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Best Soft Mattress

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Written by

Logan Foley

author

Mattresses that offer a plush, cloud-like feel are appealing to many sleepers. People who weigh less than 130 pounds often feel most comfortable on soft mattresses because they cradle and contour to the body. The same holds true for side sleepers because this position usually requires extra cushioning for the shoulders and hips to ensure even alignment and less pressure along the spine.

The Sleep Foundation team brings years of experience and expertise to our hands-on mattress testing. We focused on mattresses with soft feels for the list below, but all of our top picks excel in certain areas that make them stand out from the competition. Performance criteria we took into account include durability, quality of design and materials, temperature control, and motion isolation. Since soft mattresses typically contain more layers than firm models – and thus cost more – pricing and value were also key considerations.

The Best Soft Mattresses

To learn more about each of our top picks and where to buy them, check out the detailed descriptions below. Further down, you’ll find our comprehensive buyer’s guide that covers the pros and cons of soft mattresses, average prices for these models, and people who benefit most from sleeping on a softer bed.

Product Details

Amerisleep AS5

Best Overall

Amerisleep AS5

Amerisleep AS5
Price Range: $1,849 - $3,798
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Soft (3)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night try-out)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night try-out)
Warranty: 20 Year, Limited
Warranty: 20 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King
Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers, especially those who weigh under 130 pounds
  • Sleepers who move around a lot during the night
  • Partners easily disturbed by mattress noise and motion transfer when one partner moves
Highlights:
  • Comfortable balance of cushioning and support
  • Open-cell foam comfort layer is breathable and cool
  • Zoned transition layer delivers targeted support
Amerisleep AS5

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The AS5 is Amerisleep’s softest model. This all-foam mattress is crafted to gently cradle the sleeper but regain its shape quickly when you change position.

The plant-based foam comfort layer has an open-cell structure, allowing airflow to pull heat away from the sleep surface. Like most foam mattresses, the AS5’s comfort layer contours to each sleeper’s body to relieve pressure. However, it is also engineered to be more responsive than some foams.

Underneath the comfort layer, a five-zone transition layer gives targeted support to better align the spine. There is extra support for the sleeper’s head, back, and legs, and extra cushion for their hips and shoulders.

An additional transition layer is designed to balance cradling and responsiveness, relieving pressure without the “trapped in the bed” feeling of some all-foam models. A foam base layer is engineered to provide lasting support for the rest of the mattress.

Amerisleep offers a 100-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty for the AS5 Mattress.

Layla Mattress

Best Value

Layla Mattress

Layla Mattress
Price Range: $749 - $1,249
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Reversible: Medium Soft (4), Firm (7)
Trial length: 120 nights
Trial length: 120 nights
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Couples
  • People who weigh up to 230 pounds
  • Sleepers whose firmness preferences vary from night to night
Highlights:
  • Flippable design with two distinct firmness levels
  • Copper-infused memory foam contours evenly to alleviate pressure
  • Excellent motion isolation and no noise
Layla Mattress

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The Layla Mattress is a flippable all-foam model designed for two distinct feels. One side of the mattress is firm (7), while the other is medium soft (4). Both surfaces feature comfort layers of memory foam. The softer side is thicker to provide more cushioning and contouring, making it well-suited to side sleepers in any weight group, as well as back and stomach sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds.

The memory foam layers are infused with copper, which has natural antimicrobial properties to keep bacteria away from the mattress and control odor. Copper is also quite breathable, so the foam shouldn’t trap too much body heat – a common complaint about this material.

The Layla Mattress should appeal to couples. The two memory foam layers and the shared polyfoam support core absorb movement quite well to reduce transfer across the surface and help prevent nighttime sleep disruptions. Additionally, the mattress does not produce any noise, so co-sleepers won’t notice any squeaks or creaks if their partner gets out of bed in the middle of the night.

