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Mattress Too Firm Symptoms- Here's How to Tell

Mattress Too Firm Symptoms- Here's How to Tell

Have you ever wondered what qualifies a mattress as too firm? Even though we all have different preferences on mattress firmness, certain things are easy giveaway signs. You want to get a mattress that offers you desirable comfort and excellent sleep quality.

A mattress that is too firm causes lower back, shoulder, and neck pain. You may experience numbness, sleep restlessness, or insomnia, which may cause tiredness. Also, it offers limited body contouring.

In most cases, we associate mattress comfort with the firmness or softness level of a mattress. Most manufacturing companies have a grading system of one to ten, with one the softest and ten the firmest. However, people have different preferences, making it hard to have a one-size-fits-all guide.

If you experience one or all of the symptoms below, know that your mattress is too firm:

under blanket womanYou Wake Up With Lower Back, Neck, Shoulder, And Joint Pains

A too-firm mattress will cause you to wake up with lower back, neck, and shoulder pains. Sometimes, you may experience aches or discomfort in your joints, such as the wrist, ankle, and hipbone. The mattress fails to offer enough cushioning to your body and joints, leading to pain.

Once you wake up with the pains, try stretching for about ten to fifteen minutes. If the pain goes away after the stretching, it is more likely that your firm mattress was the cause. Look for foam and hybrid mattresses to counter such since they offer excellent pressure point relief.

Morning Stiffness

A too-firm mattress may cause you to wake up with stiff muscles and joints.

Mayo Clinic did a study on sleeping patterns that revealed that firm mattresses increase the pain for arthritis or scoliosis patients. The mattress fails to offer enough give to your muscles and joints, limiting blood flow. As a result, your muscles stiffen, causing more pain.

A side sleeper suffers from neck, shoulder, hipbone, hip, ankle, and knee stiffness after sleeping on a firm mattress. It may cause headaches and overall body pain. It could be too firm if you experience such stiffness when you start sleeping on a new mattress.

You Have A Restless And Uncomfortable Night

If you keep waking up in the night for no reason, your mattress could be too firm. You may notice that you keep tossing and turning in bed to find a comfortable sleeping position. Also, you could be shifting from one end of the bed to the other, which may lead to poor sleep quality.

If you are having a troublesome night, there is a high chance that you will not get quality sleep. If you are sharing a bed with someone, the best way to gauge your sleep restlessness is by asking them. You may opt to observe their body reaction when you toss, or you could ask them when they wake up.


Sometimes, you may experience insomnia even after a tiresome day. It is normal to struggle with sleep a few nights a year. However, if the struggle to fall asleep is persistent after getting a new firm mattress, it could be why.

Try sleeping on a softer mattress for a few nights. If you no longer struggle with sleep deprivation, the other mattress is too firm for you.

Your Arms Are Numb Or Tingly

Your mattress could be too firm if you cannot feel your arm during sleep or wake up. Sometimes, you may experience numbness or a tingly feeling on your foot. When this happens, it shows excessive pressure exerted on the arm of the foot, restricting blood flow.

A mattress that is too firm fails to offer even distribution of pressure. It is why your arm gets numb or has a tingly feeling.

You Wake Up Feeling Tired

A restless night's sleep has a ripple effect on your overall health and productivity. For instance, spending the night tossing and turning in bed could slow down your immune function. It could lead to you waking up either drowsy or feeling too tired to run errands.

Your Mattress Fails To Contour Your Body

A good mattress should enable your body to mold to its natural curving. It keeps it in shape even in your sleep, preventing your spine from collapsing but keeping it aligned.

When a mattress is too firm, it fails to contour your body as it fails to sink in when you lie. While excessive sinking is detrimental to your spinal health and posture, too much stiffness is not good either. It stiffens your muscles and disallows your spine from achieving its natural curve.

As a result, it can lead to poor posture and pain in your lower back. When this happens, opt for a softer mattress. If it is a new mattress, you can give it up to two weeks to soften. If the new mattress fails to offer some give after the two weeks, the mattress is too firm for you.

You Have A Better Night's Sleep In Hotel Beds

One giveaway sign that your mattress is too firm is if you have a better sleep on hotel mattresses. Also, if you have a more restful night in your friend's bed, your mattress could be too firm.

Try doing a social experiment where you spend a night sleeping on a softer mattress. Start by creating a list of all the things you do not like about your mattress. When you sleep on a guest mattress, tick off the things that the new mattress has solved.

Doing this will help you gauge what you like and what you do not like about your mattress. If you have a mattress store close by, you can walk in and inspect their options. Look at their firmness levels, body contouring, and pressure point cushioning.

Reasons Why Your Mattress Is Too Firm

The following reasons could make your mattress too firm;


Most new mattresses are firmer than their required levels. Most manufacturing companies advise giving them about two weeks to soften. The break-in period permits the foam layers to relax and mold into your body's natural curving.

Some new mattresses may require up to ninety days to break in thoroughly. During this time, you may experience stiffness and discomfort. This period requires patience. However, if the ninety days elapse yet, you still feel the symptoms and find ways to soften your firm mattress.

Room Temperature

Some types of mattresses, like memory foam ones, are sensitive to temperature. For instance, exposing memory foam mattresses to cold may cause them to harden.

If you are sleeping in a cold room, raise the temperatures to prevent your mattress from becoming too firm. For example, you can get a room heater or an air conditioner. Switch the air conditioner or room heater at intervals to keep your room temperature from going below a certain point.

Alternatively, move to a warmer area. It will soften your firm mattress and prevent your memory foam mattress from hardening.

bad morning womanThe Foundation Of Your Mattress

Sometimes, your mattress could be soft, but the foundation makes it firm. Before purchasing a new mattress, determine its ideal foundation. For example, box springs are ideal for innerspring mattresses. Using plywood or wood slat frames on coiled spring or hybrid mattresses, for instance, firms up your mattress even further.

Similar post: How to Dispose of a Mattress: 5 Responsible Ways


Sleeping on a too-firm mattress causes lower back, shoulder, joint, or neck pains. You could also have insomnia and experience tiredness and numbness. Still, check the foundation and the mattress's break-in period before you rule a mattress as too firm.

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