How To Select Mattress Firmness: A Complete Guide

You can learn how to select mattress firmness if you understand the difference between the three. In this article, we’ll go through what soft, medium and firm beds mean. Which of them will be the best one for you?

Please do not feel overwhelmed because we’ll even share tips on how your sleeping position dictates the best mattress firmness. So without further ado, let’s get started and get ready to take notes!


How Do I Choose A Mattress Firmness?


Soft mattress: 3 to 5/10

If the mattress is within 3 to 5 on the firmness scale, you can consider it a soft mattress. You’ll experience sinking when lying on it, so a soft bed typically uses cushioning like pillow tops on the top layer and more materials like foam on the comfort layer. Should you choose a soft mattress?

If you want deep contouring and pressure relief for sleep, a soft mattress would be perfect. You also want this softness if you sleep on your side to help reduce the pressure on the shoulders, hips, and lower back in this position. Here is also how to make a firm mattress softer if your bed is too hard to sleep on. 


Medium mattress: 6 to 7/10

If the mattress is within 6 to 7 on the firmness scale, the manufacturer considers it a medium or medium-firm bed. This feel is possible thanks to the soft top layer and high-density foundation. The result is the perfect combination of comfort and support, ideal for almost all types of people. 

Should you choose a medium-firm mattress? This mattress would be helpful to achieve a good sleeping position for most people because there is some sinkage for pressure relief. However, you’ll still maintain a neutral spine because it has some firmness to push back against the body and keep the spine from misaligning. 


Firm mattress: 8 to 10-10

If the mattress is within 8 to 10 on the firmness scale, it is a firm mattress. This bed is the firmest among all mattress types because it doesn’t have plush materials but only a thin, soft top layer. Most people want to learn how to make a mattress firmer because it can be uncomfortable if you sink too deeply on the bed. 

Should you choose a firm mattress? If you are a heavier individual, you will maintain the ideal support with a firm bed. However, people who also sleep on their stomachs should only use a firm mattress to keep the body from feeling uncomfortable due to the unsupportive sleeping position. 


What Is The Mattress Firmness Scale?

The mattress industry uses a firmness scale so that manufacturers can score their beds from 1 to 10. A score of 1 would be the softest, while a 10 would be the hardest mattress. Therefore, a score of 6 would be your middle ground for mattress firmness. 

Soft mattresses

  • 1 out of 10: the softest bed that it becomes incompatible for sleep because it sinks the sleeper too much
  • 2 out of 10: an ultra-soft mattress that still won’t be comfortable for sleep because of inadequate support
  • 3 out of 10: a very soft mattress that can provide deep pressure relief
  • 4 out of 10: a soft bed that is perfect for side sleepers
  • 5 out of 10: a medium-soft mattress that has some firmness thanks to the base

Medium-firm mattresses

  • 6 out of 10: the most common bed, also known as medium-firm
  • 7 out of 10: a firmer mattress that would be ideal if you want more structure when lying down 

Firm mattresses

  • 8 out of 10: a firm bed that won’t provide any sinkage or moldability
  • 9 out of 10: a very firm mattress, but not as commonly used
  • 10 out of 10: an extremely firm mattress that is as uncommon as a 1 out of 10 mattress

How Do I Know If My Mattress Is Too Soft Or Firm?

Generally speaking, your mattress will feel too soft or too firm if you feel uncomfortable that you get poor sleep quality. You will also struggle to find a good sleeping position. Always monitor how you feel at night and after waking up to know if you must improve your bed. 

Is your mattress too soft?

  1. You notice a deep sinkage all the way to the bottom layer of the bed
  2. You feel “stuck,” especially when you try to get out of bed
  3. Your muscles don’t feel relaxed, so you constantly adjust your sleeping position at night
  4. You wake up with a stiff back from a lack of support

Is your mattress too firm?

  1. You feel uncomfortable, and there is some pain in the shoulders and hips since they are the pressure points when you lie down
  2. You experience a tingling foot or dead arm at night because of a lack of contouring from the bed
  3. You can’t seem to find a comfortable sleeping position
  4. Your body feels tensed when you sleep


And that’s it! We hope you learn how to select mattress firmness for your next trip to the mattress store. In general, your sleeping position and body type will dictate if you must get a soft, medium, or firm bed. 

We recommend re-reading our explanation about the mattress firmness scale, so you’ll know what to expect with every firmness score. And if you have more questions, feel free to ask us or check our knowledge base for everything mattress-related. 

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