Ever feel like you’re slowly sinking into a pit in the middle of your mattress when you’re trying to fall asleep at night? Or do you wake up with aches and pains in your back that weren’t there the night before? If either of these scenarios sound familiar, it might be time to consider a firmer mattress.
Firmer mattresses have more pushback than softer types, which can help relieve back pain and make you feel as if you are floating on top of the surface instead of sinking in. “A firm mattress helps support the spine's alignment, and therefore prevents people from sinking into positions that cause back or joint pain,” said Mike Calabrese, a licensed chiropractor in New York City.
If the last firm mattress you slept on was an awful bunk from your childhood summer camp, you’ll be pleased to learn about the vast selection of firm mattresses available now that marry support and comfort. You can choose from luxury brands, eco-friendly beds, mattresses with special cooling technology, and more options that will get you excited for bedtime.
And believe it or not, you don’t have to give up the feeling of a plush memory foam bed to get a firmer texture. While many firm options are hybrid or innerspring mattresses, there are also a number of latex and memory foam mattresses available that still offer adequate firmness.
These are the 5 best firm mattresses on the market.
Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of firm mattresses and what each of these has to offer. But first, let’s take a look at what mattress firmness actually means.
Mattress firmness is subjective and varies from person to person; a mattress that feels firm to you may be too soft for someone else’s taste. For this reason, mattress companies came up with a firmness scale to rate how firm a mattress is compared to others on the market. This scale describes mattress firmness using a scoring system of 1 through 10, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest.
While most mattresses are considered medium or medium-firm, which typically puts them between a 5 and 7 on the scale, a firm mattress falls around 7 or 8. Understandably, the different textures each provide a different sleeping experience: A softer mattress cradles your body while a firm mattress feels like hovering on top of the bed rather than sinking into it. We recommend going no further than an 8 on the firmness scale to achieve the right balance between support and comfort—a mattress that’s too firm may end up being uncomfortable.
A firm mattress provides more pushback to support the entire length of your body, which helps keep the natural curves of your spine in alignment and prevent you from sinking into a funky position that can leave you sore.
Have you ever sunk so far into a mattress that you felt stuck? That won’t happen with a firm mattress—instead, it’ll keep your body elevated on the surface so you can move around (and get out of bed) easily.
If you like to sprawl out across your mattress or sit on the edge of the bed to put your shoes on, you’ll benefit from the increased edge support of a firm mattress. It’ll prevent you from falling out of bed or sinking into the sides.
Since harder textures respond less to movement, a firm mattress will reduce the amount of motion transfer that makes its way over to your side of the bed—which is ideal if you sleep with a partner or pet and don’t want to wake up every time they stir throughout the night.
According to a 2009 study published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, more than 80% of people will experience lower back pain at some point throughout their lives. If you are in this majority, a firmer mattress is a great choice for you. Studies have shown that the support of a medium-firm mattress can significantly improve sleep quality and stress levels, which can help reduce back pain.
Both back and stomach sleepers will benefit from a firmer mattress. Back sleepers need a mattress that keeps the spine in alignment with their natural curves while they are stretched out at night. Similarly, stomach sleepers need a mattress with enough support to prevent their stomach from sinking too far into the mattress and pulling the spine into an unnatural “u” shape. Since a firmer mattress supports the entire length of the body, it can help back and stomach sleepers enjoy nights of pain-free rest.
The expert review team at Mattress Advisor conducted over 500 hours of lab testing to evaluate each mattress on 14 different factors, including pressure relief, motion transfer, durability, spinal alignment, and responsiveness. Based on these findings, we’ve rounded up the 5 top-reviewed firm mattresses that’ll offer the perfect balance between support and comfort. All of these mattresses are available to buy online and have generous trial periods of at least 100 days, meaning you’ll have plenty of time to sleep on your new bed before you commit.
Brooklyn Bedding’s innovative Plank mattress allows you to experience two different firmness levels in one mattress because it’s flippable—one side is firm, while the other is extra firm. Both levels provide adequate support to help distribute body weight evenly and prevent sleepers from sinking into the mattress.
The Plank scored exceptionally well in Mattress Advisor’s edge support test, which is an important criterion when it comes to maintaining the mattress’ firmness and preventing it from sagging. Mattress Advisor testers said they felt like the mattress was gripping them and keeping them from falling off the bed. The Plank also had notably easy assembly—it arrives in a compact bed-in-a-box, and the testers were able to set it up in less than two minutes.
The Saatva is a hybrid mattress that provides a firmer level of support without skimping on luxury features that make you feel like royalty. It’s made of high-quality eco-friendly materials like organic cotton, an antimicrobial-treated cover, and a plush pillow top. To add another layer of decadence, it even comes with complimentary white glove delivery, meaning that Saatva representatives will set up your new mattress in your home and remove your old mattress for free.
The Saatva comes in multiple firmness levels to suit every sleeping position, including firm and a slightly softer “luxury firm.” The firm option is a great choice for stomach and back sleepers who prefer to feel like they’re resting on top of the mattress rather than sinking into it, while the luxury firm model is the best mattress for side sleepers who want some cushion but still prefer a mattress on the firm side.
