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Mattress Firmness Guide: Finding the Perfect Balance

Posted on 3/22/2024

When it comes to a good night's sleep, finding the perfect mattress is crucial. This begins with understanding your mattress firmness. In this blog, our mattress experts will help you find the perfect level of mattress firmness for your sleeping needs.

Beautyrest black hybrid mattress in dark themed room

Understanding Mattress Firmness

Mattress firmness is all about how supportive your mattress feels. The comfort scale, ranging from extra plush to extra firm, caters to various preferences. Let’s break down each of the comfort levels.

Extra Plush Mattresses

As the name suggests, an extra plush or extra soft mattress is on the softer end of the spectrum. These mattresses provide a luxurious and cloud-like surface. This level of softness is ideal for side sleepers who enjoy sinking into their mattress.

For side sleepers, extra plush mattresses offer a unique advantage. They provide a cushioned surface that accommodates the natural curvature of the body, particularly around the hips and shoulders. This not only helps in relieving pressure points but also promotes better spinal alignment. The cloud-like feel of these mattresses ensures a snug and supportive environment, cradling the body throughout the night.

Featured extra plush mattress: Serta iComfort ECO - Q40HD - Hybrid - Ultra Plush - Pillow Top - Queen (500802033QUEEN)

Plush Mattresses

Moving slightly down the comfort scale, plush mattresses or soft mattresses. These mattresses strike a balance between softness and support. This category caters to those who seek a touch of luxury without compromising on proper spinal alignment.

Plush mattresses are versatile, making them suitable for a wide range of sleepers. Side sleepers and back sleepers, in particular, benefit from the balanced support and softness, allowing the mattress to contour to the natural curve of the spine. These mattresses are optimal for those who enjoy a more cushioned feel without sacrificing essential support

Featured plush mattress: Simmons Beautyrest Black Hybrid - KX-Class - Plush - Queen (700811497QUEEN)

Medium mattresses

Situated in the middle of the comfort scale, these mattresses adapt to the needs of various sleepers. Offering a well-balanced blend of softness and support, they accommodate back, stomach, and side sleepers. With a medium mattress, you can find a versatile sleep surface that caters to your body's unique needs, regardless of your preferred sleep position.

One of the key advantages of medium mattresses is their adaptability. They contour to the body's natural curves while maintaining a supportive foundation. This makes them an excellent choice for couples with different sleep preferences or individuals who may shift positions throughout the night.

Featured medium mattress: Serta Arctic Hybrid - Medium - Queen (500433368QUEEN)

Firm Mattresses

For individuals prioritizing stronger support, firm mattresses are the go-to choice. They provide a stable surface that promotes proper spinal alignment, reducing the likelihood of waking up with discomfort. Firm mattresses are designed for those who appreciate a more robust and supportive sleep surface.

Back sleepers and stomach sleepers often find firm mattresses particularly beneficial. The firmness level ensures that the spine remains in a neutral position throughout the night, minimizing the risk of aches and pains. Additionally, individuals with higher weight may find the solid support of a firm mattress more accommodating.

While firm mattresses are inherently supportive, they do not compromise on comfort. The surface, though less yielding than plush options, still provides a comfortable sleep experience.

Featured firm mattress: Simmons Beautyrest Black - C-Class Quilted - Firm - Queen (700811474QUEEN)

Extra Firm Mattresses

At the firmest end of the spectrum, we have extra firm mattresses. Ideal for stomach sleepers and individuals with specific orthopedic needs, these mattresses ensure minimal sinkage and maximum support.

These mattresses are designed to resist sagging and maintain their shape over time. This characteristic makes them suitable for individuals who prefer a mattress with a durable and unyielding feel. Stomach sleepers, in particular, benefit from the extra firmness, as it helps prevent the lower back from sinking deeply into the mattress.

While extra firm mattresses may not offer the plushness of their softer counterparts, they excel in providing a supportive and stable sleep surface. If you prioritize unyielding support and desire a mattress that maintains its shape, an extra firm option may be the best option for you.

Featured extra firm mattress: Simmons Beautyrest by Nate Berkus - Extra Firm - Queen (700811524QUEEN)

Mattress Firmness Scale

While there is not a universal scale, 10 typically represents the most firm and 1 the softest, the exact feel of a 6 on one brand's scale might be slightly different from another brand's 6.

