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The Role of Mattress Firmness: Finding the Perfect Balance

Jun 30, 2023

dawn relaxation bed bedroom | The Role of Mattress Firmness: Finding the Perfect Balance | Featured

Finding the right mattress firmness for you is akin to getting optimal sleep. The right firmness can help you sleep and wake up better, feeling refreshed and with much less pain than the night before. Discovering the ideal firmness can also help you sleep more peacefully with your sleeping partner whether you have a two- or four-legged companion.

RELATED: Different Types Of Firmness In Mattresses

Different Kinds of Mattress Firmness Levels

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Mattresses come in many types of firmness levels, typically ranging from soft to firm.

Soft Mattresses

Soft mattresses are perfect for light sleepers (below 60kg) who need pressure relief. These mattresses have enough give to absorb prominent pressure points, like your hips and shoulders. However, heavier sleepers, such as those weighing over 60kg, might find themselves sinking too deeply in their beds. On the other hand, there are sleepers that might like plush and bouncy beds anyway.

This mattress firmness is ideal for:

  • back sleepers
  • side sleepers
  • People under 60kg

Medium-Firm Mattresses

Medium-firm mattresses are a go-to mattress firmness for sleepers that can’t decide between softer or firmer mattresses. Standing in the middle of soft and firm, they’re a good choice for those who want a balance between comfort and support.

Medium-firm mattresses provide a balanced blend, providing a cozy sleeping surface without sacrificing proper spinal alignment. They’re versatile, suitable for a number of sleeping positions, and are great for cradling pressure points without trapping you in. However, for those looking for a sink-in feel, a medium-firm mattress might not give you the plushness you’re looking for.

Some studies also found that medium-firm mattresses were better for people with chronic back pain.

Do you share your bed with a sleeping partner? Do you have conflicting sleeping preferences? A medium-firm mattress may be your best bet.

This mattress firmness ideal for:

  • back sleepers
  • side sleepers
  • stomach sleepers
  • people with sleeping partners

Firm Mattresses

Firm mattresses offer excellent spinal alignment. They provide robust support for back and stomach sleepers, and promote a neutral sleeping posture. Firmer mattresses are also great for people with back pain or heavier body weights (over 60kg) as they prevent excessive sinking.

However, those who prefer a more plush feel might find firm mattresses too rigid. Side sleepers may also experience discomfort on a stiff surface. If you crave solid support, ease of movement, and a firmer feel, a firm mattress can be your best sleeping tool.

This mattress firmness ideal for:

  • back sleepers
  • stomach sleepers
  • people over 60kg

It’s important to note that different mattress brands may use different names to rank their mattress firmness levels. For example, instead of saying “soft” they may us the term “plush.” In addition, other brands might also rank mattress firmness on a scale from one to 10.

Choosing Your Mattress Firmness

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What’s Your Favorite Sleeping Position?

Side sleepers typically need a softer mattress. In contrast, back and stomach sleepers often prefer a firmer mattress.

Side sleepers, having higher pressure points, benefit from more pressure relief in their shoulders and hips. And back and stomach sleepers usually need more rigid and sturdy support for their spine, whether they lie on their back or front.

How Much Do You Weigh?

Weight plays a significant role too. If you’re on the lighter side (60kg and under), a softer mattress might be more comfortable. On the flip side, if you’re heavier, you’ll want a firmer mattress that won’t buckle under your weight.

A firm mattress will ensure proper support and prevent you from sinking too deep into your bed. And heavier people exert more pressure on the mattress, which can cause it to sag and lose its support over time.

What’s Your Personal Preference?

In addition to more objective factors, like your weight and spinal alignment, you also need to consider what you yourself find more comfortable.

Some people prefer softer mattresses for the plush and bouncy feeling. Others crave firmer mattresses for reliable support. It really depends on what’s more comfortable for you.

If you have a sleeping partner and can’t seem to agree on a mattress firmness level, it’s important to find a middle ground so you can both get optimal sleep.

Do You Have a Sleeping Partner?

