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What Is a Firm Mattress? Everything Explained

By isha.m
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what is a firm mattress

Are you tired of waking up with aches and pains, yearning for a solution that brings both comfort and support? Well, this is where firm mattresses come into play!

But, before that, what is a firm mattress?

To explain it in simple words, a “firm mattress,” with its strong firmness level, supports the proper posture and spinal alignment during sleep. In fact, it is best for people who need support over softness. Even experts recommend firm mattresses for back and stomach sleepers and people with heavier body weight.

Read on to find out more in detail.

The Blog at a Glance
Firm mattresses are usually identified by their firmness level. Usually, the standard level is 7-8 on a scale of 10.
It is recommended for people with heavier body weight and those who sleep on their backs and stomachs.
It is only for people who need stronger support than plush comfort.
✅A firm mattress supports your spinal alignment and releases extra pressure.
Firm mattresses are not a good idea for side sleepers and lightweight people. It may feel too rigid on them and cause discomfort and pressure during sleep.

So, What Does Firm Mean in a Mattress?

To be very specific, a firm mattress is a mattress that has a firmness level between 7-8 on a scale of 10.

So, why does firmness matter? Well, it’s all about comfort and spinal alignment. For instance, if a mattress is too soft, you might feel like you’re sinking into a marshmallow. On the flip side, if it is too firm, you may feel like sleeping on a board.

However, the main benefit of it is that its material gives you perfect support while sleeping. Plus, the firm mattresses are designed to support spinal alignment and posture properly. Ideal for back sleepers and people who sleep on their stomachs.

What is a Firm Mattress Built of?

Whether you’re a back sleeper, a side sleeper, or a starfish sprawler, the construction of a firm mattress is specially crafted with a perfect blend of support, comfort, and a touch of sleep magic.

Not too soft, not too firm—just perfect for a restful night’s sleep.

  • The innerspring mattresses are made of innerspring coils.
  • Foam mattresses are built of foams like memory foam, latex foam, or polyfoam for their firmness.
  • The hybrid firm mattresses are combinations of innerspring coils and foam for the best support.
  • The cushioning is made with comfy materials like foam, latex, silk, and wool.
  • Lastly, the covering is also made with cozy materials for sleepers like breathable cotton, polyester, stretch knit fabric, etc.

The Importance of the Right Decision

Your sound sleep and how you wake up depend a lot on the environment and your bedding. As this Forbes Health article  quotes,

“One’s mattress is responsible for proper back alignment, pressure relief, temperature regulation, and even pain alleviation,” says Po-Chang Hsu, M.D., a medical expert at SleepingOcean in Boston. “[Meanwhile], an unsuitable mattress can cause discomfort, nighttime awakenings, back pain, headaches, and more.”

Now, let’s see the benefits of a firm mattress in detail:

Benefits of a Firm Mattress

Firm mattresses are made to support spinal alignment and posture during sleep. It helps blood circulation and ensures maximum comfort for back and stomach sleepers and people with heavier body weight. So, the next morning, the sleeper wakes up in an energetic mood.

Benefits of a Firm Mattress
Benefits of a Firm Mattress

Support Spinal Alignment and Proper Posture

Firm mattresses are made to support the posture of your body during sleep. This way, your spinal alignment is right aligned with your body.

Besides, the materials are designed to distribute the weight equally. And with extra pressure relief, there is no chance of any body part feeling extra stress or pressure while you are sleeping.

  • Memory foam mattresses are specially made to support your spinal alignment. These feel like a right hug around your body while you enjoy a long, peaceful sleep.
  • Although the best option is definitely hybrid firm mattresses, these ensure comfort, support, and longevity with the combination of latex, foam, and innerspring coils.

Saves from Numbness, Pain, and Discomfort

The WebMd article shares expert advice about discomfort caused by incorrect posture during sleep.

“When you lie on any part of your body for an extended period of time, the weight of it reduces the flow of blood through those blood vessels, which deprives the skin of oxygen and nutrients,” Decker says. 

