How to Pick Your Perfect Mattress
Ready for a new mattress? Here’s how to find the one that suits you best.
Getting a good night’s sleep depends on a lot of different factors — comfort, stress level, room temperature вЂ“ but to get it right, you’ve got to start with the basics and your mattress is the first building block to a restful slumber.
If you’re in the market for a new mattress and have recently taken a stroll down the aisle of a bedding store, you know that there is a dizzying array from which to choose. How do you know which mattress is best for you?
To start, says Arya Nick Shamie, MD, associate professor of orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery at Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center, the mattress needs to support your body in a neutral position, one in which your spine has a nice curvature and your buttocks, heels, shoulders, and head are supported in proper alignment
"If the mattress is too firm, it will push on those main pressure points and take you out of alignment," Shamie tells WebMD. "If it’s too soft, those pressure points won’t be properly supported, so your whole body flops back." Both of these scenarios can lead to an achy morning.
Generally speaking, one type or brand of bed isn’t better than another, says Michael Breus, PhD, a WebMD sleep expert and author ofBeauty Sleep: Look Younger, Lose Weight, and Feel Great Through Better Sleep.But he does find that a firmer bed seems to be better for people with lower back pain.
In fact, researchers in Spain studied people with long-term back pain and found that on a 10-point hard-to-soft scale people who slept on a medium-to-firm mattress (5.6 on the scale) had less back pain than those who slept on a softer mattress.
Is It Time for a New Mattress?
How do you know if the bed you’re sleeping on is the right one?
"If you wake up in the morning and have some low back pain and can stretch and get rid of it in 15 or 30 minutes, that means you’re on an inappropriate mattress for you," Breus says.
The right mattress, on the other hand, is one on which you feel no pressure, almost like you’re floating in air, Breus says.
If you’re looking for a new mattress, experts suggest testing it in the store and laying down on each mattress in the position in which you normally sleep. Breus suggests spending at least 10 to 15 minutes on the bed. And, bring your own pillow! The more you can replicate the way you’ll be sleeping on the mattress once you get it home, the better your chances of picking the right one.
Innerspring mattresses are still by far the most widely used. They support you with coil springs, and in most built today, each coil is individually enclosed. This helps the bed weather years of use and prevents the coils from popping out of the mattress. On top of the coils are a wide variety of materials added for comfort, from pillow to latex to memory foam. It’s all a matter of preference.
Salespeople may try to sell you on the idea that more coils mean more comfort, but that’s not necessarily true, Breus and Shamie say.
"You don’t really need a coil count above 390," Breus says. Beyond that, the difference in feel is so small it would be difficult to notice.
Pros:There are plenty of innerspring mattresses on the market from which to choose. They range in firmness, the fluffiness of the pillow top, and in price to fit nearly every preference and pocket book.
Cons:There’s no direct relationship in most cases between price and comfort, but Shamie suggests steering clear of the cheapest innerspring mattress. If there aren’t enough springs and cushion to offer you proper support, he says, you’ll likely wake up with an aching back.
Conditions:For someone who is very overweight, spring mattresses may offer a firmer support, making them easier to get in and out of, Breus says. Firmer versions are good for people with back pain. But spring-based mattresses can be comfortable for almost anyone.
Memory Foam Mattresses
Memory foam mattresses are growing in popularity. They are made of layers of different densities of foam that respond to weight and temperature, and are known for comfort because they contour to the specific shape of your body. Memory foam toppers are also available.
Pros:By molding to the shape of your body as your weight shifts through the night, memory foam reduces pressure points, and relieves pain. Memory foam also absorbs movement, so if you sleep with a partner, you’re not likely to be disturbed by his tossing and turning.
Cons:One of the biggest complaints with memory foam mattresses is that because these mattresses are temperature sensitive, softening and molding with your body heat, they can make you feel extremely hot during the night. Breus also says memory foam mattresses have been known to emit an unpleasant chemical smell.
Conditions:"If you have a hard time getting comfortable, if you have chronic fatigue, or some type of muscle pain, then a memory foam mattress would work well for you, assuming you don’t have temperature issues," Breus says.
Latex mattresses are made from either natural or synthetic rubber, and are known for providing a very firm, bouncy support that is uniform throughout the bed.
Pros:"Quite frankly, I think one of the best materials is latex," Breus says. He likes it for being very firm and supportive, but also for providing comfort similar to memory foam. Unlike the memory foam mattresses, however, Breus says latex pushes back, ultimately providing more support.
Cons:If you don’t like the feel of a firm mattress, latex is probably not the right choice for you.
Conditions: Either a latex mattress or latex mattress topper is great for relieving back pain because they offer the best combination of comfort and support, Breus says.
We’re not talking about the blow-up mattresses you put your holiday guests on for a few days. Higher-end air beds look like a standard innerspring mattress, but use air-filled chambers instead of coils, and are covered by a foam layer on top.
Shamie notes that air beds have long been used for patients with spinal cord injuries who are lying in bed for a long time. They can be adjusted so they don’t continue to press on the same areas of the body, which helps to avoid skin breakdown in patients who can’t move.
Pros:"Couples who have dramatic differences in their individual preference for comfort and firmness levels might do very well with an air mattress," Breus says. The reason is that the firmness of each side of the bed can be altered. If you like it firmer than your partner, these beds can be adjusted for that.
Like latex and memory foam, you can also find air toppers for your mattress.
Cons:Shamie says people sometimes fail to make their air bed firm enough and wake up with back aches. Less sophisticated air mattresses also pop up on one side when you sit on the opposite end. For that reason Breus says, you want multiple chambers so that doesn’t occur.
Conditions:These beds are particularly useful when sleeping partners have different needs. If one of you has a bad back, one side can be made firmer than the other to provide greater support.
These beds are able to bend and elevate at varying angles. As a result, the mattress has to be flexible. Different types of mattresses can be used on an adjustable bed вЂ“ memory foam, latex, or air, for example. Spring mattresses are more difficult to use, however, because the springs don’t handle the bending well.
Pros:For people who have difficulty getting in and out of bed or who like to watch television in bed, Shamie says, adjustables can make life easier by moving you closer to where you need to be.
Conditions:If you suffer from sleep apnea, sleeping flat can make the condition worse by cutting off airways and causing the tongue to fall into the back of the throat, Shamie says. People who experience acid reflux can also benefit by sleeping in a bed that elevates their upper body.
Shamie also suggests adjustable beds for people with hip or back pain who have a hard time moving from a lying position to sitting up or standing.
