Mattress Comfort Levels
Soft or Firm - Choosing a Comfort Level
The average person spends about a third of his or her lifetime in bed, which makes selecting a new mattress a decision of utmost importance. While characteristics like price and composition are objective attributes determined by the manufacturer and largely standardized across the mattress industry, comfort remains a subjective quality that varies according to personal preference. Although most manufacturers generally use the same or similar terms to describe mattress comfort levels, no industrywide standard exists to establish uniform specifications of firmness, softness, comfort or support. Thus, customers shopping for new mattresses should try out several options, regardless of the specified comfort level, in order to find the selection best suited to personal tastes and physical requirements.
Mattress Comfort Scale
Directly influenced by the materials used to enhance and encase the internal support system of the mattress, the most widely recognized mattress comfort levels refer to the way the sleep surface feels against the body. Most retailers and manufacturers use a mattress comfort scale with varying levels of rigidity typically ranging from soft to firm. Also called plush, softer mattresses tend to conform to the body more than firmer mattress types and generally prove most appropriate for people inclined to sleep on their sides. The additional padding of plush mattresses alleviates pressure from the shoulders, arms, and hips. Many stomach sleepers, back sleepers, and heavier individuals, on the other hand, should not exclude plush mattresses. However, they typically gravitate towards firmer mattresses, which provide maximum support and accommodate increased amounts of weight better than plush mattresses. Regardless of personal preference, the right mattress keeps the spine of the sleeper relaxed, aligned, and the shoulder, hips and lower back free from pressure.
To simplify the selection process, Rooms To Go maintains a collection of mattresses that runs the gamut of the mattress comfort scale from ultra plush to extra firm. Some ultra plush mattresses feature padded pillow tops for added cushioning, while the extra firm selections are enhanced with special foams that promote cooling breathability while providing additional layers of support. Available models also include regular plush and firm mattresses crafted by industry leaders, such as Sealy, Sealy Posturepedic, Stearns & Foster, Optimium, Simmons BeautyRest, BeautySleep BeautyRest ReCharge, BeautyRest World Class, BeautyRest Black, Serta, Serta Perfect Sleepers, I-Series by Serta, I-Comfort by Serta, Tempurpedic, and Therapedic. With such a comprehensive range of mattress comfort levels available at Rooms To Go, shoppers can easily preview multiple selections all in one place until successfully finding the best option.
How to Choose a Comfort Level
To truly get the best sleep possible, you need a mattress that fits your personal comfort preferences. Discovering the right comfort level for you may sound trivial, but it is essential to buying a quality mattress. With a little bit of time and testing, you can find out your preferred comfort level, and mattress shopping will become that much easier. Once you find a mattress, you will be thankful you took the time to learn your comfort level when you are rewarded with luxurious, refreshing rest each and every night.
Support vs. Comfort
Before getting started, you want to understand the difference between comfort and support. These are two separate concepts, which should not be used interchangeably. Comfort means the amount of firmness you feel from the mattress's sleep surface and is intended for relaxation. Mattresses come in varying degrees of firmness, which range from dense to pillow soft. Materials used and mattress design affect how firm or how soft the mattress feels. Support serves as a function to ensure healthy sleep. The term refers to the ability of a mattress to respond to resistance and distribute pressure in order to keep the body in correct spinal alignment. Often, mattresses with different comfort levels have the same support systems inside.
What You Don't Want to Do
First and foremost, don't go after the comfort level that you assume is right for you. You need to know what you want. Many people believe that when it comes to a mattress, the firmer the better. This is flawed thinking. Although many people enjoy harder mattresses, some struggle with discomfort brought on from mattresses that feel overly firm and dont provide enough pressure relief. Mattresses come in a variety of comfort levels for a reason, so don't assume you need the firmest mattress out there.