This causes nerve cells and pain sensors in your skin to send a message to your brain for you to roll over. Rolling over restores blood flow to the area, but it also briefly interrupts your sleep.”

So, by choosing the right firm mattress, you are saving yourself from waking up with numbness and discomfort around a certain body area. 

Also, regular numbness or pain caused by sleeping in the wrong posture can cause long-term health damage. 

Wondering how? Back pain, shoulder pain, frozen shoulder, and nervous damage – these are also very common results of the wrong sleeping positions.

For back and stomach sleepers, the firm mattress leaves no chance of that by providing proper support.

Who Should Sleep on a Firm Mattress?

  • Firm mattresses are especially suitable for back and stomach sleepers.
  • Besides, it is made for people with heavier body weights as well.
  • Lastly, and most importantly, people with special conditions like back pain, shoulder pain, and arthritis should sleep on firm mattresses.

Potential Drawbacks of Firm Mattresses

Firm mattresses are not usually that soft and don’t give that plushy feeling. Most of them are specially made for people who need support over comfort.

  • Not for Side Sleepers: While great for back support, firm mattresses may not be as forgiving on pressure points like hips and shoulders, potentially causing discomfort for side sleepers.
  • Too Rigid for Lightweight People: Your mattress should be your support system for a good night’s sleep. But, for light-weight people, the firmness again causes pressure points. This leads to discomfort, sleep disruption, waking up feeling stressed, and even long-term back pain.
  • Numbness: Just like I said, the firmness level is an important factor. Sometimes sleeping on a too firm mattress causes pressure points and disrupts proper blood circulation. This can lead to waking up feeling numb in different body parts.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Firm Mattress

Choosing the right mattress is crucial for a good night’s sleep, and a firm mattress might be just what you need for that extra support.

Here are some of the most important factors that can make your decision-making process a snooze-worthy success:

Sleeping Position

First things first, how do you sleep?

Are you a back sleeper, a side sleeper, or perhaps a starfish sprawler?

Different sleeping positions have unique needs. Back sleepers usually prefer a firmer surface for spinal alignment, while side sleepers might find a slightly softer mattress more accommodating for their hips and shoulders.

Body Type

Firm mattresses are made for people with a medium to heavier body weight. Its firmness supports their posture and doesn’t let the body merge in like the softer mattresses. This support helps blood circulation and lets you wake up refreshed after a good night’s sleep.

But if you are the skinnier type, then the firmness would be too uncomfortable for you. Because you need a plush hug to hold your body’s posture. And firm mattresses are definitely not made for that.

Firmness Scale and Material

Understanding the firmness scale is like deciphering a secret code. The scale typically ranges from soft to extra firm.

what is a firm mattress
Firm Mattress

And as it varies from individual to individual, you must find the sweet spot that aligns with your preferences. Also, pay attention to the mattress material. Memory foam, innerspring, and hybrid all offer different feels, so pick one that caters to your comfort cravings.

Some Additional Tips:

  • Get the foam mattress for good cushioning and comfort
  • Innerspring firm mattresses have a reputation for their support strength and durability
  • Go for the hybrid firm mattresses to get the best of both world

Check the previous section to make the right choice


Let’s talk dollars and sense—your sense of comfort and your budget. Quality mattresses can be an investment in your well-being, but there’s a sweet spot for every budget. Thankfully, many mattress brands offer a variety of firm options at different price points.

luxury firm mattresses
Luxury Firm Mattresses

If you are willing to pay a good amount for a long time, then go for the luxury firm mattresses. You can choose from top brands like Stearns and Foster, Avocado, and many more.

Motion Isolation

If you’ve ever shared a bed with a restless sleeper, you know the struggle. A firm mattress with good motion isolation means that when your partner tosses and turns, you won’t feel it on your side. 

