Selecting The Right Mattress Firmness

(Last Updated On: October 28, 2019)

Selecting the correct mattress firmness can make a huge difference when it comes to the quality of sleep and amount you get every night. More importantly, it can have a tremendous impact on how you feel when you start your day’s work in the morning. For example, sleeping on a mattress that is too firm, can leave you with pain in your pressure points, and sleeping on a bed that is too soft can leave you waking up with pains and aches in your back, neck, and joints.

You see, the firmness of your new mattress determines, to a large extent, how comfortable you’ll find it. Keep in mind, though, that every sleeper has unique requirements. What you might find comfortable in a bed might not be the perfect firmness level for anyone else. Factors such as age, gender, weight, body type, and presence (or absence) of specific medical conditions, normally play a role in how your body feels mattress firmness.

Fortunately, there are options available to sleepers with different preferences, and the best option is to select the new mattress that meets your needs from the very beginning. Such mattresses have customizable firmness levels for each side of the bed and adjustable comfort layers that allow sleeper partners to adjust their comfort at any time.

The firmness of a mattress is something that isn’t always easy to change, especially if you purchase a mattress that does not have these features.

Support vs. Firmness

Many people use the terms support and firmness interchangeably when evaluating mattresses. However, they mean very different things when it comes to mattresses.

A mattress can have superior support with the right mattress core, and have varying levels of comfort, e.g.:

  • Firm: best for back-sleepers who prefer premium cushioned support.
  • Medium: great for side-sleepers who prefer a fair amount of balance between softness and support.
  • Medium-Firm: a perfect choice for stomach and certain back-sleepers alike.
  • Extra-Firm: best suited for back-sleepers who prefer very firm sleeping surfaces.

It’s important to select a mattress that offers an adequate amount of support for your sleeping needs along with the appropriate amount of cushioning comfort to help you rest easy throughout the night.

The One Firmness Fits All Myth

There are some mattress brands that consider themselves as one firmness fits all sleepers. What these mattress brands do is simply go with the numbers. For example, the average sleeper normally prefers a mattress that falls between 5 and 7 on the firmness scale, and this translates to a medium to medium-firm mattress. In other words, approximately 7 out of every 10 sleepers will find a new mattress within that range as comfortable.
Make 100% sure you’re within such range of firmness preference before you buy into such hype. Remember, if you prefer something firmer or softer, you’re likely to be unhappy with your new mattress.

Mattress Density and Body Mass Index

Body Mass Index (BMI) can help you ascertain the mattress firmness level, or Impression Load Deflection (ILD), which you’ll find most comfortable. A good rule-of-thumb is the larger your BMI, the firmer the mattress you’ll prefer, e.g.

  • If your BMI is above 31, you’re likely to find extra-firm mattresses to be your most comfortable sleep option.
  • If your BMI is between 26 and 31, you’re likely to prefer firm mattresses.
  • If your BMI is between 19 and 25, medium-firmness mattresses are likely to be most comfortable for you.
  • For BMIs below 19, you’re likely to prefer a soft firmness in your mattress.

Obviously, the above rule-of-thumb applies in addition to individual preferences dictated by sleep positions, e.g. most people who sleep on their sides prefer softer or medium mattresses, while those who sleep on their backs and stomachs prefer firmer mattresses.

Get The Best of All Worlds with Mattress Customization

It is very important to select a mattress brand that offers a wide variety of beds and firmness levels to accommodate the needs of a wide range of sleepers.
Make sure that the mattress you choose is not made until it is ordered, because that’s the most important criteria for ensuring you’ll get the most easily customizable mattress, according to your individual specific requirements.

In this fashion, not only can you adjust the softness and firmness levels when ordering online, but you can also adjust them both once the mattress has been delivered to your home. You can even have one side of your bed made softer than the other by adjusting comfort layers to increase or decrease the softness of the mattress. This is an excellent option for couples where one sleeper desires a firmer mattress than the other.

Exchanging the Comfort Layer on Your Latex Mattress

Furthermore, make sure that the mattress brand also offers you a comfort exchange program, where you can exchange the comfort layer on your latex mattress, and that you’ll have at least 3 months to figure out what your needs may be. During this trial period, you’ll be able to adjust your comfort layers to create the perfect balance of support and softness for getting your best night’s sleep yet.

Sometimes, it takes a while to discover how you really feel about the new mattress. If the firmness isn’t quite meeting your sleep requirements with your new mattress, you don’t have to go through the cumbersome process of sending back the entire mattress. What you can do is simply send the top latex layer back to the manufacturer and then they’ll send you a new layer in a different level of firmness, which almost always sorts out the problem without the need to return the entire new mattress.

You’re probably wondering if this exchange is practical. Well, if you need to adjust the firmness of your new mattress, all you’ll have to do is unzip the latex mattress zippered cover, and exchange your new top layer that the manufacturer sends out to you for the existing one. It’s no more difficult to adding a mattress topper to a traditional mattress. Once you’re done, put the old latex layer in the box the new one arrived in, attach the UPS label you received and send it back to the manufacturer. Simple as this!



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