When you have guests staying for a night or two, sofa beds come in handy. The mattresses in these beds tend to be very thin so they are flexible enough to fold and collapse into the couch. It’s a great convenience to have a sofa bed, but you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who raves about their comfort.
Pros:Sofa beds are convenient, especially if you have limited space. But from a health perspective, Shamie and Breus don’t see any advantages.
Cons:A night or two on a sofa bed is OK. But "this is probably the worst kind of bed you can sleep on long-term," Shamie says. The mattresses used in most sofa beds are very thin and the springs quite weak. "It really leads to an uncomfortable situation," Shamie says.
If you’re really tight for space and need a bed that folds up, Shamie says that futons, while not the most supportive, are better for your back than the typical sofa bed.
Conditions:There are no conditions for which a sofa bed will be helpful, according to the experts. But if you have a bad back or hips, these beds will be especially uncomfortable.
When to Part With Your Old Mattress
Today’s mattresses are made to last a lifetime. But you probably shouldn’t plan on keeping yours for that long. Our bodies change over time, Breus says, so the mattress that was once a joy to sleep on may no longer feel comfortable a few years down the road.
In addition, mattresses collect dust mites, fungus, and other germs that can exacerbate allergies and impact your sleep patterns. After 10 to 15 years, it’s time to think about buying a new bed.
Ultimately, the experts say that the best bed for you is the one that feels most comfortable. And remember, Shamie says, "There’s no mattress that’s going to save your body when you get only five hours of sleep." In order to feel your best, you need to get enough restвЂ¦ no matter what type of mattress you’re sleeping on.
Arya Nick Shamie, MD, associate professor of orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery, Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center.
Breus, Michael, PhD, WebMD sleep expert and author ofBeauty Sleep: Look Younger, Lose Weight, and Feel Great Through Better Sleep
Kovacs, FM.The Lancet, November 2003; vol 362: pp 1599-1604.
Mattress Firmness: Understanding and Choosing a Comfort Level
Firmness is one of the most important considerations for mattress buyers. 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. This guide will discuss the different mattress firmness settings and how these settings impact sleep quality.
What Is Mattress Firmness?
When discussing mattresses, ‘firmness’ refers to how soft or firm the bed feels to individual sleepers. Firmness is directly tied to the topmost comfort layers of the mattress. These layers – often made from materials like polyfoam, memory foam, and latex – are designed to cushion the sleeper and act provide a buffer for the firmer, denser materials found in the bed’s support core. The firmness setting indicates (among other things) how closely the mattress will conform to the sleeper’s body.
Another important mattress factor, support, is often confused with firmness. Support refers to the bed’s ability to provide a flat, even surface that minimizes pressure points and keeps the spine aligned. While the comfort layers impact firmness, the bed’s bottom layers – known as the support core – play the biggest role in a bed’s supportive qualities.
Additionally, conforming ability is distinct from firmness. Conforming ability refers to how consistently the mattress contours to the sleeper’s body without sagging under the shoulders, midsection, and other heavy areas. Ultimately, a mattress shopper should take firmness, support, and conforming ability into account before deciding which model is best for them.
It’s important to note that firmness preferences are completely subjective. A mattress that offers ideal comfort and support for one sleeper may feel uncomfortable and uneven to another. This is because certain factors – such as the sleeper’s weight, body type, and preferred sleep position – often indicate which firmness setting is best.
Mattress firmness is also loosely tied to other performance variables, such as the bed’s durability, temperature neutrality, and odor potential. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the different firmness settings for mattresses made today.
The Mattress Firmness Scale
When evaluating firmness, Tuck Sleep’s product analysts rely on a 1-10 scale. The scale breaks down as follows:
|Firmness Scale Rating||Corresponding Feel||Mattress Characteristics|
|1||‘Extra Soft’||The sleep surface will sink very deeply and conform closely|
|2-3||‘Soft’||The sleep surface sinks and conforms to a significant extent|
|4||‘Medium Soft’||The surface sinks somewhat and conforms fairly closely|
|5||‘Medium’||The surface does not sink much and will conform to a noticeable extent|
|6||‘Medium Firm’||The surface sinks very little and conforms to a moderate extent|
|7-8||‘Firm’||The surface remains even with little to no sinking; conforming is minimal|
|9-10||‘Extra Firm’||No sinkage and little to no conforming|
Although we have tested mattresses that fit each setting category, the vast majority of beds sold today fall between a 3 and an 8 on the 1-10 scale. Now, let’s take a closer look at each setting’s specific characteristics.
‘Very Soft’ and ‘Soft’ (1-3)
Softer mattresses with ratings from 1-3 usually perform as follows:
- Support:Softer mattresses offer good support for people who weigh less than 130 pounds – particularly side sleepers who want to improve their spinal alignment. Heavier people often find softer beds provide inadequate support and sag excessively.
- Conforming ability:Soft mattresses conform very closely to the sleeper’s body – too closely for some. Expect a tight, body-hugging sensation.
- Lifespan:Softer mattress materials tend to deteriorate more quickly. As a result, mattresses with exceptionally soft comfort layers typically have shorter lifespans than those with firmer layers.
- Price:Many mattresses are ‘Extra Soft’ or ‘Soft’ because they are constructed with several comfort layers, including memory foam and latex components. These materials can drive up the price-point by a considerable margin. Softer mattresses tend to be more expensive for this reason.
‘Medium Soft’, ‘Medium’, and ‘Medium Firm’ (4-6)
Mattresses with firmness ratings of 4, 5, or 6 usually perform as follows:
- Support:Mattresses with moderate firmness settings offer stable, adequate support without sacrificing surface comfort. This makes them ideal for people who weigh 130 to 230 pounds and sleep in any position.
- Conforming ability:‘Medium Soft’ to ‘Medium Firm’ mattresses provide a balance of cushioning and support, resulting in moderate but consistent body contouring.
- Lifespan:In terms of longevity, these mattresses tend to outlast softer models but are not as durable as ‘Firm’ or ‘Extra Firm’ beds.
- Price:‘Medium Soft’ to ‘Medium Firm’ mattresses tend to have fewer cushioning layers than their softer, more expensive counterparts. Price-points for these beds are on par with industry averages.
‘Firm’ and ‘Extra Firm’ (7-10)
Firmer mattresses with firmness ratings ranging from 7 to 10 usually perform as follows:
- Support:‘Firm’ and ‘Extra Firm’ mattresses sink very little, if at all. This makes them suitable for people who weigh more than 230 pounds – particularly back and stomach sleepers who need a flat, even surface for good spinal alignment.