The mattress is very reasonably priced – especially for a flippable model – and ground shipping is free throughout the contiguous U.S. Your purchase will include a sleep trial that allows you to test out the mattress for up to 120 nights before deciding whether to keep it or return it, as well as a lifetime warranty that covers structural defects such as excessive sagging or indentations.

Helix Sunset Luxe

Best for Side Sleepers

Helix Sunset Luxe

Helix Sunset Luxe
Price Range: $1,099 - $2,349
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Soft (3)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 15 Year, Limited
Warranty: 15 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers
  • People who tend to sleep hot
  • Couples
Highlights:
  • Luxury pillow-top design with an exceptionally plush feel
  • Zoned coils provide extra perimeter reinforcement
  • Breathable Tencel cover and steady airflow throughout the interior
Helix Sunset Luxe

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Helix Sleep offers an extensive selection of hybrid mattresses, each with a distinct design to accommodate people with different body types and sleep positions. The Sunset Luxe is one of the company’s softest luxury models. Featuring a plush pillow-top cushioned with soft, adaptive foam, the mattress cradles the body closely to reduce pain and pressure points along the spine. The mattress is well suited to side sleepers, particularly those who weigh less than 130 pounds. Those with different body types or primary positions may find more comfort and support from one of Helix Sleep’s other hybrids.

The Sunset Luxe is constructed with a memory foam comfort layer reinforced with two layers of polyfoam. These materials contour deeply to create a cloud-like feeling of sleeping “in” – not sleeping “on” – the mattress. Pocketed coils make up the support core. Extra reinforcement along the perimeter makes the mattress feel a bit more stable along the edges, though most people will notice some sinkage.

Many softer mattresses underperform when it comes to temperature control because closer contouring often means more heat retention. The Sunset Luxe’s coils circulate air currents to cool off the interior and a breathable, moisture-wicking Tencel cover regulates temperature on the surface, so the mattress should be comfortable for hot sleepers who usually feel uncomfortable on softer beds.

Like other hybrids in this series, the Sunset Luxe has a high-end price-point. Shoppers on a budget can opt for a standard Helix Sunset, which costs significantly less. This model does not include the pillow-top or zoned coils but it will still feel comfortable for people who enjoy an exceptionally soft feel. Helix Sleep backs the Sunset Luxe with a 100-night sleep trial and a 15-year warranty.

WinkBed

Most Comfortable

WinkBed

WinkBed
Price Range: $1,049 - $1,849
Mattress Type: Innerspring
Firmness: Medium Soft (4), Medium Firm (6), Firm (7), Firm (8)
Trial length: 120 nights (30 night requirement)
Trial length: 120 nights (30 night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • People who want a sturdy edge to make fuller use of the mattress surface
  • Those who want a responsive mattress that conforms to their body shape
  • Combination sleepers
Highlights:
  • Unique coil-on-coil design balances responsiveness and conforming
  • Zoned support core delivers targeted support
  • Excellent edge support
WinkBed

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The WinkBed Mattress comes in four firmness options: soft (4), medium (6), firm (7-8), and Plus (7-8). While all four of these options use a hybrid design, the exact construction varies slightly between models.

The soft, medium, and firm mattresses have a Euro-pillow top, which is quilted with gel-infused foam engineered to pull heat away from the body. Underneath the Euro-pillow top, the WinkBed’s comfort system also includes a layer of pocketed microcoils. The microcoils allow for extra cooling airflow. The Plus version of the mattress uses polyfoam and zoned latex in its comfort system.

Each firmness option uses a zoned coil support layer. The coils are pocketed to allow them to move independently of each other, while the zoning provides targeted support and softness to help align the spine. The soft version of the mattress uses a 5-zone coil system. The medium and firm models use a 7-zone system. The Plus uses a 3-zone system. The WinkBed’s support layer also includes a sturdy, reinforced edge to increase the usable surface area of the mattress.

The WinkBed Mattress comes with a lifetime warranty and a 120-night sleep trial.

