Plush Vs Medium Mattress: What Is the Difference?

Plush Vs Medium Mattress: What Is the Difference?

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Last Updated on Mar 13, 2023

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    When buying a pillow or a bedframe, a buyer always checks its quality, size, and firmness/sturdiness. Likewise, while buying a mattress, the factors mentioned above must be taken into consideration.

    However, the one thing that can make or break the deal is the firmness of the mattress. And while some people love to sleep on "clouds," others might be satisfied with the firm surface. 

    Furthermore, every mattress has its critical attributes, and deciding on the right mattress might sound difficult, prolonging the eternal debate of choices.

    And whether the "plush vs medium mattress" debate continues or not, everything will boil down to one thing: that is, what is best suited for the consumer.

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    Difference Between Firm Plush and Medium Firm Mattress

    The main difference between plush and medium mattresses would be their level of firmness. 

    A plush mattress has a soft surface that sinks immensely when pressure is applied; whereas a medium mattress has a moderate conforming surface that is balanced. This means, it is neither too soft nor too firm. 

    Although they both offer pressure relief on different levels and may still possess certain differences, thus the plush vs medium mattress debate might never end.

    Plush MattressMedium Mattress
    A plush mattress has a soft surface that sinks greatly when pressure is appliedA medium mattress has a moderately conforming surface that is neither too soft nor too firm
    A plush mattress consists of multiple soft layers that add the soft featureA medium mattress consists of a firm and sturdy support core system with a soft upper layer
    A plush mattress offers pressure reliefA medium mattress offers pressure relief
    A plush mattress is ideal for a side sleeper because it cradles the sensitive areasA medium mattress is ideal for a combination sleeper that supports every sleep position

    What Is a Plush Mattress

    Soft or ultra-soft mattresses from 1-3 on the firmness scale are classified as 'plush mattresses.' They are often described as 'cloud-like, 'providing cushioning and comfort. Sleepers may experience sinkage on the bed since plush mattresses tend to get compressed when pressure is applied.

    And though every manufacturer has different techniques and choices of materials, they are typically 12–14 inches thick, with the comforter layer accounting for 2 inches. The upper layer is meant to be plush, while the base layers are generally made of sturdy material.

    There are mainly two categories of plush mattresses: plush innerspring mattresses and plush foam mattresses.

    A plush innerspring mattress comprises an ultra-soft upper comfort layer with a supportive and soft innerspring system. The plush innerspring coil system does wonders in contouring the body's curves and enhancing comfort.

    Besides, to avoid firmness, the coil system is made smaller, making the mattress voluminous while offering sturdiness. And in ultra-luxurious plush mattresses, the innerspring system is dual-layered, with both layers working in tandem to maximize comfort.

    A plush foam mattress consists of thick yet soft layers of foam throughout the mattress. Since the mattress is all-foam and has no support system, they rely on the density of its core and support layers. Materials like latex foam, HR foam, or memory foam are used in the Plush Foam Mattress to maximize comfort.

    Furthermore, in luxury plush mattresses, multiple comfort layers and certain constructive features like pillow-top quilting are used. These features are also used in plush innerspring mattresses.

    Pros of Plush Mattress

    • Offers ultimate pressure relief. 
    • They are soft and sink considerably and conform closely to the body, cradling all the pressure points and tired joints like hips and shoulders. 
    • High-quality plush mattresses have excellent support layers, promoting healthy spine alignment and enhancing the overall sleep experience. 
    • Moreover, they are a luxurious solution for side sleepers, petite sleepers, and sleepers with painful joints or muscles. 

    Cons of Plush Mattress

    • While most sleepers enjoy the soft, comforting feel, others may find it claustrophobic. 
    • And since it is way too soft, heavier individuals may sink too low, jeopardizing their spinal alignment.
    • And all-foam mattresses consist of thick foam layers, such as memory foam or latex foam. Therefore, they tend to trap heat due to their close contouring to the body. 

    However, do plush mattresses last longer? The answer would be no, they don't; they tend to deteriorate faster, thus having a shorter lifespan than those with firmer material. And contrary to their durability, plush mattresses tend to get pricey. 

