We all know the feeling of sinking into bed after a long day… but if you’re sinking too far, you might be causing more harm than good. While there’s nothing wrong with preferring a softer sleep surface, everyone needs a certain amount of support to promote healthy spinal alignment.

Beyond just preference, choosing the right firmness level comes down to your unique sleep needs, body type, and sleep position. From lower back pain to muscle and joint stiffness, these are some of the signs that your mattress is too soft.

 

Sign #1: You wake up with a stiff and sore lower back.

The most common symptom of a bed that’s too soft is a stiff and sore lower back. This usually happens first thing in the morning, after you’ve been in bed for many hours at a time. While there are plenty of causes for a sore lower back, persistent morning aches and pains are usually a good indicator that your bed is the problem.

 

Sign #2: You have a hard time getting comfortable.

Tossing and turning every once in a while is common — stress, anxiety and even poor health can be a contributing cause for insomnia. That said, your bed also plays a part in how long it takes to get comfortable at night. If you find yourself constantly readjusting, it could be a sign that your muscles aren’t able to fully relax… which is a symptom of a bed that’s too soft.

 

Sign #3: You sleep on your stomach, and often wake with neck or shoulder pain.

Stomach sleepers need to be especially careful with the firmness of their bed. That’s because sleeping on your stomach already puts extra strain on your neck, jaw, and upper back because of the unnatural twisting required to sleep in that position.

If you sleep on your stomach and have the right type of pillow for your sleep position — but continue to experience neck and shoulder pain — this could be a symptom that your hips are sinking too far into the mattress.

 

Sign #4: You struggle to get in and out of bed.

When you get in and out of your bed, how difficult is it to do so? If you find that you feel “stuck” in your bed and have a hard time pulling yourself up and off of your mattress, this could be a sign that your mattress is too soft. While certain materials like memory foam can contribute to this issue, having this issue with a hybrid or latex foam bed is a sign that the firmness is lacking.

 

Sign #5: You feel like you’re “bottoming out” when you hop into bed.

Quality mattresses are designed with three layers or more — usually consisting of a top comfort layer, a middle transitional layer and a bottom support layer. The comfort and transitional layers are designed to provide contouring comfort for the curves of your body, but if you feel as though you sink all the way down to bottom support layers, your bed is too soft.

 

What to do about it:

 

Replace your old bed.

There’s a big difference between a sleep surface that’s too soft and a mattress that’s simply too old. Beds tend to get softer over time, so a bed that’s older than 7 or 8 years is probably due for replacement.

Rotate your mattress.

Most modern mattresses are not flippable, but almost all beds require regular rotation to maintain their shape over time. This helps distribute weight more consistently across the sleep surface, and helps your bed last longer. If you haven’t rotated your bed before and have had it for more than a year, try rotating your bed 180* to see if this helps the issue.

Check your foundation.

Your mattress foundation plays a part in your bed’s overall support, so make sure you have the right base. That means a foundation of either a box foundation, a flexible platform, a metal “grid” base, or a frame with slats no more than 8 inches apart. Importantly, your mattress warranty could be impacted by whether or not you have used proper center and frame support.

Upgrade your mattress.

If you’re convinced that your mattress is too soft — and it’s not due to age — then it might be time to reconsider the type of bed that’s right for you. Many people notice that their sleep preferences change over time, and they require more consistent lumbar support as they get older.

 

When you shop for your replacement mattress, make sure you consider all of your unique sleep needs and preferences. Not sure where to start? Create your Sleep Profile to see if you need a firmer bed.

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