Mattress Comfort Levels: A Scale To Discover Comfort

Mattress Comfort Levels: A Scale To Discover Comfort

How much do you know about the mattress firmness scale? Everyone has heard the mattress firmness descriptions before — extra firm to extra soft — but most people probably don’t know the key differences between those levels.

When you choose a mattress, you need to consider a lot of different factors, including your sleep position.

Picking the right mattress firmness is integral to getting sound, comfortable sleep. Choosing the wrong firmness level can lead to buyer’s remorse, or worse, an uncomfortable experience that makes it hard for you to sleep.

This article will go over the mattress firmness scale ratings, everything you need to know to choose the best mattress for your needs, and why the SONU Sleep System is the best option yet.

What’s the Difference Between Support and Comfort?

Two words that come up frequently when discussing mattresses are support and comfort. You will see them many times in this article. People often use these words interchangeably when describing mattresses, but they actually mean two different things.

Support refers to a mattress’s ability to help keep your spine in alignment. A mattress with poor support can result in spine misalignment when you sleep, which can cause pain. If you wake up with neck or back pain often, lack of support may be to blame.

Comfort refers to how the mattress feels. The mattress firmness scale rates mattresses according to how hard or soft they are. Determinants for mattress comfort are the material the mattress is made of, its core support system, and the mattress topper.

What Is the Mattress Firmness Scale?

The mattress firmness scale consists of ratings 1 through 10, which all describe the different levels of firmness that mattresses come in. Many of these ratings overlap, as you’ll soon find out in the following descriptions.

Extra Soft

Extra soft mattresses are rated between 1 and 2. They are the plushest mattresses available, allowing your body to sink deeply into them. If you need a lot of pressure relief, try an extra soft mattress. Side sleepers and back sleepers alike often go for this mattress level. It isn’t ideal for stomach sleepers.


If you love sinking into your mattress, opt for a soft one. Soft mattresses are rated between the range of 3 and 4.

Many side sleepers prefer soft mattresses. Some back sleepers prefer them as well, as long as their lower backs are not overextended due to the softness of the mattress. Soft mattresses offer optimal pressure relief.


Medium mattresses are represented by levels 5 and 6. This range is often called the “Goldilocks zone” because it is just right for most sleeping positions. Medium mattresses offer an optimal level of spine support while providing the plush cushioning many sleepers prefer. If you prefer something just a little firmer, keep reading.


Medium-firm mattresses fall between 6 and 7 on the firmness scale. If you’re a side sleeper, a medium-firm mattress may be just right for you. However, just like the medium mattress, it is suitable for nearly all sleepers.

If you need soft, hip-cradling support of a medium-firm mattress, SONU has you covered. All SONU mattresses are medium-firm with a firmness scale rating of 6.5, that comfortably molds to you while providing the support your body needs.


Mattresses that fall between the ratings of 7 and 8 are firm. If you’re a back or stomach sleeper, a firm mattress is perfect for you. Firm mattresses have slightly less padding than medium-firm ones, making them more rigid to sleep on.

Extra Firm

Ratings 9 to 10 represent extra firm mattress levels. Extra firm mattresses are typically recommended for anyone who sleeps on their back. It can be too hard for other types of sleepers and cause them pain because there isn’t enough cushioning for their bodies. Extra firm mattresses are often described as being too “rigid.”

If you sleep on a mattress that is too hard or too soft, you will face the consequences. If you have a pain condition, it could get significantly worse with a mattress that isn’t the right firmness level. In some cases, you may start having pain in places that you never did before.

What Are the Benefits of Soft, Medium, and Firm Mattresses?

To further help you decide which mattress firmness level is for you, here are the benefits of the primary firmness levels.

Benefits of Soft Mattresses

  • Pressure relief: Soft mattresses provide the most pressure relief for the body, especially if you experience arthritis or other types of physical pain.
  • Compression: Soft mattresses compress easier than medium or hard mattresses.
  • Light-weight support: Light sleepers will experience better body contouring with soft mattresses.

Benefits of Medium Mattresses

  • Support: Medium mattresses provide enough support to suit a variety of sleepers.
  • Compression: Medium mattresses compress less than soft ones but more than firm ones, which allows them to support sleepers while providing comfort.
  • Pressure relief: Medium mattresses provide enough pressure relief for the joints and spine.
  • Weight distribution: The average sleeper will experience even weight distribution when sleeping on medium mattresses.

