Mattress Firmness Guide – Which Firmness Is Best for You?

Mattress Firmness

When deciding whether to buy a mattress, there are several things to consider. Understanding vital mattress features will help you choose a fantastic bed that will perform well for your needs, given that this is one of the most significant purchases you will make for your bedroom.

The degree of firmness affects how well a mattress works for various sleepers. The optimum hardness can cushion delicate body parts while promoting proper spinal alignment. However, with time, tension and pain can result from a bed that is either soft vs firm mattress.

We’ll go through the fundamental aspects of each firmness level to help you understand how mattress firmness affects sleep. Then, to help you choose the firmness range that best suits your requirements, we’ll look at how they operate for different sleep habits and body types.

What is Mattress Firmness?

A mattress firmness levels describes how soft or firm it feels. We utilize a standard 10-point scale, albeit each manufacturer may have their system for determining firmness and explaining it. More well-built surfaces are on the higher end, while softer mattresses are towards the lower back.

Its construction and material composition largely influence how firm a mattress feels. Most models have a support core on top of a comfort mechanism. The comfort system is typically made to relieve pressure at pressure areas like the shoulders and hips.

Polyfoam, memory foam, latex, and fiber are typical materials. Thicker comfort systems composed of less flexible materials tend to contribute to a more complex surface than airless comfort systems built of more conforming materials.

How Mattress Firmness is Measured

The mattress firmness scale is typically measured on a scale vacillating from 1 to 10, with 1 being incredibly soft and 10 extremely firm. However, there isn’t a standardized measurement method across all mattress manufacturers.

To determine the firmness of a mattress, manufacturers may use various techniques, including compression tests or subjective ratings based on customer feedback. Some companies may describe the firmness of their mattresses using terms like “soft,” “medium,” or “firm” without specific numerical values.

It’s important to note that firmness perception can be subjective and may vary from person to person based on individual preferences, body weight, and sleeping positions. Therefore, trying out a mattress or relying on detailed descriptions and customer reviews is recommended to better understand its firmness level before purchasing.

Bed Firmness Scale

It’s uncommon to discover a mattress that rates a genuine 1/10 on the firmness scale because such a mattress would be uninhabitable. Such a bed would provide too much sinkage, preventing any chance of support. Sleep King has never reviewed a mattress that would receive a 1/10 rating.

  • 2/10, or highly soft: A mattress with a firmness rating of 2 is slightly more realistic than a 1/10, but it still certainly wouldn’t be supportive enough for the everyday sleeper. Again, most people would experience too much sinkage from this construction. In addition, Sleep King has never reviewed a mattress with a firmness rating of 2.
  • 3/10, or highly soft: The stiffness rating of 3/10 is a little more tolerable. Although there is still much sinkage at this level (about 1.5 to 3 inches), the best Tempurpedic mattress starts to offer a bit more support. A mattress with a 3/10 rating is typically made of memory foam, a soft material that offers significant pressure alleviation. For side sleepers, this amount of softness is ideal.
  • Soft, or 4 out of 10: A mattress gets a 4 out of 10 from me if it’s soft yet has a more balanced feel. Most sleepers will experience less of that “stuck-in-the-bed” sensation associated with softer mattresses since the comfort layers are getting thinner. Additionally, the level is ideal for severe side sleepers.

What is the Best Firmness for a Mattress?

Now that you know mattress firmness, it’s time to answer the age-old question: What is best for a mattress? As you may have guessed, there is no correct response to this crucial question. Why? Because being firm is such a subjective matter. A substantial mattress could be ideal for stomach sleepers but terrible for side sleepers.

Rear Sleepers

Back sleepers are a fascinating group because, in terms of requirements, they fall in the middle between side sleepers and stomach sleepers. Back sleepers may endure unneeded stress and pinching in the lower back if their mattress is substantial.