- Conforming ability:Firmer mattresses usually have thinner comfort layers that conform to a minimal extent. While this is often ideal for heavier people, those weighing less than 230 pounds may find that the bed doesn’t conform closely enough to alleviate discomfort and align their spine.
- Lifespan:Firmer mattresses have the longest lifespans because the materials are denser and more resistant to indentations, sagging, and other forms of wear and tear.
- Price:Because they lack the padding materials that often increase price-points, ‘Firm’ and ‘Extra Firm’ mattresses tend to be cheaper than their softer counterparts.
What Is ‘Universal Comfort’?
Some mattress brands advertise ‘universal comfort,’ suggesting that their beds will be equally comfortable and supportive for all sleepers. These assurances are questionable at best, since individual factors like body type and preferred sleep position play a major role in a person’s firmness preferences.
Based on our product research and evaluations, we’ve found that mattresses with certain firmness settings receive more favorable owner reviews than others. Specifically, mattresses that are considered ‘Medium’ (5), ‘Medium Firm’ (6), and ‘Firm’ (7) have generated the most positive ratings. However, owner satisfaction is not exclusively tied to firmness and these reviews may take additional factors into account.
Bottom line: always take claims of ‘universal comfort’ with a grain of salt.
How to Choose the Right Mattress Firmness
In this section, we’ll discuss how customers can choose a mattress firmness setting based on different personal and performance factors.
Choosing Firmness Based on Weight and Body Type
Generally speaking, sleepers fall into one of three categories based on body weight. The table below breaks down the optimal settings for most sleepers in the light weight, average weight, and heavy weight groups.
|Weight Group||Weight Range||Typical Firmness Preferences||Ideal Firmness Settings for Most|
|Light||Less than 130 lbs.||This weight group tends to prefer softer mattresses that conform very closely|
|Average||130 to 230 lbs.||This weight group often prefers beds that offer a balance of soft padding and firm support|
|Heavy||More than 230 lbs.||This weight group usually prefers firmer beds with strong support and minimal conforming|
Mattress thickness is another variable associated with sleeper weight. Lighter people usually feel most comfortable on thinner mattresses because they are easier for getting in and out of bed. Heavier people, on the other hand, often find that thicker mattresses offer better support.
In addition to weight, body type is an important factor when deciding which firmness setting is best. For example, people with exceptionally broad shoulders and/or hips often prefer mattresses with ‘Medium’ to ‘Medium Firm’ settings. Alternatively, people with larger waists typically prefer ‘Medium Firm’ or firmer settings.
Choosing Firmness Based on Sleep Position
At Tuck Sleep, we categorize sleepers by four different positions: side, back, stomach, or a combination of two or more. Each of these positions has different characteristics and comfort needs.
Side sleepingis the most common sleep position, and is also considered the healthiest. Side sleepers usually need a mattress with a soft surface that conforms to the shoulders and hips. This ensures proper spinal alignment; excessively firm mattresses cause the spine to become uneven, and can lead to added aches and pains. Depending on their weight, most side sleepers find that a firmness setting ranging from ‘Soft’ (2) to ‘Firm’ (7) is best.
Back sleepingis the second most common sleep position. The spine is naturally aligned, so most back sleepers prefer mattresses that maintain an even, sag-free surface. This prevents heavier areas of their body from sinking further than lighter areas. However, excessive firmness can also be problematic because it causes the body to arch upward. For these reasons, the optimal firmness setting for back sleepers usually falls between ‘Soft’ (3) and ‘Firm’ (8).
Stomach sleepingis the least common sleep position; many experts advise against it because stomach sleepers often develop pains in their neck and shoulders due to the position of the head. Like back sleeping, stomach sleeping offers natural spinal alignment. However, because many heavier individuals carry significant weight in their midsection, softer mattresses tend to sink deeply beneath their bodies, resulting in uneven support. This is less of an issue for lighter individuals. As a result, the ideal firmness for most stomach sleepers falls between ‘Soft’ (3) and ‘Firm’ (8)
Combination sleepinginvolves a mix of side, back, and/or stomach sleeping, often each night. Combination sleepers often have a hard time selecting the right firmness because their preferences vary by position. For this reason, we recommend moderate firmness settings for combination sleepers; ‘Medium Soft’ (4) to ‘Medium Firm’ (6) will be suitable for most.
The following table summarizes our findings about firmness preferences in relation to sleeper weight and position.
|Sleep Position||Ideal Firmness for Light Sleepers (Less than 130 lbs.)||Ideal Firmness for Average Sleepers (130 to 230 lbs.)||Ideal Firmness for Heavy Sleepers (More than 230 lbs.)|
|Side||‘Soft’ (2) to ‘Medium Soft’ (4)||‘Soft’ (3) to ‘Medium Soft’ (4)||‘Medium’ (5) to ‘Firm’ (7)|
|Back||‘Soft’ (3) to ‘Medium’ (5)||‘Medium’ (5) to ‘Firm’ (7)||‘Medium Firm’ (6) to ‘Firm’ (8)|
|Stomach||‘Soft’ (3) to ‘Medium’ (5)||‘Medium’ (5) to ‘Firm’ (7)||‘Medium Firm’ (6) to ‘Firm’ (8)|
|Combination||‘Soft’ (3) to ‘Medium Soft’ (4)||‘Medium Soft’ (4) to ‘Medium Firm’ (6)||‘Medium’ (5) to ‘Firm’ (7)|
Firmness and Sex
When shopping for a new mattress, couples should take ‘responsiveness’ into account. Responsiveness refers to how much or little the bed ‘responds’ to a sleeper’s body. Highly responsive mattresses are quite bouncy, and considered best for sex; less responsive mattresses tend to sink too much, which can create a sensation some couples liken to fighting with the mattress.
In addition to firmness, couples should look at other factors when choosing a mattress for sex. For example, material construction is key; beds with thick comfort layers and foam bases do not offer the same responsiveness as mattresses with thinner comfort layers and coil-based support cores. Noise potential is also important, since silent mattresses are better for discreet sex than noisy ones.
Although firmness does not necessarily indicate how responsive a mattress will be, the following characteristics have been noted about different firmness settings.
|Firmness Range||Characteristics||Good for Sex Rating|
|‘Extra Soft’ to ‘Soft’ (1-3)||Softer mattresses tend to be the least responsive. Couples are likely to sink during sex.||Poor to Fair|
|‘Medium Soft’ to ‘Medium Firm’ (4-6)||Mattresses with moderate firmness settings offer good responsiveness without compromising comfort or support||Good to Very Good|
|‘Firm’ to ‘Extra Firm’ (7-10)||Firmer mattresses are usually very responsive – sometimes too responsive. Firm surfaces may cause discomfort for couples during sex, depending on their position||Fair to Good|
Firmness and Pillow Loft
Optimal mattress firmness is often tied to pillow loft, or thickness. Pillows fall into one of three general categories: low-loft (less than 3?), medium-loft (3? to 5?), and high-loft (more than 5?).
