If you associate bedtime with plush bedding and fluffy pillows, the idea of a firm mattress might put you off—but the best firm mattress for you can improve your sleep to the point that it spills over into your waking life. It all depends on your sleeping position and preferences. Here’s what you need to know about firm mattresses—and whether you should pick one up for your next new bed.
What are the benefits of sleeping on a firm mattress?
As SELF has previously reported, firm mattresses usually provide the kind of sturdy support that back sleepers and stomach sleepers need to avoid back pain and sleep with a neutral spine. Although most doctors will tell you that it’s challenging to have any sort of spinal alignment as a stomach sleeper since this position inherently places pressure on your lower back and neck. While soft mattresses allow uncomfortable pressure points to form where your body weight sinks into the bed, firmer mattresses prevent that sinkage from happening in the first place. Instead, they create the sensation of sleeping upon the bed, and not in it—which is how experts say a mattress feels when you’ve found the right one for you. Side sleepers, on the other hand, do need a little more give in their beds, in order to accommodate their shoulders and hips, so they should look for a medium-firm mattress over a truly firm one.
Luckily, firm beds come in a variety of materials and forms, from bed-in-a-box-style gel memory foam mattresses to hybrid mattresses to more traditional innerspring mattresses to eco-friendly latex mattresses. You can even find them on Amazon if you need a new mattress ASAP.
Should you buy a firm mattress?
If you sleep on your back or stomach and regularly wake up feeling sore and achy, you may want to consider trying out a firm mattress (emphasis on “try”—plenty of bestselling brands offer generous risk-free trial periods with their mattresses). And if you don’t want to part with the plushness of a softer mattress, you can opt for a “luxury firm” mattress or pick up a mattress topper for some additional cushion.
Whether you love the supportive, firm feel of a harder mattress or are shopping for one for the first time, we’re here to help. Below, we’ve selected our top picks for the best firm mattress on the market, with high-quality options from retailers like Saatva, Nectar, Helix, Winkbed, and more.
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