more comfort layers, including memory foam, latex, and soft mattress covers. These comfort layers provide more cushioning, which makes the sleeper feel more luxurious. 

    Many Gen X consumers prefer soft mattresses as they feel it is more comfortable. 

    According to the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA), "Almost half (46%) of consumers aged 18-35 prefer a soft mattress," and "A mere 22% of Gen X consumers prefer a soft mattress."

    Now let's see some benefits of sleeping on a soft mattress. 

    Benefits of Soft Mattresses

    Each mattress has its advantages. Here are a few benefits of Soft mattresses that you must know.

    Relieve Muscle and Joint Pain

    Nowadays, you can easily find people suffering from muscle and joint pain. Do you know that these people's pain is affected by the type of mattress they use? 

    People with muscle and joint pain must be careful with selecting the mattress. 

    Don't go for a firm mattress. This will increase the pressure point and cause you more pain. Soft mattresses are a good choice for people with muscle and joint pain.

    Align Hips 

    As soft mattresses provide light support, they can help to align hips properly. 

    Easier to Move

    The memory foam mattresses make it easier and more comfortable to move around from one place to another. 

    Ideal for Lightweight Sleepers

    Lightweight sleepers always feel uncomfortable sleeping on a firm mattress because that mattress does not provide much sinking. So the pressure builds up in the body of lightweight people and causes pain. 

    So, they should use a soft mattress, as it offers a sink and cushioning. Soft mattresses can improve the quality of sleep in lightweight people. 

    Perfect for Side Sleepers

    As these people sleep on their sides, their hips and shoulders are mostly exposed to the mattress. So, there is a lot of chance that pressure can build up in those areas. For side sleepers, soft mattresses are perfect because they promote sinking and keep you relieved from tension. Not only this, but also it improves the spinal alignment. 

    So, that is why soft mattresses are a side sleeper's best friend. 

    Great Support for Arthritis and Joint Pain

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "About 1 in 4 US adults (23.7%) or about 58.5 million people have doctor-diagnosed arthritis."

    So, they need to choose the right mattress. 

    People with arthritis generally find soft mattresses more comfortable for them than any other type of mattress because soft mattresses provide great cushioning to the sensitive areas and soothe the pain. 

    Reduces Pressure Point 

    For some people, a soft mattress provides comfort to them and relieves the pressure point. 

    Petite people and lightweight sleepers find it more comfortable. 

    Disadvantages of Soft Mattress 

    The soft mattress has benefits like relieving pain and is ideal for side and lightweight sleepers. But deep down, soft mattresses have their disadvantages too. Here are a few disadvantages of soft mattresses. 

    Too Much Sinking

    Even though sinking is comfortable for some people, still, it's not ideal for everyone. 

    Too much sinking of the mattress makes certain parts of their body fall too far and even hit the support core. Because of this, the natural curves of the spines become much exaggerated. 


    Soft mattresses often consist of materials like memory foam, latex, etc. These substances tend to trap more heat from the sleeper and reflect it to them. As a result, it causes overheating in the sleeper. So, hot sleepers must avoid soft mattresses. 

    Not Ideal for Back and Stomach Sleepers

    Soft mattresses are not recommended for back and stomach sleepers because these mattresses will sink their body, putting them in an uncomfortable position. 

    It doesn't provide enough support for their hips and abdomen. So, back and stomach sleepers should avoid this kind of mattress. 

    More Sagging

    As the soft mattress is composed of more comfort layers and a support core, it wears off quicker than a firm mattress. They are not very durable and sturdy.

    These comfort layers can be flattened and will start to sag after some years. Because of this, these mattresses need to be replaced often. 

    Not Ideal for Couples

    A soft mattress doesn't provide as much support as a firm mattress. 

    So, if a person moves, it can affect the sleep of another person too.

    When the size of the couple is unequal, they feel uncomfortable sleeping on the soft mattress because heavier people experience more sinking, and it eventually makes the surface of another one unequal. So, it feels awkward and also causes pain. 

    Who Is This Best For?

    Not everyone feels comfortable with a soft mattress. But, soft mattresses are best for some people. Here, you can find who can use soft mattresses.

    Side Sleepers 

    As I mentioned above, soft mattresses are ideal for side sleepers because it provides better cushioning, which helps them to relieve pain. 

    People with Pain Issues

    Soft mattresses are ideal for people who experience pain, especially in joints and hips. These people can use soft mattresses to reduce the pain. 

    Try Dreamcloud Medium-Firm Mattress

    DreamCloud medium-firm mattress is comfortable, supportive, and luxurious and helps you to have a sound sleep. These mattresses feature high-density gel memory foam that enables you to sleep cool and has multiple layers that support any sleep positions.

    The cashmere cover will also provide you with much comfort with softness and breathability. You will get enhanced edge support with an innerspring coil system.

    Not only this, but also this mattress comes with 365 nights sleep trial, a lifetime warranty, free shipping, and returns with a pillow, sheets set, and mattress protector. By choosing the DreamCloud medium-firm mattress, you can have a great sleep with comfort in all sleep positions and maintain good health.


    Now, you know well about firm vs soft mattresses. But are firm mattresses better? A soft mattress offers more cushioning, and it's ideal for side sleepers and petite individuals, whereas a firm mattress is better for back and stomach sleepers and plus-sized individuals. 

    Each individual's preference for a mattress varies. With this guide, you can choose your perfect mattress based on your body weight and sleep preferences. 

    And don't forget to check out DreamCloud's medium-firm mattress and have a healthier sleep.

    Disclaimer: This website does not offer medical advice nor professional medical services; rather, it is provided solely for educational, informational, and/or entertainment purposes. Individuals seeking medical advice should consult a licensed physician. The information provided should not be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition, disease, or injury. When you have a medical condition, you should always talk to licensed doctor or other certified medical professional. You should never delay seeking professional medical advice or treatment based on the contents of this website. Call 911 or immediately go to the nearest emergency room if you think you may have a medical emergency. The contents of this website are provided "as-is", Dreamcloud Sleep and its parent, subsidiaries, affiliates, employees, contributors disclaim any warranty of the information contained herein. Please contact to report any errors, omissions, misinformation, or abuse.
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