Mattress buying can be confusing, expecially when considering a plush vs firm mattress. When it comes to making a choice about the type of mattress you want, you might feel like you are being overwhelmed. Do you want a mattress that is firm? Soft? Or perhaps you want something that is more in the middle? It can literally feel like every time you make a choice, more options arise for you to choose from. It doesn’t help that as we change our lifestyle, so too do our preferences when it comes to mattresses.
It can feel like an impossible task to find the mattress that is durable, and yet gives you the support and firmness that you require. Below we’ve covered the pros and cons of both, in hop to give you a better understanding on what type will work best for you!
Pros Of A Firm Mattress
The first is that a firm mattress helps you maintain a neutral spine position. What this does is help you to keep your body straight, meaning you won’t have any aches and pains in your back. Next, blood flow when you are asleep is important, and a firm mattress is going to reduce the amount of pressure that is being put on your circulatory system. This in turn is going to allow the blood to flow better, and not be restricted in any way.
If your lower back collapses, this can prevent you from inhaling the correct amount of oxygen. You are not going to find this a problem with a firm mattress as it will prevent this from happening. Finally, the human body can adapt to sleeping on a firmer mattress and find it comfortable, where this may not be possible on a different type of mattress.
Cons Of A Firm Mattress
If you are used to a softer mattress, you can find that changing to a hard mattress will be uncomfortable for the first couple of days. As well as this, if you have any issues with your lower back such as arthritis or scoliosis, you could find that a hard mattress is not going to be a good option for you. Trying to pinpoint the firmness of a hard mattress can be a challenge at the best of times, and as such your mattress might not be firm enough to provide you with the benefits we mentioned above.
Many stores and online stores do not advertise these mattresses as hard or soft. This has led to an issue of people harming their bodies because they are not sleeping on the correct mattress that they need. Finally, body weight will create indentations in a firm mattress after a long period.
Pros Of A Soft Mattress
If you have back pain, or you are an elderly person, you might find that sleeping on a plush mattress can help you to cope with your joint pain. As well as this, if you are a slim person, you are going to be able to sleep on a medium-firm mattress without giving up the vital spinal support needed by those who are heavier. You will also find that if you sleep on your side, a plush mattress is going to be more beneficial to you. The last benefit that we have is that you can add softness to your mattress. What this means is that you can use something like a pillow top to get the softness that you want on the top, with a firm mattress laying underneath.
Cons Of A Plush Mattress
You might find that a soft mattress reduces your quality of sleep by pushing your spine out of alignment. These mattresses are also the most expensive option. If you share your bed with someone, the heavier person in the bed might find that they sink further, and reduce the quality of their sleep. You could also find your mattress is no longer useful after a few years as they only grow softer over time. If you check out reviews, you will find that customer satisfaction when it comes to soft mattresses is usually below average.
How To Choose What’s Right For You
Whether or not you have back pain, it should be given serious consideration when buying a mattress. You should also think about which sleeping position you use most frequently because these are the two most important factors when it comes to purchasing a mattress. If you sleep on your stomach or you don’t have back pain, you might find a firmer mattress more comfortable. Conversely, those who sleep on their side or do have back problems will find softer more comfortable
Weight is something else that you need to think about. While a heavier person is more likely to find a firmer mattress more comfortable, someone of a lighter weight might not get the right amount of give. Most people who are average to heavy build are going to find a firmer mattress more comfortable. But, you need to remember it is all about you. If you aren’t finding it comfortable no matter what the general information says, you’re not going to get a good night sleep.
It is important to test out mattresses before you buy them, to make sure that you have the right level of firmness. You can add a soft topper to a firm mattress if you think this is what’s going to get you a good night of sleep. Make sure that you have tested it properly so that you can make an informed choice.
The Difference Between Plush and Pillow Top
The Difference Between Plush and Pillow Top
- 1 Difference Between Pillow Top & Euro Top
- 2 Pillow Top Mattress Complaints
- 3 Do Different Foam Layers Really Make a Difference in a Mattress?
- 4 The Best Mattress for Shoulders and Lumbar Support
Plush and pillow top spring mattresses are similar; both typically have structural firmness and stability. They also have a soft outer fabric surface intended to make sleep more comfortable. When deciding between a plush and pillow top mattress, take into account your sleeping preferences, support needs and softness requirements, as well as the structural elements you need in a mattress.