Their hips could slide out of position concerning their shoulders if it’s too soft. Because of this, we typically advise back sleepers to go with a medium-firm mattress.

Side Sleepers

The consensus among side sleepers is slightly lower than that of back sleepers. This group requires a soft mattress with lots of room to snuggle in for deep and comfortable pressure relief in the shoulders, hips, and lower back.

These sleepers might benefit from a mattress with targeted support. The firmness of the mattress with zoned help is firmer at the hips to provide lower back support and softer at the shoulders to relieve some pressure.

Belly Sleepers

As opposed to side sleepers, stomach sleepers require substantial beds with lots of lift and support. These sleepers must make sure that their hips are level with their shoulders, creating a neutral spinal alignment to prevent uncomfortably bowing at the lower back.

This is crucial to remember to avoid back pain. Because of this, we usually recommend beds with a firmness rating of 8 to 10 for stomach sleepers.

Is Firmness the Same as Support?

Many people mistakenly believe support and firmness are the same when discussing them. They refer to two entirely distinct concepts. Your first impression when lying on a mattress is how firm it feels.

Support, on the other hand, describes how well the mattresses comfort levels maintain the alignment of your spine. Consequently, you can get a firm mattress with little to no support and a soft mattress with a ton of support.

It can be challenging to distinguish between firmness and support, but it’s crucial to do so when searching for a new mattress. Said firmness refers to how the mattress feels.

How to Choose the Best Mattress Firmness

Knowing more about mattress firmness and other related mattress characteristics, you should consider your particular sleeping style and the features your bed will need to provide restful, pleasant sleep. Consider these essential elements to determine the mattress firm level that suits you best.

Your Weight Group

The mattress firmness scale is a valuable, if not perfect, tool. Why? Because the firmness scale describes the feel of a mattress, which is a crucial subject metric. Additionally relative is mattress firmness. Depending on how each person is built, two persons lying side by side on the same mattress will feel the hardness of the mattress differently.

Your Sleep Position

Why does where you sleep matter? Weight is distributed differently, and the spine is oriented in each sleeping position. Your preferred sleeping position and the location of your body’s heavier parts will determine how firm of a mattress you need to maintain proper spinal alignment.


Although only one piece of the jigsaw, king beautyrest mattress firmness is essential. Every sleeper has a different experience with hardness, just like every sleeper. Remember that firmness—which refers to how soft or hard the bed feels—and support are related even though firmness and support are different.

Even if you are statistically likelier to like a medium-firm mattress, you might discover that softer or harder options are more comfortable. Your weight, sleep posture, if you sleep with your husband, and any pain you may be experiencing will all play a role in choosing the proper firmness.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know what firmness of mattress I need?

A mattress’s ideal firmness depends on your preferences, body type, and sleeping positions. Consider factors like weight, specific pain, health considerations, and whether you prefer a softer or firmer feel. Trying out mattresses in person or reading detailed descriptions and customer reviews can also help you make an informed decision.

What are the firmness levels of mattresses?

Mattress firmness levels typically range from soft to firm. The exact scale can vary between manufacturers, but it generally follows a range of 1 to 10, with 1 being incredibly soft and 10 being extremely firm. Some manufacturers may also use descriptive terms like “plush,” “medium,” or “extra firm” to indicate the level of firmness.

What firmness is best for side sleepers?

Side sleepers often benefit from a mattress with medium to medium-soft firmness. This range provides enough cushioning to relieve pressure points around the shoulders and hips, promoting proper spinal alignment. However, individual preferences can vary, and some side sleepers may find a slightly firmer or softer mattress more comfortable based on their body weight and personal preferences.

What is the most common firmness for mattresses?

The most common firmness for mattresses varies depending on market trends and individual preferences. However, medium firmness (around 5-6 on a scale of 1-10) is often considered a popular choice as it balances support and comfort. This firmness level accommodates a wide range of sleeping positions and body types, making it a versatile option for many individuals.

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