There are many different mattress styles intended to suit a wide range of personal preferences, from soft memory foam to firm innerspring. 

New mattresses are often categorized as being soft, medium, or firm. Some mattress companies also offer a very soft mattress or a very firm mattress to address special comfort needs. 

Your sleeping surface of choice is paramount, so consider what a comfortable mattress feels like to you as you're testing different firmness levels, and choose the option that will meet your needs.

Whether you need a soft or firmer mattress has a lot to do with your preferred sleep position. The perfect mattress will alleviate any painful pressure points and be firm enough to provide the necessary support. 
Those with hip, back and shoulder pain often benefit from a softer mattress that can better conform to their body and support pressure points. Those without back pain who are stomach sleepers or back sleepers may prefer a firm mattress.

Firm mattresses: Advantages and disadvantages


  • Good support for back sleepers and stomach sleepers
  • Enhances proper spinal alignment to help prevent lower back pain
  • Firm and medium-firm mattresses distribute weight evenly
  • Better air circulation for hot sleepers


  • Not ideal for side sleepers because a too-firm surface can lead to hip pain
  • May be too firm to feel comfortable (in which case you can invest in extra pillow top mattress toppers)
  • Can cause pain for those with existing back problems
  • More likely to transfer movement to a partner

Even the best firm mattresses will soften over time, but given that innerspring mattresses can last upwards of 8-10 years, you may want to supplement with a pillow top or other comfort layers to improve the sleeping experience.

If your mattress has lost its firmness, you may want to rotate mattress 180 degrees to position a different set of material beneath your body weight.

How to determine which mattress firmness you need

The best mattress supports your preferred sleeping style, and will comfort any pain points so you can achieve better sleep. 

Side sleepers and those with lower back or shoulder pain might benefit from a softer memory foam mattress. Softer mattresses are also preferred by those who share a bed with a partner and avoid disturbing them at night.

Someone who is a back or stomach sleeper with mild or no discomfort or pain while sleeping may get a good night's sleep on a medium-firm hybrid or firm mattress with innerspring coils.

It isn't always easy to determine whether a soft, medium firmness, or firm mattress is the right mattress for you, especially if you're simply resting on the options in the showroom. 

Trial periods and warranty options are beneficial for many who are looking to replace an old mattress. They're meant to provide shoppers the confidence that they've made the right decision in their investment. 

Just like "The Princess and the Pea," there's no one right firmness for everyone. Invest in a good night's sleep. At Mancini's Sleepworld, we can help you find the right firmness.