Benefits of sleeping on a firm mattress

Waking up with back pain is an uncomfortable feeling. If you’ve experienced it then someone probably told you that firm mattresses are good for spine alignment which prevents back pain. That’s absolutely true! 

The real question is, what other benefits can you hope to get from such beds?

Sleeping on a firm mattress: an overview

Firm mattresses improve muscle health by alleviating pressure from them, prevent overheating by facilitating good air flow, and help heavy people sleep well at night. However, these mattresses can be difficult to adjust to. Also, they can exacerbate pain for people with joint or back problems.  

benefits of sleeping on a firm mattress
benefits of sleeping on a firm mattress

3 Benefits of a firm mattress

Here are 3 reasons why you should consider sleeping on a firm mattress:

  1. Improves muscle health 
  2. Prevents overheating 
  3. Suitable for heavy people

Let’s explore these points in detail. 

  1. Improves muscle health 

Once you start sleeping on a firm surface, your bedding will absorb very few shocks and pressure. Instead, your bones will absorb most of the pressure which means there is less strain on your arteries, veins, and muscles. This leads to two benefits. 

First, your muscles are less strained. As long as you don’t have issues with your bones, your body will be indifferent towards you putting pressure on them. Instead, it will be grateful that you’re alleviating pressure from your muscles. 

Second, you have better circulation since your blood vessels can pump in peace. 

  1. Prevents overheating 

Firm beds allow air to flow across the surface of your bed. It keeps you cool and ensures that you don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night due to night sweats. 

In summer months, sleeping on a soft mattress can feel like you’re being engulfed by an overwhelming presence. It’s because this kind of bed molds according to the body. 

Some people may prefer this. However, if you are a hot sleeper and live in a hot state, it won’t be very comfortable for you. 

  1. Suitable for heavy people

If you weigh more than 230 pounds, a firm mattress will be very comfortable for you. Unlike soft mattresses where you likely sink into your bed, firm mattresses offer you a tonne of support. 

They keep you upright on the bed and ensure that you don’t feel stuck in the bed. 

Is a firm mattress good for everyone?

Despite the very real benefits of sleeping on a firm mattress, there are some drawbacks. The two biggest ones are that it is difficult to adjust to new bedding and that firm mattresses can exacerbate pain for people with back or joining problems. 

  1. Difficult to switch from a soft to a firm mattress

First, if you’re used to sleeping on a soft mattress, it will be quite difficult to switch to a firm mattress. There is a huge difference between both types of bedding.

Once you decide to switch, it will take you several weeks at the very least to adjust to the change. So you won’t see any of the benefits we talked about above for a while. Instead, you will be uncomfortable and may not be able to sleep. 

If you can get through the adjustment period, you will get a lot of great returns. 

  1. Not suited for people with arthritis or scoliosis 

Second, firm mattresses aren’t suited for people who have joint issues or back problems like scoliosis. You need something that will cushion your body, not put pressure on it. 

If you choose to go with a firm mattress, know that it can and most probably will exacerbate your pain. Many firm mattress benefits become null and void if you have serious joint or back issues.

Is it better to sleep on a firm mattress or a soft one?

When choosing a mattress, you should consider three factors: your sleeping position, whether you have back problems, and if you have any long standing personal preferences. 

1. Sleeping Position 

The first factor to consider when deciding what mattress to choose is your sleeping position. You may sleep in different positions but try to figure out which one you sleep in most. Then use that to figure out what kind of bed you should have. 

As a general rule of thumb, back and stomach sleepers should get firm mattresses. Side sleepers should invest in a soft mattress. 

Back sleepers

Firm mattresses are ideal for back sleepers.

When you sleep on your back, your buttocks tend to sink into the mattress. A firm mattress ensures that they don’t sink too deep into your bed which keeps your spine aligned in a neutral position.

You’re bound to have a better night’s rest as long as your spine is neutral. 

Stomach sleepers

Stomach sleepers should also look into a firmer mattress.

Sleeping on your stomach exaggerates the curves in your spine. This is why the position is not recommended for anyone outside of some specific circumstances. In the vast majority of cases, stomach sleepers end up having back and neck pain. 

This is where firm mattresses come in. They keep your hips lifted and reduce the pressure on your spine which can mitigate some of the discomfort associated with sleeping on your stomach. 

Side sleepers

Soft memory foam mattresses are suited for side sleepers. The cushioning hugs the shoulders and hips which makes sleeping quite comfortable. It aligns the spine well. 

Side sleepers shouldn’t look for firm mattresses because they can typically cause stiffness on the side of your body. This is especially true for lightweight sleepers. If your body isn’t able to exert enough pressure for you to sink into the mattress, you will have spinal misalignment and muscle tension. 

You’re bound to wake up with back pain every morning. 

2. Back Problems 

If you don’t have back pain and sleep on your back or stomach, you should look into firm mattresses. 

However, if you’re a side sleeper with back issues, a softer mattress may be better. When a soft mattress isn’t enough, such people should consider getting a mattress topper. 

3. Personal Preference 

Regardless of your sleeping position and the state of your back, if you have a personal preference regarding what kind of mattress you prefer, you should abide by it. At the end of the day, you’re unlikely to get a good night’s sleep on a mattress you don’t like. 

Since the main purpose of a mattress is to make sure you’re comfortable, just go with whatever seems best to you. You should get what you want even if it isn’t the most specialized for your spine’s needs. 

Choosing a new mattress isn’t exactly black and white. We have written a guide to the types of mattress to help you choose. So test out a couple of mattresses and pick whichever feels best to you. 

You may end up with a medium firm mattress even though you’re a side sleeper.

Read also: How long to adjust to a new mattress


A firm mattress is ideal for:

  • Those will muscle pain 
  • Hot sleepers
  • Heavy people 
  • Back sleepers
  • Stomach sleepers

However, softer mattresses are well suited to:

  • Lightweight people
  • Side sleepers 
  • Those with scoliosis or arthritis 

If your personal preferences don’t align with our recommendations, consider prioritizing what you’re comfortable with. While one type of mattress might be better suited to your health, it won’t do you much good if you aren’t used to it or unfamiliar with it. 

Leave a Comment