5 signs you should be sleeping on a soft mattress, not a medium-firm bed

A man with dark hair sleeps on his side on a soft mattress covered by a white comforter
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A mattress that's too firm for your body type and the position you sleep in can lead to restless nights and longterm aches and pains. It can be difficult to decipher what mattress firmness is for you, but if you currently own a medium-firm mattress and identify with any of the signs in this article, it could be time to switch to a soft mattress.

Soft mattresses can be a good match for sleepers who suffer from joint or hip pain. Our guide to this year's best mattresses for all sleepers features a number of soft mattresses that deliver a plush, sink-in feel. Soft mostly mattresses tend to suit people with a lightweight body, plus side sleepers needing the right balance of pressure relief and comfort. 

Here we run through five signs that you should be sleeping on a soft mattress, not a medium-firm. And if decide that you need to buy a mattress after all, there are plenty of good mattress sales around right now with up to 55% off. 

What is a soft mattress?

A soft mattress is a bed with a firmness rating of between 3 to 6 (out of 10) on the firmness scale. Sometimes they can be branded as Plush or Luxury Plush but soft mattresses are a popular choice for lightweight sleepers or those who prefer to sleep on their side.

Don’t think because a mattress is soft that it won’t offer enough support. Some of the best memory foam mattresses have a soft rating and are designed with advanced foams that contour your body shape to ensure proper spinal alignment. 

This tailored support also makes soft mattresses suitable for anyone suffering from hip and joint pain because the soft cushioning combined with the pressure-relieving properties of a soft surface can alleviate pain and lead to a better sleep experience. 

5 signs you should be sleeping on a soft mattress, not a medium-firm

1. You experience joint pain

A woman in a brown t-shirt massages her painful lower back in bed

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If you frequently wake up with pain in your hips, shoulders or knees then you may find that a soft mattress is a better choice for you. Soft mattresses can offer more contouring and cushioning than medium-firm mattresses, which can reduce pressure points in these three key areas. 

You may find that some of the best hybrid mattresses are a good fit as these often offer a soft, plush comfort layer with the responsiveness of springs which bring together that perfect balance of comfort and support. 

2. You have a lighter body weight

If you have a lower body weight then you may find that a medium-firm mattress doesn’t give you the right amount of pressure relief. Lighter individuals don’t put as much pressure on their mattress surface as those with a heavier weight body.

This means that a medium-firm or firm mattress may not conform to their body shape in the same way. Additional pressure is then put on areas like the shoulders, knees and hips causing pain and discomfort. 

A softer mattress will cradle these pressure points by distributing your body weight more evenly. So if you weigh less than 130lbs, it’s worth looking at a soft mattress to achieve optimum comfort. 

3. You sleep on your side

Soft mattresses can cradle curves and leave shoulders and hips feeling supported which makes them a great choice for side sleepers. One of the main problems side sleepers face is putting pressure on their joints as their weight pushes down on these areas when lying on your side. 

A woman with dark curly hair sleeps on her side in a pink nightdress

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A softer mattress will allow these points to sink in to the mattress all whilst keeping the spine perfectly aligned and leaving you waking up in the morning ache-free. Side sleepers may also find that the squishy, plush comfort of a soft mattress will lead them falling to sleep faster as they are instantly able to achieve the perfect level of comfort. 

4. You love a plush feel

Let’s face it, when we think about our ideal bed not many of us think about flopping down on a medium-firm or firm mattress with no sink-in softness. Instead we conjure up the image of peeling back the sheets and crawling in to a soft, cozy mattress that contours our body to perfection. 

Personal preference has a huge part of play when it comes to choosing your mattress. What you may find too soft or too firm will be absolutely perfect for someone else. If you currently have a medium-firm mattress and you’re finding it a little too firm then why not make a change and invest in a new soft mattress? 

If you’re unsure whether a soft mattress really will work for you, you could experiment with one of the best mattress toppers first to suss out whether you actually like the soft feel and whether it suits your sleeping style.  

5. You wake up with numbness or tingling

If your mattress is too firm for you then one of the major signs you’ll notice along with any joint pain is numbness or tingling when you wake. This is because your mattress and the way you’re lying on it could be restricting blood flow to certain parts of the body such as your arms, hands or feet. 

A softer mattress will reduce that pressure and allow for better circulation. If you’re waking with numbness or tingling then it’s best to address the issue sooner or later, not only is it uncomfortable but it can be bad for your overall circulation and is a sign that you definitely shouldn’t ignore. 

The top three soft mattress on sale today

1.Saatva Classic:Was from $1,395$1,195 at Saatva

1.Saatva Classic: Was from $1,395 $1,195 at Saatva
The Saatva Classic comes in two heights and three firmness options, including Plush Soft. Our Saatva Classic mattress review says that the pressure relief on this mattress is great and it’s the ideal choice for any sleeper with joint pain. Saatva currently have savings of up to $300 on this mattress bringing the price of a queen Saatva Classic down to just $1,795 (was $2,095). You also benefit from a 365-night home trial, a lifetime warranty and free white glove delivery.

2. Brooklyn Bedding Signature Hybrid:Was from $665 $498.80 at Brooklyn Bedding

2. Brooklyn Bedding Signature Hybrid: Was from $665 $498.80 at Brooklyn Bedding 
Brooklyn Bedding's Signature Hybrid mattress comes in soft, medium or firm tension and is constructed using a combination of Supreme Response Comfort Foam, Variflex Transition Foam and 8” Individually Encased Coils. You can buy it in wide range of sizes, including RV mattress sizes. Brooklyn Bedding often run sales so you’ll never pay full MSRP for one of their beds. Right now you can save 25% on a queen Signature Hybrid, down to $999. The mattress also comes with a 120-night trial and a 10-year warranty. 

3. The Winkbed:Was from $1,149$849 at WinkBeds

3. The Winkbed: Was from $1,149 $849 at WinkBeds
Like the Saatva Classic, The Winkbed mattress offers range of firmness options including a softer tension which sits at around 4.5 out of 10 for firmness. This mattress offers exceptional support for side sleepers who are seeking some cushioning comfort. Our review of The WinkBed says that offers sturdy zoned support for the spine. There are some great deals available at the moment with a queen Winkbed coming in at $1,499 (was $1,799). There is also a 120-night sleep trial, lifetime warranty and free shipping and returns. 

Rachael Penn

Rachael is a freelance journalist based in South Wales who writes about lifestyle, travel, home and technology. She also reviews a variety of products for various publications including Tom’s Guide, CreativeBloq, IdealHome and Woman&Home. When she’s not writing and reviewing products she can be found walking her Sealyham and West Highland terrier dogs or catching up on some cringe-worthy reality tv.