5 Sure Shot Ways to Test the Perfect Mattress Firmness in Store

by SleePare - August, 28 2018
Last Updated on January, 31 2019 at 10:31 PM
By Sofia Axelrod | 5 Minute Read

Mattress with Perfect Firmness

All mattress shoppers have one thing in common; they want a bed with perfect comfort for them. No one can deny the regenerating ability of sound sleep for body and mind. In fact, 85% of Americans blame a lousy bed for back pain and various health issues.

Comfort level or firmness is one of the most important considerations during mattress selection. In the simplest possible words, firmness is the softness or the hardness of a bed as YOU feel it. Quite understandably, the concept of comfort is different for every person.

According to ISPA VP Marketing, Mary Helen Rogers, "Everyone sleeps, but not everyone prioritizes it the same way." Yet, comfort is what comes to your mind as you think of snuggling in your bed at night. The dreamy sleep that takes away all the stresses of the day is the ultimate goal of every mattress shopper.

Comfort Level and the Firmness Scale Explained

Plush, soft, luxury soft, firm, medium-firm; different brands use different words to describe the firmness of their products. All this makes the concept of mattress comfort rating even more complicated and ambiguous. If you feel like the chameleon in the bag of Skittles, let us help you make sense of the comfort levels and the firmness scale.

Let's discuss the firmness ratings and see what the words and the numbers translate to in terms of comfort and support.

Mattress Firmness Scale
Mattress Firmness Scale
Extra SoftSoftMediumPlush FirmFirm
Incredibly SoftPlush feelBalanced surfaceFirmer feelVery hard
Extreme sinkageSome sinkage with enough giveNo excessive sinkageLittle to no sinkageNo sinkage at all
Poor spinal alignmentBest alignment for side sleepersExcellent spinal alignment in all sleep positionsPostural correction for back & stomach sleepersSpinal alignment for lower back pain in heavier persons
Poor SupportMost supportive for lightweight personsRemarkable support for majority sleepersEnhanced support for backacheDeliver therapeutic support
Debunking "Support Equals Firmness" Belief

If you think "the firmer the bed, the more support it offers," then we're here to debunk this common belief. Support and firmness levels are two different factors. It is not necessary that a firmer bed will have the best support and vice versa. Two beds can have the same degree of support yet can be found on the opposite ends of the comfort scale.

Firmness Vs. Support
Firmness/Comfort LevelSupport
Mattress Firmness is subjective. What you may find soft, may feel firmer to someone else.Support is objective. It can be estimated by understanding mattress materials and their properties.
Firmness is the initial feeling of comfort, the softness or the hardness of the mattress.Support is how well the mattress maintains your spinal alignment and offers pressure-point relief.

Although there can be a relationship between the support and comfort of the mattress, the factors are primarily different and independent of each other. Your mattress hunt gets simpler when you consider mattress firmness and support separately.

Does Foam Density Affect Mattress Firmness Level?

Many people relate mattress density to the firmness level. Density measures the compactness of a mattress. It has a pronounced effect on the mattress durability, comfort, support, and of course, price. Generally, the higher the density, the more the lifespan of your mattress.

While density does affect mattress firmness, one must not confuse one with the other. It isn't necessary for a dense mattress to be firm. Similarly, low-density foams aren't always soft. Many other factors determine the firmness level of a mattress, most important being ILD (Indentation Load Deflection).

Estimation of Firmness Based on Mattress Material

Mattress firmness is highly subjective. What's soft for you may feel firmer to your partner and vice versa. However, some parameters do exist that can help you estimate the firmness range of any mattress.

Foam thickness, support material, mattress composition, all play their role in making the sleep surface comfortable for you. However, the factors that directly translate to the softness or firmness of your sleep surface.

1. ILD

Indentation Load deflection is the measure of the force required to press down into the mattress. Higher the force needed to make a visible dent in the mattress, the higher the ILD of that foam. Thus, you can understand that higher ILDs mean firmer mattress and vice versa.

Ideal ILD for Universal Comfort
Latex25 - 35
Memory Foam12 - 20

2. Coil Gauge

In spring mattresses, coil gauge not only affects the longevity but mattress firmness as well. Lower coil gauges mean thicker coils that are usually firmer and more durable. However, the ultimate comfort level of the mattress depends on coil count, diameter, arrangement, number of turns, and many more!

Coil Gauge Range for Different Firmness Levels
Soft14 or higher
Firm13 or lower

Sure Shot Ways to Test the Perfect Mattress Firmness Level in Store

Testing the mattress for the right firmness is not as difficult a task as it may seem. You can think of firmness level in terms of "Comfort." Lie on the mattress for some time and see if you find the sleep surface comfortable enough.

According to a study, 77% sleepers who tested their mattress firmness for 10-15 mins felt remarkably satisfied with their choice. Therefore, it is necessary to test each mattress for at least 15 mins to take the best decision. Now let us help tell you how to test a mattress in store to find the right firmness for your sleep needs.

Personal Comfort Preferences

Personal preference is the first and foremost criterion in determining the ideal firmness for your new mattress. It depends on YOU... whether you find softer mattresses more comfortable or the harder ones.

The primary difference is the sinkage that becomes lesser as you climb up the firmness scale. Some people prefer the cushioning foams that hug and contour them. They like the instant pressure-relief as they sink into the sleep surface.

