Soft mattresses are an excellent choice for sleepers who need more pressure relief, such as side sleepers and lightweight people. Some people might shy away from soft mattresses out of fear that their softness compromises their support. However, plush and supportive materials can work in tandem to create a mattress that feels soft and maintains neutral spinal alignment.
It’s common to think about curling up on a mattress that’s as soft as a cloud and letting yourself feel carried off as you fall asleep. So why not take steps to make that dream come true? Despite the traditional association of softness with luxury, many of the best soft mattresses are quite affordable.
Our First Recommendation: Zoma Mattress
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and paid for it the next morning, feeling less than your best? These disruptions can prevent you from spending enough time in the healing processes of deeper sleep.
We designed the Zoma Mattress to prevent sleep disturbances and enable better recovery. Three foam layers make up the 11-inch mattress. A soft, breathable cover woven with elastic polyester encases the bed.
The 2-inch top layer is soft and cool gel memory foam that keeps you from overheating, which is a common reason people wake up in the night. Triangular cutouts in the foam make up the bed’s unique Triangulex™ technology. The cutouts provide extra cushion for your shoulders and legs and allow more air to flow through the mattress and wick away heat.
The second layer of foam is Reactiv™, a latex-like material that helps the mattress respond to your movements. The risk of choosing a soft mattress is that many are so soft that you may feel stuck when you try to move. The bouncy nature of Reactiv™ keeps that from becoming a problem.
The base layer is 7 inches of Support+ foam, a durable material that resists sagging. Support+ is the reason you should be able to enjoy your Zoma Mattress for many years to come.
A queen size Zoma Mattress is $699, with free shipping within the contiguous U.S. Every Zoma Mattress includes a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty. The warranty covers sagging that exceeds 0.75 inches.
Our Second Recommendation: Zoma Hybrid
We designed the Zoma Hybrid to have a soft and supportive feel. You can sink into the bed’s plush foam while your body remains lifted by the coil layer. The hybrid’s mix of comfort and support promotes an uninterrupted night of sleep.
There are four layers inside the Zoma Hybrid. Two top foam layers, followed by the coil support and a thin foam base.
The first foam layer is 2 inches of gel memory foam, which disperses heat better than traditional memory foam.
We further boost the bed’s natural cooling abilities with the triangular cutouts of our Triangulex™ technology. The cutouts allow more air to circulate through the mattress. Triangulex™ also creates more cushion in the head and foot of the mattress.
The second foam layer is 2 inches of our highly responsive Reactiv™ foam. Reactiv™ is a bouncy poly-foam that enables the mattress to snap back into its original shape quicker.
Six inches of pocketed coils support the Zoma Hybrid. We wrap the coils in packets to reduce noise and limit motion transfer.
Do you toss and turn in the night? The bed should remain whisper-quiet and absorb your movements at the point of impact, preventing sleep disturbances.
The inch of supportive foam at the base of the mattress helps the bed maintain its structure. The base foam gives the coils a firm surface to push off from, promoting stability and limiting sagging.
Our Zoma Hybrid is $999 for a queen size mattress. All Zoma Hybrid mattresses come with free shipping, a 100-night sleep trial with free returns, and a 10-year warranty. If you choose to return you hybrid mattress, we will arrange a time to pick it up at your home.
Who Should Sleep on a Soft Mattress?
A soft mattress is an excellent choice if you’re a side sleeper or a lightweight person (under 130 pounds). Softer mattresses often provide more pressure relief than a firmer bed does, which both groups need for a good night’s rest. And if you’re the type of person who likes to sink into your mattress, a soft bed might be the perfect match.
Of course, just as there are people that can benefit from sleeping on a soft mattress, there are also people who may want to avoid sleeping on a soft mattress. Stomach sleepers, certain back sleepers, overweight people, and chronic pain sufferers may wish to shop for a firmer mattress. If these sleepers sink in too deeply on a softer mattress, it can leave them waking up in pain.
Soft and supportive are not contradictory terms. You can find soft mattresses with transition layers that adapt to movements, preventing unwanted sinkage into the bed. However, these supportive soft mattresses can be hard to find.
Is It Better to Sleep on a Soft or Hard Bed?
Whether a soft or firm mattress is the best mattress for you depends on your sleeping position and body weight.
