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How To Pick Mattress Firmness

What About Standard Spring Tensions

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If youre looking at an entry-level mattress with only one spring tension it is usually a 1.4 gauge wire on the medium side. This is because it suits the largest number of sleepers as most people fall into this bracket.

The support from all similar spring foundations is relatively the same, particularly if the same spring gauge is used. One thing thats essential is to ask and find out the spring gauge or tension of any mattress you are buying. Where possible and if your budget allows you should always opt for a tailored spring tension like our Artisan Range of hand made mattresses.

Sleeping Position And Firmness Levels

Your sleep position determines which parts of your body make contact with the mattress and to what extent. A firmness level that provides the right mixture of support and contouring to accommodate your preferred position is essential to preventing discomfort.

Sleeping Position
Soft to Medium Soft Medium Soft to Medium Firm Firm

Side Sleeping: Side sleepers place considerable pressure on their hips and shoulders. Mattresses that are too firm can push the spine out of alignment and cause pressure buildup in these areas. However, a sleep surface that is too soft can lead to poor posture as a result of excessive sagging. Sleepers who prefer sleeping on their sides usually benefit from plusher surfaces that cushion or cradle the body. Depending on their weight, many side sleepers enjoy firmness levels ranging from soft to firm .

Back Sleeping: Back sleepers generally require a slightly firmer mattress that resists sagging in the midsection. Subtle cradling can keep the spine in a more neutral position while supporting the lumbar region. Mattresses that are too soft or too firm could put pressure on the lower back. Back sleepers tend to prefer firmness levels ranging from soft to firm .

What Is The Best Firmness For Lightweight Sleepers

The best firmness level for lightweight sleepers will depend on their preferred sleeping position, but typically a firmness level between soft and medium firm offers the best support. While personal preference will affect which model you choose, mattresses softer than a 3 on the firmness scale can cause the spine to fall out of alignment. A firm or extra firm mattress can create pressure points in lightweight sleepers due to the lack of contouring on the surface.

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The Difference Between Mattress Firmness And Mattress Support

While its easy to think a firmer mattress means more support , these two terms arent exactly interchangeable.

Mattress firmness refers to the upper layers of your mattress that you feel when you first lie down, while mattress support refers to the base and core layers. So whats the difference?

The base and core layers of your mattress will have more of an effect on your spinal alignment and relieving pressure than the upper layers.2 This means you can have a firm mattress with poor support or a soft mattress with good support.

As an example, lets look at the Casper Wave and the Casper Nova mattresses. Both use a hybrid base of springs and foam to offer maximum lift and support. However, our Wave mattress maximizes that support to provide you with relief from pain, whereas our Nova mattress maximizes softness to enhance your comfort.

How Does Body Weight Affect The Support Of A Mattress

Complete Mattress Firmness Guide

Maintaining proper spinal alignment is crucial for a comfortable and pain-free nights sleep. Even spinal support from a mattress will ideally keep your spine in alignment, meaning your mattress supports your spine without allowing your body to sink too deeply at the midsection.

Both body weight and mattress firmness can affect your spines position. Sinking too deeply into a mattress will cause your back to curve, likely resulting in discomfort or pain. Since lightweight sleepers dont compress their mattress as much as heavier sleepers do, they typically dont require a robust support system. A softer mattress allows lighter sleepers to rest comfortably and get the most from each layer.

Your preferred sleeping position also factors into how much support you need from a bed. Side sleepers often prefer softer mattresses, as one thats too firm can cause pressure points in the hips and shoulders. A mattress thats too soft for stomach sleepers can cause their midsection to sink into the bed. Back sleepers usually enjoy a firmness level in between that adequately supports the lower back.

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The Problem With Firmness Extremes

Even though the firmness scale is measured between 1 and 10, it is unlikely youd ever come across a mattress that sits at the extreme of either end of the scale.

Why? Because level 1 or 10 would be so soft or so firm, theyd pretty much be at the point of ridiculousness and not actually suitable for anyone but the rarest of cases. A mattress with level 1 softness would have an extreme level of sinkage while not providing any meaningful support.

A mattress with level 10 firmness would nearly feel like sleeping on a tabletop extreme pushback levels with next to no sinkage or conforming properties and extremely thin soft comfort layer.

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There are a lot of things to consider when buying a new mattress. You have to figure out which mattress type to choose, whether that’s innerspring, memory foam, or latex. You also have to determine which mattress size will give you enough space to sleep comfortably without cramping your bedroom.

Another factor, and perhaps the most important, is mattress firmness, as it’s the key to a comfortable night’s sleep.

