Mattress Firmness Guide

What is mattress firmness?

Mattress firmness refers to the immediate feel of a mattress when you first lie down. It’s important to keep in mind that mattress firmness is a subjective issue.

In other words, each individual has a different perspective of whether a mattress is firm, medium or soft based on their own feels and needs.

We should all remember that the firmness of a mattress doesn't equal the support of a mattress. Support refers to how the mattress keeps the body horizontally aligned while firmness focuses on initial feeling.

Firmness relates to the upper layers of a mattress, while support is provided in the middle and base layers.

It's the construction material and quantity that decide the firmness of a mattress. Innerspring mattresses are firmer because of the use of springs or coils. Memory or Latex foam mattresses varied regarding firmness, owing to the quantity of foam contained in them.

What firmness level do you need?

Mattress firmness levels varied from ultra soft to ultra firm, and the most common firmness levels include soft, medium soft, medium, medium firm, firm.

The firmer the mattress is, the less sinking effect you will experience. People with different body weights and sleeping positions have different firmness preferences. Everyone has a particular firmness level that works best for them.

Weight

Small-sized people tend to feel more of the top layers and less of the core or base materials due to the comparatively small pressure they place on the mattress, therefore, small-sized people may feel more comfortable on a soft or less firm mattress.

Large-sized people may experience more sinkage, so they may prefer firm or medium firm mattresses. The more you weigh, the more force will be exerted on the pressure points when you lay down.

Average-sized people get an optimized sleeping experience on medium mattresses.

Sleep Positions

Most side sleepers need a soft or medium soft mattress that can contour to the curves of the body.

Stomach sleepers generally need a medium-firm or firm mattress to keep the spine in alignment and avoid lower back issues when lying on the stomach.

Back sleepers have a broad firmness range, as pressure is evenly spread across pressure points while sleeping. Slightly soft, medium or moderately firm mattresses are suitable choices.

People with all sleep positions combined need mattresses that at least meets their needs in two different sleeping positions. So, a medium-firm mattress that is neither too firm nor too soft may be suitable.

Comparison Charts

The charts below shows the ideal mattress firmness that people of average size, small size and large size with different sleeping positions often prefer based on body type.

For small-sized people
SIDE SLEEP BACK SLEEP STOMACH SLEEP
Broad Waist Medium Medium-Soft To Medium-Firm Medium-Soft To Medium-Firm
Broad Shoulders Medium-Soft To Medium Medium-Soft To Medium-Firm Medium-Soft To Medium
Broad Hips Medium-Soft To Medium Medium-Soft To Medium-Firm Medium-Soft To Medium
About Equally Broad Shoulders, Waist, Hips Medium Medium-Soft To Medium-Firm Medium-Soft To Medium-Firm
For average-sized people
SIDE SLEEP BACK SLEEP STOMACH SLEEP
Broad Waist Medium To Medium-Firm Medium-Firm Medium To Firm
Broad Shoulders Medium Medium-Soft To Medium-Firm Medium To Medium-Firm
Broad Hips Medium-Soft To Medium-Firm Medium To Medium-Firm Medium-Firm
About Equally Broad Shoulders, Waist, Hips Medium To Medium-Firm Medium-Firm Medium To Firm
For large-sized people
SIDE SLEEP BACK SLEEP STOMACH SLEEP
Broad Waist Medium-Firm Medium-Firm To Firm Medium-Firm To Firm
Broad Shoulders Medium To Medium-Firm Medium To Firm Medium-Firm
Broad Hips Medium To Medium-Firm Medium To Firm Medium-Firm
About Equally Broad Shoulders, Waist, Hips Medium-Firm Medium-Firm To Firm Medium-Firm To Firm

Matters Need Attention

Universal comfort

With all the firmness levels ranging from 1-10 (10 being the firmest), 5-6 out of 10 can be deemed as the universal comfort. In other words, a medium firm mattress can be a comfortable choice for most people in the world. If you are not sure about your suitable firmness, you can give the medium firm mattress a try.

Be careful with soft mattresses

Many people like soft mattresses the first time they touch or lie down on them because of the hugging and extreme soft sensation. However, ultra soft mattresses are the most frequently returned mattresses by customers. Excessively soft mattresses make sleepers sink in too much which may produce sleeping hot and also makes it hard for people to move especially for people over 200 pounds. Generally speaking, mattresses with 3- 3.5 firm can suit the needs of side sleepers, small-sized person, and other soft-favored people.

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