Tuft & Needle Mint

Best Cooling

Tuft & Needle Mint

Tuft & Needle Mint
Price Range: $745 - $1,395
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 100 nights
Trial length: 100 nights
Warranty: 10-Year, Limited
Warranty: 10-Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Sleepers looking for an all-foam bed that conforms to a moderate extent
  • Hot sleepers
  • Couples
Highlights:
  • Moderate and even contouring
  • Medium firm feel encourages spinal alignment
  • Excellent pressure relief
Tuft & Needle Mint

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Due to its medium firm (6) feel, the Mint from Tuft & Needle is a bit firmer than our other top picks and may not conform as closely. However, the mattress is constructed with a 3-inch comfort layer of adaptive open-cell polyfoam that offers ample cushioning for side and back sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds. Transitional and support layers of denser polyfoam reinforce your body to prevent you from sinking too much – a common complaint regarding softer mattresses.

The top two layers are infused with graphite and gel, both of which have cooling properties to help draw heat away from your body. Open-cell polyfoam is also fairly breathable on its own, so overall the mattress should sleep noticeably cooler than many competing all-foam models.

Additionally, the cover is embedded with antimicrobial protectant to stave off bacteria and other harmful contaminants that can decrease the quality of your mattress and shorten its lifespan. Couples should experience fewer sleep disturbances on the Mint too. The foams absorb movement and reduce transfer quite well, and the bed does not make any noise.

The Mint has a sticker price that is on par with the average all-polyfoam model. Tuft & Needle offers free ground shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S., and backs the mattress with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.

Puffy Lux Mattress

Puffy Lux Mattress

Puffy Lux Mattress
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium (5)
Trial length: 101 nights
Trial length: 101 nights
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Lightweight and average-weight sleepers
  • Side sleepers
  • Couples who are easily awoken by mattress noise or motion transfer
Highlights:
  • Excellent motion isolation
  • Cooling Cloud Foam wicks away body heat
  • Washable mattress cover for easy care
Puffy Lux Mattress

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The Puffy Lux Hybrid provides the close conforming that many sleepers look for in a soft mattress without skimping on the support needed to promote proper spinal alignment.

The mattress has three layers in its comfort system. The top layer is constructed of Cooling Cloud Foam, a proprietary memory foam. This with a gel infusion to help wick away heat and promote a cooler night’s sleep. The second layer uses Dual Cloud Foam, which is engineered to soften under a sleeper’s pressure points while supporting the body.

The transition layer uses Climate Comfort foam, which is crafted to resist shrinking or expanding when the room temperature fluctuates while preventing sleepers from sinking in against the support core. The support contains pocketed coils and dense base foam to stabilize the entire mattress. The cover is stain-resistant and washable for easy cleaning.

The Puffy Lux Hybrid has a medium feel, rating around 5 on the 10-point firmness scale. While it is designed to adapt to all sleep positions, the exceptional contouring may make it particularly appealing to side sleepers looking for pressure point relief.

Puffy provides a 101-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty for the Puffy Lux Hybrid.

Saatva Classic

Best for Back Pain

Saatva Classic

Saatva Classic
Price Range: $887 - $2,174
Mattress Type: Innerspring
Firmness: Soft (3), Medium Firm (6), Firm (8)
Trial length: 180 Nights ($99 Return Fee)
Trial length: 180 Nights ($99 Return Fee)
Warranty: 15 Year, Limited
Warranty: 15 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Split King, California King, Split California King
Who it's best for:
  • Sleepers who enjoy the feel of a bouncy mattress
  • Hot sleepers
  • Shoppers who want or need assistance with new mattress setup
Highlights:
  • Innovative coil-on-coil construction offers excellent support and responsiveness
  • Choose from two profiles and three firmness levels
  • Free White Glove delivery and 6-month trial period
Saatva Classic

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The key to alleviating back pain is finding a mattress that cushions the body without sinking too much. Although many soft mattresses are prone to deep sinkage, the Saatva Classic mitigates this issue with an ingenious design that builds on the classic innerspring model. The mattress features a coil-on-coil construction with pocketed minicoils over a support core of robust, low-gauge hourglass coils. These components work together to keep your body on an even plane, reducing aches and pains in the process.

