How Firm Should My Mattress Be?

As you buy a new mattress, you may ask yourself How Firm Should My Mattress Be. This post will guide you to get the best mattress firmness for your sleeping needs.

Before we proceed, let us first define mattress firmness.     

Mattress Firmness Defined

Firmness is described as how hard or soft your mattress feels. Mattress firmness can be determined through several factors, including construction and materials.

Most mattresses come with a comfort system layered on a support core. This system is designed for cushioning pressure points like the shoulders and hips. 

The most common materials for mattresses are memory foam, polyfoam, fiber, and latex. A thicker comfort system is made of conforming materials that offer a softer feel to the mattress.

On the other hand, thinner layers made from less malleable materials have a firmer surface. The mattress’s transition layer serves as a buffer between the support core and comfort system. 

The support core reinforces the mattress and keeps the sleeper from sinking. It helps support and maintains the spine in a neutral position. 

Your sleep position, body type, and weight can affect what’s supportive and comfortable for you. The firmness of the mattress is not the only factor you should consider. 

You should also consider the mattress’s temperature neutrality, durability, and responsiveness for optimal comfort. 

What Firmness Should Your Mattress Be? (How Firm Should My Mattress Be)

The following are the different firmness of a mattress.

1. Soft 

Generally, soft mattresses use cushioning materials, including memory foam thick sections or quilted pillow tops on their top layers. These are also called comfort layers.

A soft mattress is described with deep sinkage feelings, pressure relief, and body contouring. With this, you won’t feel too much pushback with this mattress. 

It is preferred by people who need extra comfort in the hips, shoulders, and lower back. It is also the top choice of strict side sleepers. 

2. Medium Firm

The medium-firm mattress combines soft foam top layers and tough foundations of pocketed coils or high-density polyfoam. It balances support and pressure relief, making it a good choice for different sleepers.

You can encounter some sinkage in this type of mattress. However, you can feel lifted up and out of the mattress. It offers extra mobility, making it ideal for back sleepers or combination sleepers. 

3. Firm 

The firm mattress rarely employs plush or soft materials on its comfort layers. It has inserted a thin layer of soft foam atop springs of high-density polyfoam. 

It makes the mattress highly supportive. Your body parts are lifted squarely on the top with lots of pushback in this mattress. 

It can be a good choice for heavy people and stomach sleepers. 

Related: Difference Between Plush and Firm Mattress

Best Firmness for Different Types of Sleepers 

The following is a guide to get the best firmness based on how you sleep.

1. Back Sleepers

This group falls between stomach sleepers and side sleepers when it comes to their needs. Back sleepers can feel unnecessary pinching and tension in the lower back if they have a too firm mattress. 

If the mattress is too soft, the hips of back sleepers can dip out of alignment with their shoulders. The medium-firm bed is highly suggested for back sleepers. 

A medium-firm mattress can lift the spines to a neutral alignment for good comfort and support on the back. It can also help reduce pain and pressure, especially for those with arthritis and fibromyalgia. 

2. Stomach Sleepers

Stomach sleepers can be the opposite of side sleepers. You may get an extra firm mattress with plenty of support and lift if you’re a stomach sleeper. 

If you’re a stomach sleeper, you should ensure that your hips are level with your shoulders to establish neutral spinal alignment. With this, you can prevent uncomfortable bowing on your lower back and avoid back pain. 

Stomach sleepers can have a mattress with supportive interior layers with comfortable top sections. 

3. Side Sleepers

Side sleepers can prefer a soft mattress with enough room to sink in for cuddly and deep pressure relief at the hips, shoulders, and lower back. 

A mattress with zoned support is a good fit for side sleepers. It is softer at the shoulders for pressure relief but firmer at the hips to provide additional support for the lower back.

Side sleepers can prefer memory foam mattresses which are good for sinkage, deep body contouring, and pressure relief. 

Who Can Use a Firm Mattress?

The following are those who can use a firm mattress. 

1. For Heavier People

Sleeping on a firm mattress can be beneficial for heavier people. You will not sink to the mattress allowing proper alignment of the spine and shoulders. 

With this, you can sleep cooler and move easily. If your body is in the best sleep position, you can easily breathe.

2. For Those With Joint Pain

If you have joint pain, you can sleep on a firmer bed. You can breathe easier with reduced pressure on the circulatory system. You can also take more oxygen for a restful and deeper sleep. 

3. Most Back and Stomach Sleepers

A firm mattress is beneficial for back and stomach sleepers. You can have a proper alignment if your hips don’t deeply sink. 

Does a Firm Mattress Last Longer?

Usually, firm mattress’ materials for support layers include latex, foam, and coils making it durable and well-made. The firm mattress can offer years of restful sleep. 

Is Firmness Similar to Support?

Some think that firmness is similar to support. Well, they are two different things. 

Firmness is the immediate feeling you experience as you first lie down on the mattress. On the other side, support is how well the bed can keep the alignment of your spine. 

You can find a firm mattress with no support and a soft mattress with enough support. In other terms, firmness is how the mattress feels.  


There are several factors to determine how firm your mattress should be. There are different mattresses that best suit different types of sleepers and our advice would always be to try before you commit to purchase.

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