Benefits of Firm Mattresses

  • Stability: Firm mattresses are the most stable of the bunch. They have less “give” than medium or soft mattresses.
  • Alignment: Sleeping on a firm mattress can help you maintain good posture because it keeps your spine in a neutral position.
  • Weight-friendly: Firm mattresses are good for people who are heavier.

What Are the Disadvantages of Soft, Medium, and Firm Mattresses?

No firmness level is without its flaws. Here are the disadvantages of each.

Disadvantages of Soft Mattresses

  • Sinking: If you don’t like sinking deeply into your mattress, avoid soft mattresses.
  • Lack of support: The deep sinking of the soft mattress isn’t great for the spine alignment.
  • Heat retention: Depending on the material, the extreme contouring of soft mattresses can quickly start to feel too warm for many sleepers.

Disadvantages of Medium Mattresses

  • Lack of support: Medium mattresses are often too soft for heavy sleepers and too hard for light-weight ones.

Disadvantages of Firm Mattresses

  • Pain: Avoid sleeping on a firm mattress if you have joint or muscle pain issues. The hardness of the mattress can make you feel worse.
  • Lack of contouring: A firm mattress will not cradle your body like other types of mattresses.

How Long Does Mattress Firmness Last?

How long your mattress stays at its original firmness depends on how it was made and what it is made of. A rule of thumb to keep in mind is that the firmer your mattress, the firmer it will stay for a while. Soft mattresses usually deteriorate faster than firm ones.

This is not a reason to go out and buy a firm mattress. You should always purchase a mattress that meets your expectations.

How Do I Pick the Best Mattress for Me?

Understanding the level of firmness you need is just one step in choosing the right mattress. Other factors to consider are your budget, the mattress material, your size, and more.


This is usually the first consideration for mattress customers. Whether you are a single sleeper or someone else shares your bed, you need to know how much you are willing to spend to get the type of comfort you need.

The size of the mattress you need also matters. Smaller beds like the Twin and Twin XL will cost less than a Queen or King bed. Take into account if you are a single sleeper or not to determine just how much sleep space you require.

Don’t come up with one hard number. Create a price range that you and your co-sleeper are comfortable with.

Thankfully, today, it’s easy to search for mattresses online via their price points.

Mattress Material

What do you want your mattress to be made of? Are you a fan of foam mattresses? How about hybrid mattresses or latex ones?

Mattress materials each have their pros and cons, so it’s important for you to weigh each of them before selecting a mattress. If you’ve been sleeping on one mattress for a while and are happy, go with that material.

If you’re stuck between mattress materials but are open to something new, SONU Sleep has a mattress that combines memory foam topped off with Serene foam, the new cooling material on the mattress scene.

Body Size

Your height and weight make certain mattresses poor options for you. Someone who is over 6-feet tall and weighs 200+ pounds will need a mattress with more support than someone who is 5-foot-4 and 120 pounds.

Here is a handy chart that recommends mattress firmness according to body size.

Firmness Level Body Size
Soft Light (<150 lbs) or average (150 lbs - 200 lbs)
Medium Light, average, or heavy (200+ lbs)
Firm Heavy

Many mattresses come with weight restrictions. Check mattress retailer websites for these details. They’re usually listed in the frequently asked questions (FAQ) section.

Sleep Position

Some mattresses are made with certain sleeping positions in mind, like mattresses made for side sleepers. If a manufacturer does not specify a particular sleep position for a mattress, go back and refer to the mattress firmness scale descriptions.

The most popular sleep position is the side position. Runners up are the back sleep position and the stomach sleep position. Combination sleepers switch from one position to the next throughout the night. If you fit into any of these categories, know that there is a mattress out there that was made with you in mind.

Some other things to consider when buying your mattress are sleep disorders and any pain you might have. If you suffer from hip or shoulder pain, the amount of pressure relief a mattress provides matters. If you have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea, the adjustability of the mattress can play a role in your comfort.

If you are pregnant, your doctor might recommend that you sleep on your side for part of your pregnancy.

If a company does not tell you that it’s made for a particular sleep position, check out their customer reviews for insight.

Can the Mattress I Choose Affect My Health?

Yes, the mattress you choose can affect your health. Not only can it cause you pain, as mentioned a few times in this article – it can affect your entire life.

If you’re sleep-deprived because your mattress is uncomfortable, you can end up being lethargic, accident-prone, and disengaged. People who do not get enough sleep often end up performing worse at work, or they end up missing a lot of days.

You may not feel it immediately, but sleeping on a saggy mattress or one that is too firm can ruin your posture. Your spine won’t be the only thing to suffer. People with poor posture sometimes suffer from headaches, breathing problems, slowed digestion, and heartburn.