There are two ways to choose the right firm mattress depending on motion isolation:

  • Choose a firm mattress that is engineered with a motion-isolation feature for the whole area.
  • If one of you does not like to move frequently while sleeping, then I would suggest getting an adjustable, firm mattress. It comes with interchangeable firmness levels.

Trial and Warranty Period

A mattress is a long-term relationship. You wouldn’t marry someone without dating first, right?

Hence, make sure to look for mattresses with a generous trial period. And as for the warranty, it is always good to have. It works like a mattress insurance policy!

Customer Review

Who better to trust than the sleep enthusiasts who have gone before you?

So, if you want the best experience, always listen to the ones speaking from experience—the customer reviews. They give you the inside scoop on a mattress.

Ultimately, we will help you better understand and choose the right one according to your preferences.

Common Misconceptions About Firm Mattresses

Now, before you go to buy one, I am here to clear up some common misconceptions that you may come across.

Myth #1: One Size Fits All

Contrary to popular belief, there’s no universal definition of firmness. What might feel like a cloud to one person could be a rock to another. Your ideal firmness level depends on your body weight, sleep position, and personal preferences. It’s like finding the perfect pair of shoes—one size definitely does not fit all!

So, you must go thoroughly with the details and reviews before getting yourself “the one.”

Myth #2: Not The Ultimate Solution for Sleeping Issues

Let’s look at it this way.

If you are not getting the proper support from your mattress, then yes, you do need a firm mattress.

But, No. It is not the only ultimate solution to your sleep disruption.

And, if you still wake up feeling tired, you should check for other active factors causing this. Like your food and exercise habits, screen time, and watching or talking about serious matters before going to bed. Or, try to keep your brain awake by planning or sporting something in the back of your mind.

Myth #3: That Mattress topper Won’t Fix The Issue

Again, if you are uncomfortable with your firm mattress, a mattress topper may not solve the issue. You may have to get a new one.

Myth #4: Not Mandatory for Back Pain

Lastly, a firm mattress is not mandatory or a one-stop solution to your back pain. You may just need an adjustable bed base.

So, know your concerns well before buying a firm mattress.

Tips for Maintenance

As goes the common saying, “When you take care of things, they last.” The same goes for your material stuff, too.

Remember how many times I highlighted durability as a significant feature and benefit of a firm mattress? So, to keep it that way for the longest possible time, here are some helpful tips you can follow:

  • Rotate your mattresses every 6 months to a year, if they are still new. If it is an older one, rotate every 2-6 months.
  • Use a high-quality mattress protector to protect your firm mattress from unexpected spills, scratches, and dirt.
  • Clean and change your pillow covers, sheets, and other bedding items to ensure hygiene. Otherwise, dust and moisture may grow and cause allergies.
  • The right foundation is the insurance of long-term. Hence, set up a proper base for your mattress.
  • Last but not least, it is a wise practice to read and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. This little boring practice can save you a lot of time.

Final thoughts

At this point in the blog, I am pretty sure that you know much more than just, “What is a firm mattress” See, like I promised?

So, have you become an expert yet? I hope you can now decide if you actually need one or not. And, if you are already thinking of buying one, what’s on your mind?

The journey to a better night’s sleep might just be a firmer mattress away. Sweet dreams!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is a firm bed better for your back?

A firm bed can be better for your back, especially if you are a back or stomach sleeper. It supports posture and ensures the right spinal alignment through long sleep.

Is a firm mattress a good idea?

A firm mattress is a good idea for back and stomach sleepers. It supports their spinal alignment. However, it is not a good idea for side-sleepers. Rather, it may feel uncomfortable for them.

Are firmer beds healthier?

Firmer beds are healthier for people who need proper support with their spinal alignment, especially stomach sleepers and heavier people. Supporting their postures ensures proper blood circulation and better quality sleep.

Is it better to sleep on a firm mattress?

If you are a stomach sleeper or back sleeper, then you can sleep on a firm mattress for proper spinal alignment. Also, it can save you from waking up with numbness or an ache in specific body parts. Because it ensures no pressure point by distributing pressure.

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