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Mattress Firmness Guide

Mattress Firmness Guide

What Is Mattress Firmness?

Mattress firmness refers to how soft or hard your mattress is. Everyone has different preferences when it comes to firmness, and these preferences can be based on factors like sleep position, body weight, and body aches. In this guide, we’ll unbox everything you need to know about mattress firmness and how to determine the level of firmness that’s right for you and your new BedInABox® mattress.

Levels of Mattress Firmness

If you are able to test BedInABox® mattresses in person before purchasing, that can be a great way to determine your preferred level of mattress firmness. Another way to determine which mattress firmness is right for you is to look at a mattress firmness scale. While the feel of mattress firmness remains subjective, firmness charts are a readily available resource used by mattress companies across the board. The mattress firmness scale ranges from extra soft to extra firm:

Extra Soft

Extra soft mattresses are actually quite rare because they provide very little support, which can lead to problems like body aches and trouble sleeping. However, if you are lighter in terms of body weight, you may find that an extra soft mattress helps you sleep better than a firmer choice.


Soft mattresses are perfect for side sleepers or if you share a bed with your partner. These mattresses give you the feeling of sinking into the surface of your mattress while still providing support. They also are sometimes referred to as plush mattresses.

Medium Soft

Medium soft mattresses are slightly softer than medium firm mattresses, still providing that cradling sensation and pressure relief of a soft mattress while offering more support. Our Azul® mattress has a medium soft feel.

Medium Firm

Medium firm memory foam mattresses are the most common type of mattress due to the fact that they are neither too soft nor too firm. Most sleepers, regardless of preferred sleep position, will find a medium firm mattress comfortable. Our Essential, Original and Original Hybrid are all considered medium firm mattresses, but may still have slightly different feels due to their varying mattress constructions.


If you are a stomach sleeper or find yourself waking up in pain, a firm mattress may be the solution for you. Firm mattresses still provide enough comfort to keep you feeling refreshed in the mornings while generally preventing body aches. Rather than feeling like you are settling into the mattress, you will feel like you are lying on top of a firm mattress.

Extra Firm

Like extra soft mattresses, extra firm mattresses are not easily found because many people find them uncomfortable and too hard. As such, extra firm mattresses are generally ideal for those who need additional back support or wake up in pain with on less firm mattresses.

What Is the Difference Between Firmness and Support?

Many consumers believe that mattress firmness and support are the same, but this is a common misunderstanding. Firmness refers to the feel of the mattress—is it hard or soft? Do you sink into it or not? On the other hand, support refers to how well the mattress keeps your hips, shoulders, and spine aligned during the night. In fact, a soft mattress can have the same level of support as a firmer one, but this correlates to the construction of the mattress and the materials used, such as memory foam or innersprings.

In the case of our BedInABox® mattresses, our CoolRestÒ Gel Memory Foam comfort layer tops four of our mattresses to provide proper support and comfort for people with many different sleep preferences. No matter the firmness of the mattress, this technology keeps your hips, shoulders, and spine aligned to avoid issues like body aches or insomnia. However, it is important to keep both firmness and support in mind when you are mattress shopping.

What Is the Right Firmness for You?

There are many factors to consider when determining the right level of firmness for your mattress:

Sleep Position

Do you sleep on your back, stomach, or side? Your sleep position affects what level of mattress firmness feels comfortable to you.

  • Back sleeper - Back sleepers may prefer medium firm to firm mattresses, but any mattress firmness is suitable for back sleepers being that their weight is evenly distributed.
  • Stomach sleeper – Firmer mattresses are often the most comfortable for stomach sleepers. Memory foam mattresses with higher levels of firmness better align the hips and spine for stomach sleepers.
  • Side sleeper - Side sleepers, on the other hand, often benefit from a softer mattress. Anywhere from soft to medium firm generally works well if you sleep on your side or often change positions during the night because these mattresses can help eliminate body pain by offering a little more give on those pressure points.

Body Weight

Did you know that your body weight affects how you experience different mattresses? The more you weigh, the firmer you probably want your mattress. If you weigh less, you may notice that firm mattresses tend to feel too firm. Conversely, if you weigh more, soft mattresses may simply sink too much.

Body Aches

Another factor to consider is if you suffer from any type of body pain. Whether your pain is caused by a preexisting condition or by your mattress itself, you should consider whether you could benefit from a new mattress with a different firmness level. Specifically, most people complain of shoulder, hip, or back pain due to their mattress.

  • Shoulder Pain - If you experience shoulder pain, especially if you sleep on your side, a soft to medium firm mattress can help alleviate that pain. Soft and medium firm mattresses have more give than firmer mattresses, and they better provide more pressure relief for those pressure points.
  • Hip Pain - If your spine is not properly supported, it can fall out of alignment, leading to hip pain. Mattresses that are too soft can contribute to hip pain because your hips may sink too deeply into the plush layers of the mattress.
  • Back Pain - Back pain is a common problem for all sleep positions, and it is often due to the mattress being too soft. In these cases, a medium firm to firm mattress is most likely to relieve your pain and lead to better quality sleep.

Consider Your Sleep Partner

If you sleep with a partner, it is important to consider both of your sleep needs to ensure that you are equally comfortable. While a medium firm mattress is a good middle ground, take the time to discuss your sleep preferences with your partner so you can choose a mattress firmness that works well for both of you.

Find your Perfect Mattress with BedInABox

No matter your sleep preferences, finding the right mattress has never been easier. BedInABox® offers seven memory foam mattresse, all of which offer different levels of firmness and mattress constructions to meet every sleep need. Our CoolRestÒ Gel Memory Foam and other technologies get you the support you need without sacrificing comfort. If you have questions about our mattresses or which mattress is best for you, our sleep experts are here to help! Contact us today to start sleeping with BedInABox®.

Original Product Image
11” multilayer foam construction designed with CoolRest® Gel memory foam to bring you cool, comfortable memory foam support.
Starting at $561.75 $749
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Azul® Product Image
11” medium-soft multilayer foam construction with an UltraCool® soft knit cover and our most advanced cooling system to keep you sleeping comfortably.
Starting at $674.25 $899
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Tranquillium® Product Image
12” and three layers of memory foam support infused with CoolRest® technology for those seeking maximum support and comfort.
Starting at $749.25 $999
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