Considering that most people spend about one-third of their lives lying in bed, selecting the right mattress is of paramount importance for containing back pain, because it can make a difference in whether you can sleep well at night and function properly the next day.
Plush vs. Firm Mattresses
In the past, doctors used to recommend very firm mattresses. But more recent surveys among people with back pain reveal that those who sleep on very hard mattresses had worse sleep quality. Furthermore, there is no difference in sleep quality between those who use firm and medium-firm mattresses.
On the other hand, plush mattresses can also be problematic, the reason being that while a soft mattress that conforms to your body’s natural curves may help your joints to align properly, you might also sink in so deeply that your joints might twist and become painful during the night in bed.
A new mattress described as plush often feels softer on the surface where you sleep. Lots of people describe slipping into plush mattresses as sinking into a luxuriously comfortable bed and are normally well-suited for people who suffer from pressure point discomfort while sleeping on their sides. And the reason for this is that plush mattresses cradle and cushion pressure points, thus creating less stress on the joints.
In short, soft mattresses cushion your body while you sleep, with the perfect amount of give, for a comfortable night’s sleep.
Sometimes, back sleepers also reveal a preference for plush mattresses, but they require them with firmer cores for providing the support their backs demand, in order to maintain adequate spinal alignment while sleeping.
However, stomach sleepers seldom select plush mattresses. The sinking sensation can leave them with the feeling as if they’re suffocating. And the mattress often forces the spine to bend in awkward positions. A firm and medium-firm mattress is a better choice for many back sleepers and stomach sleepers.
A firm mattress isn’t quite as soft as the plusher variety, and it is often referred to as providing exceptional support. While some people find it uncomfortable and stiff, stomach sleepers often find it a better choice. A firm and medium-firm bed helps stomach sleepers maintain proper spinal alignment while sleeping, as do those who are back sleepers.
Side sleepers sometimes struggle with a firmer mattress as it tends to irritate pressure points, leaving them sore and aching in the morning. While hips and shoulders are the most commonly complained of pressure points when it comes to a firm and medium firm mattress, sometimes people also complain about their knees. However, by placing a thin pillow between your knees while sleeping, this can often be sorted out regardless of how firm or soft your mattress is.
What If You Choose the Wrong Firmness?
The new mattress needs to support your body in a neutral position, meaning that your buttocks, shoulders, heels, and head are well supported in proper alignment, and in which your spine has a natural curvature. If the new mattress is too soft, those pressure points won’t be properly supported, so your whole body will flop back, and if it is too firm, it will push on those main pressure points and take you out of alignment.
Both of these alternative scenarios can cause an achy morning and back pain, and your body will not function properly during the day. Thus, finding the proper balance between firmness and softness is very important for your sleeping needs.
What If Your Partner Has Different Requirements?
Lots of people spend weeks looking for a new mattress that offers a proper balance between a firm versus a soft bed.
It is difficult enough to find the right fit for just yourself, but when you add your partner into the mix, the decision process becomes even more complex – and in particular when your partner has different comfort preferences.
Fortunately, there are handmade mattresses that offer buyers infinite customization, so that each person can have their own preferred level of firmness and/or softness, for each side of the bed.
This is possible because such mattress layers are not glued together. This allows you to add and remove layers, as needed, to meet your unique comfort and support preferences. You can even have a different level of firmness and softness on each side of the bed. This is a great option for couples with different comfort requirements, where one prefers a firm bed and the other prefers a soft bed.