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How to Choose the Right Mattress Firmness

How to Choose the Right Mattress Firmness


When buying a new mattress, it is important to find one that fits your exact needs.The firmness of a new mattress is a huge factor in how comfortable it is and can make or break a great night’s sleep.The right firmness setting can provide a comfortable sleep experience and alleviate pressure points in the back, hips, and other sensitive areas of the sleeper’s body.The wrong firmness setting, on the other hand, can cause nightly discomfort and lead to more aches and pains.That’s why it’s important to take a few moments to learn which firmness is best for your sleep needs.

Mattress firmness is a highly subjective and personal matter. It is the degree of firmness a mattress feels when you first lie on it. What’s firm for you may not be firm for others, and what’s soft for others may not be soft for you. You need to consider your weight, preferred sleeping position, whether or not you sleep with a partner/pets/kids, and any ailments to find the right firmness for you.

The Firmness Scale

The table below rates mattresses from 1-10 as a benchmark for their softness or firmness level.

Firmness Scale Rating

Corresponding Feel

Mattress Characteristics


Extra Soft

The sleep surface will sink very deeply and conform closely



A significant but decent amount of sinkage. Good for sleepers who like feeling hugged.


Medium Soft

The surface sinks somewhat and conforms fairly closely


Medium to Medium-Firm

A good balance of support, firmness, and comfort.Also called the universal level of comfort Best firmness for chronic back pain



Great overall support thats still comfortable


Extra Firm

No sinkage and little to no conforming. Might create sore joints instead of relieving them

Consider Your Body Weight

Weight is a key factor in choosing a firmness level, particularly for people who are over or under the recommended body mass index (BMI) range.As a general rule of thumb, the more you weigh, the firmer the mattress you will need.

Weight Group

Typical Firmness Preferences

Light (Less than 130 lbs)

Soft or medium soft

Average(130 to 230 lbs)

Medium Soft or medium Firm

Heavy (More than 230 lbs)

Medium Firm or firm


What Kind of Sleeper Are You?

Side sleepers generally prefer a softer mattress. A soft surface allows the mattress to conform to pressure points in the shoulders and hips, as well as the arm that gets tucked beneath side sleepers, preventing numbness and tingling.

Stomach sleepers get more comfort out of a firmer mattress. Pressure in the hips and pelvis is much greater for stomach sleepers, because these are the points supporting most of their weight. A medium or firm mattress will prevent your hips and pelvis from sinking lower than your shoulders and creating an unnatural curve in the spine.

Back sleepers have the most range in firmness, as pressure is more evenly spread across their pressure points while they sleep. Because of this, back sleepers can find comfort on soft, medium, and firm mattresses. If you’re still undecided, a medium firmness mattress is a pretty safe choice.

Combo sleepers involves a mix of side, back, and/or stomach sleeping, often each night. A medium-firm mattress will probably be the right balance of contour and support.


Depending on your body weight and sleeping positions, you and your partner may need different firmness levels, but it can be difficult to sacrifice your comfort. A medium firmness mattress can be a good compromise to satisfy both partners. Some couples would even order two Long Singles and put them together to create a King-sized mattress with different firmness levels.


Do You Have Back Pain?

If you already suffer from chronic back pain, that’s something to take seriously when selecting a firmness level. Research suggests that chronic back pain sufferers sought more relief in medium-firm mattresses than very firm mattresses. You just need to find one that suits your sleeping position and weight while keeping your spine aligned.

Finding the right firmness for your mattress is a process. Don’t be afraid to take your time in choosing your ideal firmness level.

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