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Should You Sleep on a Hard or Soft Mattress?


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Choosing a mattress can be a daunting task, especially if you do not know what you exactly need. The type of mattress that you sleep on determines whether you will have a good night’s sleep or wake up feeling as if you just came out of battle.

With so many options available in the market, your chances of getting it wrong can increase tenfold. However, there are simple criteria that you can use to ensure what mattress firmness is ideal for you.

So, should you sleep on a hard or soft mattress? The degree of hardness will depend on your sleeping position. Stomach sleepers require a harder mattress as compared to back sleepers. If you are a heavier set person, then a hard bed is the best choice. If you are having back pain, a harder mattress should in most cases be your best choice.

Now, before you walk out your door and head to the nearest mattress dealer, follow the information in this post to learn which firmness level you should choose on your mattress.

Should You Sleep on a Hard or Soft Mattress?

Several factors will influence your choice of firmness. If you prefer sleeping on your side, then a soft mattress is your best choice. It offers the best cushioning to accommodate all the weight that you put on your hips and shoulders.

A hard bed offers resistance, meaning you will wake all sore. They are best suited for individuals who prefer sleeping on their stomachs or backs. The degree of hardness will depend on the sleeping position. In that, stomach sleepers require a harder mattress as compared to back sleepers.

Your weight is also an influencing factor when it comes to selecting a mattress. If you are a heavier set person, then a hard bed is the best choice. It will easily handle your weight and ensure that you get a good night’s sleep.

Conditions such as chronic back pain and arthritis also play a factor in your mattress choice. If your back is always giving you problems, a hard mattress will ease the pain when you sleep.

It offers the support you need along your spine and distributes the pressure away from your back. A soft one will form according to where you exert the most weight, making it unsuitable for you in case of these conditions.

The type of bed that you have can also help you determine the type of mattress that you need. If you have a flat bed then, a soft mattress will be the better choice. Those that have slats with spaces in between are better suited for hard mattresses. The hard mattress can accommodate each slat and still offer you the required comfort.

What Mattress Types are Available to me?

Mattress technology continues to evolve every day. New blends of materials are in development to create better quality mattresses and ensure sleeper comfort.

Here are a few of the options that are currently available for purchase, each offering varying degrees of firmness.

1. Poly Foam Mattresses

By far, the most common type of mattress globally. These feature a blend of both synthetic and petroleum products, all unique to each manufacturer. Poly foam mattresses range from ultra-soft or plush to extremely firm.

Poly foam also features as a constituent ingredient for other mattress types such as memory foam and inner coil mattresses. Prices are significantly lower as compared to the alternatives in the market.

2. Inner Coil Mattresses

As the name suggests, these mattresses feature a network of springs in the mattress structure. Padding is on either side of the mattress, but the springs are what give it its gist.

You have different options on the type of coils such as Bonnel, Offset, and Continuous coil, all offering varying degrees of firmness. If you are on the heavier side of the scale, an inner coil mattress is best for you. It will easily accommodate your weight and give you the comfort you desire.

3. Memory Foam Mattresses

Memory foam has become a popular mattress for sleepers the world over. Its ability to easily form around the sleeper makes it an ideal choice for those that are seeking a much softer sleeping surface.

If you fall into the category of side sleepers or low back pain sufferers, you cannot go wrong with this type. However, given the rise in demand, the cost can be quite prohibitive. Another disadvantage of memory foam is that it can be very uncomfortable because of the heat it stores.

4. Latex Mattresses

A slightly cheaper alternative to memory foam, latex mattresses are made from the sap of rubber trees.

They are an ideal choice if you a looking for a soft bed with a cloud-like feel. Unlike memory foam, latex is better at dissipating heat and is a welcome substitute for the latter.

5. Hybrid Mattresses

Hybrid mattresses are a combination of different mattress materials, as the name suggests. They feature a composite of inner coils and foam, giving you a mid-range option of soft and hard mattresses.

The types available vary depending on the manufacturer, so you are better off researching what you need before settling on a choice.

6. Air Mattresses

These should not be confused with air beds. Air mattresses feature small pockets of air-filled chambers within the mattress structure to give it the degree of firmness. Although not common in homes, you can still purchase one at your local mattress store.

The advantage of an air mattress is that you can adjust the degree of firmness according to your preference. All you need to do is either increase or decrease the amount of air in the mattress.

Air mattresses are ideal for patients who are recovering from severe back injuries. However, you can also buy one if you share a bed with someone.

People have their preferences when it comes to sleeping surfaces, and chances are you and your partner will not agree. An air mattress can be adjusted in either half to accommodate both your settings.

7. Pillow Top Mattresses

These are a new style of mattress that features ridges of padding on the top surface. The pillow top is an added layer of either foam, cotton, or latex that increases the softness of your mattress. You can opt for one that has the layer as an addition to your regular surface, or one that is sewn underneath the main structure. 

Pillow tops offer an extra cooling effect as compared to memory foam, and the ridges act like little masseuses on your body as you sleep. It is a viable option for you if you suffer from arthritis, as the ridges conform to where you apply the most pressure.

One drawback of pillow top mattresses is that you will be replacing them more frequently as compared to other mattress types.

Other Factors That Will Determine Your Choice Between a Hard or Soft Mattress

In general, there is a slight price difference when it comes to the firmness of a mattress. Hard mattresses tend to be cheaper as compared to soft ones. The reason that the material used to manufacture hard mattresses is readily available and the process is much easier.

Soft mattresses require a fusion of different ingredients to get that cloud-like feeling for the sleeper. An example of this is memory foam. A queen size memory foam mattress will cost you $2,000 as compared to $850 for an inner coil mattress of the same size.

Though not a deciding factor as such, the material used to make the mattress also plays a part. Certain chemicals used in the manufacturing process can cause allergies, thereby limiting the options of which type of mattress you buy.

For example, you may need a soft mattress but are allergic to latex. Your option is to either go for memory foam or opt for the cheaper poly foam mattress and wait for it to break in.

Selecting a mattress to sleep on is purely at your discretion. You can use a guide to steer you in the right direction, but at the end of the day, you are the one sleeping. It is advisable that after assessing yourself on the above, physically test the mattress and see if it suits you.

Niklas Lampi

My name is Niklas and I'm the author and content operator at The Bedding Planet. I've always had a big interest in bedding and more specifically sleep. If I find something that makes me sleep better, whether that's a lifestyle change or a better bedding environment, I'm ready to share it with the world!

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