Back Doesn’t Hurt In The Morning Anymore: A Guide To Choosing Mattress Firmness


We tell you what the degrees of hardness are and what to do if you sleep too soft or hard.

Four centuries ago, people stuffed mattresses with straw, and it was the height of comfort. Today, buyers are free to choose not only the filling, but also the stiffness of the bed. What is the difference between a soft mattress and a hard mattress and why, there is no perfect option, read our article.

It is difficult to determine the hardness of the mattress by its appearance

Important! This is an introductory article. If you have a herniated spine, osteochondrosis and other diseases, the choice of mattress should be discussed with your doctor.

What is mattress hardness and how it affects the comfortable sleep

Hardness is the ability of a mattress to hold its shape under the weight of the person sleeping. If you lie on a soft mattress the body sinks into it. A hard mattress hardly sinks.

In rigid products the upper layer is often represented by coconut coir.

When we stand or sit our spine has natural curves. They are needed to keep the body in the right position and minimize stress when walking or running. When we lie down, our spine should be straight. It does not matter how one prefers to sleep: on the side, back or stomach. What it gives:

  1. The muscles of the back are relaxed;
  2. The load on the spine is reduced;
  3. Blood circulates normally through the body, because the spinal column is not curved.

As a result, a person feels rested after sleeping, there is no pain in the back and neck. For the position of the spine during sleep is responsible for the rigidity of the mattress. The correct product deflects evenly under the weight of the sleeping person: more in the hips and shoulder region, less in the lumbar region.

If you choose a very rigid product, the spine slightly curves in the form of an arc. The lumbar spine as if hanging in the air – the muscles try to keep the body in the right position and strain. This leads to back pain in the morning.

On a soft mattress the spine sinks – a hammock effect occurs. Incorrect positioning of the body prevents the muscles from relaxing and the person feels rested in the morning.

Is there any scientific evidence that mattress rigidity affects the quality of sleep?

A good night’s sleep is a subjective notion. It depends on many factors: what time you went to bed, what you were doing before going to bed, what you had for dinner, what mood you were in. There’s no conclusive evidence that a mattress or the smoothness of the bedding affects the quality of our sleep. But there are some studies that show that this parameter should not be ignored.

One experiment involved 313 people. They complained of back pain that had no apparent medical cause. The discomfort occurred more often in the morning and at night while waking up.

Each participant received a mattress, medium or high stiffness. After three months of sleeping on the product they received, they shared their impressions. Pain decreased for those who slept on the medium-firm model.

What does the mattress hardness depend on?

On two parameters:

  1. Springs (their number, thickness, size and the metal from which they are made);
  2. The filler. In some models, only the filler, such as latex or memorix, can be responsible for stiffness.

The composition of soft and hard mattresses may be the same. For example, both models are based on springs, there is coconut coir and eco-foam. The degree of hardness will depend on the number of springs, the thickness of the coconut layer. That is, it is impossible to say unequivocally: there are springs in this model, it means that the bed will be hard. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the labeling and other parameters. About them we will talk below.

How to choose a mattress by stiffness and weight of the person

Experts say: hardness – a subjective parameter. Some people will find the sleep on a mattress of high rigidity as a bliss, and someone will be forced to go to the store, although the model is the same. What to focus on when choosing?

  • Rule 1: Lie on the mattress. Ideally the product should spend several nights. This is the only way to understand, whether it is suitable for you or not. It is impossible to do this in a store. Why then lie? Even 1-2 minutes on the chosen mattress can help to understand how comfortable the latex padding or the eco-foam, for example, is.
  • Rule 2: be guided by the weight of the person who will sleep on the bed. The heavier the weight, the stiffer the bed should be. The gold standard for people of average height and weight are medium-rigid models.
  • Rule 3: Pay attention to age. Older people usually recommend soft models, children – rigid models.

On sale are double-sided mattresses with different degrees of hardness. If the product seems hard and uncomfortable, you can turn it over and sleep on a softer surface.
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