The Saatva Classic is available in three firmness levels, including a soft (3) option for sleepers who need close contouring. This version of the mattress features plush foam quilted into a Euro-top, followed by a layer of memory foam that serves as a lumbar pad. These materials create a plush surface that should satisfy anyone in search of a soft mattress without compromising stability from the coil layers. You can also choose from profiles of 11.5 or 14.5 inches, depending on your ideal mattress thickness.

Hot sleepers will also find the Saatva Classic comfortable. Both coil layers generate a fair amount of airflow throughout the interior to help the mattress maintain a cool temperature. The cover, made of GOTS-certified organic cotton, is also quite breathable and resistant to heat buildup.

While many online mattress brands mail their products via ground delivery, Saatva offers free White Glove delivery to all contiguous U.S. customers. This service includes a scheduled delivery date, full setup in a room of your choosing, and complimentary removal of your old mattress and box spring. Saatva further incentivizes buyers with a 6-month sleep trial and a 15-year warranty against structural defects.

Nolah Signature 12

Best Pressure Relief

Nolah Signature 12

Nolah Signature 12
Price Range: $849 - $1,499
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Reversible: Medium Soft (4), Firm (7)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Those who enjoy sleeping on a soft mattress some – but not all – of the time
  • People who normally find foam mattresses excessively hot
  • Couples
Highlights:
  • Reversible design with medium soft (4) and firm (7) sides
  • Proprietary open-cell foam shouldn’t retain too much body heat
  • Very good motion isolation
Nolah Signature 12

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Most soft mattresses come with a fixed firmness level that can’t be altered in any way. These models are ideal for sleepers who always prefer a soft feel, but those who need a bit more variety may not be as satisfied. The flippable Nolah Signature 12 is a bit different. One side of the mattress has a medium soft (4) feel that conforms very closely to the body, while the inverse is firm (7) and highly supportive. This makes the Signature 12 a great option for people who like to switch between softer and firmer feels.

The mattress has an all-foam design. Both sides feature comfort layers made of AirFoam, a proprietary open-cell material engineered to promote air circulation and resist the buildup of body heat. A breathable organic cotton cover also helps either surface stay fairly cool. The medium soft side contains 2.5 inches of AirFoam, resulting in a much deeper contour and better overall pressure relief for side sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds, and back and stomach sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds.

Couples should also be able to sleep soundly on the Signature 12. The foam layers absorb movement quite well, creating very little motion transfer across the surface – a common source of nighttime disturbances for co-sleepers. As an all-foam model, the mattress is also completely quiet and won’t produce disruptive creaking sounds when you or your partner get up in the middle of the night.

Ground shipping is free of charge for all Signature 12 buyers who reside in the contiguous U.S. Nolah backs the mattress with a 120-night sleep trial, but you can opt out of the trial period and save some money on your up-front costs. A lifetime warranty is also included with every order.

Zotto Mattress

Most Innovative

Zotto Mattress

Zotto Mattress
Price (Queen): $1,075
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Couples
  • Back and side sleepers
  • Sleepers who weigh less than 230 pounds
Highlights:
  • Dense support layers reduce sinkage
  • Excellent pressure relief
  • CertiPUR-US Certified to be free of harmful chemicals
Zotto Mattress

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The Zotto Mattress is a memory foam bed that uses multiple layers of foam to provide a strong blend of pressure-relieving comfort and full-body support. The bed has a medium firm (6) feel that is well-suited to a wide variety of different kinds of sleepers. Each foam is specialized to add a unique benefit to the bed. Zotto’s foams are all CertiPUR-US certified to be made without a number of harmful chemicals, as well as ozone depleters.

The Zotto Mattress starts with a top layer of responsive, yet cushioning proprietary polyfoam. This polyfoam is then bolstered by a layer of memory foam, which redistributes a sleeper’s weight around their pressure points for thorough comfort. Although memory foam has a reputation for trapping heat, the Zotto uses cooling, gel-infused foam technology and a breathable design to draw excess heat away from sleepers and allow it to dissipate before it builds up.

