Firm vs. Soft Mattresses: A Goldilocks Guide to Comfort

Firm vs. Soft Mattresses: A Goldilocks Guide to Comfort

You’re shopping for a new mattress but facing a dilemma: do you want your mattress to be firm or soft?

Choosing the right mattress is crucial to ensuring you can enjoy a good night of sleep each night, and is even more important if you have chronic pain or other factors that can make it tough to get comfortable in the evening. Mattress firmness is just one of the many factors you want to take into consideration when choosing a mattress — but should you opt for a firm or soft bed?

Everyone has different preferences, and what one person finds most comfortable, another person may not enjoy at all. If you aren’t quite sure if a firm or soft mattress is best suited to your needs, you aren’t alone.

Today, we’re diving into everything you need to know about firm and soft mattresses so that when you shop for your new bed, you have one less thing to wonder about. Get ready to dive into the pros and cons of firm and soft mattresses, what you should keep in mind, and how SONU Sleep’s mattress measures up.

How Do I Choose Between a Firm or Soft Mattress?

The mattress firmness scale typically features six mattress firmness levels: extra soft, soft, medium, medium-firm, firm, and extra-firm. Some versions of the scale also include medium-soft.

Though there are mattresses available in all of these varying firmness levels, most people keep it simple by choosing between a firm mattress or a soft mattress. There are a wide variety of factors both supporting and contesting each type of mattress, so let’s break it down.

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Firm Mattress?

Not everyone wants to feel like they’re floating on a cloud when they sleep — but if you do, we don’t blame you. For people who prefer a bed that feels hard and sturdy, firm mattresses are excellent.


Firm mattresses have several key advantages as compared to soft mattress options. Just some of these advantages include:

  • Supportive for heavier sleepers
  • Good for back and stomach sleepers
  • Helps maintain spine alignment
  • Stable and does not sink in much


Firm mattresses also have some disadvantages, which may be more prevalent for certain sleepers. These include:

  • Uncomfortable for people with chronic pain issues, like lower back pain or hip pain
  • Rigid due to the lack of plushness and flexibility

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Soft Mattress?

Some people love being enveloped in plushness, while others don’t enjoy the feeling of sinking into their bed. Like firm mattresses, soft mattresses also have both pros and cons. Let’s take a look.


Soft mattresses come with several noteworthy benefits, including:

  • Provides maximum pressure relief for chronic pain sufferers
  • Supports light-weight sleepers
  • Contours more to the body’s curves due to plushness


Though soft mattresses can feel plush and cozy, there are also some disadvantages worth being mindful of. These include:

  • Sinks in deeply
  • Lacks support, making the spine overextend itself
  • Retains heat
  • May require a box spring

What Else Should I Consider When Buying a Mattress?

The firmness of your mattress isn’t the only important factor you should consider, so allow us to explain a few other variables.

Each person has different preferences, but here are five things you should consider when searching for your new bed.

Mattress Material

Mattresses come in all sorts of materials today, making it a bit difficult to decide exactly which type of foam or other material will make for the most comfortable and supportive bed. The most notable types of mattresses are innerspring, hybrid, memory foam, and latex.

Innerspring mattresses consist of coil systems that make up their support cores. Sometimes these coils are individually wrapped, and sometimes they are linked to one another to form circles or loops. These coils are surrounded by an encasing of another material like cotton, and they usually have a pillow top. The more coils in your mattress, the firmer it will be.

Hybrid mattresses combine two types of mattresses in one. The support core of the mattress will be made of one material, like latex, and the top of the mattress will be layered with a few inches of another material, like memory foam. Many people opt for hybrid mattresses when they can’t decide between two materials.

Memory foam mattresses are made from viscoelastic foam. The foam is famous for its body contouring and ability to snap back into its original shape. The cradling of the memory foam is excellent for spine alignment and hip support. If frequent movement is a concern for you, memory foam can actually help you stay in your sleep position for most of the night.

The SONU Sleep System features a combination of top quality memory foams, including cooling serenes and high resilience foams for the ultimate sleeping experience. If you’re looking for unparalleled pressure relief for your arms and shoulders, better breathing, cooling properties, and optimal head, neck and spine alignment, the SONU Sleep System has just what you need.

Finally, we have latex, which is made from the sap of rubber trees. Like memory foam, latex cradles the body and provides excellent support. It returns to its original shape quicker than other materials. Latex is also cooler than some other mattress materials.

Sleep Position

The most popular sleep positions are on the side, back, and stomach — but more people sleep on their side than in any other position. Today, mattresses are often made with specific sleep positions in mind.

Some beds work better for side sleepers than they would for back or stomach sleepers.

SONU’s mattresses are made with side sleepers in mind, but can benefit sleepers of all positions. The unique, patented Comfort Channel gives sleeper’s arms and shoulders the space to be able to rest where they’re meant to, within the mattress and between the adjustable Support Pillows. The result is truly comfortable sleep, free from the constraints of typical mattresses.

Weight Limit

A bed that is comfortable for a light or average-weight individual may not be as comfortable for someone heavier. Most mattress manufacturers include weight limits with their products.