Plush It Up
A plush mattress has quilting under its surface fabric and is softer than firm and extra-firm alternatives. For many, plush is a happy medium between a firm and a pillow top mattress. Those who frequently sleep on their sides and back might prefer the extra cushioning that a plush mattress affords, without compromising the support and durability of the inner coils and support structure. People who sleep on their stomachs might feel that a plush mattress is too soft and doesn’t provide the support they need. A pillow top mattress would be even more uncomfortable for a stomach sleeper.
Pillow Top Perks
Choose a pillow top mattress if you want a soft outer layer with a lot of additional cushioning. Pillow top mattresses have several inches of extra padding that are sewn onto the top of mattress. You can see the depth of the pillow top from the side. A pillow top conforms to your body and molds around you to provide extra padding where your shoulders and hips press into the bed. Those who prefer a firm mattress and want a solid support structure might feel that a pillow top is too soft and malleable. Lightweight adults, older children and teenagers might feel overwhelmed by a pillow top because they aren’t heavy enough to sink past the cushion to the underlying bed support. However, heavier individuals may appreciate the added cushioning that provides a layer between them and underlying coils or springs. Pillow top mattresses pose safety concerns for toddlers and infants who could smother in the bulky cushioning.
Plush Mattress Construction
Plush mattresses are constructed by adding a layer of soft foam over the internal frame that holds the springs or coils. The cover of the mattress is sewn over the entire surface and hides the foam so you can’t see it. The permanent mattress covering also protects the foam from wear and tear. A plush mattress usually has a latex core that’s soft and flexible, yet provides some support for back and side sleepers. Low-quality plush mattresses and those used by heavier individuals often break down – faster than firm mattresses – and lose their buoyancy and soft padding.
Pillow Tops: A Mixed Bag
Opt for a pillow top design if you want one of the softest options available on an innerspring mattress. A pillow top is a permanent feature and can’t be removed. It feels similar to sleeping with a dense, high-quality egg carton pad on top of your mattress, but you don’t have to worry about it sliding off or shifting as you sleep or the lumpy egg carton design. A big disadvantage of a pillow top mattress is the uncomfortable depressions that develop as you sleep. If you roll over or change positions, it might feel like you’re sinking into dips created by the weight of your body’s pressure points. You can’t flip a pillow top mattress over – the cushioning is on one side only.
What Is A Plush Bed? Is It Perfect For You?
Shopping for a mattress, especially if it’s your first time, is like a jump into the unknown. There are going to be a lot of terms that you are undoubtedly unaware of. That’s no reason to back out, though. We are here to help.
These types of beds are usually the ones who have customers confused the most. We’ve taken the liberty to provide you with a quick overview and clarification of one of thecommonly preferred options out on the market – plush mattresses. You’ve certainly heard of this term. In case you wonder what it means – you’re about to find out!
If you want to find out more which are our recommended beds in this category– See our top-rated plush mattresses.
Plush Bed Meaning
The term “plush” is used interchangeably by a lot of different companies which want to describe the overall level of softness brought by the surface comfort layer of the mattress. The thing to consider, however, is that this is not the correct usage of the term.
This type of surface is softer, but it still provides a good amount of support. Of course, in order to be perfectly aware of the term and what it means, it might be a good idea for you to familiarize yourself with the difference between a soft, firm and plush mattress.
Who Should Choose a Plush Mattress?
Different Sleeping Positions
If you are a stomach sleeper and you prefer the so-called “freefaller” sleeping position, you might want to look for something firmer. The problem is that softer beds can create pressure points on your stomach and chest and cause your spine to bend improperly. Firm beds are much better for this position.
These mattresses should be used by side sleepers. They offer a reasonable sinkage which would contour your body as you lay on your side. This is the only position where we recommend this level of firmness, otherwise, go with medium for more support.
Back sleepers are the perfect target group for this type too. But, make sure to opt for the highest quality brands to avoid sagging after couple months.
Different Pain Areas
It’s common that improper bedding can cause pain points, including back pain. Even though most memory foam beds offer fantastic contouring and pressure relief, it’s typically viewed as better to go for a slightly firmer option (at least medium).
Pain management and reduction is such an important an important part of life, and it can be difficult to know where to look. Read here for more information on top options to consider.
Most people suffering from hip pain are sleeping on their sides on a firm bed. That means that softer surface will most likely help you get rid of the hip pain.
Much like the point above, the bed should be able to conform to your body, allow for pressure relief and have enough support, so it doesn’t unnaturally curve your spine.
If you like to move around while sleeping, most people prefer options that do not excessively hug your body like memory foam does.
Being that most plush beds are made from foam, that means lower motion transfer. This is going to ensure that you don’t feel the movements of your partner.
