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Resilience can be a difficult topic to discuss. why? Well, everyone experiences the firmness of the mattress a little differently. As with any emotional factor, it’s personal, and your personal preferences can vary greatly depending on your body size, shape, and weight. Fortunately, there are some criteria and standards you can use to better understand how to find the right mattress firmness for you.
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To help you learn more about firmness and what firmness you need, I’ve put together this mattress firmness guide. Here we discuss what firmness is, how the mattress industry measures it, and how to choose the right firmness level for your sleep needs. We will also discuss the difference between stability and support, two words that are often confused with each other.
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The firmness of a mattress refers to the first feeling you feel when you sleep on it. Are you tucked into the mattress or do you rest straight? Do you experience a lot of push back or do you find that materials blend into the curves of your body? These are just a few questions to determine if a mattress is soft, medium or firm.
To help consumers understand firmness, the mattress industry often rates their mattresses on a “firmness scale” of 1 to 10. A mattress with a score of 1/10 would be the softest in the world, and 10/10 would be the firmest. Specifically, a score of 6.5/10 is considered the industry standard for moderate stability. I will explain the resistance measurement in more detail below.
Soft mattresses are usually 3-5/10 on the firmness scale. They typically use cushioning materials in their top layers, such as padded pillowcases or thick layers of memory foam, also known as “comfort” layers. They are characterized by deep immersion, body shape and pressure relief.
You won’t feel as much pressure on a soft mattress, which means you’re more likely to feel “on” than “on”. Soft mattresses are often preferred by narrow side sleepers or people who need extra comfort in the shoulder, hip and lower back area. Some popular examples of soft mattresses include the Layla, Helix Sunset, and Nectar mattresses.
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Medium firm mattresses are usually 6-7/10 on the firmness scale. These beds usually combine a soft foam top layer with a firmer high density foam or pocket rolls. It strikes a balance between pressure relief and support, appealing to many sleepers.
Although you may sink into a medium-firm mattress, you may feel the bed rise and fall. For this reason, these groups can benefit from a little mobility, so mid-level mattresses can be good for co-sleepers or back sleepers. Some of my favorite midsize mattresses are DreamCloud, Saatva, and Leesa Hybrid.
And finally, firm mattresses, generally fall in the 8-10/10 range on the firmness scale. Soft or soft materials are rarely used in the comfort layers of these beds; Instead, they put a thin soft foam on a large amount of polyurethane or springs. Therefore, firm mattresses can help a lot.
On a firm mattress, every part of your body should be upright on the bed with a lot of push back. Stomach sleepers and heavy people can appreciate the extra weight they add due to these structures. Some good firm mattresses on the market include the Helix Dawn, Brooklyn Plank and WinkBed mattresses. You can also check out our best mattresses for heavy people for more options.
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So, now that we know what the three main strength groups are, let’s get back to the overall strength measure. This will give you a better idea of how a 3/10 or 7.5/10 feels when doing a mattress test.
As I said above, these definitions are subjective, but I think they give a good idea of how these numbers translate to the real situation in bed.
With this understanding of firmness, it’s time to address the age-old question: What is the best mattress firmness? As you may have guessed, there is no answer to an important question. why? Well, because stability is a personal thing. A super firm mattress may be great for a stomach sleeper, but terrible for a side sleeper.
To help you better understand this question based on your sleep needs, let’s break down rest by position.
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Back sleepers are an interesting group, as they fall between side sleepers and stomach sleepers in terms of their needs. If their mattress is too firm, back sleepers can experience unnecessary pressure and strain on their lower back. If it’s too soft, their hips may line up with their shoulders. For this reason, I usually recommend that back sleepers stick to a medium-firm mattress.
Why is this firmness level so good for back sleepers? Well, it helps bring their spines into a neutral position, creating sound support and comfort for the back. It relieves pressure and pain, especially for those struggling with fibromyalgia and arthritis.
As we mentioned above, the industry standard for average stability is 6.5/10, so around this number should be good for these dreams.
Back sleepers can find medium-firm comfort in a variety of mattress types, but I suggest starting their search with hybrid mattresses. To be classified as a hybrid, the bed must be covered with both foam and roll layers, which provide a good interplay of rebound and sinking.
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Side sleepers are generally slightly more comfortable than back sleepers. This group needs a soft mattress with plenty of room to sink into to reduce pressure on the shoulders, hips and lower back. A mattress with zone support may be suitable for these bedrooms. Mattresses that offer zonal support are soft in the shoulder area to reduce pressure, but firm in the waist to provide additional lower back support.
There is a zone support system. Notice how the shoulders drop to relieve this pressure.
When considering the best softness level for side sleepers, I focus on the 4-6/10 range.
Of course, while side sleepers still need firm support, they need a thick, soft foam to greet you as soon as you jump into bed. This will help ease their joints as they are pressed into the structure, preventing their pressure points from sticking uncomfortably or straining throughout the night. I recommend that side sleepers stick with memory foam mattresses, known for their deep body shape, tub and pressure relief.
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I think stomach sleepers are the opposite of side sleepers because they need firmer beds with more lift and support. These sleepers should keep their hips at shoulder level and maintain neutral spinal alignment to avoid uncomfortably arching the lower back. This is especially important to prevent back pain. For this reason, I lead stomach sleepers to beds with a strength of 8 to 10.
But just as side sleepers still need support, so do stomach sleepers. The main thing is to find a mattress that combines very firm inner layers and comfortable tops to relieve the pressure. For stomach sleepers, a box spring or hybrid mattress built with thin pillows is probably best.
When thinking about stability and support, many people mistakenly think that the words are synonymous with each other. In fact, they mean two different things. Firmness is the feeling you immediately feel when you first lie on the mattress. On the other hand, support refers to how the mattress supports the spine. So, you get a soft mattress with lots of support and a firm mattress with no support.
Drawing the line between firmness and support can be difficult, but it’s important to distinguish between the two when shopping for a new mattress. Note: Firmness is simply the feel of the mattress. Does it take the pressure off? Are you comfortable? Too much moisture, too much restorative, or something in between? Learn more about which mattresses are most comfortable for certain sleep patterns
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Support refers to whether or not the mattress sets your spine in a neutral position. When you sleep in your preferred sleeping position, do you feel the mattress keeping your spine straight, good or bad?
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