Side sleepers often rest best on a softer mattress. Usually, the firmest bed they should go for is a medium feel mattress. Combination sleepers may also want to consider a medium mattress to feel adequately supported no matter their position.
Back and stomach sleepers should be cautious when it comes to softer mattresses, however. Most of the time, they sleep best on a bed in the medium-firm to firm range. While back sleepers who want a soft mattress may be able to sleep on a medium mattress with targeted back support, stomach sleepers should opt for a firmer mattress. Otherwise, they risk misaligning their spine.
The more a person weighs, the more their body can push down on a mattress. Pushing down too much can cause the person to sink into the mattress, while not pushing down enough can prevent the mattress from molding to the body and relieving pressure.
Firmer beds are excellent for heavy people over 230 pounds because their body weight can cause the material to conform to their bodies for pressure relief. Softer mattresses are great for sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds because the mattress can mold to their bodies and provide pressure relief.
If you’re a heavier person who wants to sleep on a softer bed, you can try looking for a plush firm mattress. As the name suggests, a plush firm mattress is a bed with a firm and supportive feel with plush materials. Some manufacturers may also call it “luxury firm” or “cushion firm” instead of “plush firm.”
Understanding Firmness Levels
When it comes to mattresses, soft isn’t your only firmness option. Mattress companies rely on a 1-10 scale to sort out mattresses into soft, medium, and firm feels. Many brands use 1 for the softest and 10 for the firmest, but some use the reverse.
|Firmness Description||Firmness Scale Score|
|Soft||2 and 3|
|Firm||7 and 8|
|Extra-firm||9 and 10|
To find the firmness best for you, you’ll need to consider your sleeping position and body weight.
There are four types of mattresses you’re likely to consider as you shop—memory foam, latex, innerspring, and hybrid mattresses. While all of them come in a variety of firmnesses, each has a unique feel that sets it apart from the others.
While memory foam is a conforming material that molds itself to your body, don’t let that fact mislead you into thinking that there are only soft memory foam mattresses. Memory foam can have a soft feel, a firm feel, or variations of firm and soft.
Many customers love the pressure relief a memory foam bed offers. If you’re a chronic pain sufferer, a memory foam mattress might be your ticket to pain-free night’s rest. Those who share a bed can also enjoy how the material limits motion transfer. Your partner tossing and turning in the night won’t cause your side of the bed to bounce.
When choosing a memory foam mattress, look for one that has cooling features. Traditional memory foam can retain body heat, which can cause sleep disturbances if the mattress overheats. Soft mattresses often press against more of your body than a firmer bed, so you must find one with cooling features.
The best soft memory foam mattresses have cooling materials that prevent heat build-up for a much cooler sleep experience. Many manufacturers add in conductive materials such as gel, copper, graphite, and charcoal to wick away and disperse heat. Other companies may substitute petrochemicals with plant-based alternatives during production, creating a more breathable memory foam.
Latex is often compared to memory foam, since the two materials contour to a person’s body. However, latex mattresses tend to have a slightly firmer feel with a bit more bounce. While memory foam often lets you sink in, latex can keep you feeling lifted. Hot sleepers may also want to consider a latex bed for its inherent coolness.
When looking for a latex mattress, you will find some made with natural and synthetic latex. Natural latex is made from rubber tree sap that’s whipped into a foam. Synthetic latex is the combination of several chemical compounds, so it’s a less eco-friendly material than natural latex is.
There are two types of natural latex, Dunlop and Talalay. Talalay is usually considered the softer option, but it’s not 100 percent eco-friendly since manufacturers add in polyurethane fillers to soften the material.
A natural latex mattress is a good choice if you want an eco-friendly and durable mattress since some latex beds last for 15 or more years. However, it might not be the best option if you’re looking for a moderately priced mattress. Since latex is expensive to produce, mattresses that contain latex can cost more than $2,000.
An innerspring mattress has a simple design, containing steel coils sandwiched between thin layers of foam and fabric. It was once the most popular type of mattress, but it’s started to fall out of favor because other types have become more widely available. Still, it remains a common choice, and you’re likely to find at least one at your local mattress store.
Because of their thin comfort layers, many innerspring models feel on the firmer side. Thinner coils can offer a softer feel, but they are more prone to sagging than thicker coils.
A pillow top mattress has a softer feel than a traditional innerspring mattress. A pillow top can be sewn on top of the mattress or underneath its fabric covering. You can also consider a hybrid mattress if you want a soft and springy bed.
