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Understanding mattress firmness scale
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The firmness scale on a Polysleep mattress.


Understanding mattress firmness scale

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To get a mattress that makes you feel supported and well-rested, you need to spend some time understanding the mattress firmness scale.

While investing in a bed from well-known brands like Polysleep can guarantee an exceptional sleeping experience, knowing the mattress's firmness will add to the experience.

Buying a memory foam mattress with the right level of firmness would provide perfect spinal alignment, cushioning your body with adequate support to help you get a deep rejuvenating sleep.

Mattress firmness: what is it?

Mattress firmness refers to how soft or firm a mattress feels when you sleep on it. Most mattress manufacturers use a 10-point scale to measure mattress firmness, where the firmness of a mattress increases as you climb up the scale.

To determine the mattress firmness that would provide you with the most comfort, you need to look at factors like your sleep position, body weight, body type, and age.

The mattress materials and the construction can be significant in determining the firmness of a mattress. High-end mattresses typically comprise several layers of high-quality foam of varying density to provide superior comfort and support.

The Polysleep mattress.

For instance, the Zephyr mattress from Polysleep is a premium memory foam mattress that consists of 5 layers and six varieties of foam encased in an organic nanobionic cover.

Firmness vs. support

While terms like 'firmness' and 'support' may seem interchangeable, they have some differences.

Support: A mattress can support your body by aligning your spine and cushioning the pressure points in the neck, shoulders, and hips.

Firmness: It is a subjective concept that reflects how you feel when you sleep on the bed.

For example, a softer mattress may adequately support your body if you weigh less than 130 pounds. The same bed may not feel supportive or firm enough for a heavier-weighted person.

The firmness meaning can differ for various people. At the same time, adequate support will determine how well the mattress can distribute your body weight and can offer pressure-point relief..

Understanding the mattress firmness scale

Again, mattress firmness is subjective and must suit one's body type and preference. If issues like how to determine mattress firmness bother you, you can consider the 10 points mattress firmness scale used by most mattress brands where one means the softest and 10 represents the firmest of the mattresses.

Mattress firmness can be graded as follows:

Soft (1-3/10)

Soft mattresses are known for their plush feel while providing minimal support.

  • Extremely soft (1/10): Rarely used, these mattresses are too soft and offer minimal support.
  • Ultra soft (2/10): These mattresses are too soft and can sink significantly. They offer plush cushioning that conforms to the sleeper's body.
  • Very soft (3/10): A soft mattress that sinks considerably under the sleeper's weight. It has a plush feel that cuddles the sleeper's body.

Medium firm (4-6/10)

They are the most popular mattresses that balance comfort and support.

  • Medium soft (4/10): They fall on the softer side while still providing some support;
  • Medium(5/10): The mattresses provide a balance between comfort and support;
  • Medium firm (6/10): They are great for resolving pain issues and lean towards a more supportive feel.

Firm (7-10/10)

Firm mattresses are more supportive while providing minimal sinkage.

  • Slightly firm (7/10): They provide a great deal of support with minimal sinkage;
  • Firm (8/10): They are substantial mattresses that allow little to no sinkage. They are great for back and stomach sleepers and have more of a traditional feel.
  • Extra firm (9/10): They provide even less sinkage and can be an option for people with heavier body weights.
  • Ultra Firm (10/10): Extremely rare, such mattresses offer no pressure relief.
Little girl jumping on her Polysleep foam mattress.

How to check mattress firmness?

The best way to check a mattress's firmness is to try it out in the store. When in-store, lie down on your preferred bed in your sleeping position for at least 10 to 15 minutes to get an idea of its firmness before investing in it.

If you want to purchase a foam mattress, consider the foam mattress guide to determine the best mattress for you.

What is the best mattress firmness for you?

The best mattress firmness for you depends on your sleeping position, among other factors.

  • Stomach sleepers: Stomach sleepers need extra firm beds with considerable lift and support. They must have their hips and shoulders properly aligned to prevent back pain. Stomach sleepers need to get a bed with an 8-10/10 ranking on the firmness scale to get their desired support.
  • Back sleepers: Back sleepers need a balance between comfort and support and must stick to a medium-firm mattress with a 5-6/10 firmness range. The best semi firm mattress for back sleepers would be one that has foam layers of varying density. Because of its balanced structure, it can be a foam mattress good for back pain.
  • Side sleepers: Side sleepers need to go for a softer mattress of 4-6/10 firmness range that snuggles the body providing superior pressure relief. In addition, they can get a side sleeper pillow to enjoy proper spinal alignment with adequate pressure relief in key areas like the hips and shoulders.
Cozy young woman sleeping on her side with her head on her pillow.

How to choose your mattress firmness?

You can choose your mattress firmness based on the following factors:

  • Sleep position: Different mattress firmness would appeal to various sleep positions. For example, a side sleeper would prefer a softer mattress, while a back sleeper would lean toward a bed in the medium-firm range. In comparison, a stomach sleeper would go for a firmer mattress.
  • Body weight: While a heavier person would prefer the extra support of a firm mattress, a light weighted sleeper might go for the extra cushioning provided by a softer bed.
  • Preference: You can always follow your personal preference if you feel overwhelmed by the choices available.
  • Popular choice: Thanks to balanced comfort and supportive features, a medium firm mattress ranking between 5-6/10 is popular among many sleepers. When in doubt, you can always choose the popular mattresses to get an even balance of comfort and support.
Comfortable woman sleeping on her side with her head on her pillow.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make my mattress firmer?

If you are based in Canada and purchased a mattress that is not as firm as you like, you can always get a memory foam mattress topper in Canada to get the additional support you desire.

How to break in a firm mattress?

To break in a firm mattress, exert pressure on it by rolling back and forth on your bed or crawling on it for several days until it feels comfortable.

How to firm up a soft mattress?

To firm up a soft mattress, you can place plywood under the bed, get a firmer mattress topper or flip your mattress to get a firmer surface where it is flippable.

What to do if the mattress is too firm?

If you are wondering, can a firm mattress cause back pain? The answer is that a too-firm mattress will not provide pressure relief, causing back pain issues.

If your mattress is too firm, you can get a plusher mattress topper to get better comfort while sleeping.

What is the difference between firm and plush mattresses?

Firm and plush mattresses differ in their firmness levels. A firm mattress offers superior support and ranks higher (7-10/10) on the mattress firmness scale. In contrast, a plush bed ranks lower (1-3/10) on the scale and is known for its soft, huggable feel.

Due to its superior support and bounce, a firm mattress can be an excellent option for back and stomach sleepers and heavier people. On the other hand, a plush bed is usually preferred by light-weighted sleepers. It is popular due to its luxurious comfort and pressure-relieving properties.


To get the mattress firmness you desire, remember to consider your sleeping position, body weight, and personal preferences to land the mattress of your dreams. 


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