Why is the right degree of firmness so important?
Choosing the right degree of firmness is important for healthy spinal alignment 📏
If your chosen mattress is too firm, then your body will be forced to remain unnaturally straight, resulting in a misalignment of the spinal column.
On the flip side, if your mattress is too soft, you'll sink into the mattress too deeply, resulting in a hollow back.
In both cases, your spine will be misaligned, which can lead to tension and lower back pain.
Your sleep will also be impacted and you'll be far less comfortable.
If you choose the right mattress with the right degree of firmness, though, your body will sink in at the centres of gravity (i.e. your shoulder and pelvis) but remain well-supported everywhere else.
This allows your spine to remain straight throughout the night, easing tension and allowing for a comfortable night's rest.
Choosing the right degree of firmness, then, is essential for a good night's sleep 😴
What must a good mattress be able to do?
A good mattress must relieve pressure and support the body.
It cushions the entire body while supporting the hips and spine. The shoulders, pelvis and hips must sink in so the body is evenly balanced.
If you already struggle with severe back, neck, or joint pain, it's even more important to be aware of firmness levels and choose a mattress with the right level of support.
We'd strongly recommend choosing a mattress that meets orthopaedic requirements.
But what about stability?
Even though we refer to firmness as "the factor that determines how well you're supported", there is a deeper aspect that you need to pay attention to.
It's important to note the difference between firmness and stability.
People often assume that a firm mattress is necessary to keep your spine straight and that a soft mattress will automatically lead to back pain.
This isn't necessarily true.
A firm mattress can result in back pain if it's not the right fit for you.
Similarly, a soft mattress can have excellent stability and be perfect for you.
You always need to choose a mattress with good stability. All of the ones we recommend offer good stability and support.
Firmness can be a matter of personal preference.
But your build, weight, and height will impact which degree of firmness is best for you to ensure that the mattress you choose can support your body.
The right degree of firmness for couples
Couples should pay special attention to the degree of firmness before buying a mattress.
This is simply because not every degree of firmness will be equally suitable for both partners 👩❤️👨
In general, we'd recommend sticking to medium-firm mattresses and making use of risk-free trial periods to make sure both partners sleep comfortably.
If you and your partner are of largely varying heights or body weights, though, you may need to make a different plan.
Two single mattresses
One option would be to buy two single mattresses that are the same height but have different degrees of firmness.
In this way, each mattress will be perfect for each individual, ensuring that both partners can sleep well.
You can always buy a bed bridge to get rid of the little gap between the two mattresses.
You could also invest in a customisable mattress.
These are mattresses that offer different degrees of firmness on each side of the mattress so that each half can be individually adjusted.
This is ideal but can be a little more expensive.
The Sleep Hero firmness scale
If you've already browsed through our mattress reviews, you'll undoubtedly have come across references to the Sleep Hero firmness scale.
We've decided to create our own firmness classification system as it allows us to more easily compare mattresses to each other.
Plus, considering how inconsistent conventional firmness designations are, we needed a scale that would make sense to you, our readers.
We rate mattresses on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is the softest and 10 the firmest.
Our firmness scale is based on our personal experiences and comparisons with different people in different sleeping positions.
Using our scale, we would recommend the following degrees of firmness to people with different sleeping positions:
|Firmness level||General feel||Recommended sleeping position|
|1 - 4||Very soft||Side sleepers|
|5 - 7||Medium-firm||Good for most sleeping positions|
|8 - 10||Very firm||Only for stomach and back sleepers|
Finding the right degree of firmness is essential, not only to the quality of your sleep but also to your health.
You need to find a mattress that will support you and keep your spine in an optimal alignment so you can wake up feeling refreshed and without any sort of tensions, aches, or lower back pain.
Our Sleep Hero firmness scale has been specifically designed to help you navigate the world of mattress firmness and find the mattress that's perfect for you.