Nothing is more conducive to a good night’s sleep as much as the right mattress. It is really worth your while to spend some time choosing the right mattress when making a purchase, and you need to know the pros and cons of both a soft and firm mattress before making your decision.

There are so many different mattresses on the market that it can become quite overwhelming to know what you are actually looking for, and what type of mattress will be the best bet for a good night’s sleep.

Get to know what makes a good mattress, why you need a good mattress, and which mattress will be best for you.

Why a good mattress is so important

You spend almost half your day asleep on your mattress. A good mattress will be your best friend during the night, and also be a key factor in keeping your body comfortable and properly supported.

Spine-health plays a big role in choosing a mattress. The spine has three natural curves, and these curves all need to be accommodated and supported during your sleep. A quality mattress will support your spine and hold your body in a neutral positioning, and your spine will be able to rest in its natural curve.

There should be no pressure on your spine or back while you are asleep. A mattress that does not support your spine might leave you waking up with back pain concentrated around the base of the spine, and possibly tense muscles that try and compensate for the unnatural positioning of the spine during sleep.

On top of the benefits towards your spine, a bad night’s sleep, over and over again, due to a mattress, can cause exhaustion which trickles down to make even the smallest of daily activities difficult.

Firm and soft mattresses

Try not to think of mattresses as either firm or soft, but think of them as on a spectrum. You get some extremely soft mattresses, some incredibly firm mattresses, and a whole host of mattresses in between this.

The easiest way to tell the firmness of a mattress is by touch, with a softer mattress compressing more easily under pressure.

Different mattresses are made from different materials. The feel of a mattress is determined by the spring tension in the mattress, as well as an outer layer or upholstery that adds to the feel of firmness of the mattress. Certain factors such as a memory foam topper might make the mattress feel firmer than it is, but it is actually a superficial firmness that doesn’t add to the actual support of the mattress.

Firm mattress

Many people prefer a firmer mattress. It is the more popular choice among people who have back issues. However, they have their own pros and cons and it comes down to body type, sleeping positions, and personal preference.


A firm mattress offers more support for those who suffer from back pain. The firmer surface allows the bones to absorb most of the pressure from lying horizontally, giving relief to muscles and blood vessels. This improves circulation and helps keep the muscles less strained.

A firmer mattress with more support also stops the lower back from collapsing too low, which means that body weight is distributed evenly, which also leads to higher oxygen intake. The pressure from lying horizontally is distributed evenly, meaning that not one part of the body bears all the pressure. For those who sleep on their backs, a firm mattress is the best option.

On a side note, a firm mattress is also advised for babies and younger children. It lessens the risk of suffocation.


Those who transition from a soft mattress to a firm mattress might find it more uncomfortable and difficult to sleep on, however, this does get better over time.

People who suffer from specific back issues such as scoliosis and arthritis might find a firmer mattress makes their condition worse. It is important to know and understand your conditions and needs before making a purchase.

Soft mattress

A softer mattress might be the obvious choice when thinking of a comfortable night’s sleep, drifting in the clouds, but this isn’t always a case. A soft mattress is good for some but doesn’t always work for certain conditions.


A soft mattress is a good choice for those who find firmer mattresses cause back pain, or for those who have certain pre-existing back conditions.

People who sleep on their side or stomach prefer softer mattresses as they provide more cushioning for the hips and shoulders, and it also aligns the spine better when sleeping on the side.


For those who have excess weight or sleep on their stomach, a soft mattress might not provide enough support, and not let the body weight be distributed easily, which puts more pressure on certain areas which could cause pain, strain, and discomfort.

When sharing a bed, a soft mattress is also not always the best idea. The heavier partner might sink in more than the other partner, which could cause an unbalanced sleeping surface which can be really uncomfortable.

Soft mattresses also aren’t as long-lasting as a firmer mattress. The already soft support and base might wear and become unstable over time. There are however some soft mattresses that have extended durability and strength, but they do come at a higher price.

Making the right choice

Before running out to buy a mattress on a whim, you need to consider your personal circumstances and preferences beforehand to know what to look for.

You need to consider your sleeping position, any back pain or pre-existing conditions, as well as your weight. All these factors should help you to decide whether to buy a firmer or a softer mattress.

You deserve the best sleep you can get, so take the time to choose the right mattress, and enjoy your comfortable dreamy sleep.