We’ve all found ourselves, at one point or another in our lives, faced with the Goldilocks problem. Because comfort and mattress feel are so subjective, finding that just right mattress can be much harder than you think, but we’re here to break it down for you.
To Those Who Wake Up with Back Pain
You are the main reason we are here today. A very common misconception in the world is that if you have back pain, then your mattress must be too firm. WRONG! If you wake up with back pain, then chances are your mattress is actually too soft.
As humans, we love the cozy feeling of sinking into an ultra-plush mattress for a good night’s sleep. But the reality is that very few of us can actually sleep comfortably on a plush mattress. Keep reading to find out what level of firmness is probably right for you. But, if you came just to figure out your back pain, then our recommendation is to invest in a firmer mattress than you currently have, not softer.
How To Measure Mattress Firmness
Luckily for us, the mattress industry has a fairly standardized scale for mattress firmness. On a scale from one to 10, one is the softest, most cloud-like sleeping experience on the planet and a 10 is basically sleeping on concrete. The cloud may sound supreme, but it’s not all its puffed up to be. ?
Let’s break it down further.
These mattresses hold the highest ranking in our heads, but are seldom used in reality. The ultra-plush rating means they provide little to no back support and, while the initial cozy feel of sinking into your mattress is amazing, it gets uncomfortable rather quickly. Ultra-plush mattresses are best for lightweight side sleepers and probably no one else.
These mattresses still have a snuggly sink-in feel, but they have a few extra layers of support foam to provide just enough pushback to keep you sleeping soundly. Plush mattresses are great for side sleepers and lightweight back sleepers.
Ah, the sweet spot. These mattresses are claimed to be generally universal. Meaning that almost everyone can find comfort on a medium mattress. These mattresses are soft and supportive. They give you the luxurious feeling of sinking into comfort without actually letting you sink. These mattresses are great for guest rooms, people who aren’t sure how they like to sleep, multi-position sleepers, and back sleepers.
Those wanting plenty of support or who like to sleep on top of their mattress should seek out a medium-firm mattress. These mattresses are firm without feeling too firm and are a good option for lightweight stomach sleepers and back sleepers who often wake up with back or joint pain.
We may have been exaggerating earlier when we said a 10 on the mattress firmness scale is like sleeping on concrete; it isn’t quite that firm. But it does feel like sleeping on a soft surface with no sink-in feel. A firm mattress is necessary for heavier stomach sleepers and back sleepers who need lots of support or often wake up with back pain.
How Firm Should Your Mattress Be?
Side Sleepers: Plush
Our Plush Pick: Lucid Plush Memory Foam Mattress
A plush mattress is usually made of layers of memory foam and has a significant sink when you sit, lay, or push on it. As we mentioned before, most people think a plush mattress is the epitome of cozy comfort, but actually very few people should sleep on a plush mattress. Side sleepers and lightweight back sleepers are the only people who should sleep on a plush mattress.
Back Sleepers: Medium
Our Medium Pick: Lucid Bamboo Charcoal Hybrid Mattress
A medium feel mattress is usually comprised of multiple layers of foams and often coils to create an optimal medium feel with plenty of support and softness. Medium mattresses are a great universal option. If you aren’t sure where to start or how you sleep, then a medium feel is always a safe option. It is a good soft feel with plenty of support that most people will find incredibly comfortable with enough support to fight against aches and pains. If you are a multi-position sleeper or back sleeper, then a medium mattress is right for you.
Stomach Sleepers: Firm
Our Firm Pick: Lucid Latex Hybrid Mattress
A firm mattress provides optimal support with very little give. Hybrid mattresses and Latex mattresses generally provide a firm, yet comfortable, feel. While not very many people enjoy sleeping on a super firm mattress, this type of mattress is ideal for stomach sleepers who require extra lower back support. A thicker latex mattress will feel plusher than a lower profile mattress of the same composition and may be a comfortable fit for heavier back sleepers or those who suffer from extreme back and joint paint.
So, next time your neighbor complains of back pain, you send your kids to college, or you’re ready to invest in a new mattress for your home, please use something you learned here today to help everyone in your life find the comfort they seek and the support they need. There is real power in finding the right mattress firmness and you have now unlocked it for your life. Use it for good and be well.