    Who Are They Best For

    Plush mattresses are only suitable for certain sleepers since their firmness and support system do not suit all body types or sleeping styles. 

    • Side Sleeper

    The plush mattress provides the cushioning and contouring that side sleepers need since they put plenty of pressure on their shoulders and neck when in bed and need extra support to relieve such pressures.

    • Lighter Sleeper

    Lighter individuals are better suited for plush mattresses since the soft surfaces are more responsive and provide better contouring while under less pressure. Furthermore, a petite sleeper will experience more compression without causing the mattress to sink or sag.

    • Individuals With Pre-existing Conditions

    People with pre-existing conditions like pressure ulcers can be pretty uncomfortable on a firm mattress, which may build up more pressure on the sensitive areas. Thus, softer mattresses prove to be much more comfortable.

    What's a Medium Mattress

    A medium mattress provides a balance of contouring and support, which means it cradles the joints without letting the body sink down. They are generally scaled from 4 to 6 on the firmness scale.

    The medium-firm mattresses consist of sturdy bases, which provide firmness, and a medium-thick comforter top, which contributes to the softer attributes of the mattress. However, every manufacturer uses their own techniques and construction methods, but generally, the top comforter is at least 1-2 inches thick in the medium mattresses.

    There are many categories and types of medium mattresses. All have unique features, ranging from medium memory foam to innerspring, and hybrid to medium pillow tops.

    Medium memory foam will lean more on the soft side, while a medium innerspring will provide a firmer surface. And lastly, a hybrid medium mattress will keep the overall balance between firmness and support. 

    The comfort layer of a standard medium mattress consists of one layer, whereas high-profile mattresses may consist of two layers. However, they are typically soft and contoured. Furthermore, the support core system of every mattress is much firmer and denser than the other layers.

    Pros of Medium Mattress

    • The plus point of a medium mattress is that it balances and distributes equal weight and support throughout the mattress surface, improving sleep quality. 
    • It does not conform much and contours considerably.
    • Sleeping on medium mattresses helps with proper spine alignment.
    • Although there isn't much clinical data, it is said that the right amount of firmness helps avoid muscle soreness, and a medium-firm mattress is said to have the perfect firmness.

    Cons of Medium Mattress

    • Sleepers with constant back pain need a firmer surface to support their spine, and a medium mattress may sag and misalign the posture.
    • A heavier person may require more sturdy bedding to avoid sinkage and remain in comfortable alignment while sleeping.

    Who Are They Best For

    Medium mattresses may have the most versatile firmness, but they might not be suitable for all. 

    • Combination Sleepers

    A sleeper may not wake up in the exact position they slept in the previous night. And such sleepers are called combination sleepers. 

    A combination sleeper changes positions throughout the night; therefore, they need a mattress that can accommodate all the sleeping positions. That's where a medium mattress joins the troupe since it can provide all the needed support. They provide support to sensitive areas like the hips, shoulders, and back and offer better cushioning for weak joints and pressure points.

    • Lightweight and Average Sleeper

    Lightweight and average sleepers are those who weigh between 130 and 230 pounds and find the medium mattress more comfortable since it sinks and conforms considerably, preventing too much sinking or sagging.

    However, for plus-size sleepers, it is better to choose a medium-firm mattress for better support and cushioning, which can also prevent them from sinking.

    • Couples 

    It is now known that a medium mattress can accommodate most sleep positions and sleep styles. Thus, couples usually gravitate towards the medium-ly firm mattress. 

    If one person is a side sleeper and the other is a back sleeper, then the medium mattress will promote a perfectly neutral spine by preventing sinkage. Moreover, some of the medium-type mattresses have less motion transfer, which limits the sleep disruption throughout the night. 

    Plush vs Firm Mattress for Back Pain

    One of the common reasons for back pain is unhealthy sleeping posture, but what if the wrong posture isn't the only reason? And between the plush vs medium mattress debate, there's a long-standing myth regarding firm mattresses as well, stating they are ideal for back pain, but is a firm mattress better for your back? Which option is better?

    Many people complain of back pain when sleeping on softer mattresses, which then all boils down to one thing: support. Since the 'cradling' might be too much, causing the spine to misalign. 

    Similarly, an overly firm mattress might not be suitable as it would distort the natural position of the spine by not contouring to it.

