Tips for choosing the mattress firmness

As with any decision when looking for a new mattress, the feel factor is one that is both subjective and personal. Many things are riding on the type of mattress you choose to purchase for a good night of sleep. Maybe your past mattresses have sagged, and that has cost you quality of sleep. On the other hand, maybe your mattress has been too hard or too soft, resulting in discomfort. This is why your personal preference should guide you to the right choice of mattress for you. Understanding mattress firmness and the variants on offer should assist you in your final decision.

With many things to consider fortunately there is a benchmark for the firmness that should assist you in determining what is right for your individual needs.

This article aims to assist you and your choice, in order to ensure you choose a mattress with the right firmness for you.

What is mattress firmness?

The firmness of a mattress is determined by the initial feel of it when you lie down on it. Levels of firmness dictate whether you sink into your mattress or rest on top. Is your body sinking into the fibres? Are the materials contouring the shape of your physique?  Can you feel a strong level of resistance? Is your mattress pushing back? These are a few of the questions you may want to ask yourself when choosing a mattress.

Firmness scale

Firmness in the mattress industry is usually measured by a firmness scale. The firmness scale helps customers understand how firm a mattress is using a scale of 1-10 – one out of ten being the softest and ten out of ten being the firmest. A score of around six and a half out of ten would be considered medium firmness in the industry.

Soft mattresses

Generally speaking, soft mattress usually fall within between three and five on the fitness scale, with below three ranking as very soft. A soft mattress won’t give you much pushback. Rather than resting on top, you will experience a sinking feel. Soft mattresses are considered a great option for side sleepers, or for people who sleep in the fetal position. They assist with back pain, and help older individuals with joint pain problems. They should be the first choice for people who don’t weigh very much, so that the material can shape itself to the body and offer effective support.

Medium firm mattresses

Falling between six and seven on the firmness scale, medium firm mattresses are usually made from soft layers and a stronger and sturdier foundation of high density pocket coils. Because it is somewhere in the middle, it’s usually quite a popular choice. This mattress is considered to be ideal for people who sleep in a variety of positions or couples of opposite weights, because it is a good mix of sinking and push back. They’re particularly good for back sleepers.

Firm mattresses

Firm mattresses rate between eight and ten on the firmness scale. As you may have already guessed, a firm mattress is one that lifts most parts of your body up, leaving you squarely on top of your mattress. This is a great choice if you’re a little heavier, and for stomach sleepers, because firm mattresses offer added support within their structural build. These mattresses are rarely built from soft plush materials. Highly supportive, a firm mattress can facilitate a neutral spine position, thus keeping the shape of the body straight. Firmer mattresses reduce pressure on the circulation system, which in turn allows the blood to flow better.

Our top tips for choosing a mattress

When looking into finding the best mattress, follow these top tips:

  • Consider your weight. Heavier people should consider a firmer mattress, because your weight will push the mattress down to fit the form of your body well. Lighter people need a softer mattress, so that the curves of your body push the material up to fill the gaps where your waist and back are.
  • Think about what position you sleep in. This could be the most important question you need to answer. If you sleep on your side, you’ll want a medium firm or firm mattress. Anything from three to ten on the firmness scale should be OK. If you sleep on your back, look for something with a firmness rating of five or higher. Stomach sleepers should look for a mattress with a firmness rating of seven to ten.
  • Reconsider your love of soft things. You might think soft is best, but it really isn’t. You need supporting when you sleep, and so soft mattresses should be reserved for very specific situations. These mattresses could be extremely uncomfortable for you if you are the wrong body type. If you insist, we suggest you get a soft mattress that’s towards medium-firm, so something that rates a three.
  • If all else fails, go for medium firmness. This is a good compromise for couples who have different sleeping styles and weights, or for those who aren’t sure what they want.


Our Ely Mattress comes in 2 feels. Soft-Medium and Medium-Firm. If you are unsure of what feel you need, contact us today for a friendly chat.


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