Are you trying to get the answer to, “How firm should my mattress be?” Read this article for a simple guide to mattress buying.
“How firm should my mattress be?” is a question we hear often, but rarely get the answer to. It’s more important than some people assume. After all, your health and comfort depend on your mattress.
Comfort depends on many factors, and there’s the fact that what’s firm for one person may be soft for another. It’s hard to determine the comfort and support level a mattress provides for an individual when you’re not that individual.
There’s also the issue of having too many options in the market, but we’ll get to that another time. After all, it’s important to know first what you should look for in a mattress.
Is a firm mattress better for you? Or is a soft surface more comfortable?
Find that out for yourself using our guide below.
1. Are You a Back, Side, or Stomach Sleeper?
The sleeping position you’re most comfortable with will factor into your decision.
Side sleepers, for instance, might find it hard to sleep on a firm mattress. Since it doesn’t conform much to the body, it will put pressure on their shoulders and hips. A softer mattress, on the other hand, allows your body to sink into it, relieving pressure.
However, a soft surface might not provide support for back and stomach sleepers. Stomach sleepers, in particular, need adequate support for their hips. They need extra support to ensure the spine stays in neutral alignment.
Back sleepers need something that’s not too soft and not too firm — somewhere in the middle.
They need the support a firm mattress provides for their spine. At the same time, they need the conforming quality of a soft mattress for their hips. The right mattress should allow the hips to sink in a bit.
If you tend to toss and turn at night, a softer mattress will make it hard for you to do so. Since you “sink” into it, it’s harder to move around and out of it.
2. Do You Have Back Problems?
Sleeping on the wrong type of mattress can exacerbate any back issues you have, or even cause them. A mattress with a lack of proper support can lead to poor sleeping posture. This messes with your natural spine alignment, leading to back pain woes.
On that note, you might think that a soft mattress can help you ease back pain because they feel more comfortable. That’s not true at all.
Firm mattresses offer the right type of support for your spine. They allow it to remain in a neutral position while you sleep, reducing the pressure and pain.
Aside from back pain, you should also consider any mobility issues you may have when mattress buying. Like we said above, it’s hard to move around in softer mattresses. You may feel stuck in them; it’s much easier to shift positions and get out of bed with a firmer option.
Cause of Your Back Pain
Like how not everyone can enjoy one type of mattress, not every back issue can find remedy in one type. The cause of your back pain also matters in your decision-making.
People with scoliosis, for example, need a medium-firm mattress. It needs to be able to conform to the body’s curves while providing adequate support to the spine.
For these reasons, medium-firm seems to be the sweet spot for back pain sufferers. Still, it may further depend on what your doctor suggests. You may need something firmer or a bit softer, especially when you consider your sleeping habits.
3. Do You Share a Bed?
If you sleep alone, you only have to worry about your sleeping position, back issues, and preferences. When you share a bed, you also have to consider the other person’s position, back issues, and preferences. Your “how firm should my mattress be?” question then turns into “how firm should our mattress be?”
It’s often recommended for co sleeping to stay away from soft mattresses. That’s because the uneven distribution of weight can make the surface imbalanced. The heavier bed partner will sink in deeper causing others to roll towards them.
This can make the mattress unusable after a shorter time than expected. A firmer mattress is preferable in this case, as it has better resistance. It will become softer after some time, but you’ll use it for a longer time.
But, softer options like memory foam can lessen disturbances during sleep. It handles motion transfer better than firm ones, so when one person moves around, the other won’t feel it as much.
However, what if you both can’t settle on a level of firmness? Your needs might differ from the needs of your partner.
In that case, a dual comfort mattress can solve the issue. It provides different firmness levels on each side, satisfying the varying sleep requirements of each person. This allows both people to get the high-quality sleep they deserve.
4. What’s Your Priority?
A firm or soft mattress won’t benefit you if it can’t help you sleep through the night. The primary purpose of a mattress, after all, is to get you comfortable. As such, comfort should be a major driving force in your decision.
Find the middle ground between support and comfort if their definitions are different for you. However, note that having proper support during sleep can aid in comfort, too.
If you like your mattress but it has now become old, get a new one of the same model, regardless of what others may say. As long as you get a good sleep on it and it doesn’t cause you any issues, it’s the right one for you.
If you sleep in another bed and you find yourself having a better quality of sleep, note the model of that mattress. It might be the answer to your problems, or it’s a sign your current mattress has lived its life and you need to replace it.
5. How Firm Should My Mattress Be? – Other Things to Consider
How firm should a mattress be? There are a few factors to consider when mattress buying.
These little characteristics have a big impact on the quality of sleep you receive. You can check out this article to find out more: https://www.nolahmattress.com/blogs/blog/plush-vs-firm-mattress.
That aside, make sure you don’t gloss over the following points too:
The contours of your body may also determine which level of firmness is right for you. Those with wide hips, for example, might find a softer surface to be more comfortable. This is also better for the spine since it aligns the spine.
If your bed feels unforgiving on the curves of your body, then it’s not the right type of mattress for you. Laying on your bed should feel comfortable; you shouldn’t feel increased pressure on certain parts of your body when you assume your normal sleeping position.
The firmness of the mattress is subjective to the weight of the sleeper. The same one can have a different feel for different persons with varying weight.
Let’s take for example a firm mattress with a thin memory foam topper. A lighter person won’t press too much into the bed, so they will only feel the softness of the memory foam. A heavier person might press through this layer, and so they will only feel the firm mattress beneath.
Another example is when two different persons use an innerspring mattress. It will feel softer to a heavier person because they will be able to push the coils better. A lighter person won’t make the coils compress the same way, so it will feel firmer.
With that said, you must choose a firmness not based on recommendations or ratings, but based on your feel. In general, heavier people tend to sleep better on firmer mattresses while lighter people feel more comfortable with softer options.
Some people run cold while they sleep, while others run hot. You may have to consider this when mattress buying as some types may impede airflow.
If you sleep hot, you may want to avoid soft, conforming mattresses. Such kinds provide less airflow because they conform to the nooks of your body contour. Firmer mattresses give you better airflow.
Aside from the firmness of the mattress, the material and style also affect its temperature regulation. Look into these if this is an issue for you.
6. Take Advantage of Comfort Guarantees
Some mattress companies have something like comfort guarantees. This allows you to return a mattress if it’s not comfortable for you. This then gives you time to decide if you’re content with the comfort level of your new mattress.
Note, however, that you should treat the mattress with utmost care while you’re testing it. They may not accept the return if it’s damaged or stained already. Make sure to follow their conditions, if any, as well when you are mattress buying.
Depending on the terms, a returned mattress might not be available for refunds. You may only get store credit or a chance to switch to another mattress offering different support and comfort levels. Read the terms carefully before you begin the mattress buying process.
Research Before Begin Your Mattress Buying Journey
“How firm should my mattress be?” isn’t the only question you need to ask when mattress buying. You also need to consider the materials, size, durability, any extra features, and cost to determine the perfect mattress for you.
Keep in mind that the right mattress does more than offer comfort. It can affect your health and your sleeping pattern too!
But why stop here when we’ve got more for you to discover? If you need more similar tips, check out our blog posts to find the best mattress.