Mattress Firmness Level And Body Weight: A Complete Guide – The Bedding Planet

Mattress Firmness Level And Body Weight: A Complete Guide

Your body weight is, next to your sleeping position, one of the most important factor to consider when choosing the best firmness of a mattress.

Sleeping on the wrong mattress may lead to several health-related problems, such as pain in your hips, back, neck, and shoulders.

Read this article to the end to learn how to make the right decision based on your body weight when choosing a mattress for your bed.

The Different Mattress Firmness Levels Explained

Some mattress firms use a scale from 1 to 10, with the highest score indicating the firmest mattress. Because this scale isn’t universal, each mattress manufacturer has its preferred method of ranking their mattresses. Remember that, even if they are ranked on the same scale, each mattress has its distinct feel.

So, before we get into how your body weight might help you choose the right mattress, let’s look at the firmness scales and labeling used by different manufacturers.

Extra Soft Mattresses

Because idyllically soft mattresses provide weak support, many mattress firms do not offer mattresses in this category. Such mattresses risk sinking to the pressure produced by a sleeper’s body and are rated between 1 and 2 on the scale.

Soft Mattresses

Soft mattresses have a firmness rating of 3 to 4. These mattresses provide a lot of cushioning and deep body contouring that memory foam mattresses are known for. They’re also popular for pressure relief, and side sleepers prefer them most.

Medium-Firm Mattresses

These mattresses, which have a firmness scale ranging from 5 to 6, and in some cases 7, are the most popular for many sleepers. Sleep specialists frequently recommend medium-firm mattresses because they provide the ideal amount of support and comfort.

Medium-firm mattresses conform to the curve of a sleeper’s body while not sinking as deeply as soft and extra-soft mattresses. Because of this balance, they are suitable for various sleeping positions.

Firm Mattresses

Mattresses in this category range from 7 to 8 on the firmness scale. They provide more support in the middle and along the edges than mattresses in lower grades.

Firm mattresses also don’t curve a sleeper’s body well, so most people don’t enjoy the extra comfort of softer beds. As a result, most sleepers who choose firm mattresses do so based on personal preference rather than the overall comfort and support.

Extra-Firm Mattress

These mattresses are on the firmer side of the scale, with firmness ratings ranging from 9 to 10. As a result, they are highly recommended for sleepers who prefer a rough resting surface over a body-hugging mattress.

On the other hand, these mattresses aren’t suitable for all sleeping positions. When sleeping on these sorts of mattresses, side sleepers experience a lot of strain on their hips, shoulders, and joints. With that said, the great support from these mattresses is ideal for stomach sleeping.

In a nutshell, because this mattress scale isn’t standard, you will see variations in how different mattress firms classify their mattresses. Some businesses, for example, will only use the three fundamental mild, medium, and firm levels, with no numbering. Others may refer to these levels by different names.

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Which Mattress Firmness Level Should I Use as a Lightweight Person?

A relatively soft mattress with ample contouring is more comfortable for lighter people. A harder sleep surface may prevent lightweight people from sinking into the mattress, which can lead to pressure buildup.

Consider a soft (3), medium soft (4), or medium (5) type if you weigh less than 130 pounds. Side sleepers should go for a model on the softer end of this spectrum, while stomach sleepers need a firmer model.

All-foam, hybrid, latex, airbed, or innerspring mattresses with the correct firmness level and contouring are best for sleepers weighing less than 130 pounds.

Softer mattresses are the best for most lightweight sleepers since they compress more easily than firm mattresses and are less prone to induce pressure to the pressure points. Due to this, many lightweight sleepers prefer a mattress with a firmness rating of 3 to 6 on the firmness scale.

Which Mattress Firmness Level Should I Use as a Medium Weight Person?

Like the previous category, you can select an industry standard of 5-7, providing excellent support and comfort.

Some medium weight people like both softer and firmer mattresses, which are completely ok if it suits your body and sleeping position. But staying somewhere in the range of 5-7, give or take 1 point up or down, is recommended.

Which Mattress Firmness Level Should I Use as a Heavyweight Person?

Firmer and more supportive mattresses are best for heavy sleepers. This combination ensures proper spinal alignment and prevents you from sinking too deeply.

Therefore, a mattress in the medium-firm (6) to firm (7-8) firmness range is the real deal if you weigh more than 230 pounds and are a back sleeper. Side sleepers prefer softer mattresses, while stomach sleepers may require more support from a firmer mattress.

Thicker comfort layers help avoid sinkage against the firm support core for people in this weight range. Another essential factor is the core’s construction. For heavier sleepers, certain materials seem to provide a more stable surface. However, coil cores’ models usually offer more support than all-foam options.

Additionally, zoning may be advantageous. This designing method includes extra support in regions where it’s most required, such as the midsection.

5 Signs Your Mattress is Too Firm For Your Body Weight

1. If you wake up with back, shoulder, or neck aches, it’s possible that your mattress is too firm.

Your mattress is certainly too firm if you wake up in the morning or night with strains at certain pressure points, such as your hips, shoulders, or knees. Foam and hybrid mattresses are excellent for relieving pressure points. When you add an adjustable foundation to the mix, you will enjoy comfort in a variety of ways!

