We all have our ideal mattresses in mind. It can be a hotel-like, plush comfort for some; while a firm and supportive surface would be perfect for others. Thing is, what we want isn’t always what’s good for us. You may get the nicely soft mattress you’ve been eyeing, but your posture might be at stake. On the other hand, you might have an extremely firm mattress that doesn’t feel comfortable at all.
What does your body really need for a good night’s sleep – a soft or a firm mattress?
The Firmness Scale
Before we delve deeper, it’s good to remember what soft and firm mattresses are by definition.
- Soft mattresses are mattresses whose firmness levels range from 1-5 in the scale shown above (very soft – medium).
- Firm mattresses are mattresses whose firmness levels range from 6-10 (medium-firm to very firm).
What We Already Know: The Advantages & Disadvantages
The Goal: Keep the Spine’s Natural Curvature
In all our judgements, we always have this goal in mind: to keep the spine in a neutral position with its natural curvature. Always remember this even when thinking about comfort. Never. Sacrifice. Your. Alignment.
Existing Research Votes Firmer Mattress
We know that mattress firmness is not a black and white situation. It is rather a spectrum of firmness options to suit people of different weights, sleeping positions, and ailments. So in saying firmer mattresses – we’re referring to those in the 6-10 firmness levels.
Existing research vouches for mattresses on the firmer side of the scale – mainly medium-firm – in their ability to relieve chronic back pain, sleep quality, comfort, and efficiency. This was according to a study by Professor Ahmed Radwan, PhD and his colleagues for the National Sleep Foundation’s journal called Sleep Health. They combined and assessed all available clinical trials to find out the mattress firmness best for back pain, sleep quality, and spinal alignment.
Here are some more interesting data they found:
- Medium to firm mattresses were generally more comfortable than soft mattresses.
- Average shoulder pressure was higher in softer mattresses. A specific research found that firmness levels had to be upped to increase comfort in patients.
- Soft mattresses decrease ‘excessive compressive forces’ on joints, while firm mattresses help maintain appropriate sleeping posture especially for side-sleepers to avoid the pelvis from sagging.
- The most liked mattresses were ones where the spinal curvature was similar to that of a standing position.
Your Mattress, Still Your Call
In the end, the purpose of this article is not to impose buying a medium-firm mattress, but to open your options to what is good for your body and sleep quality that’s backed by research.
While you do your research, do keep our 3-in-1 adjustable mattress in mind – you get medium, medium-firm, and firm all in one.