Others get "stuck in the mud" feel on a contouring mattress with enhanced conformability. They feel suffocated and prefer to stay "on the mattress" rather than "in the mattress." Therefore, they prefer the balanced feel of Hybrid beds.

Hence, the firmness most suitable for you largely depends on your personal comfort preferences. An excellent point to start is asking yourself whether you find your current mattress comfortable enough. If not, then ask yourself whether you'd like a firmer bed or a softer one.

This understanding of your current sleep surface serves as a reference point to start your mattress hunt. Keep your finding in your mind while testing the mattresses in store. Now weigh in the following factors to get the ideal firmness level for your cozy bed.

1. Consider Your Sleeping position

The sleeping position does dictate the firmness level best-suited for you. Lie in your preferred sleep position for 10-15 mins. Then roll over to other positions and try to relax as much as possible. Look for any pressure-points, soreness, numbness, or general discomfort.

Side Sleepers: As a rule of thumb, side sleepers find softer mattresses more comfortable. Plush surfaces allow sinkage of the shoulders and hips to prevent pressure-points formation. However, if you must have a firm mattress, consider those with foam top layers. Pillow-top beds have enough give to provide pressure-point relief.

Front and Back Sleepers: Stomach and back sleepers prefer medium or plush firm mattresses. Firmer beds support your spinal arch and prevent excessive sinkage of the midsection. Stomach sleepers in particular experience spinal misalignment and chest compression as their abdomen sinks in a softer bed.

2. Factor in Your Weight

Most mattress firmness ratings are determined with average sized sleepers in mind. If your bodyweight doesn't fall in the ideal range for your height, you might feel the mattress firmer or softer. High or low BMI, body structure, and weight distribution, all change the feel and the comfort level of the mattress for you.

Don't look too much into the labels and test each mattress to see if it's comfortable for YOU. Follow your gut feeling! Lie on the bed and give the bed enough time to compress under your weight. Then notice any soreness or discomfort before you try another sleep position.

Heavier Persons: Since you have a large build, the bed will naturally sink more than expected. Therefore, you need to test firmer mattresses and note the level of sinkage and your spinal alignment. For a plush feel, check out pillow top beds on the firmer side of the scale.

Lightweight Persons: Lightweight persons, on the other hand, find softer mattresses comfier. Since the mattress isn't going to sink much under your weight, you run the risk of developing sore points on a firmer bed.

3. Gender Plays a Role

Gender does play a role in testing the mattress firmness. For the same age, height, and profile, men are usually heavier with more muscle mass. Women are generally more curvaceous and risk development of sore points. A difference in weight also affects the way you and your partner might feel the comfort level of the same mattress.

Men: Being heavier, you should test the firmer mattresses in store to prevent excessive sinkage. A bigger build requires a resilient surface for maintaining proper body alignment.

Women: Women are usually lighter, and their curvaceous bodies require more support and softness. Hugging foams with precise support form the best mattresses for a comfy rest. Firmer beds lead to soreness and discomfort in hips and shoulders. Choose pillow tops with lots of support, if you're a bigger person.

4. Testing Firmness for Two

If you share the bed, you cannot determine the ideal mattress firmness alone. Couples should always come for mattress testing together. Apart from motion transfer and space issues, it's true that every person can judge the mattress comfort level for themselves only.

If you two have the same age, height, and body structure, you may prefer a softer or harder mattress accordingly. However, if you have entirely different firmness preferences, you can explore a few options.

Test medium-firm mattresses as majority sleepers find them perform exceptionally well for their sweet slumber. There is a good chance that you and your partner agree on one of these beds.

Another great option is to try mattresses with dual-comfort like Layla or personalizable firmness like Morphiis. If your partner's idea of a perfect bed is miles apart from yours, get a custom mattress from Helix. No compromise on sleep!

5. Physical Aches and Pains Affect Ideal Firmness

Whether you suffer from chronic aches or pains, proper slumber posture can markedly improve your life quality. Testing mattress firmness level in the store is vital for you. However, let's discuss suitable firmness range that helps alleviate some common physical ailments.

Your old and beaten mattress is the most probable culprit of your chronic back, neck, or shoulder pain. Mostly, side sleepers complain of shoulder and hip pain if their mattress is a little too firm for them. A backache can have many reasons. However, firmer beds with zoned back support or targeted postural alignment can do miracles for you back. You can find many excellent mattresses for back pain on the market.

Neck pain often requires a pillow specialized for your sleep position. If you're unsure, you can try out Leesa Hybrid Pillow to support your neck whatever way you sleep.

Want To Test Online Mattresses Before Buying? Visit This Showroom

Buying the right mattress is crucial for your health and happiness. You can enjoy quality life only with a well-rested body. While online retailers have revolutionized mattress shopping, it's a proven fact that people who test mattresses pre-purchase are happier with their choices.

Luckily, SleePare showroom hosts products from many prestigious online-only bedding companies. You can check out many mattresses, pillows, and bedding essentials at our New York showroom.

SleePare is your ultimate mattress shopping partner. We help facilitate your online research with the most trusted mattress reviews on SleePare web portal. Then, we invite you to test your choices in store at our showroom in New York.

Discuss your personal preferences and slumber needs with our cheerful sleep experts, both online and in the showroom. Test the products in a relaxed environment. Enjoy a nap if you please - all for free!

So, what are you waiting for? Visit SleePare New York Showroom now and reclaim your sweet sleep!