Generally, high-loft pillows are more suitable for firmer beds because the sleeper does not sink as deeply; the pillow provides comfortable padding without compromising support and spinal alignment. Alternatively, lower-loft pillows are better for softer beds because sleepers sink so deeply; when used with softer beds, high-loft pillows can elevate the sleeper’s neck too much and cause added discomfort.
One thing to note: a pillow’s material composition may determine how much it sinks beneath the sleeper’s head and neck, which in turn affects the loft. Some pillow materials – such as down/feathers, down alternative, and polyester – sink to a noticeable degree; others – such as memory foam, latex, and buckwheat – do not sink as much.
The right combination of firmness and loft can provide an even sleep surface and minimize aches and pains in the sleeper’s neck, shoulders, and other areas. The wrong combination can exacerbate discomfort issues. The next table looks at ideal pillow loft settings for different mattress firmness levels.
|Firmness Range||Rating for Low-Loft Pillows (Less than 3")||Rating for Medium-Loft Pillows (3" to 5")||Rating for High-Loft Pillows (More than 5")|
|‘Extra Soft’ to ‘Soft’ (1-3)||Good to Very Good||Fair to Good||Poor|
|‘Medium Soft’ to ‘Medium Firm’ (4-6)||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good||Fair to Good|
|‘Firm’ to ‘Extra Firm’ (7-10)||Poor||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good|
Other Firmness Factors
In addition to body weight, sleep position, and the other variables discussed above, mattress firmness is also linked to the following factors.
- Durability:Thicker mattresses with softer comfort layers are more susceptible to early deterioration because indentations and sagging are likely to develop, which compromises support and causes aches and pains. Firmer mattresses have longer projected lifespans as a result.
- Temperature Neutrality:Many softer mattress layers are made of polyfoam, memory foam, latex, and other materials that absorb and trap body heat, causing them to sleep uncomfortably warm for some. Sinking deeply into a mattress can also disrupt airflow along the sleep surface. Mattresses with firmer layers that sink to a minimal extent are considered the best for temperature neutrality.
- Odor Potential:Most mattresses emit off-gassing odor when new. However, beds with high concentrations of polyfoam and/or memory foam tend to produce the strongest, most persistent smells. Because softer mattresses usually have more foam layers than firmer ones, they tend to have a higher potential for unpleasant odor.
- Mattress Weight:Because softer mattresses tend to be thicker, most are also heavier than average. This is especially true of hybrids and other beds with latex and/or coil layers.
- Price:Firmer mattresses tend to have fewer layers and less padding from memory foam, latex, and other ‘luxury’ materials. As a result, they are often priced lower than softer beds.
The table below summarizes all of the performance factors listed above for different firmness levels.
|Rating Criteria||‘Extra Soft’ (1)||‘Soft’ (2-3)||‘Medium Soft’ (4)||‘Medium’ (5)||‘Medium Firm’ (6)||‘Firm’ (7-8)||‘Extra Firm’ (9-10)|
|Conforming||Very Close||Close||Somewhat Close||Moderate||Moderate||Minimal||Very Minimal|
|Side Sleepers||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good||Very Good||Very Good||Good||Fair to Good||Fair to Poor|
|Back Sleepers||Poor to Fair||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Good||Fair to Good|
|Stomach Sleepers||Poor to Fair||Fair||Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Fair to Good|
|Lightweight Sleepers (Less than 130 lbs.)||Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Good||Fair to Good||Fair||Poor to Fair|
|Average Weight Sleepers (130 to 230 lbs.)||Fair||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Good||Fair|
|Heavyweight Sleepers (More than 230 lbs.)||Poor||Poor to Fair||Fair||Good||Good to Very Good||Very Good||Good to Very Good|
|Sex||Poor||Poor to Fair||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Fair||Poor|
|Ideal Pillow Loft||Low (Less than 3")||Low (Less than 3")||Medium (3? to 5?)||Medium (3? to 5?)||Medium (3? to 5?)||High (More than 5")||High (More than 5")|
|Durability||Poor||Fair||Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Very Good||Very Good|
|Temperature Neutrality||Poor||Poor to Fair||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Very Good||Very Good|
|Odor Potential||Poor||Poor to Fair||Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Very Good||Very Good|
|Ease of Lifting/Rotating||Poor||Poor to Fair||Fair to Good||Good||Good to Very Good||Very Good||Very Good|
|Availability||Rare||Somewhat Common||Very Common||Very Common||Very Common||Very Common||Rare|
Multiple Firmness Designs
So far, we’ve focused on mattresses with one fixed firmness setting. However, today’s shoppers can also choose from beds with multiple firmness options. These include:
- Flippable beds:A flippable mattress is designed with two comfort layers – one on each side – and a shared support core. Most flippable beds have a different firmness setting on each side; to change how the bed feels, simply rotate it to the other side. Flippable mattresses are ideal for sleepers whose firmness preferences fluctuate from night to night.
- Dual-firmness settings:A number of mattress manufacturers offer single-sided mattresses with dual-firmness settings for couples. This means each side of the sleep surface has a different firmness level. Dual-firmness is optimal for couples/sleep partners with different firmness preferences. Please note most dual-firmness beds are only available for sizes Queen and larger.
- Adjustable firmness:A small selection of mattresses – mostly airbeds and ‘smart’ beds – allow owners to adjust the firmness setting using manual, remote, and/or app-based controls. Typically, the mattress will offer a firmness range, such as ‘Soft’ to ‘Medium Firm.’ These mattresses can be very beneficial for sleepers with fluctuating firmness preferences, but most carry steep price-tags.
Lastly, mattress toppers can be useful for sleepers who are dissatisfied with their bed’s firmness settings. A topper is an individual layer of cushioning – usually 2? to 4? thick – that is placed on top of the mattress to make the surface feel softer or firmer. Toppers are relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of buying a new bed. A wide range of materials are used to make toppers, including convoluted polyfoam, memory foam, latex, wool, and feathers.
Testing out a Mattress
Though many mattress buyers purchase their bed at brick-and-mortar stores, online ‘bed-in-a-box’ brands have become hugely popular in recent years. Because most online brands do not operate any physical locations, they face lower overhead costs and can sell mattresses at much lower price-points than their brick-and-mortar competitors. However, this means customers probably will not be able to test out the mattress before buying one.
