Mattress shopping is not as easy as you think. It’s not like you can walk in a store or browse through an online catalogue and just pick the first mattress that catches your eye.
There are many factors that need to be considered and that will surely affect the performance of your mattress. Firmness is one of them.
You may have noticed that when looking at the options you have, no matter what the mattress brand is, you’re asked to pick the level of firmness that you want. Now this can be tricky, because how exactly do you decide if a mattress is too firm or too soft for your needs?
The different kinds of firmness
Not all mattresses are made the same, and not all people sleep the same way either.
Now the different levels of firmness are there precisely because people have varying needs. And it’s not so much about labeling one type of firmness as the best or the most ideal, it’s understanding which firmness type is ideal for you in particular.
Different mattress companies have different ways of identifying firmness. The spectrum from softness to firmness will vary from company to company, and you can pick where in the spectrum you want your mattress to lie.
Typically though, you’d be looking at these levels:
On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most firm, a soft mattress would be a 3, 4, or 5.
That means these mattresses are extremely plush, have a significant level of ‘hug’, and really allows your body to sink into it. In fact, with a soft mattress you can sink in as much as 1 ½ up to 3 inches.
The medium firm option is the middle ground, giving you a softness level of around 5-7 out of 10.
A medium firm mattress is typically considered a universal comfort mattress, because it gives you a balanced level of hug, contour, and push-back. It’s not too soft but not too firm either, which is why a lot of people prefer this level.
If you’re not used to a firm mattress, lying down on one will probably surprise you the first time, with a firmness level of 7 ½ – 10 out of 10. But you’ll be surprised at the advantages that you get from having a mattress that’s firm.
For those with back problems, this firmness type is actually ideal because it gives you the support that your back needs. The sinkage is very minimal, about less than 1 inch.
Most companies will have multiple levels of firmness offered, and for some you can even customize your mattress so that it can have the exact firmness that you want.
Some companies also offer firmness tiered mattresses, which means you get to enjoy multiple firmness levels in one mattress, depending on your unique needs.
For a good firm mattress, consider brands such as Eve.
The factors you need to consider
To pick the level of firmness that’s perfect for you, you need to take a look at the following:
If you’re a side sleeper, you would usually need a soft or medium mattress because you’re creating multiple pressure points on it, and it has to be able to adjust or contour itself to your body’s curves.
Stomach sleepers would need a slightly firm to firm mattress to help with spine alignment, or else you’ll encounter some back issues. For back sleepers, you need to be in the medium to firm end of the spectrum.
The mattress should be able to adequately support your body weight, so this is something you should definitely consider as well.
If you’re on the extremely light side (below 120 lbs), you can get away with a soft mattress because you won’t be sinking as much. Heavier sleepers (200+ lbs) on the other hand will need deep compression support because your weight will be placing increased pressure on the mattress and you will have significantly more sinkage.
As a general rule of thumb, the heavier you are, the firmer you want your mattress to be.
If you’re not alone in bed, then you should consider the needs of your sleeping partner as well.
A medium firm one would normally give universal comfort to both of you, but you also need to consider things like motion transfer and ensuring that you’re both as comfortable as you need to be.
We should not take firmness level for granted because our mattress should be able to support the natural curvature of our spine when we sleep.
Spinal alignment is critical in ensuring your back’s health and preventing all kinds of aches and pains that will develop in the long run if you’re not doing things properly.
Now that you know all this, it’s easier to make a decision. And if it’s still too tricky for you, consider actually trying out the mattresses beforehand to feel the firmness levels for yourself.