Additionally, don't choose a comfort level based on someone else's recommendations. Mattress comfort is entirely subjective. What feels heavenly to one person may feel torturous for another. Even if a mattress salesman is trying to convince you on a particular comfort level, follow what feels right to you. A salesperson may know all the facts about a mattress, but it is impossible for him to judge how a mattress feels for you.
Evaluate Your Current Mattress
The first step in discovering which mattress comfort level you desire is to look at what you currently sleep on. If you consistently wake up feeling tired, have back pain, or any "pins and needles" type of discomfort in your limbs, then you are not getting quality sleep. So, you may need to consider choosing a new mattress. If your current mattress offers refreshing rest, then you may want to stick with the comfort level you are used to. However, it never hurts to reevaluate what comfort level might best suit you, and something even better could be out there.
If you don't know the comfort level of your current mattress, try checking the tags and labels attached to it. Some mattresses may specify comfort level. If not, the label should include the materials used in the mattress, which can indicate the level of intended firmness.
If you find that you sometimes wake up with "pins and needles" or a tingling sensation in your arms due to poor circulation, your mattress may be too hard and not providing enough pressure relief.
Feel for Yourself
You need to test out some mattresses to discover your comfort preferences. That means going into a mattress store and lying down on a few pieces in the showroom. Make sure to wear comfortable clothes and dedicate part of your day to trying out the various models.
Start your testing by trying the firmest mattresses first, then work your way down to the softest. When testing a mattress, get as comfortable as possible and mimic the position you tend to sleep in. Make sure to use a pillow when testing a mattress. Otherwise, you won't match the way you actually sleep. If your current mattress is causing pain, discomfort, or poor circulation, you want to lie on each mattress and see if you trigger those sensations.
Take as much time as you need to get comfortable. Your mattress test should take at least five minutes but may last as long as a quarter hour. After about fifteen minutes, you should know whether a mattress works for you or not. Do not try to convince yourself that you might like a mattress better at home. A mattress that is uncomfortable in the store will surely be uncomfortable at home.
Make sure to try each comfort level in your testing. Afterward, you should have a good idea of your comfort preference. You may then narrow your search by looking for mattresses around your preferred comfort level.
Remember the Sliding Scale
There is no industry standard when it comes to the mattress comfort scale. Try not to limit yourself strictly to one comfort level, especially if you are looking at different mattress brands. Differences between comfort scales in brands can be quite noticeable. The terms firm and plush serve as good indicators for what you want, but you may need to jump up or down a comfort level when searching for the right mattress.
Types of Mattress Comfort Levels
Anyone craving a solid sleep surface would love an extra firm mattress. If extra firm fans desired anything firmer, they would need to pick the floor. People who are accustomed to extra firm mattresses usually want to stick with the comfort level. Oftentimes, older individuals or people who grew up with extra firm mattresses prefer the sturdy comfort extra firm offers. Generally, back sleepers like extra firm mattresses.
A sturdy comfort level, firm offers a bit more give than extra firm models. If you want a flat sleep surface with minimal padding, a firm mattress might be right for you. Most back and stomach sleepers prefer the firm comfort level.
Individuals looking for mid-level comfort prefer plush mattresses. The comfort level offers a delicate blend of softness with some resistance, which many people adore. Plush is usually best for side sleeping, the most common sleeping style. Back and stomach sleepers also typically enjoy plush mattresses.
People looking for the softest sleep surfaces possible choose ultra plush. Stomach sleepers often avoid ultra plush mattress because they tend to cause the body to make an irregular u-shape, which can be unhealthy for the back. Side sleepers commonly use ultra plush mattresses.
Discovering your ideal mattress comfort level should be fun. Think about it: it's the sleep equivalent of test driving a car, and most people enjoy sleeping way more than driving. Also like shopping for a car, buying a mattress is an important, long-lasting decision, so take your time. You want to be sure you find the comfort level that suits you. After all, you want to find the mattress that you are going to want to spend eight hours a night on for the next decade.