    Nonetheless, the mattress does not need to be brick-frim, and neither does it need to be cloudy-soft. Finding a mattress of moderate firmness might be an ideal choice. In fact, research suggests that medium-firm mattresses decrease spinal pain and improve spinal alignment and quality of sleep.

    How Firm Should My Mattress be

    Where firmness is the core factor and can significantly impact the feel and performance of the mattresses, there are other factors that must be taken into consideration before selecting a mattress.

    • Body Type

    Every mattress is designed in order to accommodate a specific body type since every individual applies a different amount of pressure to the sleep surface based on their body weight. 

    A sleeper with 230+ pounds can misalign their body posture when sleeping on a soft mattress, waking up to a severely sore body the following day. Similarly, people weighing at least 130 pounds or less may find the firm mattress uncomfortable. Therefore, choosing the right mattress that is relative to the sleeper's body type weight is a must.

    • Sleeping Style

    Knowing the sleeper's habits and posture may help determine which part of the body is in contact with the mattress. A side sleeper puts considerable pressure on their shoulders and hips and therefore requires a soft mattress that relieves the pressure in those areas.

    Similarly, back and stomach sleepers put a lot of pressure on their midsections, so they need a medium firm or soft mattress that helps them with the proper alignment of their spine. 

    A combination sleeper that switches to multiple positions throughout the night, needs a mattress that can accommodate every position. For this reason, a moderately firm mattress tends to be an optimal choice for a combination sleeper.

    • Durability

    Checking the durability of the mattress is a must since some mattresses may be good for a number of reasons, but they can only last for a few days. 

    A softer mattress with plushy layers generally wears out faster than firm mattresses. Since soft mattresses may not have a sturdy support core system, the comfort layer may sag or develop lasting indentation over time, which reduces the support capability, leading to discomfort.

    • Temperature Neutrality

    Soft mattresses usually use materials like memory foam that are prone to trapping heat. And since the soft mattresses conform closely, this inhibits the air circulation, which may lead to overheating. 

    Contrary to soft mattresses, a firm mattress with minimal sinkage allows considerable air circulation, providing a relaxed and comfortable night.

    • Odor

    New mattresses, especially foam mattresses, are made from synthetic materials and will have distinct chemical odors. However, these odors may dissipate after a few days.

    Even so, if a person is sensitive to smells, then the off-gassing may cause unwanted symptoms like headaches, nausea, or dizziness. And people with respiratory problems may experience asthma or allergic reactions.

    • Mattress Weight

    A mattress with a sturdy support core system or coil system might be heavier to set up. Likewise, soft mattresses consist of multiple layers of thick foam and tend to be heavier, especially those made with a latex material.

    • Price

    Firm mattresses with a thin comfort layer may cost less since they don't require much material to produce. However, factors like the usage of specialized components or unique designs can also impact the price range.

    Try Nectar Medium Firm Mattress

    If you need to amp up the support without sacrificing the plushness, then try out NectarSleep medium-firm mattresses. It feels soft and cushiony while offering an exemplary support system that cradles sensitive points. They consist of 5 layers, sourced and crafted from premium materials, yet are still affordable for your pocket.

    The upper layer is soft and made of breathable poly-blend material. They feature heat-wicking and cooling technology that will keep sleepers cool throughout the night. 

    The second layer consists of innovative pressure-relieving gel-memory foam that offers cushion and cradles the joints comfortably.

    The third layer of the mattress is the dynamic support layer, which gives bounce to the bedding. It is tailored to bounce back within seconds, allowing the sleepers to change positions comfortably.

    The sturdy 7-inch fourth layer ensures the comfort and support of the above layers perform at their best. 

    And lastly, the fifth layer of the mattress holds every layer in a shift-resistant cover case, which allows the mattress to stay together no matter how much pressure or weight is applied.

    Final Thoughts

    While there are many sizes and kinds of mattresses available, there will always be a new route and a new discussion regarding plush vs medium mattresses. Since, within these two types, they are further categorized into various different types. 

    And while shopping, keep note of general recommendations, and better avoid either of the extremes (too soft or too firm mattresses). Also, make sure to consider every little factor before making a choice.

    This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.
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