This is where sleep trials come in handy. Most brands allow customers to essentially test out the mattress for a certain length of time; though trial periods vary by brand, most fall between 90 and 120 nights. If the customer is dissatisfied before the trial expires, then he/she may return the mattress for a full refund. Some trials also allow exchanges, and in most cases the manufacturer will arrange for the bed to be picked up at no extra charge to the customer.
We urge mattress shoppers to take advantage of sleep trials in order to determine if a bed has the right firmness – but be sure to read the fine print because some brands level steep return fees.
Brick-and-mortar shoppers have an easier time testing out mattresses for firmness because most stores have a wide selection of floor models. However, prices tend to be higher at these locations due to the substantial overhead expenses. Many customers find that visiting a brick-and-mortar store to test out mattress firmness is beneficial, whether they plan to buy a bed at the store or through an online seller.
One thing to note: most mattress warranties explicitly state that changes to the owner’s firmness preferences are not considered mattress defects. As a result, the warranty prohibits mattress repairs or replacements based on this issue. Customers who become dissatisfied with their bed’s firmness after the sleep trial has expired usually cannot receive a refund or replacement mattress under their warranty.
Lastly, let’s answer some common buyer questions regarding mattress firmness:
Does firmness affect mattress support?
Firmness describes how the mattress feels, while support refers to the bed’s ability (or lack thereof) to provide an even sleep surface. Firmness does not necessarily affect firmness, but certain sleepers will experience more or less support based on how firm or soft the mattress feels.
For example, someone who sleeps on their back and weighs more than 230 pounds may find that a ‘Soft’ (2-3) mattress provides uneven support because it sags excessively beneath their body. A side sleeper weighing less than 130 pounds may find that the same bed offers optimal support levels.
Who is best suited to a softer mattress?
Generally speaking, side sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds are best suited for ‘Extra Soft’ or ‘Soft’ mattresses. People who weigh more than 130 pounds may experience excessive sagging, while soft surfaces also cause alignment issues for many back and stomach sleepers.
Who is best suited to a medium-firmness mattress?
Mattresses ranging from ‘Medium Soft’ (4) to ‘Medium Firm’ (6) are often the best option for sleepers weighing between 130 and 230 pounds. Side sleepers in this weight group gravitate toward softer settings, while back and stomach sleepers in the same group often prefer firmer beds.
Who is best suited to a firmer mattress?
Typically, people who weigh more than 230 pounds are best suited for firmer beds. Softer mattresses sag too much, which compromises the bed’s structural support and often causes aches and pains to develop. Side sleepers may find that firmer beds do not align their spines enough, but back and stomach sleepers usually prefer firmer surfaces.
What if my firmness preferences fluctuate from night to night?
If your ideal firmness varies, then you might be a good candidate for a flippable mattress with different firmness settings on each side. Those with bigger budgets may also opt for an adjustable airbed or smart bed. Lastly, mattress toppers can adjust the firmness of a mattress to a noticeable extent; using one periodically might be a cost-effective way for sleepers to change the firmness of their mattress.
What is the best option for couples with differing firmness preferences?
Many couples prefer different firmness settings. A dual-firmness bed can be useful for these sleepers because it features a different setting on each side of the bed.
How can I test out a mattress before buying one?
If ordering a mattress from an online brand with no brick-and-mortar locations, see if a sleep trial is available – and also read the fine print to avoid extra fees down the road. Most sleep trials allow customers to test out the bed for at least 90 nights, which is more than enough time for the bed to adapt to the sleeper’s body.
Testing out mattresses is much easier for brick-and-mortar shoppers: simply visit the nearest store and ask to test out beds with different settings.
Can I return a mattress that feels too soft or too firm?
Most brands allow customers to return their mattress for any reason during the sleep trial. However, once the sleep trial ends, most warranties state that changes to the owner’s firmness preferences are not considered defects, and do not qualify for mattress repairs or replacements.
Do any mattresses actually offer ‘universal comfort’?
Short answer: no. Firmness preferences are entirely subjective and based on a wide range of factors. A bed with ideal firmness settings for one sleeper may feel uneven and uncomfortable to another. By using the criteria we’ve described above and testing out a wide range of firmness options, shoppers can determine which mattress setting is best for them.
What’s The Best Mattress For Your Kid? – 2020 Review Guide
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Kids grow up fast. That’s just a fact. It seems like the clothes bought for them get outgrown in a matter of days. But,we only want what’s best for childrenso they can grow up healthy and strong, right?
Hence, we need to find a comfortable bed, suitable for their size, that won’t sag and break after a few years.
Let’s take a look what we need to account for when buying a quality mattress for your child.
There are many options available on the market which would apply to your kid’s needs a lot more in comparison to others. With this in mind, we’ve decided to create this guide to help you decide what is right for your kid.
Additionally, we’ve also synthesized a few reviews of some of the best options available on the market, hoping to make it even easier for you to make the right call.
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Top 6 Youth (Kid) Mattress Reviews
Casper Element – Best Overall Value
The Element is a foam bed made by one of the most trusted online mattress retailers. A few hundred dollars cheaper than their original model and an inch thinner, it is an amazing option for kids.
What makes it so special?At a very affordable price no matter the size, The Essential is an exceptional value – especially if you plan on switching to a different size during teen or college years. It works with most bases and foundations, which is important as needs and styles change.
Because of the cover’s gray color, many spills or messes can be hidden. It is one of the reasons we love it!
Moving around on the mattress is easy since it has a quick response and its memory foam layer is in between two other foam layers. With this type of construction, the brand provides pressure relief while ensuring that memory foam does not conform directly to the skin, and it should not uncomfortably overheat.
Learn more about the Essential in our full review here.
Brooklyn Bowery – Great Value
The company behind Bowery is Brooklyn Bedding, which is well known for their high-quality handcrafted mattresses. This model has a medium-level of firmness that is comfortable for most individuals.
Energex™ foam with cooling gel provides contouring and pressure relief while helping to regulate body temperature.
Its CertiPUR-US® Certified foams are not made with harmful chemicals and pass rigorous testing. As kids grow and spend time on the mattress, you can feel better knowing the quality of products they are around each night.
What makes it stand out?Bowery is an excellent budget bed that has durability and cooling features, making it our Great Value product.
The reason Brooklyn Bedding can offer their products at lower price points is that they own their factory. Truly a direct-to-consumer business, they graciously pass along savings to their customers and do not skimp on quality materials.