Now that you know how the mattress firmness scale works, you are better equipped to go out and select the right mattress. When you decide which mattress firmness level is right for you, don’t forget to consider other points like how much money you wish to spend on a mattress or what type of mattress is best for your preferred sleep position.

SONU Sleep makes medium-firm mattresses that exceed the expectations of almost any sleeper. The mattress comes with the never-before-seen, patented Comfort Channel that was made to finally allow room for arms and shoulders to rest where they’re meant to, as well as full range of motion below the surface while you are sleeping. The SONU Sleep System also incorporates the cooling comfort of top quality serene foam as well as a support system created from high resilience memory foam to give your body the best support and comfort possible.

If this is your first time purchasing a mattress and you need some extra information, SONU’s customer testimonials can help you decide.


Which firmness levels do SONU’s mattresses come in?

All SONU mattresses are medium-firm, rating a 6.5 out of 10 on the mattress firmness scale.

I’m not a side sleeper. Is a SONU mattress a good choice for me?

Yes! All sleepers can benefit from SONU’s 14-inch thick, lush, cooling mattress. It is medium-firm, a comfort level that suits sleepers of all kinds.

I’m trying to find a mattress that supports my body type. How much body weight can SONU mattresses support?

SONU mattresses can support up to 700 pounds or 350 pounds per side if two people share the mattress.

Does mattress firmness change as a mattress ages?

In a sense, yes, mattress firmness does change. As the mattress ages, the firmness can decrease, and it can start to sag. If your mattress comes with a warranty, ask the retailer about the average lifespan of your mattress.


3 surprising risks of poor posture | Harvard Health

Sleeping mattress determinants and evaluation: a biomechanical review and critique | NIH

How To Choose A Mattress in 5 Easy Steps | Sleep Advisor

Firm vs. Soft Mattress — Your Ultimate Guide | Best Mattress Brand

Mattress Firmness Guide - Find the Perfect Comfort Level for You | Sleep Advisor

Designed To Work Together
The SONU Sleep System

It is finally time to immerse into comfort, and sleep like never before.

The SONU Sheets

Soft, cooling and sustainable, with the Comfort Channel built in to fit your SONU.

The SONU Top Pillow Deluxe

The perfect amount of support and malleability to complement your SONU.

Trusted Reviews From Side Sleepers Nationwide
Shoppers and their reviews verified by
Thank YOU! Best mattress out there.
After being a gymnast for 15 years, I haven't felt this much relief from the pain in my shoulders and my hips while sleeping!! Thank you!
Steph C.
Highly recommended!
Creates the perfect space for your arm if you're a side sleeper. Changed the way I sleep forever.
Justin S.
So I actually own one of these. It's AMAZING. Yes it will take you a few weeks to get "used" to it... But that said, you will be AMAZED at how great your shoulders feel in the morning. Just unreal. Like sleep a full 8 hours without waking up type of sleep.
Jason R.
Buffalo, NY
I have very bad neck and back issues and this mattress is a dream! If you are a side sleeper you will love it and even if you like to sleep on you back you will love it! Very comfortable and totally worth the money!
Grace L.
i have suffered from shoulder pain while sleeping for several years, i had just about given up... then i saw this bed and decided one last try. i can't begin to explain what it feels like to sleep through an entire night... for the first time in 20 years the first weekend i had it. I'm so impressed with this bed... because what they are making is making a difference in people's lives.
Crystal G.
Lives up to the hype
This comfort channel they made is next level. I never imagined that I would be able to put my arm in the mattress. Takes all the pressure off my shoulder, which I so so need. YES
Kim J.
Highly recommended!
I’m a side sleeper and I used to wake up with a dead feeling arm from lying on it all night. Finally a mattress with a pocket for my arm. I tried all the pillows and even very expensive mattresses in the past, but nothing cured my circulation problems until I got the sonu sleep mattress. I love it!
Nic D.
Chicago, IL
...Sonu mattresses are in a league all by themselves. This is the most comfortable bed I have ever slept on. I have no more shoulder pain and numbness. I can now sleep through the night and not wake up in pain. If anyone is even thinking about getting a Sonu sleep system don’t think anymore. Pull that trigger. I 100% gaurentee you will not be disappointed.
Christopher B.
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The SONU Sleep System was designed and developed in California, and is manufactured only in the United States - made with the highest quality materials and attention to detail for side sleepers everywhere.
* SONU Bedding and several SONU Supports are imported products. All other SONU products are made in the United States.

Finally let your arms rest where they're meant to...