Mattresses are often promoted based on their plush, "cloud-like" feel, but for many people, the best sleep comes from a firm mattress. Even though it’s not usually thought of as luxurious, a well-built firm mattress can deliver a top-notch sleeping experience.
People who sleep on their back and stomach are typically the biggest fans of firm beds. For these sleepers, a soft mattress can cause their lower back to sink out of alignment. In addition, sleepers over 230 pounds tend to prefer firmer mattresses that have more structural integrity and resist sagging. A firm mattress should offer enough support and comfort so you can wake up. Our top picks for the best firm mattress include various mattress types, but all of them deliver a firm feel and high-end performance.
What is a Firm Mattress?
Before purchasing a mattress, it’s important to know the type of feel that your body needs. Do you need a plush mattress or a firm one? Which will give you the necessary comfort for healthy sleep? Everyone defines comfort in their way. This is because we are all different shapes and sizes. What is comfy and cosy for one person may be unpleasant for another.
When shopping for a mattress, you have to think about your height, weight, sleeping position, and if you have any medical conditions, such as back issues or hip pain. You also have to listen to your body and figure out if you need firm, sturdy support or plush pressure point relief. A firm mattress is, well, firm. It shouldn’t necessarily feel like a plank of wood but it’s the type of mattress that doesn’t have a ton of giving. A firm mattress doesn’t have that sinking feeling but instead has sturdy support. If you have nerve-related back pain or back pain from an injury, a medium-firm to firm mattress is the best option. Stability is key. If you’re sinking into your mattress, that lack of back support will simply result in more pain.
What are the benefits of using a Mattress?
For those not experiencing troublesome back pain, a firm mattress is will generally be more comfortable. When sleeping on a firmer surface, the bones absorb most of the pressure, meaning there is less stress on muscles, veins, and arteries. Muscles are less strained, and circulation is improved.
However, keep in mind that back pain doesn’t always mean you need a firm mattress. If you’re waking up in the morning with back pain that subsides as the day goes on and you don’t feel like you are sinking into your mattress at all, that may mean your mattress is too firm. Opting for a plush mattress or adding a topper to your current mattress can help ease that back pain. A firm mattress also keeps your lower back from collapsing, which could allow for more oxygen intake while sleeping. Less sagging can mean the weight of the body is distributed evenly, which means no one part of the body is bearing the brunt of the pressure. Firm mattresses are generally better for those who sleep on their back because they provide a more stable and even surface. Stomach sleepers tend to fare better on a firmer mattress, too.
- Spine alignment: A firm mattress provides more pushback to support the entire length of your body, which helps keep the natural curves of your spine in alignment and prevents you from sinking into a funky position that can leave you sore. Firm mattresses also aid in relieving back pain by maintaining a neutral spine position, alleviating any excess pressure placed on the lower or upper back.
- Even weight distribution: Have you ever sunk so far into a mattress that you felt stuck? That won't happen with a firm mattress-instead, it'll keep your body elevated on the surface so you can move around (and get out of bed) easily. A lack of support can cause sagging in softer mattresses, but with firm beds, your weight is more evenly distributed, creating a smooth surface that props you up.
- Extra support: Firm mattresses provide superior support thanks to their sturdy feel. By helping to stabilize the body, thus keeping the spine from twisting into uncomfortable positions, they're a great solution for those who frequently suffer from aches and pains. Plus, if you like to sprawl out across your mattress or sit on the edge of the bed to put your shoes on, you'll benefit from the increased edge support of a firm mattress. It'll prevent you from falling out of bed or sinking into the sides.
How long will My Firm Mattress Last?
Most mattresses should last between 7 and 10 years. However, there are many variables that can influence mattress lifespan. The original build quality of the mattress, the materials used, and even the weight and sleeping styles of the sleepers can all influence a bed's longevity. Of course, mattresses don’t have an explicit “expiration date.” It’s up to the individual to decide when it’s time for a new bed. Often, we grow so accustomed to our beds that we don’t notice that there’s a problem. At the same time, the comfort and support of our mattress are vital to the quality of our sleep. Even though mattresses can be a significant expense, it’s worthwhile to replace them regularly. Several factors contribute to a mattress’s lifespan, including:
- Materials: The materials used in a mattress’s construction will have a huge impact on its longevity. Materials like latex and high-density polyfoam can last a long time, while low-density polyfoam can wear out much more quickly.
- Original Quality: The quality of your mattress when you originally bought it will have an impact on how long it lasts. A cheap, entry-level mattress will almost certainly wear out quicker than a high-end hybrid mattress. While a higher price tag does not necessarily mean a better product, the general trend is that the more expensive mattresses often have a better-quality construction, and tend to last longer.
- Mattress Type: Is your mattress an all-foam, hybrid, latex, or innerspring bed? The mattress type can substantially affect its longevity. Latex mattresses tend to last the longest, followed by beds made using high-density memory foams or polyfoams. Lower-density foam beds wear out a bit quicker, as do hybrid models. Traditional innerspring beds generally have the shortest expected lifespan, at approximately five and a half to six and a half years.
- Sleep Position & Body Weight: The position you sleep in, as well as your body weight, will affect how quickly your mattress wears out. Heavier sleepers may find that their mattresses begin to sag prematurely, while side-sleepers may find excessive sagging around the hips and shoulders.
- Care Routine: Like most things in life, if you take care of your mattress, it will last longer. Proper mattress care includes routine cleaning, utilizing protective covers, and following manufacturer care guidelines. Some mattresses can be flipped or rotated regularly, but be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Part of choosing a new mattress is personal preference, but for some people, like those with back problems or other chronic pain, the extra support of a firm mattress is a must-have. Whereas softer mattresses are easy to sink into, the best firm mattresses help sleepers maintain a more comfortable alignment through the night. That support can be especially beneficial for stomach and back sleepers, and you may also appreciate it if you sleep with a partner or pet, since you’ll be less likely to feel them moving around on a firm bed.
When you are looking for a firm mattress, think about your needs and preferences because there are different firmness of mattresses. If you like to be cooler during the night, a coil bed would make more sense (but keep in mind they’re less firm). A memory foam mattress, on the other hand, will bounce less, but many people say they get warmer during the night. Firm mattresses are the sturdiest in general, but people who want more support should aim for a thicker mattress (they usually range from six to 20 inches).
Is a Firm Mattress good for your sleep?
A firm mattress also keeps your lower back from collapsing, which could allow for more oxygen intake while sleeping. Firm mattresses are generally better for those who sleep on their back because they provide a more stable and even surface. Stomach sleepers tend to fare better on a firmer mattress, too.
What is the best Firm Mattress for side sleepers?
Lightweight individuals may not experience enough sinking on a firm mattress—causing spinal misalignment and muscle tension. A firm bed may help support the lumber and relieve lower back pain. However, those with arthritis and joint pain need a mattress that will hug the curves of the body for pressure relief.
What is the Best Firm Mattress for sleepers with back pain?
While a mattress that is too soft can cause or worsen back pain, so too can a mattress that is too firm. Instead of focusing on finding an extra-firm mattress, people with back pain should learn what mattress firmness is best for their body type and preferred sleep position. Your spine will not be in alignment if your mattress is too soft, but a too-firm mattress can compress your joints and straighten the natural curve of your spine.
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