The BKB – My Big Kid’s Bed – Young Kids
Nest Bedding’s BKB mattress is designed specifically for kids and every aspect has been tailored with their needs in mind. At 7 inches tall, it is thinner than typical adult mattresses, and fewer inches translate to additional savings.
The company is the first online brand to produce a bed-in-a-box model for children. It comes in Twin, Twin XL, and Full sizes and can be used on any base. It even works with bunk beds and trundle-style frames.
Why do we love it?Along with a fantastic price point, it is durable with a simple well-made design. The cover has a soft top, mesh sides, and a bold “My BKB” logo that can be fun for kids to see, especially when pulling it out of the box for the first time.
The company recommends it for kids up to 120 pounds, making it a great option for younger children.
Elements Aspen 10″ Latex – Durable
The Aspen latex mattress by Dreamfoam Bedding is comfortable from the first touch. It has a soft cover made out of bamboo and is quilted with foam. The materials wick away moisture for hot sleepers and provide additional pressure relief, which is helpful if your child is a combination or side sleeper.
If your child suffers from allergies, they may have an easier time sleeping with this product. The latex in the bed is naturally hypoallergenic and very breathable.
What makes it special?Dreamfoam uses durable Talalay latex in their design that should last for years to come, which is impressive given its lower price point. Parents and kids alike have given the product glowing reviews!
The firmness level is determined after ordering, when the Dreamfoam team will reach out to help determine the level that provides the most pleasant night’s sleep.
Avocado – Eco-Friendly
If you are concerned about exposing your child to harmful chemicals or if you value eco-friendly products, Avocado has a solution. With a cover made from organic cotton and the inclusion of New Zealand wool, natural latex, and upcycled steel innersprings in the design, you can feel good about its green qualities.
The brand also sells an optional pillow top with two more inches of latex that provide additional comfort. The pillow top is geared towards side and back sleepers for a more luxurious experience with pressure point relief, while their standard model works best for stomach or back sleepers who prefer a firmer feel and more spinal support.
What makes it stand out?With certifications geared towards the use of natural materials, as well as the avoidance of harmful chemicals and emissions, you and your child can rest easy knowing the comfort and care that this brand puts into their products.
Arctic Dreams – Budget Choice
Made by Dreamfoam Bedding, Arctic Dreams has good cooling capabilities in its Energex™ gel foam comfort layer. It has bounce and responds quickly so kids can reposition or play without feeling stuck.
Why did it make the list?Quite simply, Arctic Dreams is an impressive budget pick with quality materials that costs under $200 for a Twin size of medium-level firmness. No matter the size, it costs significantly less than many of the mattresses we have reviewed.
Whatever sleeping position your child prefers, the mattress’ Medium firmness should accommodate and support them comfortably. Whether a side, front, back, or combo sleeper, the bed has enough support and comfort to help their bodies recover and get a great rest so they are recharged and ready to play and learn the next day.
Head over to our full review to find out more about this model.
How To Choose A Youth Mattress
Age – Toddler or Kid?
As your young kid(s) start getting older, their bodies will grow accordingly. This has to be reflected when you purchase a mattress. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you ought to buy a new one every year. You need to account for that growth, and if you make the right call, a goodbed could easily last for 8 to 12 years.
Thanks to contemporary solutions and high-quality materials, we have more freedom to choose what we like and what’s good for our specific needs. Memory foam mattresses, for instance, conform according to the pressure our bodies apply to them. Latex and coils tend to have better cooling, etc.
High-quality sleep is undoubtedly one of the most important factors to consider for your kid’s health (find our how much they need). Investing in a premium mattress made out of quality materials is something that should be weighed carefully. It should eliminate the need to change it every few years, and it’s much better for health and posture.
Age – Growing Teenager(s)
Kids grow really fast, and if you are going to invest in a mattress, you’ll want to be sure it’s one that is versatile enough to adapt to your child’s growing body. During the teenage years, especially your kid could grow to be the same size as many adults. Think about expected growth in both height and weight and how that may affect the suitability of a mattress over time.
Depending on the space, you may consider a Twin XL instead of a standard Twin size for your teen, especially if you and the rest of your family tend to be taller than average. This is also a popular size for many dorm room bed frames, so the investment in a Twin XL could potentially follow your kid to college and enable you to save on the expense of a new bed.
Which Bed Size?
The size of the bed and the mattress, respectively, would usually pose a significant difference in the price. The larger the mattress is, the more it’s going to cost you. There are traditionally four kids bed sizes to choose from.
The single bed is one of the most frequently purchased bed sizes for a child. There are a lot of great benefits for this size mattress: It’scheaper than all otherdimensions, fits in the smallest of rooms or sleep areas, and fits most young children without any issues.
The major downside with this is some kids, especially when they become teenagers, will not fit in the bed properly. However, this can be an exceptional buyfor younger kidsthat have outgrown their cribs and you can buy a new size as they grow out of it.
This is a common choice for a lot of people due to limited availability concerning bedroom space. The dimensions are usually around 38 x 75 inches. This is typically the least expensive option, and it’s perfect for a kid upuntil the age of 12.
The XL option adds five more inches in length, providing additional growing room for the children. It measures 38 x 80 inches. This isn’t a lot more expensive compared to a twin-sized bed (and sometimes there is not a difference in price), but it could potentially be used for a while longer, depending on how fast your kid grows. Some people sleep on this type of bedfor most of their college yearswithout any issues.
Should you be able to afford the additional amount of money, this may be the best fit for your needs. It’s 54 x 75 inches, leaving enough room for growth, and it’s likely for your children to use it well into their 20s.
We’ve some key factors explained earlier in our main mattress guide for buyers.
Using Bunk Beds?
Bunk beds can be a fantastic solution if two or more of your kids are sharing a room with limited space as it gives both child room to spread out without sacrificing potential play areas on the floor. If you choose to go this route, know that there is more to the process than selecting a bunk frame and placing a standard single bed on it. There are mattresses specifically sized for bunk beds, and the size of your room and frame will help decide which works best (here are our top picks for bunk beds).
Check the dimensions required, and consider the weight of the mattress combined with the weight of your kid to make sure the frame is robust enough to remain safe and secure. You may consider the space between the top bunk and the ceiling as a thicker mattress may reduce available space to sit up.
Firm or Soft?
Getting the comfort right on the first try can be vital. Even adults can get cranky when they don’t sleep well, so imagine what could happen with your kids.
One of the most important things to consider when it comes to the comfort is the firmness of the mattress. Should it be firm or should it be soft?