Someone larger may prefer a firmer mattress as opposed to a smaller person, who could get adequate support from a softer bed. The SONU Sleep System can support 700 pounds total, or 350 pounds per person, per side, making it one of the best and most durable beds available.

Motion Isolation

Are you someone who wakes up when your sleep partner makes the slightest movement? You’re probably sleeping on a mattress with poor motion isolation. To avoid this issue, look for mattress materials known to help reduce motion disturbances. For example, foam is known for its motion resistance.


How do you buy a good mattress that doesn’t break the bank?

Come up with a budget for how much you are willing to spend on a new mattress. Take into account all the features you want your ideal mattress to have, including its size, and research the average prices for those types of mattresses.

You can purchase the SONU Sleep System for $2,000 total, and have the option of paying with Affirm if you would rather pay monthly installments. You can also choose to opt out of the 100 Night Trial period to save $100.


After learning the pros and cons of firm vs soft mattresses, which one will you choose?

Firm and soft mattresses are not your only options. If you need something softer, go for extra soft. If you need the firmest bed available, choose an extra firm. You can also choose a firmness level that meets the requirements of the average sleeper, like medium or medium-firm mattresses do.

It all comes down to how you like to sleep. There's a bed for you, whether you’re a back sleeper, lightweight, or sensitive to movement.

Hopefully, this article laid out all of the information you need to decide between a firm and soft mattress. If you ended this article realizing that you’re someone that needs something in the middle, SONU can help.

SONU’s medium-firm mattresses rate at 6.5 on the mattress firmness scale, meaning they meet the “Goldilocks” standard for firmness - just right.

Every SONU mattress comes with the adjustable Support Pillows, which fit into the patented Comfort Channel. If you want a sleep experience that finally provides room for your arms and shoulders and truly elevates your level of comfort, SONU Sleep is just what you need.

Check out SONU’s innovative negative space mattress and experience sleep that you’ll brag about to all your friends.


Can a mattress be too soft or too firm?

Yes, but this depends on you. If you don’t like feeling like you’re being sucked into your mattress, then a soft or extra soft mattress may not be for you. If you don’t enjoy sleeping on rigid surfaces, then a firm or extra firm bed probably won’t be to your liking.

How much weight can a firm mattress support?

This depends on the manufacturer. However, on average, someone 200 pounds or more may get enough support from a firm or extra firm mattress. The firmer the mattress, the more it can hold.

I think I need a medium-firm mattress, but how can I be sure?

If there is a mattress retailer near you, go into the store and ask to try out a medium-firm bed. However, if you’re shopping online, find out if there’s a return policy for the mattress you want. For example, SONU offers customers a 100 Night Trial with all new mattress purchases. If they aren’t satisfied after 100 nights, they can return the mattress for a refund.


Firm vs. Soft Mattresses: All the Pros and Cons | Savvy Sleeper

Firm vs. Soft Mattress – How to Choose the Right One for You? | Sleep Advisor

Do I Need a Firm or Soft Mattress? | Sleep Foundation.

How To Choose A Mattress in 5 Easy Steps | Sleep Advisor

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Trusted Reviews From Side Sleepers Nationwide
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Thank YOU! Best mattress out there.
After being a gymnast for 15 years, I haven't felt this much relief from the pain in my shoulders and my hips while sleeping!! Thank you!
Steph C.
Highly recommended!
Creates the perfect space for your arm if you're a side sleeper. Changed the way I sleep forever.
Justin S.
So I actually own one of these. It's AMAZING. Yes it will take you a few weeks to get "used" to it... But that said, you will be AMAZED at how great your shoulders feel in the morning. Just unreal. Like sleep a full 8 hours without waking up type of sleep.
Jason R.
Buffalo, NY
I have very bad neck and back issues and this mattress is a dream! If you are a side sleeper you will love it and even if you like to sleep on you back you will love it! Very comfortable and totally worth the money!
Grace L.
i have suffered from shoulder pain while sleeping for several years, i had just about given up... then i saw this bed and decided one last try. i can't begin to explain what it feels like to sleep through an entire night... for the first time in 20 years the first weekend i had it. I'm so impressed with this bed... because what they are making is making a difference in people's lives.
Crystal G.
Lives up to the hype
This comfort channel they made is next level. I never imagined that I would be able to put my arm in the mattress. Takes all the pressure off my shoulder, which I so so need. YES
Kim J.
Highly recommended!
I’m a side sleeper and I used to wake up with a dead feeling arm from lying on it all night. Finally a mattress with a pocket for my arm. I tried all the pillows and even very expensive mattresses in the past, but nothing cured my circulation problems until I got the sonu sleep mattress. I love it!
Nic D.
Chicago, IL
...Sonu mattresses are in a league all by themselves. This is the most comfortable bed I have ever slept on. I have no more shoulder pain and numbness. I can now sleep through the night and not wake up in pain. If anyone is even thinking about getting a Sonu sleep system don’t think anymore. Pull that trigger. I 100% gaurentee you will not be disappointed.
Christopher B.
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The SONU Sleep System was designed and developed in California, and is manufactured only in the United States - made with the highest quality materials and attention to detail for side sleepers everywhere.
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Finally let your arms rest where they're meant to...