Firm Vs Plush Mattresses - A Detailed Comparison

Your mattress can dictate the level of your overall sleeping comfort. The feel of the surface that will welcome your body can either immediately comfort you or it can leave you tossing and turning for hours throughout the night. Knowing the differences between a plush and a firm mattress can help you make the right purchase choice so you can fully enjoy the long-term benefits of the mattress in your home.

Firm Vs Plush Mattresses - A Detailed Comparison

One of the first and most important choices that you will be faced with when choosing a mattress is concerning its plushness or firmness level. While it may be natural to think that a plusher mattress automatically equates to a more comfortable bed, a lot of factors should be considered as comfort is relative to the person who will be using the mattress. The weight of the person, as well as preferred sleeping position, are two such factors since the comfort preferences for mattress firmness can vary greatly when they come into play.

Firm Mattress

Firm Vs Plush Mattresses - A Detailed Comparison

A firm mattress does not have a lot of give. When you sleep on a firm mattress, you will feel like you are lying down on top of the mattress instead of sinking into the structure, as is often the case with the plusher mattress types. This type of mattress delivers an exceptional level of support to keep the spine in a neutral condition. This ensures you can enjoy a peaceful slumber without being awakened by an aching body the following morning. The firmness of this type of mattress will prevent your spine from curving unnaturally, which may occur when you use a mattress that is too soft and does not offer adequate support to your body’s core – the heaviest part of the body. If your mattress is too soft, it’ll tend to sink in too deeply into the mattress.

Pros And Cons

Firm Vs Plush Mattresses - A Detailed Comparison


Great for Back and Stomach Sleepers

A firm mattress provides a stable, supportive surface for those who sleep on their back or stomach. . Stomach sleepers will also benefit from the prevention of a suffocating feeling that comes from sinking too deeply into the mattress structure, which may be experienced when a stomach sleeper uses a too-soft mattress.

Provides Excellent Support

Firm mattresses provide fantastic support to protect the lower back from collapsing into the depths of the bed. The excellent support from a firm mattress will greatly benefit those who suffer from back pain, especially if the issue is nerve-related.

Helps Maintain Good Spinal Alignment

When your spine is in a correctly aligned position, it will be easier for you to achieve a restful sleep experience. You won’t need to spend the better part of the night tossing and turning to find a soothing position as your body is allowed to naturally feel comfortable in the position you prefer. Good spinal alignment also encourages your lungs to bring in more oxygen, helping you achieve better blood circulation that will bring you numerous health benefits.

Even Body Weight Distribution

Firm mattresses work to keep your weight distributed equally throughout the sleeping surface. This means that as your spine is maintained with its natural curve in your favored sleeping position, the heavy parts will not be pushed down into the surface of the mattress. The firm mattress will be able to support your body while you sleep and prevent painful pressure spots that can develop when pressure-sensitive body parts – such as the hips and the outside of the ankles – are pressed too firmly into the mattress surface.


Can Be Too Stiff for Some People

A firm mattress may feel too stiff for some people, especially those who are used to sleeping on softer beds. Transitioning from a plush to a firm mattress may be challenging at first but can eventually become more comfortable as time goes by. However, a firm mattress may actually bring more discomfort and pain to some people, such as those who are sensitive to sleeping on rigid surfaces and those who have back problems including scoliosis and arthritis.

May Be Uncomfortable for Side Sleepers

Side sleepers may find it uncomfortable to sleep on a firm mattress. This is because the enhanced firmness of the surface can cause painful friction when pressure spots such as the shoulders and hips are pressed too strongly into a firm mattress.

Plush Mattress

Firm Vs Plush Mattresses - A Detailed Comparison

A plush mattress has a welcoming softness that can bring superb comfort as soon as your body hits this sleeping surface. While the softer surface can be more inviting, this does not mean that a plush mattress will be unable to provide your body with the support it needs. A plush mattress can have support layers (positioned underneath the top comfort layers) that will work just as efficiently to ensure that your body alignment is maintained while you slumber in the position you are most comfortable with.