When looking for the optimal firmness, you ought to consider the weight of your kid. This is a parameter which is referred to as ILD or Indentation Load Deflection. It’s complicated, so here are the general standards that you should consider:
Of all these, the golden middle ground tends to be the medium firmness as this can accommodate the vast majority of children throughout most of their junior years.
Go For a Supportive Bed
The support of the mattress relates to thecapability to correctly align the spine. It is quite important that your kid can grow up sleeping with the perfect support as this can help ensure normal health and growth.
The thing that you ought to consider is the proper spinal alignment. Of course, apart from the bed and its structure, you also have to take into account the pillow being used. You can instruct your kid to avoid using more than one pillow to prevent malformations. Additionally, sleeping on your side with your knees bent towards your chest can often reduce pressure.
Involve your kid in the buying processand let him or her tell you what feels best.
Off-gassing is the process which follows immediately after unpacking the new mattress. It carries a characteristic and robust smell which differs in its essence, depending on the type of material you’ve decided to go for. It’s highly advisable that you allow airflow to do its thing for a few days to prevent any potential headaches, as this could potentially happen in the first few weeks.
While it’s not viewed as harmful, it’s easily something you could avoid. Just keep the windows open in the room and allow your kid to sleep with you for the next few days – it should pass quite quickly. Off-gassing is commonly found in memory foam beds, so be sure to research if this style is right for you and your child.
Also, you can go for GREENGUARD certified products that focus on lower emissions and safer materials. CertiPUR-US® is another certification.
Budget & Value
Many people place too much emphasis on the price tag of a mattress they are shopping for, wrongly believing that a lower price represents a better deal. This is not always the case, and when you’re shopping for one for your child, you want to be sure the quality of materials does not compromise their health and is durable and flexible enough to grow with them.
A cheaper product may look like it is going to save you money, but that’s not always the case. Beds that wear out quicker will need to be replaced sooner, especially as your child continues to grow. If you have to replace the product often, you will probably end up spending more money than if you had invested in a better value from the start.
When evaluating a brand’s price tag, also look for things that can increase long-term value. The durability of better quality building materials, fabrics, and better stitching will help it hold up over time, which will often save you money. You may want to look at safety certifications as well, as developing lungs often need additional consideration around manufactured materials.
Interested in affordable brands? Click here.
Add a Mattress Topper?
A bed topper is a great way to adjust the solution to the needs of your growing kid. Keep in mind that every young child grows at the individual pace and it’s quite reasonable for them to outgrow the mattress you’ve purchased. With this said, if your kid starts to gain weight faster than expected, this should to be reflected in the firmness of the mattress.
Instead of spending another small fortune on a brand new bed, you could easilyadd a topper to your currentone and adjust the firmness accordingly.This will save you time, effort and money. However, it isn’t an alternative to a mattress with great support, so if you have a product that is sagging quite a bit, you may need to buy a new one.
Best Bed Type for Kids
Memory foam is a material which is intended to respond to both body heat and applied pressure. Therefore, the more you lay on it, the more it’s going to conform to the contours of your body. We refer to this as “hug,” and it is most commonly associated with this particular product type.
Additionally, the material tends toisolate motionperfectly and should not disturb your kids’ sleep if two of them sleep on the same mattress. If you want to go for this particular type, it’s appropriate that you choose GREENGUARD Gold or CertiPUR-US certificated products. This can help ensure safety/emissions standards.
Read our top overall memory foam mattress picks in this buyer’s guide.
Innerspring constructions are typically preferred by quite a lot of parents as they are durable (if they have a proper gauge) and most can truly take a beating. And, as we mentioned in the beginning, young children sometimes apply more wear and tear to their mattress than anyone in comparison.
There aretwo different typesof innerspring constructions:open coil and pocketed coil. The former is less expensive because they tend to be less durable as the coils are padded directly with the top layer of the mattress.Pocketed coilsare wrapped individually, which is why they are also a bit more expensive in comparison. They should also endure an entire load of your kids and the pressure applied by their jumping and playing, which can make them a better option for some.
The most impressive characteristic about latex mattresses (see our top picks) is theirenhanced durability. Furthermore, they shine with superior levels of support. They offer a lot of the features also brought by memory foam, and it’s necessary to take a further look at the individual specifications of the beds and compare them thoroughly before making a final decision.
Bed in a Box
There are many bed-in-a-box brands out there right now that would work perfectly in your child’s room, several of which are versatile and durable enough to accommodate a growing frame without needing to be replaced when they grow a foot taller every year.
One of the many advantages of boxed brands is that many are offered at unbeatable price points because they are able to reduce overhead so significantly by cutting out the middlemen. Those looking for a great value to suit a tighter budget might appreciate the streamlined, entry-level options that many brands offer that often work great for kids.
For the environmentally-minded, more companies are also working to achieve top-rated health and safety certifications such as CertiPUR-US® or GREENGUARD Gold that can help ease your mind about potentially hazardous chemicals. Several more organic mattresses that look for more natural building materials have also entered the space in recent years.
This is an inflatable bed, typically promising a lot ofquality, convenience, and comfort. They can offer a proper night’s sleep, but they arenot intended for prolonged and permanent usage. While delivering the excellent opportunity to turn any space into a bedroom, they shouldn’t be used as the primary bed of your kid. However, they are easily portable, lightweight, and convenient, and you can bring them with you on family trips, sleepovers, and vacations.
Mattress Firmness Guide & Comparison
Based on 25,459 Mattress Owner Experiences
Firmness Guide For Average-Sized People (130-230 Lbs)
The chart below shows the mattress firmness that people of average size often prefer based on body type. Your own personal firmness preference may vary. The higher that one’s weight is between 130-230 lbs, the firmer one’s preference tends to be within the stated range.
|SIDE SLEEP||BACK SLEEP||STOMACH SLEEP|
|Broad waist with less broad shoulders and hips||Medium-Firm||Medium-Firm To Firm||Medium To Medium-Firm|
|About equally broad shoulders, waist, hips||Medium to|
|Broad shoulders with less broad waist and hips||Medium||Medium|
|broad hips with less broad waist and shoulders||Medium-Soft|
|broad shoulders and broad hips with less broad waist||Medium-Soft|
Firmness Guide For Large People (230+ Lbs)
The chart below shows the mattress firmness that people of large size tend to prefer based on their body type. Your own personal firmness preference may vary. The higher that one’s weight is above 230 lbs, the firmer one’s preference tends to be within stated ranges.
