Mattress Firmness Scale & Guide

Finding a mattress that’s comfortable is easier when you know which firmness level suits your needs. This is why firmness is one of the most important factors to understand when looking for a mattress. Beds range from very firm to very soft, and the firmness level you might initially gravitate towards may not be suitable for your sleeping style or body type. This guide will help you how to determine the ideal firmness level for you.

Here's a breakdown of firmness levels:

  • 1-2 Very Firm

  • 3 Firm

  • 4-5 Medium to Firm

  • 5-6 Medium

  • 7-8 Soft

  • 9-10 Very Soft

What Mattress Firmness is Best For Me?

While the firmness that’s right for you is ultimately up to personal preference, there are several factors that commonly influence which level feels right to an individual. These considerations will help lead you toward a range of firmness's that you’ll enjoy.

Sleep Position

It’s relatively easy to predict which firmness levels a sleeper will enjoy based on their sleeping position of choice.

  • Side Sleepers do well on soft mattresses, which offer thick comfort layers that aid in body-contouring properties. Side sleepers require contouring to avoid pains and aches at the shoulders and hips.

  • Stomach Sleepers tend to sleep comfortably on firm mattresses. A firm mattress provides a flat sleeping surface for their hips and pelvis to rest on. Too much sink-age in this area, especially for individuals who carry weight in their midsections, will throw the spine out of alignment.

  • Back Sleepers enjoy the benefit of sleeping well on almost any mattress. The weight of back sleepers’ bodies is evenly distributed, so they can feel great on a soft, medium, or firm mattress.

  • If you switch positions throughout the night, a medium-firm mattress or “universal comfort” mattress, which we’ll cover later, could be a suitable option.

Firmness Based on Weight

Light

Lightweight sleepers (less than 130 pounds) should pick either soft or medium mattresses. Differently from heavier sleepers, the sink-age into the mattress will be minimal. By picking a mattress that’s too firm, you won’t feel the pressure relief qualities as you’ll be floating on top of it. Additionally, it will create many pressure points.

Medium

Medium weight sleepers (from 130 to 230 pounds) tend to benefit from beds that are from 5 to 7 on the mattress firmness scale. Basically, whether you choose a mattress that’s more on the firmer or softer side of the mattress firmness chart completely depends on your sleeping position and personal preferences.Medium-firm mattresses will provide you with the needed level of both firmness and support.

Heavy

If you’re a heavyweight sleeper (over 230 pounds), you’ll find that you need more support that can, generally, give firmer mattress. When sleeping on a soft mattress, you’ll feel like sinking in due to the lack of support. What is more, if you pick a firmer mattress, it will serve you much longer than the soft option and will give you more breath-ability together with coolness because you will be sleeping on the mattress rather than in it.

Age/Ability

Firmer mattresses are easier to get out of since you won’t experience deep sinkage on impact. This is something to consider if you’re elderly, have physical limitations, or are heavy and sink deep.

Sleeping Partner

If your partner is larger, smaller, or has a different sleeping position than you, you might prefer different firmness levels. If that’s the case, a medium-firm feel is a nice catch-all option that tends to feel pretty comfortable to most people.

Firmness Depending on Weight and Sleeping Position Chart

Weight
Sleeping Position
Soft
Light, Average
Side
Medium
Light, Average, Heavy
Side, Stomach, Back
Firm
Heavy
Back

As you can see, there is a whole lot to consider when it comes to the firmness of your mattress. The thing is that it’s tied to a range of different characteristics, all of which need to be accounted for. This is something quite important.

Of course, ultimately, it would all come down to the way you feel on the mattress. While statistically, you are likely to prefer a medium-firm mattress, you might also like something else. It would depend on your sleeping patterns, positions, preferences and overall weight.

We hope that the aforementioned provides you with detailed information about everything that you may need to know. Hopefully, you’d be able to make a quick yet very informed decision.

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