How to Choose the Right Mattress Firmness?
The most difficult task in choosing a mattress is determining the right degree of hardness. It is one of the parameters that cannot be assessed with standard measuring devices.
Misconceptions About the Degree of Firmness of Mattresses
Many customers are under the misconception that the firmer the mattress is, the better it is for the spine and back in general. This is a myth that dates from a long time ago. At that time, a very firm mattress was actively used against a soft bed with flattened springs, creating a hammock effect. In fact, both the first and the second option are bad for health and especially for the spine, because they exclude the possibility of resting in a natural position for the body.
Let us turn to physiology. The spine is not a straight line like a string, but rather has the shape of a wave. Accordingly, sleeping on a very hard surface means that the shoulders and hips feel the most pressure – they cannot sink into the soft layers of the mattress. At the same time, the area around the lower back is not filled up and does not receive the necessary support, overloading the muscle tissue. A base that is too hard can disrupt blood circulation by constricting certain blood vessels too much, which can lead to circulatory problems. This can lead to numbness in the extremities, muscle swelling and general fatigue after sleep.
A mattress that is too soft is no less unhealthy, but for different reasons. The spine bends too much on such a base and becomes crescent-shaped. Again, the muscles are overstretched, the lungs are compressed and breathing is impeded.
When choosing the firmness of a mattress, you should take into account the weight and age of the person, the anatomy of the body and medical conditions due to diseases of the musculoskeletal system and internal organs.\
How is Mattress Firmness Measured?
The firmness of a given mattress is usually measured on a scale of 1 to 10.
- 1/10 – extremely soft, the body sinks deeply. Very few mattresses are made this soft.
- 2-3/10 – soft, the body sinks in significantly. Usually, best suited for side sleepers under 50 kg.
- 4/10 – medium soft, a plush surface with good adaptation and less sinking.
- 5/10 – medium, a balanced blend of conformability and firmness, with little sink-in.
- 6/10 – medium firm, less conformable and slightly firmer feel.
- 7-8/10 – firm, no sinkage, minimal compliance. Typically preferred by sleepers weighing over 105 kg.
- 9-10/10 – extra firm, a very hard surface with no give. Very few mattresses are in this firm.
How to Determine the Optimal Mattress Firmness?
- For newborns from the first days of life. In the first months of life, the child is at a stage when the spine and the entire musculoskeletal system are constantly being formed. For this reason, pediatricians recommend that babies sleep on mattresses with the firmest possible non-resilient base.
- For children between the ages of 2 and 13.
During this time, the baby moves from the crib to a bed for teenagers. A firm mattress selected for this purpose should take into account the specifics of the child’s development and significant changes in body weight over the years. Medium-firm models, both springy and non-resilient, are suitable for this purpose.
- For adolescents and young adults up to the age of 25. The formation of the spine continues for a quarter of a century. Therefore, it is not advisable to use soft mattresses for sleeping. Mattresses with medium and high (in case of problems with overweight) firmness are suitable.
- For people aged between 25 and 50 years. At this age you can choose a mattress with any degree of firmness, depending on personal preference and weight class:
up to 55 kg – soft models without coconut fibers or with a thick layer on top;
from 55 to 90 kg – medium-firm mattresses. In this case, pay attention to the maximum permissible load for the selected model. If it is above the mark of 140 kg, the product will seem too dense and uncomfortable to sleep on;
above 90 kg – mattresses with maximum stiffness. Models with a reinforced spring block or with a double layer of coconut fiber are good here. If a mattress is used for sleeping in pairs, the weight of the heavier partner should be taken into account.
- People aged 50 and over. They are against very hard mattresses – they can cause serious problems with the intervertebral disks. Soft and medium-hard models are the best choice for them.
- For people with musculoskeletal problems.
If you have problems with your spine, it is important to consult a doctor beforehand. In any case, the degree of firmness of the mattress should be selected individually. However, there are some general recommendations:
For problems in the thoracic or cervical spine, models with a medium degree of hardness are suitable;
for problems of the lumbar spine, soft mattresses are most suitable;
For osteochondrosis and posture problems firm mattresses are recommended.