|SIDE SLEEP||BACK SLEEP||STOMACH SLEEP|
|broad waist with less broad shoulders and hips||Medium-Firm||Medium-Firm|
|Medium To Medium-Firm|
|About equally broad shoulders, waist, hips||Medium-Firm||Medium-Firm|
|Broad shoulders with less broad waist and hips||medium to|
|broad hips with less broad waist and shoulders||medium to|
|Medium-Firm To Firm|
|broad shoulders and broad hips with less broad waist||medium to|
Firmness Guide For Small People (Under 130 Lbs)
The chart below shows the mattress firmness that people of small size tend to prefer based on their body type. Your own personal firmness preference may vary. The lower that one’s weight is below 130 lbs, the softer one’s preference tends to be within stated ranges.
|SIDE SLEEP||BACK SLEEP||STOMACH SLEEP|
|broad waist with less broad shoulders and hips||Medium To Medium-Firm||Medium to|
|About equally broad shoulders, waist, hips||Medium||Medium-Soft to|
|Broad shoulders with less broad waist and hips||Medium-Soft to|
|Medium-Soft To Medium|
|broad hips with less broad waist and shoulders||Medium-Soft to|
|broad shoulders and broad hips with less broad waist||Medium-Soft to|
|Medium-Soft To Medium|
Firmness Guide Based on Body Mass Index (BMI)
The chart below shows what tends to be the preferred mattress firmness based on BMI; your own personal firmness preference may vary. The lower that one’s BMI is, the softer one’s preference tends to be within stated ranges. Calculate your BMI.
Mattress Firmness Scale & Guide – A Must Read Before Buying
There are quite a few different things that you’d like to account for when you decide to shop for a mattress. Given the fact that this is one of the most important purchases for your bedroom, it’s quite important to make sure that everything is handled properly.
Mattress firmness is one of the key characteristicsto consider before you make a purchase. Finding the right level is critical for your good night’ sleep. If you select a unit which is too soft or too firm, you are unlikely to sleep well, and you could even start experiencing issues with your back.
Luckily, there are quite a lot of excellent mattress companies which offer different levels of firmness. The challenge is that to determine it; you’d have to be aware of a lot of different things, especially if you do not have the option to try it.
What is Mattress Firmness?
Obviously, the first thing you’d like to account for is the essence of the characteristic. Believe it or not, there is a lot of misconception out there amongst potential mattress buyers. They tend to believe thatmattress firmness ratings and supportare the same things.
While the former directly correlates with the latter and they are mutually dependent,there’s a difference. The firmness of the bed is its hardness, put in a very simple way. Is it soft or is it hard? That’s the type of question that you need to ask yourself. It’s subjective and different sleepers will have a different feel.
However, this has become a critical characteristic, and it’s an important metric which is accounted for by every buyer. After all, it determines the overall level of comfort as well as the support that the entire thing is going to offer. Have in mind that mattress size shouldn’t impact your overall firmness feel.
Why Does it Matter?
The firmness of the mattress is a fundamental characteristic which is quite critical for the decision-making process. Not only will it determine the overall level of comfort but it’s also going to have a serious impact on the support of the bed as well.
This is something quite critical. The firmness has an impact over almost every important characteristic that your mattress is defined by. From the comfort and support to the overall performance of the unit, everything could be associated with its firmness.
What Does One Firmness Fits All Mean?
One firmness fits all is a phrase used to describe the type of firmness which is going to suit the wide majority of sleepers. The truth is that about 80% of sleepers would prefer a bed which ranges between 5 and 7 on the firmness scale.
With this in mind, it would be appropriate to assume that 6 out of 10 is the metric that the majority of people would be looking forward to.
Some would argue that there is no such thing and that the one size fits all approach is particularly inappropriate in this regard. This might actually be true, but the wide majority of people truly prefer a medium feel brought by their mattress.
There are a few different examples on the market which would target this particular firmness level only to accommodate the ever so growing market.
However, we strongly suggest that you check the bed first and make sure that it is integral and reliable. The firmness is undoubtedly a critical characteristic, but there are other important considerations that you’d have to account for.
While people tie firmness with support immediately, there are different types of beds. Those who use lower-quality materials, for instance, might be firm and yet fail to deliver the necessary support. That’s definitely something that you ought to consider when you’re making the decision.
Firmness vs. Support
Quite a lot of people regard firmness and support as the same thing. This, as we’ve already mentioned above, is not correct.
The firmness measures the immediate feeling that you get as you first lie down on your mattress.
The support, on the other hand, refers to the way the same keeps your spine in perfect alignment.
You can easily have a rather soft mattress which offers a lot of support or a firm one which is also supportive, but it creates a lot of different pressure points which makes it counterproductive.
When you go ahead and pick your mattress, it is quite important to make sure that you separate the firmness as well as the support and have them both in mind. The firmness is just the way your bed feels.
You would also have to make sure that it’s comfortable, that it relieves pressure, that it’s cool and all the other things of the kind. For instance, a firm mattress might fail to deliver the necessary contouring and, hence, it wouldn’t be appropriate for people who prefer to sleep on their sides. These are just a few of the considerations that you’d want to take into account.
In any case, it’s important to keep all those in mind and make sure that the product delivers a proper feel altogether.
Our Firmness Scale & Chart
Extra Soft (1-2)
This is a type of bed which is incredibly soft. These are those mattresses which are absolutely incapable of delivering proper support. The sinkage is tremendous, and that’s undoubtedly something that you should stay away from. It’s just going to harm your spine, and it’s unlikely to be very comfortable as well.We haven’t reviewed any beds that have this level of firmness.
These are softer (plush) mattresses which usually have a sinkage that ranges from 1.5 to 3 inches. These would usually come in two different forms – deep cushion hug and a traditional deep contour memory foam. These are great for people who prefer to sleep on their sides. They are, however, not ideal for back and stomach sleepers.
Medium-balanced beds are the preferred options on the market. It’s estimated that about 80% of the people would fall into this category and most beds we have reviewed have been around this level. You can either go for the average 6 or use something softer in the face of 5 out of 10 on the mattress firmness rating, depending on your personal preferences. Both types are ideal for different kinds of sleeping positions as well.
These are slightly firmer to firm mattresses, and they provide a little less hug as well as sinkage than the medium ones. There are certain exceptions, however, but the truth is that these accommodate people who prefer a little more firmness underneath them. However, the majority of people would find them a bit harder.
Extra Hard (9-10)
These are mattresses which are extra firm. In fact, very few beds would go within it, and there are some therapeutic ones. This is the main reason for which a very limited amount of people would actually prefer this type of units.