Now, if you are overweight, you will need a firmer option to avoid sinking too deep. On the other hand, if you opt for a 15″ or more it can still be soft but supportive enough.
Plush vs. Firm
The truth is that firmer beds are very comfortable too. Don’t confuse subjective firmness feel and support, those are two different things. It’s just down to your personal preference but if in doubt, harder options will be better for your spine in the long run.
Plush vs. Ultra-Plush
Ultra-plush models rarely provide the support you need. We still haven’t tested any beds in the 1-2 on a firmness scale of 1-10 (10 being the firmest). We do not recommend that you go with this range.
Plush vs. Pillow Top
Pillow top beds have an extra layer which is rarely thicker than one inch. This is designed to bring an additional amount of comfort without any added support. The pillow top could also come separately, and it could be used to enhance the comfort of any given bed. In most cases, it’s added on top of beds with coil construction.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Plushy?
Plushy is a bed feel which is both comfy and sturdy at the same time. It allows splendid sleeping sensation which is also quite healthy.
What is a Plush Firm Bed?
A plush firm mattress is one which provides the support of a firm bed and the comfort of a pillow top one. You would feel like sleeping on a cloud without any of the potential spinal damages.
As you can see, a plush bed and its many variations could be a viable and very convenient option. In fact, a lot of people prefer it over the firm models because it brings a convenient combination of the most sought-after capabilities – comfort and support.
You could enjoy the cloud-like sleeping sensation without worrying about the “trapped” sensation brought to you by memory foam or the spinal misalignments which could be caused by an overly softer unit. This bed type is a great solution if you like to sleep on your side or back and prefer to move around freely throughout the night.
Sources and References:
- Considerations When Buying a New Mattress – spine-health.com
Author: Sleep Advisor
Our team covers as many areas of expertise as we do time zones, but none of us started here as a so-called expert on sleep. What we do share is a willingness to ask questions (lots of them), seek experts, and dig deep into conventional wisdom to see if maybe there might be a better path towards healthy living. We apply what we learn not only to our company culture, but also how we deliver information to our over 12.7M readers.
Sleep research is changing all the time, and we are 100% dedicated to keeping up with breakthroughs and innovations. You live better if you sleep better. Whatever has brought you here, we wish you luck on your journey towards better rest.
Exploring the world of mattress 1 mattress at a time
Are Firm or Plush Mattresses Better for your Back?
The type of mattress you use is an important part of maintaining back health. And if you already suffer from back pain, the choice is even more important. Which type is the best? Are firm or plush mattresses better for your back? The information you find here will help you understand the type of mattress you need. You’ll be equipped with the knowledge to choose the best mattress for your back.
Firm vs. Plush Mattresses
Let’s start by defining these terms because they get thrown around in different ways by the mattress manufacturers.
Firm Mattresses: There’s actually good consensus about what a firm mattress is. While not being stiff, it is the hardest type of mattress you’ll find in most brands. If it’s an innerspring mattress, it may have more coils than comparable medium or soft mattresses. The coils may be tighter so they compress less, producing a firmer feel. Traditionally, a firm mattress was believed to be the best choice for those with a bad back.
Plush Mattresses: In most cases, a plush mattress will be on the softer end of the spectrum. The problem arises when some manufacturers put a plush pillow top over a firm or medium mattress. For our purposes, a plush mattress is nearer the soft end of the range made by most mattress companies.
The Best Mattress for your Back
The best mattress for maintaining back health or alleviating soreness in your back is one that reduces pressure points. These are places in your body that have higher mass, such as your shoulders and hips.
The best mattress distributes the weight of your body more evenly so that the pressure points aren’t as pronounced. The mattress should give equal support to all areas of your body, reducing the amount of stress experienced by any one location.
Are Firm or Plush Mattresses Better for your Back?
Most physicians and chiropractors recommend you stay away from a plush mattress if you have concerns about your back. A plush mattress simply doesn’t offer enough support to maintain good back health or to relieve pressure points in order to reduce back pain.
In most cases, a firm mattress will provide the kind of balanced support that is better for your back. Stay away from stiff or ultra-firm mattresses, but those labeled “firm” by most manufacturers are generally very good for back health.
If you want the best of both worlds, take a look at mattresses with a firm core, either foam or coil, and a plush pillow top made from memory foam. You’ll get the support you need as well as the soft, body-cradling comfort of foam.
Plush vs. Firm: Which Mattress Comfort Level Is Right for You?
One of the first questions you’ll likely encounter on the way to picking out a new mattress is how plush or firm you want the mattress to feel. Sounds simple enough, right?
