Finding the right mattress can be the difference between restless nights and waking up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. As a bed is a significant investment, it can take time and research to decide.

While we tend to gravitate toward soft, plush mattresses that give off an air of luxury, firm mattresses are often better for the body. Here are five benefits of using firm mattresses to keep in mind the next time you’re in the market for a new bed.

Better Joint Support

The top benefit of using a firm mattress is better joint support and alignment. Medium to firm support options are the top picks for side sleeper mattresses for this reason. The support also helps maintain neck alignment while sleeping to prevent stiffness and pain that many people write off as a side effect of aging. Add a pillow between the knees and under the elbow, and you’re set for life.

Keep in mind that there’s a vast difference between high-quality firm mattresses and cheap, hard mattresses, the latter of which can exacerbate arthritis and joint issues. Even firm mattresses should have a little give.

Less Low Back Pain

It’s estimated that over half of the industrialized world’s population will experience low back pain at some point in their lives. This prevalence is chiefly related to our sedentary lifestyle but can be exacerbated by a soft or sagging mattress.

A firm mattress keeps your spine in alignment and fits into the natural curvature of your spine, rather than allowing it to go unsupported. Providing spinal support while at rest could also help improve your posture while sitting, breaking the vicious cycle of low back pain that so many people combat each day.

Less Snoring

When your mattress isn’t supportive enough, your body sinks into it and puts pressure on your diaphragm. If you snore or have sleep apnea, this can make the problem worse. If you sleep beside someone who snores or has sleep apnea, your nights are probably a restless nightmare.

The structure offered by a firm mattress prevents extra pressure on the airway, making it easier to breathe. While it may not solve the snoring issue, a medium-firm mattress can help lessen it.

Improved Blood Circulation

Another benefit of firm mattresses is that they help improve blood circulation. This consideration is especially important for older people who are partially confined to their beds or have circulatory issues. Additionally, athletes like runners and weightlifters need that unimpeded blood flow to recover from an intense workout.

When looking for a mattress that helps with blood circulation, look for a supportive one with some give. Using a mattress that’s too hard won’t adequately distribute your body weight, creating pressure points that can limit your blood flow.

Less Heat Conduction

Finally, for people who are always hot, a firm mattress is less of a heat conductor than a soft mattress. Less sinking means less insulation around your body, resulting in a more temperate sleep environment. This consideration is especially important for those who live in warmer areas.

Experience these benefits for yourself by purchasing a firm (not hard) mattress when it’s time to replace your bed.