If you’re looking for a soft mattress with some bounce, a hybrid mattress might be the perfect choice. Hybrids combine an innerspring mattress’s support with the soft pressure relief of a foam bed. The comfort layer may be 2 to 3 inches of memory foam, latex foam, or poly-foam.
While the innerspring coils can create a mattress that feels more supportive than a traditional foam bed, hybrid models come in a wide variety of feels. Some feel firm, while others have plush comfort layers. It all depends on the hybrid’s materials, with thicker foam layers and thinner coils creating a softer mattress.
A soft hybrid mattress can provide the support you need for a good night’s sleep. However, if you’re shopping for a budget mattress, a hybrid mattress might not be the best choice. Hybrids can be one of the more expensive types of mattresses since they blend high-quality materials.
Whether or not a soft mattress is the right choice for you depends greatly on your preferred sleeping position. After all, every position has a unique firmness range best suited for it.
If you’re a side sleeper, a soft mattress can provide the pressure relief you need for a good night’s sleep. However, a soft mattress can leave a stomach sleeper waking up in pain because it lacks the firm support the person needs.
The majority of us tend to sleep on our sides. Those who qualify as side sleepers may be pleased to hear that the position is one of the best when it comes to staying healthy. Lying on your side helps to maintain a clear airway, limiting snoring and sleep apnea symptoms. It can also reduce pressure on your heart.
Soft beds are some of the best mattresses for side sleepers. A side sleeper’s bed must mold to their shoulders and hips for pressure relief. Waking up with sore hips and shoulders can affect how a side sleeper feels throughout the day, which is why sleeping on a soft to medium feel mattress can help a side sleeper start their day off right.
Of the four main mattress types, we recommend memory foam mattresses for side sleepers. It’s one of the best materials for pressure relief, so it’s a good match for the sleep style that’s most in need of a pressure-relieving bed.
Sleeping on your back is one of the best ways to prevent lower back pain. Your weight is evenly distributed when you lie down, limiting strain and keeping your spine from shifting out of its neutral position.
However, sleeping on your back can aggravate sleep apnea and acid reflux, and it’s also the position in which you’re most likely to experience sleep paralysis. You may want to avoid sleeping on your back if you share the bed because the position can increase your chances of snoring.
Pairing your mattress with an adjustable bed can lift your upper body and ease symptoms, allowing you to comfortably sleep on your back. The best mattresses for a back sleeper have a medium-firm to firm feel. If you want a bed with a softer touch, look for a medium feel mattress with targeted back support.
We cannot recommend soft mattresses to anyone who sleeps on their stomach. Stomach sleepers often misalign their spines because of their position. When gravity pushes down on their bodies, their bellies tend to sink into the mattress, overstretching their spines.
A soft mattress is more likely to promote this stomach sinkage, increasing the chance that a stomach sleeper will develop chronic back pain. Instead, we suggest choosing a firm mattress or switching to another sleep position.
Those who find themselves falling asleep and waking up in various positions are known as combination sleepers.
A mattress for a combination sleeper should have a medium feel, allowing you to feel supported no matter your position. The comfort layer should also keep you lifted and allow for smooth movement. And if you share a bed, you’ll want materials that absorb motion, so your tossing and turning doesn’t disturb your partner’s sleep.
Sleep Trials, Warranties, Return Policies
When you’re comparing the materials and firmnesses of mattresses, don’t forget to check out their attached policies. Sleep trials and return policies give you a chance to try out a mattress at home, which is particularly helpful if you’re buying a bed in a box mattress without seeing it in person. Warranties can be a clue if a mattress is well-constructed or not—a company confident in its mattress may offer a longer warranty or more in-depth coverage.
Do you see a mattress you think you might like but aren’t 100 percent sure it’s for you? That’s when a sleep trial comes in handy. A sleep trial gives you a few months to try out a mattress at home. Normally, you have 90 to 120 days from the day your mattress was delivered.
Online retailers popularized the idea of the sleep trial, but it’s common for store-only mattresses to include one as well. If you’re not satisfied with your new mattress, the company will usually arrange a pickup and either issue you a full refund or exchange it for another mattress. Some companies restart your sleep trial if you exchange it, while others only offer you the remainder of your first mattress’s trial.
