How we test products
Our mission is to take the guesswork out of finding the perfect sleep products.
We've dedicated hundreds of hours to testing mattresses and sleep accessories, and rely on a team of testers of differing weights, temperature preferences, and sleeping positions to evaluate each product.
Tested products are granted the Sleep Hero tested stamp of approval, a mark of our review's reliability.
If we haven't personally tested a product, please be assured that we invest significant time and energy into scouring the UK market and researching the best recommendations, and we work with a team of sleep experts who review our articles, ensuring that the insights we provide are not only relatable but also reliable.
What is a soft mattress?
A very soft mattress can feel like sleeping on a cloud. ☁️
It snuggles the body in a marshmallow of plush body-hugging material.
Most soft mattresses are made from memory foam, wool, goose feather or other soft, fluffy fibres.
But you can also get pocket-spring mattresses with an attached soft topper for extra snugness.
We’ve recommended a range of different soft mattresses above depending on your individual requirements.
But we’ll go into detail about what those requirements might be below. 👇
The best sleeping position for soft mattresses
Your preferred sleeping position is important when choosing a new mattress.
While most modern-day mattresses are suitable for all sleeping positions, subtle differences still make a bed more suitable for sleeping on your stomach, back or side.
Side sleepers do best on a soft to medium mattress. ✅
The most comfortable soft mattress for side sleepers will hug around the shoulder and hip area whilst keeping the spine aligned with the neck.
Lightweight side sleepers may find the most comfort on a very soft mattress, so they sink into the material a bit more.
The Tempur Cloud mattress is a great example of a soft mattress that cradles the body in its natural shape.
You’ll experience pressure relief on the joints, and the spine should remain naturally straight.
Heavyweight people who sleep in the side position should opt for a firmer option, as they may sink in too much and not get the support they require.
The Nectar memory foam mattress is a great option for heavier people who need a slightly firmer option which still has a contouring feel.
Back sleepers will also experience comfort on a mattress with some softness.
In fact, a soft cushioning layer that hugs around the pelvic region is essential for supporting this lower part of the body.
But the mattress should be firm enough to lift the spine and prevent a "hammocking" effect.
The average back sleeper will find comfort on a medium-firm mattress with a bit of plush comfort that also provides some support.
The Emma Premium is one of our favourite back sleeper recommendations.
This advanced hybrid mattress combines soft memory foam layers with full-size pocket springs that support every inch of the body.
A super soft mattress is unsuitable for stomach sleepers.
Stomach sleepers find the most support on a firm mattress that promotes spinal and neck alignment.
Stomach sleepers need a little cushioning for the shoulders, chest, and hips, but this should be a very thin layer of material.
This extra-firm mattress is made from supportive pocket springs with a memory foam layer to delicately cradle the hips and other joints.
Again, your weight and individual preference will affect the specific firmness level required for your sleep.
We would always suggest using the risk-free trial period offered by online mattress brands to see if a particular mattress is right for you. ⌛
Don't forget a good pillow
We'd also highly recommend investing in a good pillow that suits your sleeping position, which will help keep your neck and spine aligned.
We've included some of our favourite recommendations below:
Soft mattress materials
The firmness of a mattress varies greatly depending on the materials used.
However, extra soft mattresses are available in a variety of different plush fibres that snuggle the body during sleep.
Firmness isn't the only factor to consider when purchasing a new mattress.
We'll discuss the pros and cons of different soft mattress materials below. 👇
Memory foam is one of the most popular mattress materials available.
Originally invented by NASA to absorb pressure during space travel, memory foam is an expert in hugging around the body for soft pressure-relieving comfort.
Tempur has some of the softest memory foam mattresses available.
Take a look at how it works below:
The images show the memory foam effect on soft Tempur mattresses.
The Tempur material is so sensitive that it takes a few seconds to return to its original shape.
The Tempur Cloud is one of the best soft memory foam mattresses for those looking for unmatched pressure relief on the joints. 🦵
That's not to say that all memory foam mattresses are necessarily soft.
Ultimately, the mattress's exact firmness will depend on the brand, model, and density of the memory foam.
Memory foam is also one of the warmest mattress materials and not an option we would recommend to excessively hot sleepers.
Instead, you should choose a cooler soft mattress option, such as the iGel Advance 3000i Plush Top mattress, made from body-hugging gel layers that regulate temperature.
Both gel and memory foam mattresses are usually hypoallergenic, making them a great option for those with allergies.
Wool & feather
Wool and feather mattresses are a more traditional option, yet they're fantastic for those seeking a more sustainable choice.
Wool or feather beds provide soft relief on the body that gently cushions the joints.
Many wool and feather beds are designed with a top layer of natural fibres and a bottom layer of springs for additional support.
Unlike memory foam, wool has fantastic temperature-regulating properties. 🌡️
Wool fibres provide natural coolness during the summer whilst keeping you warm during wintertime.
When we think about soft mattresses, we don't tend to consider pocket springs within this category.
Yet, pocket spring mattresses are available in all firmness levels.
This is because the tension of the springs can be increased or lowered depending on the firmness.
Additionally, many pocket spring mattresses have an attached pillow top to give the bed a softer feel.
The pillow top is usually made from wool, memory foam, gel, or even latex.
Pocket springs are more advanced than regular coil springs, as each spring works individually and is encased in its own pocket.
This helps to support every area of the body and minimises motion transfer. 🚣
Springs are also an excellent choice for hot sleepers, as air can flow between the gaps of the springs.
The iGel Advance 3000i Plush Top mattress is made with temperature-regulating gel layers and pocket springs:
Soft mattress prices
A soft mattress is all well and good - but is it affordable? 👀
Soft beds vary in price and quality, so it's essential to know you're getting a good value-for-money product.
High-quality memory foam mattresses are among the most expensive soft mattresses available.
The Tempur Cloud mattress is one of the most expensive soft memory foam mattresses money can buy, but it's also one of the best in terms of comfort and support.
A cheap soft mattress might seem like a good idea, but they often lack stability and can leave you waking with aches and pains.
We always recommend investing in the highest quality product you can afford.
Many soft mattresses also include sleep trials, so you can test the mattress before wasting your money.
Our favourite soft mattresses with sleep trials:
How to know if my mattress is too soft
A soft mattress isn't for everyone.
If your mattress feels too soft, it may be time for an upgrade.
Mattresses tend to soften and sag over time, reducing how much support they can provide.
Your mattress may be too soft or unstable if you experience the following:
- Your mattress sags or dips
- You wake up with frequent back pain
- You feel your partner getting in and out of bed
- You toss and turn during the night
- You can feel the springs or framework of your mattress
- You sink into the mattress and struggle to get in and out of it
If any of these criteria apply to you, consider investing in a new mattress.
Our best mattress article can guide you on the mattress that suits your requirements.