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It seems to be the age-old argument – will a firm or soft mattress provide the best night’s sleep for you? Well, on paper, you would think that a soft mattress would be the most comfortable, kind of like sleeping on a cloud. Whereas, a hard mattress makes you think of sleeping on the floor, which is far from desirable. But is this true, is mattress firmness and comfort really that simple?

Of course not, otherwise who would ever buy a firm mattress! Rather, how comfortable we find either a firm or soft mattress is down to our body alignment when we sleep.

Body alignment is incredibly important for sleep, as poor alignment stops us from getting that restorative, deep sleep that we crave. Of course, thinking logically about it, if we manage to get to sleep at night we must have good body alignment, after-all, we were comfortable enough to get to sleep. Which would make total sense, yet our bodies don’t work as simply as that. We can sleep fine with bad body alignment, even feeling like we had a reasonable night’s sleep. Yet this sleep misalignment can all lead to various health problems.

Firm or Soft Mattress - What's the Perfect Mattress For YouThe most common problem associated with sleeping with poor alignment is back pain, whether it’s caused by your mattress or your mattress is aggravating the problem. As your back pain worsens, so will your sleep, leading to a vicious cycle where your sleep causes pain and your pain stops sleep. And we all know how imperative a good night’s sleep is to getting us through the day.

So how do we sleep while in a poor body position? Well it all comes down to humans being highly adaptable. Meaning that even if we feel comfortable enough to sleep, this may be nothing more than an adaptive response by our bodies to make us get to sleep, as the body craves sleep.

But how do you tell then, if you are sleeping with poor body alignment? Well, consider this, do you often suffer from fatigue during the day, sleepiness and/or headaches? If yes, it’s likely that body alignment is the issue.

The mattress that you sleep on has a massive impact on our body alignment as we sleep, with an inappropriate mattress masking, creating or even worsening the position in which we sleep. This leads to ailments such as back pain and can cause snoring or sleep apnoea.

So which mattress do you pick? Well it really comes down to the person, however, here are the advantages and disadvantages of both types:

Firm Mattress

It’s thought that a firm mattress can be incredibly beneficial in getting your spine into a neutral position. This is due to the fact that a hard mattress provides the necessary resistance needed so that when we lay down our bones take most of the pressure. This allows our muscles and veins/arteries to relax and blood circulation to be at an optimal level, promoting a good sleep. The Hypnos New Orthocare range of 4 mattresses is particularly good. Each mattress is available in a firm or extra firm tension.

However, if you have back pain, arthritis, rheumatism or the like, you might be surprised to hear that you should avoid a firm mattress – especially after years of old wives’ tales telling us that a hard surface cures back pain.

Soft Mattress

In actuality, a soft mattress can be more beneficial to people with back problems, but it all depends on how soft your mattress is.

For instance, you should try to avoid a particularly soft mattress as your back simply collapses into it, not only putting your spine in a weird position, but also putting strain on your lungs as they’ll be unable to take in as much oxygen as they usually do.

So where does this leave us in the firm vs soft debate? Well stuck in the middle, literally. A medium to firm mattress tends to be the optimal mattress for most people, including those with back pain as this mattress is the most likely to keep your spine properly aligned. It is, in a nutshell, the best of both worlds!