Mattress firmness guide – How firm should your mattress be?

This is part of our complete mattress buying guide – check out the full guide here.

Did you know that the average person spends around 26 years of their life sleeping? You might also be interested to know that you’ll spend roughly 7 years trying to get to sleep – so that’s 33 years in total!

Firmness plays a big role in how a mattress performs and mattress firmness can have a significant impact on your overall sleep quality. If you’re struggling to choose the right firmness, you’ve come to the right place!

In this mattress firmness guide, we will answer key questions like “What is the mattress firmness scale?” “Is my mattress too firm?” and “Is a firm or soft mattress better?”

Julia bed with Juno mattress

Julia bed with Juno mattress

What is mattress firmness?

Mattress firmness refers to how firm or soft a mattress feels when you lie on it. Support, on the other hand, refers to the way the mattress keeps your body and spine aligned while you sleep. It is important to be aware that while the two are connected, they are not the same thing.

Firmer mattresses are generally considered to offer more support, but this will not be the case for everyone. It is possible to have a soft mattress that offers good support and a firm one that has little support.

Why does mattress firmness matter?

The firmness of your mattress can have a big impact on your sleep quality and overall health.

You may have an uncomfortable night’s sleep and experience pain in your back if you choose a mattress that is too firm. Whereas, your body may sink into pressure points and be poorly aligned if you sleep on a mattress that is too soft.

What is the mattress firmness scale?

A mattress firmness scale was created to help consumers understand mattress firmness. However, this oversimplifies mattresses down to a simple number, when in fact whether a mattress is appropriate for you depends on both the support and the firmness.

Each manufacturer has its own mattress scale which usually ranges from soft or extra soft to firm or extra firm.

Problems with using the mattress firmness scale

It is difficult to compare mattresses using the mattress firmness scale as it is not a universal measurement and each manufacturer has its own scale. Firmness is also subjective which can make choosing a mattress more challenging.

TIP: When comparing mattresses from different retailers, you should physically compare them to see what the difference is rather than relying on the mattress firmness scale.

How does firmness affect support?

Luxury mattresses are usually in the £1,000 to £2,000+ price range and are made from high-end materials. Most premium and luxury mattresses are constructed from natural (& sometimes exotic) fibres like horse hair, silk and cashmere.

Buying a luxury mattress is a great investment as they are made with the best quality in mind and designed to last a lifetime. You spend a lot of time in bed, so it’s always worth investing in a premium mattress that will encourage and support good quality sleep.

Juno Cashmere is a luxury mattress made from premium natural materials that has been carefully designed to offer optimal support and comfort while you sleep.

How does firmness affect support?

Mattresses that are too firm or too soft will provide inadequate support for some people. For example, your body may sink into a mattress that is too soft and will not get the support it needs to remain properly aligned while you sleep.

As mentioned above, mattress firmness and support are closely related but they are two distinct factors and should be considered separately.

Does one mattress firmness fit all?

There are various mattresses available and choosing the right firmness for you will depend on your needs and personal preferences. There is no single mattress firmness that suits every sleeper, so weigh up the options carefully and pick the best mattress for you.

Juno mattress

Juno pocket sprung mattress

Are firm mattresses better?

There is a common misconception that firm mattresses provide better support, but this is not always the case.

If you suffer from back pain, a firmer mattress will usually be more comfortable as it will reduce pressure on your muscles and support proper spine alignment while you sleep. Whereas, you are likely to find a soft mattress more comfortable if you sleep on your side or weigh less.

Is my mattress too firm?

A firm mattress should not feel hard or uncomfortable. Here are some signs that your mattress is too firm:

1) You wake up feeling tired or groggy
2) You wake up with aches and pain in your back, neck or shoulders
3) Your mattress doesn’t contour to your body when you get into bed
4) You can’t get comfortable when lying in your favourite sleeping position
5) You get a better night’s sleep when you stay in hotels or guest beds

Can I make a firm mattress softer?

Buying a mattress topper is a quick and simple way to make a firm mattress softer. You can place a topper on the surface of your mattress to provide an extra layer of padding and instantly make your mattress more comfortable.

Are soft mattresses more comfortable?

Many people gravitate towards mattresses advertised as ‘soft’ or ‘super soft’ because they think they’ll be more comfortable to sleep on. This is understandable and soft mattresses can provide extra comfort, but you should be careful when choosing a soft mattress.

A mattress that is too soft can actually be more uncomfortable because it won’t provide adequate support while you sleep. This is why we only sell medium and firm mattresses at The Original Bed Co.

Tip: If you do opt for a soft mattress, make sure it contains high-quality pocketed coils or foam to improve mattress support.

Is a firm or medium mattress better?

A medium mattress is a popular choice as it accommodates most body shapes and sleeping preferences. For many, a medium mattress strikes the right balance between comfort and support.

Pros of a medium mattress

  • Has some give which makes it comfortable but also offers good support while you sleep
  • Suits most people who sleep on their back or side
  • A good compromise for couples where one partner wants a soft mattress and the other prefers a firmer one

Cons of a medium mattress

  • Might be too firm for lightweight sleepers
  • Might be too soft for heavyweight sleepers – For those weighing over 16 stone (100 kg), we recommend a firm mattress tension for added support

What is the right firmness for you?

There are various mattresses available and choosing the right firmness for you will depend on your needs and personal preferences. Remember that there is no single mattress firmness that suits every sleeper.

The Sleep Foundation recommends that you should take the following into account when deciding between a firm or soft mattress:

  • Sleep position – People that sleep on their back or front generally prefer firmer mattresses while people that sleep on their side usually favour softer mattresses.
  • Body weight – A mattress will feel softer to a heavier person and firmer to a lighter person. Understanding how your weight affects your sleep will help you decide whether a firm or soft mattress is right for you.
  • Comfort preferences – Some people find it more comfortable sleeping on a soft bed whereas others prefer a firmer mattress, or somewhere in between. Your individual comfort preferences will help you determine what mattress support and firmness are ideal.
  • Partner preferences – If you share your bed with another person, then you also need to consider their preferences when choosing between a firm or soft mattress. You may decide to buy a medium mattress if one of you likes a soft mattress but the other prefers a firm.

Suggested reading: Check out our recent blog post if you want more tips on how to choose the best mattress.

Need help finding the right mattress firmness?

At the Original Bedstead Co, we offer a wide collection of mattresses in various sizes and designs. Get in touch with our team if you would like expert advice on finding the best mattress for your needs.

You can also find lots of useful information on our website:

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