A mattress that is too firm can cause discomfort where your body presses into it and give you persistent backaches and soreness.
If you have a new mattress, it’s important to note that all mattresses have a break-in period where they soften – which can take up to sixty days. But if your mattress is more than a few months old, this is unlikely to be your problem.
It’s important to have a comfortable mattress because your mattress plays a critical role in sleep quality, and sleep is crucial to your health. Adults need between seven and 9 hours of sleep per night, and children need even more.
This article explores the main signs your mattress is too firm to help you figure out whether to stick or twist.
Let’s jump in!
You get discomfort where your body presses into the mattress
The most common symptom of a mattress that’s too firm is discomfort where your body presses into the mattress. If you sleep on your side, this will usually be on your hip, while back sleepers usually feel it on their upper back.
You might find the discomfort more pronounced the following night when laying in the same position causes pain/discomfort. If so, your mattress is probably too firm and causing inflammation in your muscles and joints.
You wake up with a backache or aching muscles and joints
Suppose you wake up with a backache or aching muscles that can’t be linked to injury or strenuous activity the previous day. In that case, these are good signs that your mattress is too firm, especially if it happens more than twice weekly.
Because aches and pains are often caused by strenuous activity – such as bending down to pick up something heavy – you need to link your pain to your mattress. The best way to do this is to try a softer mattress and see if it solves your problem.
You toss and turn
Tossing and turning is perfectly normal to get comfortable, but it’s crucial to recognise when it becomes patterned behaviour in response to discomfort.
Most people should only toss and turn two to three times before falling asleep or up to five times on a terrible night. If you toss and turn more than five times every night and it stops you from sleeping, this is a problem.
Either your mattress is too firm or soft – if you have a firm or medium-firm mattress, it is probably the former and vice versa.
Your mattress firmness and body weight don’t match up
We always recommend buying a mattress based on your body weight because it helps ensure comfort across all sleeping positions. The rule is simple – the heavier you are, the firmer the mattress should be so you don’t sink into the bed.
Here’s what we recommend:
- Medium soft: Side sleepers under 130lbs
- Medium: Back and side sleepers between 130lbs and 180lbs
- Medium-firm: Back and side sleepers from 160-230lbs, front sleepers up to 200lbs
- Firm: Back and side sleepers over 230lbs
For example, if you are under 160lbs (11.4 stone) and have a firm mattress, it is too firm. You should go for a medium mattress if you are a side sleeper or a medium-firm mattress if you are a back sleeper.
You get a better night’s sleep on softer mattresses
This is a BIG ONE – if you sleep better on softer mattresses, there’s no better sign to banish your firm mattress and get a softer mattress.
Perhaps you stayed at a hotel or a friend’s house, and the mattress felt significantly nicer than yours because it was soft and squishy. In that case, upgrading to a softer mattress will transform your sleep for the better.