2. Your mattress is too hard for your favorite sleeping position if you suffer numbness or tingling in your arms and hands.

It’s not enjoyable to wake up in the morning or middle of the night with a dead arm or a tingling foot. It might be a little scary when you can’t understand what’s going on in that drowsy zone between sleep and wake. A bad sleeping position or a too firm mattress commonly causes this problem. A firm mattress does not conform to your body and relieves pressure in the areas where you interact with the mattress the most.

3. If you wake up exhausted, it’s possible that your mattress is too firm.

Sleepless nights cause a cascade of other issues, ranging from poor immune function to health problems to simply feeling too exhausted to accomplish many things you enjoy. It’s unlikely that you’ll get a full night’s sleep if you toss and turn to get a comfortable sleeping position. You may notice this because you are unable to sleep at night. Sleeping with a partner can help you determine how much consistent sleep you’re receiving. Do your restless movements or snoring wake them up?

4. If your mattress doesn’t conform to your body when you get into bed, it’s too stiff.

When you’re lying down on a mattress, consider your spine. It should be in a neutral, straight position when you get into bed.

 5. Your mattress is too firm if you get a better night’s sleep in a hotel or guest bed.

It’s time to break up with your mattress if you wake up from a night at a hotel feeling more rested than you do at home or if a friend’s guest mattress feels like heaven compared to yours. When you travel, trying out different mattresses is a great way to figure out what you like and don’t like about your bed.

5 Signs Your Mattress is Too Soft For Your Body Weight

We’ve all experienced the sensation of slipping into bed after a long day. However, if you go too far, you may end up inflicting more harm than good. While there’s nothing wrong with choosing a softer sleeping surface, everyone requires some support to maintain proper spinal alignment.

Beyond personal taste, the optimal firmness level is determined by your specific sleep demands, body type, and sleeping position. These are some indicators that your mattress is excessively soft, ranging from lower back pain to muscle and joint stiffness.

1. Your lower back is stiff and uncomfortable when you wake up.

A tight and aching lower back is the most prevalent symptom of a too soft bed. This typically occurs first thing in the morning, after you’ve been in bed for a long time.

While there are many reasons for a hurting lower back, repetitive morning aches and pains are usually signs of something more serious.

2. You’re having a hard time settling in.

Tossing and turning regularly; stress, anxiety, and even poor health can all contribute to insomnia. However, the length of time it takes to get comfortable at night is influenced by your mattress.

If you’re continually shifting your position, it could indicate that your muscles aren’t able to rest completely…a symptom that your mattress is too soft.

3. You sleep on your stomach and always get neck and shoulder aches when you wake up.

The firmness of a mattress is essential for stomach sleepers. Because of the abnormal twisting necessary in that posture, sleeping on your stomach already puts additional strain on your jaw, neck, and upper back.

If you sleep on your stomach and know you’re using the correct comforter for your sleeping position but still get neck and shoulder pain, your hips may be sinking too far into the mattress.

4. You have trouble getting in and out of bed.

How difficult is it for you to get in and out of your bed? If you find yourself “stuck” in your bed and have trouble getting up and off the mattress, it indicates your mattress is too soft.

While memory foam and other highly conformable materials might add to the problem, feeling “stuck” in a hybrid mattress or one with latex or latex-alternative foam is a good sign that firmness is absent.

5. When you get into bed, you feel like you’re “bottoming out.”

A quality mattress will have three layers: the top comfort layer, the middle transitional layer, and the bottom support layer.

The comfort and transitional layers are made to adapt to your body’s curves and provide comfort. If you sink to the lowest support layers, your mattress is either excessively soft or old.

Why Spine Alignment is Important When Sleeping

Proper spine alignment is critical for your body’s optimal performance. That is why you should choose a mattress that will offer maximum support and comfort to your spine.

Optimal Functioning

The brain and the spinal cord make up the central nervous system. Some reflex movements are also possible without the involvement of the brain. As a result, any misalignment of the vertebrae can create mobility or nervous system issues.

The central nervous system will function properly when the spine is well aligned. Therefore, you’ll be able to accomplish the correct range of motion and other body functions like feelings.

Optimal Metabolism

Good posture can only be realized with proper spine alignment, providing a conducive digestive system environment.

As a result, most persons with bad posture experience digestive issues because their abdominal organs, especially the digestive tract, are compressed.

Reduce the Risk of Spine Disorders

Misalignment of the spine can lead to serious health problems over time. You may find it difficult to engage in everyday activities at this stage. Spine misalignment puts you at risk of the following problems:

  • Joint stiffness
  • Slouching posture
  • Permanent bone or joint deformities
  • Vertebral column fractures
  • Sciatica

How The Different Mattress Types Handle Different Body Weights

Below is a list of the most common mattress types and how they handle various body weights. If you want to read more about the firmness levels of the different mattress types, including a list of the softest to firmest mattress types available, then you should consider reading this post next.

