Your mattress can have a big impact on your overall health and wellness. When it comes to choosing the best mattress, start by deciding whether you need a firm mattress, a medium mattress, or a soft mattress. Learn the differences between these three types of mattresses and how you can decide which type is right for you.
Firm, Medium, or Soft Mattress—What’s the Difference?
Mattresses range from being plush to extra firm, and each type is best suited for different sleep styles, body sizes, and personal preferences. For example, a soft mattress is best suited for side sleepers, while firm mattresses provide better support for those with back pain.
The firmness of a mattress varies with the materials in the mattress, as well as construction methods. In general, an extra-firm mattress may have a pocket coil system for support that also prevents sagging. A soft mattress may include more layers of specialized foam to deliver a comfortable overall feel.
Measuring Mattress Firmness
Mattress firmness is often measured on a scale from 1 to 10. In general, a firm mattress is rated anywhere from 8-10. A medium mattress has a firmness rating of 5-7, and a soft mattress is rated between 3 and 4 on the mattress firmness scale.
Which Mattress Firmness is Right for You?
While there’s no hard-and-fast rule about what mattress firmness you should pick, here are some things to consider:
- What is your preferred sleep position?
- Do you have joint or back pain?
- Are you lightweight, average-weight, or overweight?
- Do you tend to overheat while sleeping?
- Are you a solo sleeper, or do you share your bed with a partner?
- Do you snore or use a CPAP machine?
- Do you have mobility limitations that affect your ability to get in and out of bed?
The answers to these questions can help you narrow down whether you should buy a firm mattress, a medium mattress, or a soft mattress. It would also help you to consider the benefits of an adjustable bed.
Firm Mattresses: Best for Back & Stomach Sleepers
A firm mattress is usually the best choice if you’re a back or stomach sleeper. For stomach sleepers, firm mattresses provide the best spinal alignment by preventing the back from hyper-extending. Back sleepers also benefit from proper spinal alignment. For those with back pain, maintaining proper spinal alignment while sleeping prevents a stiff, achy back during the day.
Firm mattresses are also ideal for those who tend to overheat while sleeping. A firm mattress ensures that you’re lying on the surface of the mattress rather than sinking into it like you would with a soft mattress. Sinking into the mattress results in trapped heat and overheating. A firm mattress allows for better airflow and cooling.
Firm mattresses are great for heavier people because of the support that the mattress provides. Firm memory foam mattresses are particularly ideal for heavier people because they provide support, contour to the body, and relieve pressure points. Because sleepers don’t sink into the mattress, they also stay cooler.
People with Mobility Issues
People who live with mobility may find it easier to get in and out of a firm mattress because it doesn’t sink in like a soft mattress. It’s also easier to move about and adjust on the mattress.
Medium Mattresses: Best for Side Sleepers
If you prefer to sleep on your side, also known as the fetal position, a medium mattress might be your best option.
Medium mattresses provide contouring support to your shoulders, torso, and hips while eliminating uncomfortable pressure points. Medium-firm mattresses also prevent you from sinking into the mattress too much. Therefore, allowing for better airflow and cooling.
People Who Sleep With a Partner
A medium-firm mattress is ideal if you share a bed with a partner who likes a firm mattress and you’d prefer a medium mattress. The medium-firm mattress is the perfect middle ground to make you both happy!
Soft mattresses are ideal for lightweight people that prefer the feeling of sleeping in a cloud.
People who weigh less than 120 pounds don’t exert the same amount of downward pressure on their mattresses as larger sleepers. This can make medium and firm mattresses feel uncomfortable.
Smaller, lightweight sleepers may find that a soft mattress provides just enough support to keep their spine aligned, while also cradling and contouring their body.
Soft mattresses deliver a comfortable, ‘cozy’ feel because they let the sleeper sink into the mattress. This can be of great quality if you’re the type of sleeper who piles on the blankets. Soft mattresses tend to envelop sleepers and trap the heat in to keep them toasty warm just the way they like it.
Find Soft, Medium, and Firm Mattresses at Best Mattress
If you need help choosing between a firm mattress, medium mattress, or soft mattress, contact our mattress experts at Best Mattress.