Many companies will ask that you give yourself 30 days before you decide that the mattress isn’t right for you. Some sleepers need a full month to train themselves out of poor sleeping postures and ultimately adjust to a new mattress.
A mattress warranty can give you an idea of the bed’s craftsmanship. The industry standard for a mattress warranty is 10 years, so if a warranty covers less than a decade, it may mean the bed contains low-quality materials. And if the warranty extends past 10 years, it can signify that the mattress is made with high-quality parts.
Warranties usually cover excessive sagging, burst coils, torn seams, holes in the cover, and cracks in the foam. However, a warranty is valid only so long as you take steps to care for your mattress. To keep your mattress in good condition, you will want to ensure that it’s resting on a supportive foundation and encase it in a mattress protector.
If you have to file a warranty claim with customer service, you’ll usually need proof of purchase for your request to be accepted. So make sure to file your receipt away in a safe place.
With many mattresses, the return policy is bundled in with the sleep trial. But if you choose a mattress without a sleep trial, a return policy can still give you a chance to try out a mattress for a shorter period. A good return policy should cover your first 30 days of ownership.
Just make sure you read all of the fine print before taking advantage of the return policy. Some companies will only let you return a mattress if it’s still inside its box or if it arrived damaged.
Frequently Asked Questions
Waking up with a sore back is one sign that your mattress is too soft. Back and stomach sleepers who rest on a too-soft bed may sink into the mattress, forcing their spines into an unnatural curve.
Your mattress may also be too soft if it’s slow to snap back into shape or find yourself struggling to get comfortable night after night. Too-soft materials can leave you feeling stuck in your mattress, so if you find you have difficulties moving or getting out of bed, you may need a new mattress.
You can firm up an overly soft mattress by adding a supportive mattress topper. You can also change your mattress’s foundation to something firmer, such as a moisture-resistant plywood piece. If you don’t have a more supportive foundation at hand, see if placing your mattress on the floor gives it a firmer feel.
A soft bed is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a mattress for a side sleeper. Of the three sleep styles, side sleepers are the ones most in need of a bed that can ease pressure points. Otherwise, the pressure on their hips and shoulders can leave them facing a painful morning.
A side sleeper’s mattress should have a soft to medium feel. If you’re debating between soft, medium-soft, and medium, try considering your weight and how much time you may spend in other positions. For example, if you’re a heavier sleeper or someone who likes to lie on their back as well, a medium mattress is probably the best option for you.
When you wake up with lower back pain, the culprit can be your mattress. If your mattress is old, waking up with a sore back can be a sign that your mattress has grown unsupportive. Other signs that your mattress is ready to be replaced include waking up tired after a full night’s rest and seeing an increase in allergy symptoms in the morning.
If your mattress isn’t the right firmness, your spine may not receive the support it needs. Back pain often results from a spine that’s been thrown out of alignment. Stomach sleepers are especially likely to wake up with a bad back unless they sleep on a firm mattress. They can also benefit from sleeping with a pillow under their belly to prevent sinkage.
However, sleeping on the wrong mattress isn’t the only explanation for morning back pain. Medical conditions such as fibromyalgia or degenerative disease may cause you to wake up with a sore back.
If you want to turn your current mattress into a luxury sleep experience, try adding on a soft foam topper. You can also upgrade your bed with a beautiful set of sheets and choose the best pillows for comfort and decoration. As a final touch, you might want to consider a bed skirt; it may not help you sleep better, but it can make your bed look more refined.
Has your mattress seen better days, but you’re not able to replace it right now? You can fix a sagging mattress by using a topper or a set of pillows. Placing a topper over your mattress can smooth out its feel.
Small, firm pillows can fill in the indentations your mattress has developed. Pull a fitted sheet or mattress pad fitted over the pillows to keep them in place.
The first step is to figure out how much you want to spend on a new mattress. You don’t have to pay an excessive amount, as there are plenty of quality mattresses for under $1000. Once you’ve determined your budget, consider your ideal mattress type and what firmness will work best with your sleeping position and weight.
Did We Help?
Softness can be subjective, so when you’re buying your next mattress, you should look for one with a good sleep trial. Even if you have a chance to lie down on a showroom model, it won’t be the same as lying on a new mattress every night. If it’s not soft enough or too soft, you’ll be thankful you have a way to return it and try another mattress.
This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.