If you share a bed, you’ll need to consider their preferences as well. You’ll also need to take into consideration their weight, sleeping position, and personal sleeping preferences.

Most hotel chains use medium-firm mattresses that cater to a wider variety of guests. Universal and versatile, a bed with a medium mattress firmness level can prove soft enough and sturdy enough to suit both your needs.

Can’t find the middle ground?

One solution is to purchase two separate single mattresses and place them on the same bed foundation. This way, you can still share a bed with your partner while enjoying a mattress firmness that works for you.

What if I Have a Furry Sleeping Partner?

Even fur friends love Serta mattresses. Every spot is a cool and comfy spot!

If you sleep beside your dog, you’ll need to consider their weight as well. A dog can put a lot of pressure on a mattress, so you may need a firmer mattress to support their weight. And a mattress with zero motion transfer can provide uninterrupted sleep when they decide to hop into bed with you in the middle of the night.

And while all of Serta’s mattresses use high-quality and hypoallergenic materials, we also offer mattress protectors to shield your mattress from pet dander.

RELATED: 3 Best Serta Mattresses When Sleeping With Your Dog

Test the Mattress Firmness Yourself

Another great way to decide on your mattress firmness is to test a mattress yourself. It may take some trial and error, but getting on the bed yourself can lead to the best possible outcome.

Lay on the bed and assume your favorite sleeping position. Ask yourself:

  • Do my sides, spine, and joints (from shoulders to toes) feel well-supported?
  • Does the bed absorb my pressure points?
  • Is my spine in a neutral position? Or does it cause my spine to bend unnaturally, causing unnecessary strain somewhere along my back?

The bed is too soft if it offers no support at all and you end up completely wrapped up in your bed. On the other hand, the bed is too firm if it doesn’t contour to the unique shape of your body, like the small of your back an the dip in your waist when you lay on your side.

If you’ve got nothing but positive answers to all these questions, you may have found yourself a great option.

Is something bothering you about your mattress? You might have to look beyond mattress firmness and start looking more closely at other mattress features.

Should You Sleep on a Soft or Firm Mattress?

desk lamps on bedside tables | soft vs. firm mattress

Ultimately, only you can answer this question. Soft mattresses give you a plush feel and are better suited for light sleepers (under 60kg). On the other hand, firm mattresses have less give and are better suited for heavier sleepers (over 60kg).

However, it would be wrong to think that a firm mattress is in any way unforgiving and rigid.

When choosing your mattress, also consider the construction and materials of your mattress. A pocket spring mattress, whether soft or firm, can provide you with excellent:

  • motion transfer
  • pressure point relief
  • spinal alignment
  • body pain relief

If in your search, you find that you’re better suited for a firm mattress but crave some bounce in your bed and a luxuriously plush sleeping surface, look for a firm mattress with multiple comfort layers, like:

  • foam mattresses
  • memory foam mattresses
  • latex layers
  • pillow top layers

Whether you opt for a soft or firm mattress, you need to look for a mattress with specific features that cater to your more particular needs.

  • Memory foam mattresses are excellent for pressure point and body pain relief.
  • Latex mattresses also excel in pressure relief and are a cooler, hypoallergenic alternative to memory foam.
  • Pillow top layers offer a plush surface without sacrificing the support, spinal alignment, and motion isolation a firm mattress offers you.

Sleep experts and manufacturers can give you advice about general rules of thumb on choosing your mattress firmness. But these only seek to give you a start point.

Why Is Mattress Firmness Important?

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Matching your ideal mattress firmness to your sleeping needs and preferences is a great starting point for bed shopping. Many factors come into play when choosing the best mattress for you. And mattress firmness is just one out of many.

Finding the right mattress firmness does wonders in improving the quality of your sleep and sleeping experience. From relieving back pain to sleeping peacefully and harmoniously next to Fido, matching your sleep needs to the right mattress can help you get better sleep.

Do you know the mattress firmness of your bed? Do you think you chose the right mattress? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below! We’d love to hear from you.