A transitional polyfoam layer is built to lend the bed additional bounce and pressure relief, while acting as a buffer to keep sleepers from sinking into the support core. The bed’s core is constructed from durable, high-density polyfoam, adding sturdy pushback to keep most sleepers comfortable and supported throughout the night. The entire mattress is wrapped in a smooth polyester cover.

The Zotto Mattress ships for free to the contiguous United States. The bed is backed by a 100-night sleep trial as well as a 10-year limited warranty.

Why You Should Trust Us

Our testing team at Sleep Foundation has evaluated hundreds of mattresses using rigorous testing methods. Our testers not only have years of experience in the sleep product industry, but also represent a variety of sleep preferences and sleep positions. This allows us to incorporate as many perspectives as possible when conducting our mattress evaluations.

When testing soft mattresses, our team members lie on the surface to gauge qualities such as support, contouring, and ease of movement. We use special testing tools to measure body heat retention, as well as the amount of pressure relief that each bed offers. Our top picks include the mattresses that performed the best.

Who is a Soft Mattress Best for?

Soft mattresses usually appeal most to side sleepers and those who weigh under 130 pounds. Lightweight sleepers exert less force on a mattress than heavier sleepers, which means firmer mattresses often don’t compress enough to provide lightweight sleepers with cradling and pressure relief. When a mattress is too firm, side sleepers are particularly prone to pressure buildup in their hips and shoulders. A soft mattress will allow a side sleeper’s hips and shoulders to sink in more, promoting better spinal alignment.

Back and stomach sleepers below 130 pounds who like a plusher surface may also enjoy a softer mattress. However, since back and stomach sleepers often prefer a slightly firmer feel, a soft mattress may not be as important for back and stomach sleeper. Back and stomach sleepers frequently need extra support to prevent their midsections from sinking in too deeply. The right soft mattress should be able to support the sleeper and add plushness.

Sleepers who weight between 130 and 230 pounds who prefer a plush feel may also enjoy soft mattresses. This is especially true of side sleepers, who may suffer from sharp pressure points on an overly firm mattress. Some side sleepers weighing more than 230 pounds may also appreciate the hug of a soft mattress, though sleepers in higher weight groups may experience excessive sinking in the hips and shoulders, which could place a strain on the spine.

Weight Side Sleepers Back Sleepers Stomach Sleepers
Less than 130 Pounds Soft – Medium Medium Soft – Medium Firm Medium Soft – Medium Firm
130 to 230 Pounds Medium Soft – Medium Firm Medium – Firm Medium Firm – Firm
More than 230 Pounds Medium – Medium Firm Medium Firm – Firm Medium Firm – Firm

Sleeping Position


Sleep position is one of the key factors that affects how an individual interacts with a mattress. The position a person sleeps in influences which parts of the body press against the mattress. It can also impact the amount of pressure placed on the spine.

Soft mattresses are usually most compatible with side sleeping. When an individual sleeps on their side, the widest parts of their body (their hips and shoulders) put the most pressure on the mattress. For pressure point relief, a mattress must have sufficient cushioning in these regions. To promote proper spinal alignment, the mattress must also have enough support to prevent the hips and shoulders from sinking in too deeply.

Soft mattresses are not usually as conducive to back and stomach sleeping. Back and stomach sleepers often require more support to prevent their midsections from sinking too far into the mattress. Some soft mattresses may give sufficient support for these sleep positions, especially if they contain zoned layers. Many back and stomach sleepers favor a slightly firmer feel.

Body Type

While individuals from any weight group may enjoy a soft mattress, sleepers who weigh under 130 pounds usually gravitate to this feel more than other weight groups.

Sleepers who weigh less put less pressure on the surface of a mattress. Firmer mattresses may not have enough give to allow lightweight sleepers to sink in, which may put the spine out of alignment and cause the sleeper to suffer from more severe pressure points. Softer mattresses generally provide more conforming for lightweight sleepers, relieving pressure points and encouraging better spinal alignment across all sleep positions.

