Sleeping on mattresses that offer no real support can make every night a battle. From body support to comfort, extra soft mattresses fall short in every criteria compared to firm mattresses. But on the other hand, sleeping on a mattress that's way too firm isn't comfortable either.
Medium vs firm mattresses have their perks. So today, let's find out which of these is perfect for you.
Since mattress firmness is primarily based on individual perception, it's best to use the standard mattress firmness scale when determining the perfect firmness level for your mattress.
Ranging from 1 to 10, the scale is divided into 3 main categories based on firmness levels. First, let's take a look at the scale and how it affects the perceived firmness of your mattress.
|Firmness scale range
|Side sleepers, Sleepers under 130 pounds
|Side and back sleepers, Sleepers between 130 to 250 pounds
|Stomach sleepers, Sleepers over 250 pounds
|Soft & cushiony with excellent body contouring properties, Helps with pressure relieving
|Works for almost every type of sleeper, Decent support, pressure relieving and body contouring properties
|Offers excellent body support, Helps with spine alignmen
|Does not support you well
|Not ideal for sleepers under 130 pounds or over pounds
|Negligible contouring or too hard on joints
If you want to learn how to choose mattress firmness when shopping for a quality mattress, check how deep your body sinks in when you lay down on it.
Unlike other parameters, mattress firmness does not have a standard unit of measurement or a measuring device. It largely depends on the feel and experience it offers. The way a mattress sinks your body in and how it feels against your skin tells a lot about its fitness.
If that doesn’t help you understand the firmness of a mattress, you have to rely on brand labels.
For instance, some brands label their mattresses as “medium-firm”, “firm” or “extra-firm” to help people understand the firmness level of a mattress.
Some brands go a little creative and use terms like “plush” which indicates that the mattress is soft or “supportive” when referring to firm mattresses.
In some cases, the brand’s perception of firmness might not match yours. Here is how a medium firm vs firm mattress differ in their feel and texture:
Medium: These mattresses are considerably comfortable with the right level of firmness. You will feel your body being contoured by the comfort layer but you won't sink into it.
Firm: Firm mattresses have a negligible contouring effect. All your body will get is a stiff and strong supportive base that does not have any bounce or fluff.
Regardless of what it might seem, firm mattresses have their own set of perks. Here is what we love about them:
Soft and medium mattresses will sink under you if you have higher body weight. This will not only bring down the mattress’s durability but without any support, you will wake up with body aches and muscle spasms. In the long run, you might also suffer from poor sleeping posture. However, a firm mattress will support you consistently all night long.
Stomach sleepers need a mattress that is firm enough to hold their body in perfect posture. A soft mattress might make the mid-section of their body arch down, leading to poor posture. On the other hand, a firm mattress will keep their stomach, spine, neck, and knees aligned in one straight axis.
Hot sleepers can never be comfortable in soft mattresses. The extra layers will trap heat and turn up their body temperature. Firm mattresses on the other hand have thinner comfort layers that hardly leave any scope to trap heat, keeping you cool and comfortable all night long.
Firm mattresses are beneficial for many sleepers in many ways, but they still have a few drawbacks. Here are two of them:
The extra pressure exerted by heavy sleepers can only be well balanced by firm mattresses. But if you are lightweight, there is nothing for the mattress to balance which creates unnecessary pressure on your body.
For the same reason, you will experience negligible body contouring with firm mattresses. You might get all the support you want but it will certainly be super uncomfortable to sleep on.
A firm mattress can relieve pressure points but if you go overboard with the firmness it will add pressure points and won’t help with body pain.
The same happens with side sleepers using firm mattresses. When you put all your body weight on one side of the body, you need a few extra inches of comfort layer to prevent your joints from digging in. Without that, your joints and pressure points experience extreme pressure from the mattress which ultimately makes them sore.
Medium mattresses are the safest option. Without hitting the extremes of essential mattress parameters, they work with almost every type of sleeper. Here are some of our favorite perks of using medium-firm mattresses.
Even though your heart and soul might be in sync with your partner, your mattress firmness needs may differ. You might be a fan of firm mattresses while your partner may be more inclined to softer mattresses. The issue deepens for people who have exact opposite sleeping needs. While sleeping in separate beds is always an option, you might want to reap the benefits of sleeping with your partner. In that case, a medium-firm mattress is your best bet. It's neither too soft, nor too firm, just enough to make the two of you happy.
As we discussed before, side sleepers should not use firm mattresses. It's not only uncomfortable but subjecting your delicate joints to extreme pressure, in the long run, can cause poor sleeping posture.
That's why for anyone who sleeps on their sides, a medium-firm mattress is recommended. It will neither droop under the extra weight on your side nor be too harsh on your joints. Just the right blend of contouring and support.
You might wonder what could be wrong with something that strikes a balance between everything but here are two things that medium mattresses are falling short on.
While medium mattresses are perfect for people with regular needs, it certainly doesn't work for people over 250 pounds who have extreme mattress firmness needs.
People who are on the extreme end of the weighing scale need something firm enough to hold their constant body pressure and medium-firm mattresses aren't very good at it.
We usually don't recommend sleeping on super soft mattresses, not unless those are the only ones that are comfortable for your body weight. Your weight is an essential criteria for choosing a mattress. Lightweight sleepers need a super soft base that automatically contours their body without them exerting much pressure.
Both medium and firm mattresses have a comparable set of perks and drawbacks, making them a tough choice. The truth is, only you can select the perfect mattress.
Here is a quick recap of firm vs medium mattress that might help you:
Light to average weight sleepers between 130 to 250 pounds do best with medium-firm mattresses. It offers the perfect level of support to balance your weight and the right amount of comfort to contour your body without sinking you in.
Also, if you prefer sleeping on your side or back, a medium mattress would be ideal for you. Your joints will get optimum contouring and each of your pressure points will be relieved well so that your body remains aligned throughout the night.
If you weigh over 250 pounds, you might easily sag regular mattresses. In that case, a firm mattress might be perfect for you. It is dense enough to balance the pressure your body exerts yet comfortable enough to contour your body.
For the same reason, it also makes the perfect bed base for stomach sleepers. It prevents unnatural arches and keeps your body perfectly aligned.
The difference between medium and firm mattresses is negligible which makes choosing the right mattress a little challenging. The trick is to make a note of your sleeping needs and refer back to this guide to see how firm or medium mattresses cater to your requirements. If you are still unsure, make sure you get the most out of your mattress trial period. After all, you are investing in a sleeping base for at least 7 to 10 years, take all the time you need!