Mattress firmness infographic showing scales of Extra Plush, Plush, Medium, Firm and Extra Firm, with number of cloud graphics indicating level of softness

How Firm Should My Mattress Be?

Selecting the right firmness involves considering various factors. Your body weight, sleep position, and personal preferences all play a role. It's crucial to find the sweet spot that caters to your unique needs.

Understand Your Sleep Preferences

Consider your preferred sleeping position. Different firmness levels cater to various sleep styles:

  • Side Sleepers: Typically prefer softer mattresses to alleviate pressure on shoulders and hips.
  • Back Sleepers: Find a balance with medium to firm mattresses for spinal alignment.
  • Stomach Sleepers: Benefit from firmer surfaces to prevent lower back sinking.

Understanding your sleep preferences sets the foundation for choosing the right firmness.

Consider Your Body Weight

Body weight plays a significant role in how a mattress feels. The general guidelines are:

  • Lightweight Individuals: May find softer mattresses more comfortable.
  • Average Weight Individuals: A balanced medium-firm mattress often suits well.
  • Heavier Individuals: Benefit from firmer mattresses for proper support.

Evaluate Health and Comfort Needs

Considering individual health and comfort needs guides you towards a mattress that caters to your specific requirements.

  • Back Pain: Firmer mattresses are often recommended for back pain.
  • Joint Issues: Softer mattresses can help relieve joint pressure.
  • Personal Comfort: Choose a firmness level that feels comfortable and supportive.
Beautyrest mattress in modern bedroom

Consult with Our Mattress Experts

If you're uncertain, don't hesitate to consult with our mattress experts at Cullen’s Cullen’s Home Center. They can offer guidance based on your specific requirements, helping you get the right mattress for yourself.

Test In-Store

If possible, visit our store location to test different options and firmness levels. Lie down on mattresses for some minutes to simulate a realistic sleep experience. Pay attention to how your spine aligns and how pressure points feel.

Whether you crave the cloud-like embrace of extra plush, the luxurious balancing act of plush comfort, the adaptability of medium mattresses, the solid support of firm mattresses, or the unyielding support of extra firm options, there's a perfect mattress waiting to cradle you into a restful night's sleep. Your decision ultimately depends on your preferences and sleeping habits.

Find the Right Mattress at Cullen’s

At Cullen’s Home Center, we have a great selection of mattresses for sale. Whether you are looking for a extra soft, soft, medium, firm, or extra firm mattress, we have the exact match for your need. Explore options from renowned brands such as Ashley Furniture, Nectar, Serta, and Simmons. Additionally, we offer adjustable bed bases, as well as bedding accessories such as mattress protectors, mattress toppers, pillows, and more!

For further assistance make sure to contact our mattress experts or visit our store location in Alexandria, MN. Our team is ready to assist you in finding the best mattress and bedding accessories today!

Serta arctic medium mattress, slightly raised at upper body position

Frequently Asked Questions: Mattress Firmness Guide

Is a firm mattress better for your back?
The preference for a firm mattress regarding back health varies among individuals. Some find that a firm mattress provides the necessary spinal support, promoting a healthy back. However, personal comfort and specific health conditions also play a crucial role. It's advisable to consider your unique needs and preferences to determine if a firm mattress is the right choice for your back.

How to make a firm mattress softer?
If you wish to make a firm mattress softer, consider options like adding a mattress topper for extra cushioning or using a mattress pad to introduce a softer surface. Additionally, an adjustable bed base allows you to modify the incline, potentially altering the feel of the mattress. Keep in mind that firm mattresses may soften over time with regular use, so allowing for a break-in period is also a consideration. Experimenting with these methods can help customize the firmness level of your mattress to better align with your comfort preferences.

Simmons Beautyrest Black Hybrid - KX-Class - Plush - Queen

Simmons Beautyrest Black Hybrid - KX-Class - Plush - Queen

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Serta iComfort ECO - Q40HD - Hybrid - Ultra Plush - Pillow Top - Queen

Serta iComfort ECO - Q40HD - Hybrid - Ultra Plush - Pillow Top - Queen

Shop Now
Simmons Beautyrest Black - C-Class Quilted - Firm - Queen

Simmons Beautyrest Black - C-Class Quilted - Firm - Queen

Shop Now