How to Shop for a Soft Mattress Online

Shopping for a mattress online can be incredibly convenient and allow you to compare multiple models quickly and easily. However, without trying the mattress in person, customers don’t always know how to anticipate what the mattress will feel like. Paying attention to the firmness rating can give shoppers a clearer idea of how a mattress might feel. Reading customer reviews will also give extra insight.

Many direct-to-consumer mattress companies offer sleep trials during which customers can return their mattress for a refund of the purchase price. Before purchasing a mattress online, we encourage customers to take a company’s trial period and return policies into account.

With so many mattresses available online, deciding where to shop may be the first big obstacle in the mattress-buying process. Some shoppers like to start by looking at well-known brands like Casper, Leesa, Nectar, Purple, Saatva, and Tuft & Needle. Deciding what mattress features you prioritize can help narrow your options. From there, reading mattress reviews can further refine your search.

Some mattresses will offer additional options like different heights, different firmnesses, White Glove delivery, or optional add-ons. After you add your selection to your cart and proceed to checkout, you will generally be asked to input your contact and shipping information and pay via credit card.

How to Save Money on an Online Mattress

Many mattresses run limited time promotions throughout the year, so you might find discounts or offers for a free item with your mattress purchase at any time. However, some of the best deals usually fall on holiday weekends around Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Black Friday.

To save additional money shopping for a mattress online, you might check for special offers through your credit card or a cash back program like Rakuten.

Important Mattress Considerations

Some companies may use confusing words that distract customers from more important considerations. For instance, some companies may describe a mattress as “more comfortable” or “the most comfortable.” However, since comfort is subjective, this may not be true for everyone. Similarly, shoppers may be drawn to proprietary materials with appealing names. Some of these materials are unique, but their presence doesn’t mean one mattress is inherently superior to another.

Focusing on the following considerations can give shoppers a clearer idea of how a mattress may affect their sleep experience.

  • Mattress Type and Materials: Mattresses use different materials that significantly affect their feel and performance. Some materials naturally lend well to a soft mattress, but construction matters, so even materials that are frequently firmer (like Dunlop latex) can be used to craft a soft mattress. Materials also contribute to performance across all other categories including motion isolation, pressure relief, edge support, and cooling properties.
  • Price: Mattress prices run the gamut, ranging from just a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Budget-friendly options can put more money in your pocket for other sleep accessories like mattress toppers and pillows. However, some high-end mattresses may last longer. Balancing a mattress’s price point with its benefits can give you a clearer idea of whether it is a good value for your money.
  • Motion Isolation: Motion transfer occurs when movements on one part of the bed spread across the surface of the mattress. A mattress that absorbs motion may prevent a sleeper from feeling the movement when their partner changes position during the night.
  • Pressure Relief: Pressure points frequently occur where a sleeper’s body makes contact with the mattress. Mattresses with more contouring often relieve these pressure points by cradling the body for even support and cushioning.
  • Edge Support: Edge support refers to the sturdiness of a mattress’s perimeter. When a sleeper nears the edge of a mattress without a strong edge, the compression may make it feel like they could accidentally roll off the edge. People may also have a harder time getting into or out of a mattress with weak edges since sitting on the edge may not feel secure. A sturdy, reinforced edge may allow sleepers to use the mattress surface more fully.
  • Cooling Properties: Some mattresses tend to trap heat against a sleeper’s body, while others wick it away. Sleepers who tend to sleep hot may prioritize mattresses with cooling features and extra airflow to promote a cooler night’s sleep.

Types of Soft Mattresses

Below, we’ll detail the most common mattress types. All mattress types offer a soft option, but the materials and build can affect the overall sleep experience. While some features and characteristics tend to be consistent between different models within one type category, individual models vary quite a bit due to design, materials, and build.

