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Mattress firmness guide- Soft, medium, or firm – which is best?


When buying a new mattress, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is the firmness level. Mattresses come in a range of firmness options, from super soft to extra firm. Choosing the right firmness is crucial for both comfort and support. The wrong firmness leads to back, hip, or shoulder pain and restless nights. 

Mattress firmness levels mean

Mattress firmness is measured on a 1-10 scale, softest and 10 being the firmest. Most mattresses fall between a 3-7 on the firmness scale. 

  1. Soft (3) – Plush, cushiony feels that allows more sinkage. Best for lightweight side sleepers.
  2. Medium Soft (4): Gentle conforming and cradling balanced with support. Works for side and back sleepers less than 130 lbs. 
  3. Medium (5) – Widely appealing feel that suits most sleepers. Provides a balance of conforming and support. 
  4. Medium Firm (6) – Supportive with light conforming. Best for back and stomach sleepers over 130 lbs.
  5. Firm (7-8) – Very sturdy with minimal sinkage. It is ideal for heavy back and stomach sleepers over 230 lbs. 
  6. Extra Firm (9-10) – Hard with little to no conforming. For back sleepers over 300 lbs who need maximum support.

Factors that determine ideal firmness 

 Choosing your optimal mattress firmness depends on several factors:

  • Your weight– Heavier people require a firmer mattress that won’t allow excessive sinkage, while lighter people often prefer softer options for cushioning.
  • Sleep position– Side sleepers need more cushioning for their shoulders and hips, so a softer mattress works best. Back and stomach sleepers require more support to align the spine, making a firmer mattress ideal. presidents day mattress sales enjoy unbeatable discounts on mattresses from top brands.
  • Personal preference– Some people simply prefer the hugging feel of a soft mattress or the floating feel of a very firm one. Go with what feels most comfortable to you.
  • Mattress type– Memory foam and latex mattresses work well for side sleepers since they conform closely. Innerspring and hybrid mattresses have more pushback for back and stomach sleepers.

Medium mattress firmness

A medium firmness around 5 on the scale offers a balance of conforming and support that suits most sleepers. There’s a moderate amount of sinkage for pressure relief and cushioning but also enough support to keep the spine aligned in side, back, and stomach sleeping positions. This universal comfort makes medium firmness the most popular option. Medium firm mattresses promote spinal alignment; minimize motion transfer between partners, and work for couples with different comfort needs. The medium feel also offers a nice balance of cushioning and support as your body shifts through various positions at night. The main downside is that medium firmness may not offer enough targeted pressure relief for some lightweight side sleepers. 

Firm mattress firmness 

Mattresses in the firm range around 7-8 on the scale have a sturdy, supportive feel with less conforming. It prevents excessive sinkage around the midsection, providing even support for back and stomach sleepers over 130 pounds. The floating feel helps keep the spine aligned in these positions, preventing back pain. Firm mattresses are also quite durable and stable. The lack of deep impressions helps the mattress maintain its structure and support for years. Couples enjoy solid edge support for using the full mattress surface. The main issue with firm mattresses is that they do not alleviate pressure points well for side sleepers. 



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