The Best Mattress Firmness For Perfect Sleep – Mattress Firmness Explained

The firmness of a mattress often refers to how hard or solid the mattress is. Of course, there are different levels of mattress hardness, so mattresses are not just firm or soft. There are soft, very soft, firm, very firm, and not so firm degrees of firmness. Each of the firmness levels is good and fit for different sleepers and for different people who like different mattress feels when they sleep.

As expected, different brands also have varieties of mattresses with different firmness levels. A visit to the retail store for mattress shopping will probably leave you with more questions than you expect to have if you go unprepared. Therefore, it is only reasonable to learn all that you can about mattress firmness to help guide you when changing your mattress or choosing a new one.

Scales of mattress firmness

The question of how firm your mattress is can only be answered when you can determine the level of firmness. Also, checking and knowing the firmness of your mattress is important because it determines how it feels. Questions of if your mattress will sink or push you back when you lie on it are also answered by the degree of firmness that it has.

If you are getting a mattress soon, you should know that a mattress has various scales of softness and firmness. The scale, starts from 1, ends at 10. In each of the figures, you’ll find a mattress harder than the previous one but not as firm as the next one.

Extra Soft (1-2)

To pick an extra soft mattress, then you should be looking at a scale of 1 and 2. Mattresses which fall under this industry-standard scale are extra soft. They do not give a lot of support to the body and are known to sink very easily. A good bed for sleeping is not expected to have this level of softness.

Soft (3-5)

Soft mattresses are firmer than extra soft mattresses. You will find them between the scale of 3 and 5. Using this, it is easy to score their firmness over 10. They also sink, but not very much. They are ideal for side sleepers and are characterized by body-contouring and pressure relief.
On a soft bed, you do not experience a lot of pushback. They have cushiony materials that make them comfortable to lay on.

Medium (5-6)

Medium-firm mattresses are like the balance between soft and firm. They are not too firm and not too soft. For most people, they are the preferred category, and you will find them rated between 5 and 6 over 10, which is like a midpoint. They sink and push back almost immediately and are ideal for back sleepers or combination sleepers.
Medium-firm mattresses have a soft foam layer and a sturdier base that balances the hardness and the softness.

Firm/Hard (7-8)

Falling in a category harder than the medium is the hard mattresses. They are placed on a scale of 7 and 8 over 10. They are firm, sink less when compared to medium, and have little to no softness. Firm mattresses have a thin layer of soft foam, and other significant parts are high-density polyfoam or springs. People who find the medium mattress soft often opt for the hard one.

Extra-firm (9-10)

The extra- firm mattress is moving another inch up the scale of hardness. They are harder and extra firm. They do not sink at all; therefore, they lift every part of the body and push back. Few people love the extra firm mattress because of its hardness; however, it is a mattress that supports stomach sleepers best.

Weight of firm mattresses

Mattresses also have different weights based on how firm they are.

Soft mattress

Based on the product or the brand, most soft mattresses are light. Moving them is easy as they do not weigh much. They generally contain foam.

Medium mattress

The medium mattresses could either be light, heavy, or have an average weight.

Firm mattress

The hard or firm mattress is known to be heavy.

What level of firmness is good?

Now that we understand that there are different firmness scales, you will probably want to know the best one for you. All mattresses have their various advantages and disadvantages, and there is not one that has it all. How good a mattress is or how comfortable it will be determined by the type of sleeper using it.

Back sleepers

Back sleepers sleep on their back. Hence, they need a mattress that will not be too hard for their back and will not be too soft not to align their bodies. Back sleepers can use a mattress on a scale of 4 and 8. They are the most versatile as they can handle any mattress as long as it is not too hard and not too soft.
As a back sleeper who is offered different options, pick 5 or 6 as these are the medium-scale that will lift your spine with excellent alignment.

Stomach sleepers

Stomach sleepers, on the other hand, need firm mattresses. Their body requires contouring and only a little bit of sinkage, which you can only get from the firm or extra firm mattresses. Their mattress should be able to support their body, provide a neutral alignment, and level the hip with the shoulders.

A good option is a mattress that falls within the scale of 8 to 10.

Side sleepers

Side sleepers sleep on their side and therefore need a soft mattress. They need a mattress that can sink in and provide pressure relief for their body. Of course, it should not be too soft that it causes them to have body aches. Instead, it should have a degree of firmness that will offer low back support.

Choosing a mattress based on firmness

A lot of factors are considered when it comes to choosing a mattress. One of them is firmness. Elaborating on firmness also means that other things are checked when the firmness is considered.


When deciding on the firmness of your bed, also take into consideration your weight. A soft mattress is not a good option for heavy people because their bodies exert a lot of pressure. Therefore if you do not want to find yourself sinking in your mattress at all times, a medium or firm mattress should be your choice of mattress.

As a light person, a soft mattress is ideal because you do not have much weight to exert on the bed. If you pick a mattress too firm, then you will find yourself waking with body pains.

Sleeping position

A factor that affects the firmness of your mattress the most is your sleeping position. Sleeping position determines the mattress type the most.


Do you have a medical condition that comes with back pain or body pain? Or have you been experiencing pain from using your previous types of mattress? To save yourself, pick a mattress with a firmness that will help your pain. If you have back pain, mattresses on a scale of 5 to 8 are superb and ideal. Your mattress choice should not be too soft, nor should it be too firm.

If you have hip pain or want to avoid hip pain, choose a medium-firm mattress. It will support your lower back more.


Firmness and support are two entirely different features of a mattress. Therefore, when choosing a mattress based on firmness, ensure that the mattress also offers you support. Support for your body type is crucial in any type of mattress you are selecting.


Is it bad to sleep on a firm mattress?

No, it’s not. Many people assume that firm mattresses are bad and should not be used. This is not so. As long as it is the right mattress for your type of sleeper and helps your spine align without causing you pain, you can sleep on it.

What mattress firmness is best for back pain?

For back pain, medium-firm mattresses are the best. They are not too soft and not too hard. With the aid of a pillow, you should be able to find a comfortable sleeping position.

How is mattress firmness measured?

The firmness of a mattress is measured by how hard it is. Usually, there is an industry-standard scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is the hardest. Each of the numbers on the scale is a rating over 10. That should give you an idea of how firm the mattress is based on the number.

Which mattress firmness is best for you?

The best mattress firmness is determined by factors such as your weight and your sleeping position, among other things.

Can you soften a firm mattress?

You can make a firm mattress soft by breaking it. However, this takes time and conscious effort. If you want a soft mattress, then get one rather than getting a hard one to soften it.


How firm your mattress is goes a long way to determine how well you will be able to lay in it and how well it will help align your body. It would be best if you always considered softness and firmness matter in your mattress and based on some of the above factors.

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