Hybrid

Definition: Hybrid mattresses combine a significant comfort system with a coil support core. The composition of the comfort system varies between models, but many contain layers of cotton, wool, polyfoam, memory foam, latex, microcoils, and/or a combination of several different materials.
Highlight: Balanced Benefits. Hybrid models often combine the best traits of innerspring mattresses and latex or foam mattresses. The coil layer usually gives hybrids more bounce, breathability, and edge support than most all-foam or all-latex models, while the substantial comfort layers provide more contouring, motion isolation, and pressure relief than most innerspring models.

Innerspring

Definition: Innerspring mattresses are generally considered more traditional than foam, latex, or hybrid models. An innerspring mattress’s most notable component is its metal coils. Some innerspring mattresses may also have a thin layer of cotton or foam for extra softness, but the coil layer is the most significant factor impacting the sleep experience.
Highlight: Affordable. Innerspring mattresses are often lower-priced than other mattress types, so they may appeal to shoppers on a budget.

Latex

Definition: All-latex mattresses can be constructed of synthetic latex, natural latex, or a blend of the two. There are two main types of natural latex: Dunlop latex and Talalay latex. The different processes used to craft these types of latex lead to differences in their feel and performance. Dunlop is usually denser and more durable, while Talalay is usually bouncier and more breathable.
Highlight: Contouring Without Sinkage. Latex traditionally contours enough to relieve pressure points. However, rather than compressing exclusively under the weight of the sleeper, the compression is spread out over a wider surface area, which may make the sleeper feel like they are floating on top of the mattress rather than sinking into the mattress.

Airbed

Definition: Airbeds contain air chambers that can be filled or emptied to adjust the firmness of the bed. Modern airbeds often include remotes or apps to adjust the bed easily, while others may use a hand crank. Materials vary between models, but they may include thin comfort layers of memory foam, polyfoam, latex, cotton, and/or polyester. The support cores frequently use PVC, rubber, and/or polyurethane.
Highlight: Customizable Firmness. Airbeds are easy to adjust, allowing sleepers to change the feel based on their preference, even if that varies between nights. However, since most airbeds have a thin comfort layer, it might not be possible to achieve the plush feel some sleepers look for from a soft mattress.

Foam

Definition: All-foam mattresses are generally crafted of multiple layers of foam, which may include memory foam, polyfoam, or a combination of the two. Latex may also be included in some all-foam models.
Highlight: Close Conforming. Memory foam and polyfoam generally compress directly under a sleeper’s weight rather than spreading the compression across a wider area. Because of this, most soft all-foam models conform closely to the sleeper’s body, creating a hugging sensation. This can help relieve pressure points.

Accessories to Complement Your Soft Mattress

The right sleep accessories can complement your soft mattress to create a plush and appealing sleep surface. You can use these accessories to adjust the feel of your existing mattress or fine-tune the feel of a new mattress.

Pillows

Since soft mattresses tend to allow sleepers to sink in more deeply than they would on a firmer mattress, sleepers may require a softer, lower-loft pillow. A pillow that is too firm or too lofty may lift the head up beyond the point of proper alignment and put more pressure on the neck.

Side sleepers may benefit from a medium-loft pillow. Due to shoulder width, a side sleeper’s head usually needs more support to keep the spine properly aligned. Ideally, side sleepers should aim to find a pillow that fills the gap between their neck and the mattress without lifting the head or neck up beyond the point at which the spine is straight.

Back sleepers may prefer a pillow on the lower end of the medium range. The goal is still to fill the gap between the neck and mattress, but this gap is not as large with back sleepers, so they usually do not need as lofty of a pillow as side sleepers.

Stomach sleepers usually prefer the thinnest pillows or no pillow at all to avoid placing added pressure on the neck.

Mattress Toppers

A mattress topper can be an affordable way to adjust the feel of your current mattress. Mattress toppers generally aren’t a long-term solution to an uncomfortable mattress, and they do not provide the same benefits as a new mattress. However, toppers can tweak the feel of the mattress and provide some extra plushness.

