The first thing you need to determine is whether you need a SOFT, MEDIUM or FIRM mattress! From a scientific point of view, that totally depends on your sleeping position. Whether you go for a memory foam mattress, latex mattress, inner spring mattress, water bed or an air bed, it is important that you let your sleeping style dictate the choice of mattress firmness. If you’re still not sure on which type of mattress to buy, check out out memory foam vs latex vs inner spring vs air mattress comparison.
||Soft, Medium or Firm Mattress?||Recommended Mattress|
“Medium-Soft” Mattresses are Best for Side Sleepers
For those of you who sleep on your side, a medium-soft mattress is best (NOT a very soft mattress). When you sleep on your side, your broad shoulders stick out quite a bit into the mattress. The mattress should be soft enough to accommodate those shoulders (and hips).
Sleeping on your side, on a soft mattress, is said to be the best sleeping position because it allows your spine to be perfectly aligned as if you were standing. However, each sleeping position has its pros and cons and one such drawback of side-sleeping is “squished-arm-numbness” if you happen to sleep on your arm all night long! Even if that happens, if you happen to be on a soft mattress, the numbness will be minimal compared to you being on a hard mattress.
Now imagine side-sleeping on a hard mattress. There will be a lot of pressure on your shoulder and hips which are the major two points that will be touching the mattress. Your shoulders won’t sink; as a result, your neck has to bend at an acute angle straining your neck muscles. In addition, because the shoulders and hips don’t sink in the mattress, your stomach will sag down until it meets the mattress. That is a very uncomfortable sleeping position and is bound to cause back and neck problems.
|High-quality OptionTEMPUR-Cloud Prima
“Medium-firm” Mattresses are Best for Back Sleepers and Combination Sleepers
For those of you who sleep on your backs, a medium-firm mattress is best. When you sleep on your back, the ‘sticking out’ parts are less than when you’re sleeping on your side. So, you don’t really need a soft mattress. In fact, if the mattress is too soft and you sleep on your back, the heaviest part of your body, which is the hip area, will ‘sink’ in to the mattress putting your spine out of alignment. If you sleep on your back on a too hard a mattress, your hips/buttocks will get pushed up, again putting your spine out of alignment. You don’t want either of these situations.
That’s why medium-firm mattresses are recommended for back sleepers. Some say that sleeping on your back is better than sleeping on your side because your internal organs get to stay in their natural locations. However, back sleeping is often the culprit of snoring (your tongue gets pushed back in to the throat), sleep apnea, and insomnia/poor quality sleep. That’s probably why as many as 63% of Americans sleep on their sides.
Who on earth is a “Combination Sleeper”?
The majority of us are combination sleepers. In other words, we are not strictly limited to one sleeping position. We would start sleeping on our right side, then switch to sleeping on our back, then turn to the left side etc. etc. If you also belong to this category, again, a medium-firm memory foam mattress suits you best!
|High-quality OptionTEMPUR-Choice Luxe
“Medium-Firm” to “Firm” Mattresses are Best for Stomach Sleepers
Sleeping on your stomach has more detrimental effects than beneficial effects. It strains your neck, pushes your spine upwards, out of alignment, compresses abdominal organs… the list goes on. But, if your natural position is sleeping on your stomach, and you have none of the above problems, it’s best that you go with a firmer mattress. It may be a medium-firm (especially if you’re on the heavy side) or firm (if you’re on the light side) depending on personal preference, the bottom line is, it has to be on the firm side! If the mattress is soft, your sinking belly will pull the spine with it, bending it against its natural curve. This is why harder mattresses are recommended for stomach sleepers!
Don’t forget to factor in your weight!
Again, don’t forget to take your weight into the calculation. If you’re on the heavy side and you sleep on your stomach on a firm bed, your spine is going to be pushed up by your belly. This is not good. If you have a big belly and you’re a stomach sleeper, you should allow your belly to sink in a little into the mattress so that your spine stays as straight as possible. So, a “medium-firm” mattress may be the better option for such a person. In contrast, if you’re a light-weight individual (e.g. 125 lbs) and you sleep on your stomach, a firmer mattress would be the better option.
|High-quality Option #1
Stearns & Foster Signature Port Isabel Luxury Firm Mattress
High-quality Option #2Tuft and Needle Mattress
(NOT memory foam)