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Are Soft Mattresses Bad for Your Back

When it comes to choosing a mattress, the concern about its impact on back health is paramount. This comprehensive guide explores the relationship between soft mattresses and spinal health, catering to varied preferences and needs.

What is a soft mattress

A soft mattress, often characterised by its plush and cushioning feel, is a popular choice for those seeking a luxurious sleeping experience. Its unique design contours to the body’s shape, ensuring a cosy and comfortable sleep. This type of mattress is especially appealing to side sleepers or those who prefer a more enveloping sleep surface.

The key feature of a soft mattress is its ability to adapt to the shape of the sleeper’s body. This provides a sense of comfort and relaxation, helping to reduce pressure points that can occur with firmer mattresses. The materials used in soft mattresses, such as natural fibres like horsehair fibre, wool, cotton, silk, flax and coir, contribute to their comfort. These materials are known for their breathability and ability to regulate temperature, ensuring a restful night’s sleep without the heat retention issues often associated with foam mattresses.

If you’re looking to enhance your sleep quality with a soft mattress that doesn’t compromise on support, click here to experience the perfect blend of comfort and sustainability for a rejuvenating sleep every night.

Soft mattresses: Beneficial for lightweight sleepers

Soft mattresses offer remarkable comfort and support, especially for lighter sleepers. These individuals, with their relatively lower body weight, find that a soft mattress does not cause them to sink too deeply. This balance is crucial as it ensures the mattress contours to the body effectively, without disrupting the spine’s natural alignment.

A key factor here is how a soft mattress accommodates the body’s pressure points. For lightweight sleepers, firm mattresses can create unnecessary pressure, particularly on the shoulders and hips. This discomfort is significantly reduced with a soft mattress, which yields more easily under the body’s weight, providing a cushioning effect. This is especially beneficial for side sleepers, who often experience discomfort in these areas on firmer surfaces.

The body’s natural curves are better supported by a soft mattress. When lying down, the spine should maintain its natural ‘S’ shape. A mattress that’s too firm can push against the spine, while one that’s too soft may cause the body to sink in excessively, both leading to misalignment and potential discomfort or pain. However, a soft mattress strikes the perfect balance for lightweight individuals, offering sufficient give to allow the spine to align correctly while sleeping.

Moreover, the choice of natural fibres in our soft mattresses, like horsehair, fleece wool, cotton, silk, flax and coconut coir fibre, plays a significant role. These materials offer a unique combination of support and softness. They are not only comfortable but also breathable, helping to regulate temperature and reduce the likelihood of overheating during sleep.

The challenges of soft mattresses for heavier sleepers

For heavier individuals, the choice of mattress is crucial and soft mattresses might not always be the best fit. When a person with a heavier build sleeps on a soft mattress, the likelihood of excessive sinking increases. This sinking is particularly evident in the hip and shoulder regions, especially for those who prefer sleeping on their sides.

This excessive sinking can lead to spinal misalignment. A properly aligned spine is essential for a restful sleep and overall physical health. In an ideal sleeping position, the spine should maintain a natural, slightly curved line. However, on a soft mattress, a heavier body tends to push down more, causing the spine to bend or arch unnaturally. Over time, this can lead to or worsen back pain.

It’s not just about comfort; it’s about support. A firmer mattress provides the resistance necessary to keep the body adequately supported. This support is essential for maintaining spinal alignment, reducing the stress on pressure points and preventing the lower back from collapsing, which can strain muscles and ligaments.

Soft mattress and back pain: A complex relationship

The relationship between soft mattresses and back pain varies significantly between lighter and heavier individuals, highlighting the need for careful consideration when selecting a mattress.

For lighter sleepers with back pain, a soft mattress can often be a suitable choice. The pressure-relieving properties of a soft mattress are more effective for those with a lighter body weight. Such mattresses gently conform to the body’s shape, cushioning pressure points and offering comfort without excessive sinking. This can help alleviate back pain by providing a supportive yet gentle surface that accommodates the body’s natural curves and aids in maintaining proper spinal alignment.

However, for heavier individuals, the situation differs. A soft mattress might not provide the necessary support for those with a heavier build, particularly if they suffer from back pain. Heavier sleepers are more likely to sink too deeply into a soft mattress, potentially leading to spinal misalignment and exacerbating back discomfort. In these cases, a firmer mattress that offers more substantial support and evenly distributes body weight is often the better option.

Making the right choice: soft mattress for a healthy back

Understanding the Importance of Sleep Position

  • When selecting a mattress, your sleeping style is a crucial factor. For side sleepers, a softer mattress is beneficial as it alleviates pressure points and moulds to the body’s contours. This adaptability helps in reducing stress on the shoulders and hips, common pressure points for side sleepers. Conversely, those who sleep on their back or stomach generally require a firmer mattress. The firmer surface helps maintain spinal alignment, preventing the midsection from sinking too deeply and causing back strain. A balanced mattress choice ensures your spine stays aligned in its natural curve, reducing the risk of morning stiffness or chronic back issues.

Benefits of Natural Fibre Mattresses

  • Our mattress collection, crafted from natural fibres like horsehair fibre, fleece wool, organic cotton, silk, organic flax and supportive coconut coir, provides a unique blend of softness and support. Natural fibres excel in moulding to the body, offering tailored comfort that contours to individual shapes and sizes. This ability enhances sleep quality by reducing pressure on the body and supporting a neutral spinal position. Moreover, these materials are known for their durability, ensuring the mattress retains its shape and support over time. They also offer excellent breathability, a key factor in temperature regulation during sleep. Their hypoallergenic properties make them ideal for individuals with allergies, reducing the risk of irritation and enhancing sleep hygiene.

Choosing the Ideal Soft Mattress for Different Back Conditions

  • Selecting the perfect soft mattress, especially for those with back issues, involves a multi-faceted approach. Body weight plays a significant role in this decision. Heavier individuals may require a mattress with more support to prevent excessive sinking, which could misalign the spine. Conversely, lighter individuals might find greater comfort in a plusher mattress. The nature of your back pain is also a pivotal consideration. For instance, those with lower back pain might benefit from a mattress that offers a blend of softness and firmness, providing both comfort and support to the lumbar region.

In-depth data supports the need for a balance between softness and support in mattresses for back health. Research indicates that a medium-soft feel mattress often provides the best support for the majority of back conditions. These mattresses blend the comfort and cushioning required for a restful sleep with the necessary support to keep the spine aligned.

It’s also important to consider the impact of sleep posture on spinal health. A mattress that is too soft may not offer sufficient support for the spine, leading to an unnatural curvature and increased stress on the vertebral discs. On the other hand, a mattress that is too firm can create pressure points and hinder proper spinal alignment. The key is to find a mattress that conforms to the body’s natural curves while providing enough support to keep the spine in alignment.


Soft mattresses are not universally good or bad for your back. Their suitability depends on individual factors like body weight, sleeping position and existing back conditions. It’s essential to choose a mattress that provides comfort without compromising spinal health.

If you’re in search of a soft mattress that aligns with your unique needs and promotes a healthy spine, browse our online collection. Our experts are dedicated to helping you find a mattress that ensures a restful night’s sleep and optimal back health.

Published: 20th November 2023 (Updated: 20th November 2023) | Isaah

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