Pros And Cons

Firm Vs Plush Mattresses - A Detailed Comparison


Offers a Luxurious Cradling Sensation

A plush mattress has an inviting surface that provides a feeling of luxury as soon as you lie down. You will feel like your body is cradled and surrounded with a softness that can work to make you fall asleep more quickly, allowing you to spend more time in a deep and rejuvenating slumber to re-energize your body and mind for the next day’s challenges. People who suffer from certain back problems may find themselves comforted when lying down on a plush mattress instead of enduring the stiffness of a firm mattress.

Superb Pressure Point Relief

A plush mattress has more give compared to a firm mattress. It allows the body to sink more fully into the surface so that pressure-prone body parts will be cradled instead of being forced to rub painfully against the mattress. This helps prevent pressure spots from developing so you can look forward to sleeping for the duration of the night without an unwelcome discomfort in your ankles, shoulders, and hips – especially if you sleep on your side.

Wonderful Comfort for Side Sleepers

Plush mattresses offer enhanced softness that will be welcomed by side sleepers. This type of mattress works to cushion pressure spots such as the hips and shoulders so these body parts will remain pain-free when you sleep on your side. A plush mattress cradles the body’s curves and pressure-prone parts while ensuring that correct spinal alignment is maintained, preventing the back from being bent or curved in an abnormal way.


May Cause Discomfort for Stomach and Back Sleepers

Those who sleep on their back and stomach may find it uncomfortable to sleep on a plush mattress. This is because the softness of the bed may not be able to provide the stability needed for these sleeping positions. Stomach sleepers may even feel suffocated when their faces are buried into the softness of a plush mattress.

Can Feel Unbalanced for Partners Sharing the Bed

Partners sharing a plush mattress may feel unbalanced, especially when one person weighs significantly more than the other. The person with a heavier build can sink in too deeply into the mattress, while the other may involuntarily and uncomfortably roll towards the deeper part of the mattress.

Firm Vs Plush Mattresses - Comparison

Plush Mattress Firm Mattress
Adequate support (through the middle support layers)
Exceptional support
Cushioning and a cradling sensation
Stability and spinal alignment
Pressure relief
Good (through enhanced cushioning)
Good (through even weight distribution)
Sleeping Position Suitability
Side sleepers
Back and stomach sleepers

Key Takeaways

  • Choosing between a firm or a plush mattress can be made easier when personal comfort and preferences are taken into consideration.
  • A firm mattress offers exceptional support, but a plush mattress can also bring adequate stability through its support layers below the top comfort layers.
  • A firm mattress maintains good spinal alignment to prevent body pain while sleeping and ensures equal weight distribution.
  • A plush mattress, on the other hand, cushions the curves of the body with a luxurious sensation and offers superior pressure relief.
  • The stability offered by a firm mattress is ideal for those who sleep on their stomach and side. Meanwhile, a plush mattress prevents pressure spots from forming, making it suitable for side sleepers.


Q: Is a plush mattress more comfortable than a firm mattress?

A: It depends on your comfort and personal preference. A plush mattress may be more comfortable for side sleepers but may not be the most welcoming surface for those who sleep on their back or stomach.

Q: Can a plush mattress provide adequate support for the body?

A: Yes, a plush mattress is often equipped with middle support layers that work to keep the body stable in any sleeping position.

Q: Why does a firm mattress feel uncomfortable for side sleepers?

A: The mattress may cause the hips and shoulders – pressure points for side sleepers – to rub painfully against the firm surface, which may lead to a great deal of discomfort, especially when sleeping for long hours.

Q: How does a plush mattress relieve pressure points?

A: A plush mattress offers enhanced cushioning that allows the body to sink in instead of pushing or rubbing painfully against the surface. This prevents pressure points from developing and protects you from discomfort while you sleep.


Choosing between a firm and plush mattress can be confusing at first, especially if you have not yet taken into consideration your personal comfort preferences. When you already know which factors can contribute to your comfort, you can make the wisest decision for your sleeping surface.


Johns Hopkins Medicine –

Research Gate –

NEJM Journal Watch –

Europe PubMed Central –

Harvard Health Publishing –

US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health –

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