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What Is The Best Firmness For A Mattress

With this understanding of firmness in place, its time to riddle that age old question: What is the best firmness for a mattress? As you probably gathered, there is no one answer for this all-important Q. Why? Well, because firmness is such a personal thing. An ultra-firm mattress might be excellent for a stomach sleeper, but absolutely horrible for a side sleeper.

To help you better contextualize this question in terms of your own sleeping needs, lets break down firmness by position.

Is Firmness The Same As Support

Choosing the Right Foam and Mattress Firmness

Though firmness and support are closely related, they are not the same thing. Firmness refers to how soft or hard the mattress feels, while support refers to whether the mattress promotes proper spinal alignment. The comfort system is primarily responsible for firmness, and the core plays a bigger role in support. Firmness does not determine support, but the two can influence each other.

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Is Mattress Firmness The Same As Mattress Support

It can be easy to confuse the firmness of a mattress with the support of a mattress, which are two completely different things.

The firmness of a mattress is determined by the top layers, and the support of a mattress is determined by the middle and bottom layers. The underlying support system of a mattress must be made with high-quality materials, in order for the top layers to perform their job.

What If Im Not Sure What Firmness Level I Want For My Mattress

If you are unsure what firmness level is going to be right for you, theres really no way around it youll need to test some mattresses out for yourself.

You can try out mattresses in a showroom to get a gauge on what feels comfortable to you initially, but youll need more than just lying on a bed in a showroom to know for sure.

If you have an idea of what firmness level may be right for you, make sure to go for a mattress that is free and easy to return for either a refund or exchange.

Many mattress-in-a-box companies offer generous risk-free trial periods that allow you to try the mattress out at home for anywhere between 90 nights to a full year.

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Select Your Desired Mattress Firmness

When determining how to pick the right mattress, you must consider your preferred firmness level.

There is a common misconception that the firmness of a mattress affects its support, but really, firmness is subjective and does not equate to support. This is because firmness is determined by how far a sleeper sinks into their mattress, while support is measured by how well the mattress maintains a sleepers alignment.

FIRMNESS is measured by how much the sleeper sinks into the mattress

SUPPORT is measured by how the mattress is maintaining the sleepers spinal alignment.

When deciding between a firm or soft mattress, just make sure to choose one that is designed with zoning requirements for adequate support.

On the same mattress, a heavier sleeper will inevitably sink deeper than a lighter sleeper. To which, the perception of firmness will be determined by the individual.

So how does one determine the best mattress firmness for them? Personal preference! As long as a mattress is zoned properly and supports your body correctly, you are free to choose a softer or firmer mattress.

Eco Terra Mattress Firmness

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Why doesnt Eco Terra offer the ability for people to buy a soft mattress, or an extra-firm mattress? Because a soft mattress tends to make sleepers sink really far into the mattress, and extra-firm mattresses offer very little give when it comes to essential pressure point support.

This is why Eco Terra has chosen to only offer medium mattresses and medium-firm mattresses, as these two firmness levels are easily able to accommodate the majority of the population’s sleeping needs.

Additionally, latex mattresses are extremely durable and comfortable. The organic materials are breathable, and offer quality sleep for all kinds of different sleepers, regardless of sleeping position.

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If Youre Average Weight

Average weight people in the range of 130-230lb need a balance between comfort level and support.

There needs to be enough of a plush comfort layer to allow a little sinkage and contouring, with enough support underneath to prevent sinking too far and help with pressure relief.

Average weight people probably have the widest range of mattresses to choose from, and chances are theres a selection of mattresses out there that will suit your preferences if you are in this weight range. Beds in the Medium-soft to Medium-firm range will likely be the best match.

How Heavy Are You

Your body weight plays a huge part in choosing the right mattress. Without considering this you are simply guessing as to which spring and tension you need. Retailers rarely ask this and will want to avoid getting into too much detail with you. They do this to keep the sale quick and simple. This often results in you ending up with a really unsuitable mattress and a nightmare trying to exchange it with them.

A light person will find an orthopaedic mattress rock hard, whereas a heavier person may find it just right. So what kind of mattress would be chosen for the heavier person who is asking for a firm mattress believing that this would be the only option for them?

This is where the expertise of the retailer should come into play.

We can help identify the correct spring tensions for you – no more guessing

Another thing to bear in mind is that mattress tension is also relative to the size of the mattress a single mattress will be firmer than a double mattress, a lot firmer than a king size and much firmer than a super king, and of course vice-versa. The bigger the span of the mattress the softer it will feel. So going out to buy a mattress bigger or smaller than the one you are looking to replace will have a direct influence on the mattress tension. This is where you may need specialist advice and we can help prevent you from guessing.

