Sleep plays a vital role in your overall health and wellness. Getting at least eight hours of sleep every night results in better productivity, improved athletic performance, enhanced mental concentration, and lowered risk of gaining weight. However, a lot of people struggle to doze off into a slumber at night. Regardless of how tired they are at the end of the day, they find themselves twisting and turning once they hit their beds.
A wide range of factors can impact the duration and quality of sleep you get each night. To name a few, your eating habits, exposure to screens, stress levels, medications, and environment all make a big difference. While many of these elements and habits take time to adjust, one factor—the quality of your mattress—you can quickly address.
The Importance of Sleep
Adequate sleep is crucial for your health, both physically and mentally. It allows your body and mind to recharge and repair itself, leaving you feeling recharged once you wake up. Quality sleep also helps you stave off diseases.
Sleep becomes even more crucial after recovering from an illness or injury or if you’re experiencing increased mental strain and high stress, as many people are during the on-going pandemic.
Lack of sleep harms your brain and lowers your resistance to stress, in turn, impairing your abilities to concentrate, think clearly, and process memories. Your mind works slower, you become more forgetful, and your attention gets short-circuited. Plus, you may feel grumpier and are likely to nod off during the daytime.
How can buying a new mattress help ensure you get better quality sleep? The key is understanding your sleep habits and choosing between a firm and soft mattress accordingly. You should base this decision on your weight, usual sleep position, any pre-existing conditions causing pain, and your comfort preferences.
When shopping for a mattress, you’ll likely come across the following labels: very soft, soft, medium, medium-firm, firm, and very firm. If you aren’t sure which mattress type suits you best, consider the following advantages and disadvantages of soft versus firm mattresses.
Good Sleep and Soft Mattresses
- Reduce Back Pain– An Air foam mattress is an excellent choice for people who suffer from back pain. It brings the much-needed comfort to your back, as contouring to your body and providing pressure relief is a key part of the design.
- Provide Support for Light Individuals– People on the heavier side tend to sink in too much on a softer mattress, which prevents them from getting adequate support and comfort. But soft mattresses are ideal for lighter individuals who find firm beds stiff and uncomfortable.
- Support Side Sleepers– Alongside the extra support, soft mattresses make an ideal choice for side sleepers as they cushion your shoulders and hips to alleviate pressure.
- Alleviate Hip Pressure– A soft mattress allows your hips to sink in, providing pressure relief.
Cons of Soft Mattresses
While soft mattresses offer many people pressure relief and comfort, they aren’t ideal for everyone. For example, stomach sleepers tend to need firmer mattresses to avoid aches and pains. You may also want to consider the following disadvantages:
- Soft mattresses tend to wear out and begin to sag sooner than firm mattresses.
- Soft mattresses may pose trouble for couples. If one partner is heavier, they might sink further into the mattress, making the sleeping surface uneven and causing the other partner discomfort. However, higher-end foam mattresses have the technology to mitigate this issue.
Good Sleep and Firm Mattresses
- Reduce Spine Strain– Firm mattresses help keep your back straight and offer even support for your whole body. They are great for heavier people who experience too much sinkage on softer mattresses.
- Improve Circulation– This mattress type provides a stable surface on which to sleep. Instead of sinking into the mattress, your bones will absorb most of the pressure, putting less strain on your circulatory system and enhancing blood flow.
- Support Oxygen Intake– Firm mattresses prevent your lower back from collapsing and help keep it straight, which improves the inflow of oxygen.
Cons of Firm Mattresses
Initially, switching from a soft to firm mattress can be a shock for some people. And according to various studies, they can be harmful to people with chronic pain problems like scoliosis and arthritis.
Firm mattresses also aren’t usually the right choice for side sleepers and lighter individuals. They might find firm mattresses don’t offer enough contouring, leading to hip and shoulder pain.
An Investment in Comfort and Quality
If you struggle with sleeping issues, your mattress’ quality is one of the first things you should consider. If your current mattress is over eight years old, the chances are that it no longer provides the comfort you require. The mattress you invest in should support your body and provide ultimate comfort for a good night’s sleep.