Not necessarily. It can be difficult to choose between a plush vs. firm mattress. “Mattress firmness is a comfort term,” says chiropractor Robert Oexman, director of the Mebane, N.C.-based Sleep to Live Institute, which leads research on how the sleep environment affects sleep quality. Firm, plush, soft, and their many variations (think: cloud-like or cushiony) are subjective qualities meant to describe how a mattress might feel to any one individual.
The trouble is, there’s no industry standard or uniform specification used to measure firmness, meaning that one company’s “medium firm” mattress could be just as firm as another’s “extra firm” mattress. And even if there were a standard scale, the same mattress firmness will feel different to different people depending on body size and muscle mass, Oexman explains. “When an elephant lies down on a mattress, for example, it’s going to feel different than when a mouse lies on that same mattress,” he says.
So what’s a mattress shopper to do? First, understand a little bit more about what firmness or softness in a mattress really means, and how it differs from that other essential quality, support.
A mattress doesn’t need to be firm to be supportive
When deciding between a plush vs. firm mattress, consider your specific needs. At minimum, a mattress needs to provide the right support for a person’s body weight, size, and shape. A person who weighs 300 pounds is going to need a more supportive mattress than someone who weighs 120 pounds, Oexman says.
But support comes from the core of the mattress—the denser bottom layers of foam in foam mattresses and the spring system in an innerspring mattress—not from how firm or plush the surface, of “comfort,” layers feel.
Oexman defines support as the ability to adopt a variety of positions throughout the night while maintaining your spine in a relatively “neutral” horizontal position. In other words, you want to avoid the U-shaped curve you’d get from sleeping in a hammock, as well as the unnatural bend you’d experience if you lie on your stomach on the floor all night. Instead, your spine should be supported in its natural S-shaped curve and your ears, shoulders, and hips should be aligned.
A soft or ultra-plush bed can still provide plenty of support, Oexman says, so long as the layers underneath are appropriate for the person who’s sleeping on it. “You can still go ahead and sink into it enough to get the support you need,” he says. (Here’s how to match your mattress to your body type.)
Learn More About Saatva Mattresses
Saatva Classic Innerspring
Our flagship luxury mattress is expertly engineered with coil-on-coil construction for durability, a layer of memory foam for enhanced back support, and a cushiony Euro pillow top for extra comfort.
Loom & Leaf Memory Foam
Premium memory foam, handcrafted in the U.S., with eco-friendly materials. Breathable organic cotton, cooling spinal gel, and layers of high-density support foam assure a cool, comfortable night’s sleep.
Zenhaven Latex Mattress
100% Talalay latex responds to every curve for pressure-free support and responsive comfort. Talalay latex is supple, resilient, and durable, for the ultimate in elevated sleep. (It’s naturally hypoallergenic too.)
Is a plush vs. firm mattress best for you?
Think of firmness as how the mattress feels when you first lie down on it. That’s a function of the top layers—what they’re made of, the number of layers, and the thickness and density of the foam or padding. While lack of support is what causes you to wake up with back or shoulder pain or feeling like you didn’t get a great night’s sleep, Oexman says, comfort plays a role in how quickly you fall asleep versus how much you toss and turn once your head hits the pillow.
While there’s no definitive standard, many mattress companies (including Saatva) rate the firmness of their products on a 10-point scale. Typically the higher the number, the firmer the mattress, from 3-4 at the low end to 7-8 at the high end. Not surprisingly, the majority of people tend to prefer mattresses that fall in the middle of the firmness scale—also called “universal comfort” or “hotel style.”
Different sleep styles need different comfort levels
When it comes to mattress firmness, another important consideration is the way you typically sleep. If you’re a side sleeper, for example, you have concentrated pressure points in contact with the mattress: your shoulder, hip, and outside of your knee and foot. In that case, a sleep surface that’s a little bit plusher or softer and lets you sink in provides better pressure relief.
If you’re a stomach sleeper, you’ll probably do better on a medium to firm mattress, which will help prevent arching in the back (and potential pain later on). And if you’re a back sleeper, count yourself lucky: You will likely sleep well on most mattresses, as long as it’s not so soft or firm that it throws your spine out of neutral alignment. (Here’s more advice on how to match your mattress to your sleep position.)
Bottom line: Whether you’re waking up with aches and pains or it’s simply time for a new mattress, think support first. Then, for your best night’s sleep, choose the firmness or softness that feels most comfortable to you. You can’t go wrong.
Ready to buy a new mattress? Read our mattress guide for advice on choosing the right one for you.