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The Importance Of Proper Support

While most people equate a firm mattress with being more supportive, this is not exactly true. There is a difference between firmness and support. Support comes from having your spine in the proper alignment.

For example, if you are a side sleeper, youll need to allow your mattress to conform to your body. Having your hip and shoulder sink into the bed slightly while your core is elevated will allow your spine to be in perfect alignment. The most comfortable mattresses will help you fall asleep faster and sleep through the night easier.

Having the softest bed possible may seem like the ultimate goal, but dont be fooled. Proper support can help rid your aches and pains. If your body is properly supported throughout the night, youll wake easier because your body didnt have to strain itself to be comfortable the entire night.

Brands that advertise mattresses as orthopedic arent anything special. The Sleep Council explains that orthopedic mattresses are just extra firm beds. They claim that they support joints better, but any mattress that suits your sleep style is going to do that compared to just an extra firm mattress.

How To Choose A Mattress Firmness

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Choosing a mattress that is too firm could leave you feeling achy.

Choosing a new mattress can be quite confusing if you have not shopped in a while. From innerspring to pillow tops, there are many new options for you to choose from. But another choice you will have to eventually make for your new mattress is the firmness. Choosing a mattress that is not firm enough can leave your back aching while choosing one that is too firm can leave you feeling stiff. Lets take a look how you can choose a firmness level for your mattress.

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What Mattress Do You Need If You Suffer From Joint Or Back Pain

A good mattress needs to give both support and comfort and that includes ones for those who suffer from back problems.

Although a firm mattress is recommended by some retailers, you should always look for a mattress that keeps your back aligned while sleeping and relieves pressure points along your spine and joints. This has a lot to do with your weight , so its best to try a mattress before you buy many online retailers now offer a trial period where you can return the mattress and get your money back if you dont think its right for you.

The pillow you use will also affect your sleeping position and back alignment so make sure you pick one that suits your needs. Take a look at our pillow reviews to find out more.

How To Select The Right Mattress For You Summary

Hopefully, you have finished reading the above but even if you havent these five steps will ease your task of choosing a mattress for you or your family.

  • Do you need a new mattress? If your current bed is over eight years old, Id consider replacing it no matter what. If you are having trouble sleeping or experiencing back or neck pain I would start searching.
  • What is your current budget? Dont go with the cheapest option you find. Aim for $700-1200 range for a standard queen size bed. Of course, if you are buying smaller ones for your kid or teenager, the price will be considerably lower. Dont spend less than $400 though. The quality drop-off is huge.
  • What are your ideal type and material? This is hands down the biggest challenge. Memory foam offers good contour and hug but sleeps hot. Traditional coil ones provide good bounce and cooling and are generally more durable. I recommend foam or hybrid to most people except for heavier sleepers who should opt for innerspring.
  • Whats your preferred sleeping position? This determines your ideal firmness level. On a scale of 1-10 , back sleepers will want to opt for a medium firm , side sleepers for more softer option and stomach sleepers will need more support to avoid sinking .
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    What Mattress Firmness Should I Choose

    Firstly, in the mattress industry, there has to be a precise definition of soft, medium or firm which there isnt. Youll see all sorts of sliding scales and rating but without knowing whats exactly inside that mattress its just a guess.

    This is because most of the time the retailers are using the spring tension to explain the relative firmness of the mattress which is incorrect. Most mattress firmness ratings are based on the upholstery layers on top of the spring unit. So when youre looking for a medium-firm mattress you need to be looking at that upholstery as well as the spring tension to work out the right mattress tension.

    How Thick Should Your Mattress Be

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    Yes, it may be quite difficult to make a choice and pick one of the thousands of mattresses with different firmness levels. Here are some tips to help you make the right decision.

    You need a thicker mattress if:

    • You are pretty heavy. Very thin mattresses work pretty well for very thin people, but if you realize that your body sinks too deep into your bed, you might need a new, at least 10 thick mattress.
    • You want to add some extra height to your bed. If you need to do a deep squat every time you sit up on the mattress, maybe, you need to purchase a thicker one. Note that in some cases, you need a foundation more and that it largely depends on your bed setup as a whole, but still, choosing a thicker mattress will help, too.
    • You have a bed with a high headboard and footboard. Sometimes, you just need to buy a thicker, higher mattress because it will look much better than a thin one. However, if a headboard and footboard are pretty low, you would need a thinner mattress for aesthetic reasons.

    You may also need a thinner mattress if:

    What else do you need to consider when choosing a certain thickness? Here are some other important things to take into account:

  • Health issues. People with back pain often need firmer, thinner mattresses. Elders often cannot sleep on too high beds because of mobility issues. Consider all health conditions and issues before buying a mattress.
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