If your existing mattress is too firm, a thicker topper will likely provide a more noticeable change than a thinner topper. However, sleepers looking for a subtler variation may prefer a thinner topper.

Soft Mattress FAQ

  • Who are soft mattresses good for?

    A soft mattress – which rates as a 2 or 3 on the 1-10 firmness scale – is well suited to sleepers who need extra cushioning and close body-contouring to feel comfortable. The best candidates for a soft mattress include people who weigh less than 130 pounds, particularly if they sleep on their sides. Back sleepers in this weight group may also find soft mattresses comfortable, though many prefer a medium soft (4) feel instead.

    Sleepers who use thinner low-loft pillows should also consider a soft mattress. Because they’ll sink more deeply into the mattress, a thicker pillow can elevate the head excessively, and this may lead to poor spinal alignment and added pressure.

  • Are soft mattresses good for your back?

    An excessively soft mattress can lead to back pain. If a mattress is too soft to support your hips and shoulders properly, they may sink in too deeply. This can place additional pressure on your spine.

    Generally speaking, the best mattresses for your back have medium feels that offer a balance of soft cushioning and firm support. This ensures the mattress will conform to your body and evenly distribute your weight – reducing aches and pains in the process – without sinking too much around heavier areas of your body like the torso and hips.

    However, the best mattress for your back also depends on your weight and sleep position. Someone who weighs less than 130 pounds and sleeps on their side or back might not experience any back pain or pressure points on soft mattresses, but heavier individuals probably won’t feel as comfortable on these beds.

  • Is a hard or soft mattress better for back pain?

    Depending on your weight and sleep position, either a soft or firm mattress may be better for back pain. Soft mattresses provide more conforming, which may promote better spinal alignment for sleepers who weigh under 130 pounds, especially those who sleep on their sides. However, individuals who weigh over 230 pounds, particularly those who sleep on their stomachs or backs, may benefit from a firmer mattress that supports their midsections and prevents them from sinking in too deeply.

  • Can a soft mattress cause hip pain?

    A mattress that is too soft can cause hip pain. Soft mattresses compress under the hips to conform to the sleeper’s body. If the mattress is too soft, it could overcompress, and create pressure points.

  • What mattress firmness is right for you?

    Personal preferences aside, the best firmness for any given sleeper largely depends on two factors: body type and primary sleep position. People who weigh less than 130 pounds tend to favor a soft or medium soft feel, those who weigh 130-230 pounds likely prefer a medium to medium firm feel, and sleepers weighing more than 230 pounds will probably feel most comfortable on a medium firm to extra firm mattress.

    Side sleeping usually requires more cushioning and conforming. This position does not promote even alignment, so sleepers need a mattress that cradles the spine while contouring to the shoulders and hips. This should improve alignment and reduce pressure in the process. Back and stomach sleeping naturally aligns the spine, so people who favor these positions need more support to keep their entire body on a flat, even plane. Although individual preferences vary, most back and stomach sleepers prefer firmer mattresses than side sleepers.

  • How can I make a firm mattress softer?

    Mattresses often soften naturally as they age, so the feel may change on its own over time.

    Adjusting your mattress foundation may also contribute to the feel. Using a box spring may make a memory foam mattress feel firmer, so removing the box spring may soften the feel. If you have a hybrid or innerspring model, using a box spring may make it feel softer. Before adjusting your foundation, review the information from the manufacturer so that you don’t risk voiding the warranty.

    If you sleep on a memory foam model, increasing the temperature in your bedroom may soften the mattress slightly. Using a mattress topper, especially a thicker topper, can soften the sleep surface.

  • When can my baby start sleeping on a soft mattress?

    Babies should not sleep on soft mattresses due to rebreathing and suffocation risks. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants sleep on a firm sleep surface that complies with their safe sleeping guidelines.

  • Are memory foam mattresses firm or soft?

    Memory foam mattresses may be either firm or soft depending on their construction. Foams can be produced in a wide range of firmness levels, and materials can be layered to create a firm or soft surface.