Foam Mattresses

Latex, polyurethane, memory foam, gel foam and some other types of foams that are usually a modification of one or more of the above are the most popular types of foam mattresses.

Here’s a breakdown of each of these foam varieties and the characteristics that make them best for sleeping on.

Memory Foam Mattresses

Memory foam is a relatively new invention, created in 1966 by Charles Yost while working at NASA. Many people are surprised to learn that there are more forms of memory foam than there are types of latex foam.

Memory foam mattresses are made from polyurethane foams that have been improved to increase their density and how they react to pressure and heat.

Without going into too much detail about the structure, the polyurethane foam is made ‘viscoelastic,’ which means it may soften when subjected to heat or pressure. With time, the pressure and heat are generated by your body as you use your mattress. This happens mainly on the parts of your body that come into contact with it.

Most memory foam mattresses are soft to medium-firm which means they’re good mattresses for light-to-medium weight people. (3-6 on the scale).

Polyurethane (Polyfoam) Foams

Polyurethane foam, which is widely used, is designed from urethane rather than natural tree sap. Urethane is a polymer found in most products, including paints and plastics.

A polyurethane foam mattress is affordable but only lasts a few years. It will sag in proportion to your body weight and may off-gas, generating a nasty chemical stench.

This foam type is best for lightweight people because of its soft and sagging nature. (2-4 on the scale).

Gel Foam

One of the most common complaints regarding foam materials is that it absorbs heat. This is because the foam should be thick enough to support your body.

To solve this problem, something called urethane gel is often added to the foam to make the mattress sleep cooler. Gel is an effective heat absorber, making the mattress cooler.

Since gel is denser than foam, a gel foam mattress usually ends up in the high medium-firm territorium (5-7 on the scale).

Latex Rubber Foam

Latex is becoming more famous as a sheet material alternative. If you need a unique sheet material arrangement, go for ordinary latex instead rather than engineered latex.

Latex gives your body more bounce, so whether you choose flexible memory foam or latex is a personal preference. Dunlop and Talalay are examples of the methods used to create this mattress.

Because latex is a fairly dense material a latex mattresses usually ends up as medium-firm to firm. (Around 6-8 on the scale is common).

Innerspring mattresses

The firmness levels of innerspring mattresses are the most diverse. The shape, gauge, several coils, and the type determine the firmness of these mattresses.

It’s crucial to distinguish between a mattress coil count and firmness level. If the coil thickness (or gauge) is low, a bed with a large coil count can seem soft. The coil’s design is also important; hourglass coils are typically firmer than continuous coils.

Naturally depending on the structure of the innersprings these mattresses can range from soft to firm. Make sure you look carefully when looking to get an innerspring mattress so that you get the correct firmness level for your body weight.

Hybrid mattresses

Hybrid mattresses combine an innerspring’s coil support core with the deeper comfort layers of a foam or latex mattress. These mattresses usually have a tough, responsive surface that contours to ease the pressure.

Most customers can find a model in their preferred stiffness range among hybrids, as it comes in various firmness options. Hybrid mattresses are similar to innerspring mattresses in that they range from soft to firm depending on the build.

Air mattresses

Air mattresses come with open sections full of air that help increase or decrease firmness. These aren’t the inflatable air mattresses you’d see at a campground or for other short-term usages.

Air mattresses provide more support than inflatable mattresses as they are constructed using different materials and designed for long-term use. These mattresses provide room to adjust the firmness on either side of the bed, which is a great feature for couples with different firmness tastes.

Because you can adjust the firmness level of these mattresses regularly to minimize the downward strain on certain pressure points, they’re a popular mattress type for those with back issues.

If you’re having troubles deciding on a firmness level an adjustable air mattress is a perfect choice since you’re going to be able to adjust firmness at any time.


These mattresses come in a hard-sided or soft-sided shape and provide support via a water chamber system. The water chamber of a hard-sided waterbed is housed inside a rectangular wood frame, whereas the water chamber of a soft-sided waterbed is housed inside a rectangle stiff foam frame that is zipped inside a fabric casing.

The water chamber is subsequently covered with upholstery materials and paddings such as foams and fiber in both types. They then take a seat on a platform.

When it comes to firmness, waterbeds are similar to air mattresses in that you can adjust how much water you want in the mattress and by doing so change the firmness level. However they’re not as accurate as air mattresses.

Futon mattresses

When converting a futon into a sofa, you’ll need a futon mattress that also serves as a couch cushion (from a bed).

Many individuals, particularly those with small living spaces, utilize a futon as a bed that also serves as a sofa. In-studio apartments this is a fantastic alternative. Futon mattresses are firm but designed to fold to fit into a sofa shape.

Niklas Lampi

My name is Niklas and I'm the author and content operator at The Bedding Planet. I've always had a big interest in bedding and more specifically sleep. If I find something that makes me sleep better, whether that's a lifestyle change or a better bedding environment, I'm ready to share it with the world!

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