Updated: February 27, 2018

You sleep on your back. You sleep on your stomach. You sleep with a partner. You just plain prefer a soft mattress – or a firm one. Having an option of buying a soft, medium or firm mattress means you can create a sleep experience that’s perfect for you. Sleep positions, your overall health and your personal preference all factors into choosing the right firmness level. Feeling confident you’re making the right choice, however, is another matter entirely.

From the Brooklyn Bedding Sleep Experts to you, check out this helpful guide about how our mattress comfort levels work, which sleep styles they’re best for, and tips for buying your next mattress with a choice of comfort levels.

 

Soft Mattresses

A soft mattress means that the mattress allows deeper compression from top to transitional layers. They are usually made with foams that are a lower ILD, or density, that can compress more than other types of foam. It’s possible to create a soft feel in an innerspring mattress, too, especially with pocketed springs that have the bounce of an innerspring with enhanced motion isolation. A soft mattress is a great choice for sleepers who require greater pressure point relief, are particularly sensitive to firmer sleep surfaces and like to feel as if they are being “hugged” by their mattress.

 

Soft might be right for you if:
  • You are older and need a gentler sleep surface to ease aches and pains
  • Require greater cushion of pressure points like the shoulders and hips
  • Sleep mainly on your side and back
  • Prefer a sleep surface that feels as it if “hugs” your body when you sleep

 

The best “soft” mattresses:
  • Brooklyn Aurora has a soft firmness option that expertly blends a gentle contouring feel with a responsive bounce that doesn’t lead to feeling “stuck” in the bed.
  • Brooklyn Signature has a soft firmness option that balances a cloud-like sleep surface with superior edge support vs. most other foam mattresses.
  • Tempurpedic Tempur-Cloud is a high-end mattress that offers a super-soft sleep surface so long as you have the budget for it.
  • Layla offers a single-option flippable mattress with a soft firmness option on one side, that offers cloud-like softness for a sleeper that doesn’t require a whole lot in the way of support.

 

Medium Mattresses

Medium is the most popular comfort feel, since it’s a happy medium between cozy soft options and super supportive firm. A medium mattress is not only a preference with many, it’s also the best comfort level for partners with different sleeping positions. Medium is a great option for combination sleepers, too, which spend an equal or nearly-equal amount of time on the back, side and stomach.

 

Medium might be right for you if:
  • You spend equal time between your stomach, side and back
  • You prefer to feel as if the top layer allows your body to sink in, while the core stay supportive
  • You share a bed with a person either of a very different body type or totally different sleep style
  • Prefer a sleep surface that doesn’t have very deep compression, but does compress around your hips and shoulders

 

The best “medium” mattresses:
  • Brooklyn Aurora has a medium firmness option that has a more responsive bounce that feels supportive while still allowing for easier movement in bed.
  • Brooklyn Bowery is constructed in a universal medium firmness level, which means its all-foam construction is both cozy and supportive—and with a great price tag to match.
  • Casper is a mid-level all foam mattress that is a bit of a one-size-fits-all option that fits most body types and sleep styles.

 

Firm Mattresses

A firm mattress helps keep your spine in a neutral position. It keeps your body straighter and your bones bear most of your body weight, allowing your muscles to relax. Your circulatory system is under less pressure and your airways are more open. You may sleep better since you’re getting more oxygen and better circulation, but if you have sensitive pressure points or generally prefer a softer sleep surface, you might find that firm is difficult to get comfortable on.

 

Firm might be right for you if:
  • You spend equal time between your stomach, side and back
  • You prefer to feel as if the top layer allows your body to sink in, while the core stay supportive
  • You share a bed with a person either of a very different body type or totally different sleep style
  • Prefer a sleep surface that doesn’t have very deep compression, but does compress around your hips and shoulders

 

The best “firm” mattresses:
  • Brooklyn Aurora has a firm option that is unique in that it still has sufficient “bounce”, and feels just a bit softer than other firm options (but keeps the lumbar support).
  • Brooklyn Signature is offered in a firm option, too, and has the classic “on top” feeling that many prefer in a firm mattress.
  • Tuft and Needle technically offers a one-option medium firmness, but it tends to run on the firmer side of the scale with less compression overall.

 

What’s the biggest thing to keep in mind when choosing the right firmness level for you? Flexibility. Unless you get a no-hassle return policy with a trial that is at least 120 nights, it’s probably not the right bed for you. This is especially true when you’re replacing a mattress after sleeping on the same one for many years, since your body will require at least 30 nights to adjust to a new mattress. At the end of the day, finding the right firmness level is almost as important as finding the right bed, so take your time!

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