Buying Guide: Selecting The Right Mattress Feel

Happy woman stretching sitting on bed holding a cup of coffee

by Sleep First 5 min read

When buying a mattress, you have a pretty serious list of options. You can go with traditional spring, memory foam, or hybrid. You can opt for a twin, a queen, or a king sized bed. And of course, you can choose between firm, medium, and soft mattresses. With so many choices available, it can be hard to narrow it down to the one that will best fit your needs and help you sleep sweet and sound.


One of the most important aspects of finding your perfect mattress is figuring out if you need something soft, something firm, or something in-between. A big part of this comes down to comfort. Which do you prefer? Which feels better to you? What makes you the coziest? However, there are other considerations that can help guide your choice as well.


Why does mattress feel matter?


Essentially, our bodies naturally adjust themselves during the night to try to maintain proper alignment. If you sleep on the wrong mattress for your body, it's going to be a lot harder to adapt, and you'll wake up with aches and pains.


You might be wondering what it actually means to be in proper alignment. Great question! Basically, alignment all comes down to your spine. When your spine is in its natural position, your neck and lower back are properly aligned, and your lungs are free to expand and bring more oxygen into your body. Ultimately, this helps increase your blood circulation and relieve body pains. During the day, your muscles are generally engaged and able to support this alignment.


Here’s where the trouble can come in: when you fall asleep, your muscles relax, leaving your body to depend on your mattress to maintain proper alignment. So if your mattress doesn't support you in the right ways, your muscles will have to kick in again, causing you to wake up tired and in pain. So how do you know what will be most supportive? Here are a few considerations.


Sleeping Position


Whether a firm or soft mattress is better for you has a lot to do with your unique sleeping style. Your preference for a certain mattress feel comes to to your typical sleeping position. If you're a stomach sleeper, you'll likely prefer a firm mattress. If you're a side sleeper, you probably like soft mattresses. And if you're a back sleeper? Well, you'll fall somewhere in the middle.


The reason for this is that different sleeping positions put pressure on different parts of the body. For example, when someone sleeps on their stomach, their hips end up supporting most of their weight, and a firm mattress will make sure that their hips are supported enough so as not to sink down. With a side sleeper, their weight is distributed between their hips and shoulders, as well as the arm that’s tucked beneath them. A soft mattress will ensure proper circulation to those parts of the body.


Body Weight


The general rule is that people on the lower end of the BMI scale will prefer soft mattresses, while people higher on the scale will prefer firm. This again comes down to pressure. The more weight you have on your body, the greater the pressure and the more supported needed to maintain proper alignment. 


What are the benefits of firm mattresses?


First, let's clear up a common misconception: though old school chiropractors used to swear that firm mattresses were the way to go for back support, that's not exactly true. Firmness and support are actually two different things: firmness has to do with the top layer of the mattress, whereas support has to do with the lower layers. It's very possible to have a soft mattress with lots of support.


Now that that's out of the way, here is a truth: our bodies relax best when our bones have a bit of resistance. Firm mattresses help support your bones, so that your muscles can stay relaxed. They work best for those who need more support: stomach sleepers, heavier sleepers, and those who tend to experience lower back pain. If you think a firm mattress might be a good bet for you, come by your nearest Sleep First to talk to one of our mattress experts and test out some of your firm options!


What are the benefits of soft mattresses?


A softer mattress provides a good deal of comfort and plushness to keeo you cozy through the night. As such, they are better for those who like to sink into their mattresses, as well as those who need some extra cushion. They're best for back and side sleepers, as well and lightweight sleeper, as they cushion your joints and support delicate pressure points. Considering a soft mattress? Stop by your nearest Sleep First to try out some options in person.


At the end of the day, whether you choose a firm or mattress really depends on your unique preferences and sleeping style. If you're having trouble deciding, fall somewhere in between, or are a couple with competing preferences, a medium feel mattress might be for you. The best way to know which you prefer is to come in to a store and test out the options for yourself. When you’re ready to find your next mattress, come visit us at Sleep First, where we’ll be waiting to help you find your best night’s sleep.


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