The Helix Twilight Luxe combines pocketed coils and memory foam to give you the best aspects of both materials—the supportive pushback of an innerspring mattress with the plush contouring feel of foam—in a single bed. This marriage of support and pressure relief makes the Helix Twilight Luxe a great pick for side sleepers who prefer a firmer mattress.
In this mattress, supportive coils keep the spine aligned and cradle the hips and shoulders—which bear most of the body’s weight in the side sleeping position—while a layer of memory foam relieves pressure from the joints and back. This option doesn’t skimp on comfort, either. It’s topped with a breathable gel material that keeps the bed feeling plush and comfy without sacrificing support.
Another great hybrid option, the Brooklyn Signature mattress by Brooklyn Bedding pairs responsive layers of supportive memory foam with pocketed coils, earning a near-perfect score in Mattress Advisor’s pressure relief test. Made with quality materials in the U.S., the Brooklyn Signature will provide a comfortable, supportive sleeping surface for years to come.
While it’s available in three different levels, those seeking a firmer mattress should choose “medium” or “firm” at checkout. Combination sleepers—or those who change sleeping positions throughout the night—tend to prefer the medium option, while stomach and back sleepers usually favor the firm option.
The Casper Wave uses a 5-layer support system that works to relieve pressure from your back and spine. The supportive gel memory foam layer keeps the spine in alignment, while a pressure-relieving layer distributes weight away from pressure points. To top off your sleeping experience, a comfort layer provides surface-level cushioning.
The Casper’s signature 5-layer technology earned it excellent scores on the Mattress Advisor spinal alignment and edge support tests, along with an endorsement from the American Chiropractic Association. In addition to being a top pick for those with back pain, this mattress performed very well in Mattress Advisor’s motion transfer test, which means it’ll prevent your partner or pet from waking you up if they move around during the night.
This memory foam mattress features four layers of high-quality foam designed to contour to your shape, relieve pressure-point pain, and offer durable support. The top layer of the Loom & Leaf mattress is made of breathable organic cotton, while the second layer is made of a cooling gel material that provides zoned support and spinal alignment. In addition, there are two more layers of premium foam, which create a multi-layer support that adapts to your shape as you move throughout the night.
As Mattress Advisor’s top-rated memory foam mattress, the Loom & Leaf appeals to a wide range of sleepers and comes in two firmness options: relaxed firm and firm. This makes the bed ideal for combination sleepers as well as back and stomach sleepers. The Loom and Leaf also scored well on spinal alignment and responsiveness, so sleepers who toss and turn throughout the night can move around soundly.
To buy: Loom & Leaf Mattress, $1,599 for a Queen, saatva.com (Click to see exclusive offer)
The Awara is a hybrid mattress made from natural latex and pocket coils. For sleepers looking for a firm mattress that’s also hypoallergenic, the Awara can’t be beat. Not only does latex postpone the build-up of bacteria and other microbes in your mattress, it’s also cooling and resistant to dust mites. In addition to the latex layer, the Awara features an organic quilted cotton cover that offers breathability and comfort. Finally, the bottom layer of pocket coils provides head-to-toe support and motion isolation, so you’ll have few disturbances while sleeping.
As one of the newest natural latex mattresses on the market, the Awara scored extremely high for motion transfer and edge support, making it ideal for couples. You can sleep peacefully throughout the night knowing that your partner’s movements won’t disturb you.
To buy: Awara Mattress, $1,499 for a Queen, awarasleep.com (Click to see exclusive offer)
High-quality materials don’t necessarily mean a high price point. If you’re looking for a high-quality latex bed with great durability, Ghostbed’s reasonable price point is just the cherry on top. A combination of quality latex and foam layers make the Ghostbed supportive, responsive, and cool. The top cover of soft, breathable fabric helps to wick away moisture, while a layer of aerated latex absorbs pressure. Cooling gel memory foam combines with a bottom layer of dense foam to provide maximum comfort, cooling, support and durability. The memory foam layers provide excellent contouring, which is great for side sleepers in need of pressure point relief.
The Ghostbed has a long history of research and development backing its claims (over 15 years!), so it’s a tried-and-true option.
To buy: Ghostbed Mattress, $1,095 for a Queen, ghostbed.com (Click to see exclusive offer)
As the firmest model out of all of Amerisleep’s memory foam beds, the Amerisleep AS1 suits back and stomach sleepers alike, providing pressure relief and support in both positions. A Celliant cover makes up the top layer of the bed and offers cooling, heat-wicking properties. Two layers of supportive foam provide durability and cushioning, which stomach and back sleepers may enjoy.
The Amerisleep AS1 is on the firm side of most mattresses, so it’s no surprise that it scored quite high on the spinal alignment test. Stomach sleepers who prefer extra support may appreciate the firmness and supportiveness of this bed.
To buy: Amerisleep AS1 Mattress, $1,199 for a Queen, amerisleep.com (Click to see exclusive offer)
With an inner coil system and supportive, organic latex, the Avocado Green is a hybrid mattress that boasts an impressive amount of responsiveness. This benefits combination sleepers the most who move around frequently throughout the night. Plus, the natural wool in the second layer is resistant to dust mites, and the layers of natural latex add support. Another layer of pocketed coils assists with spinal alignment, balance, and responsiveness.
Ranging from medium-firm to firm depending on whether you add a pillow top to the mattress, the Avocado can support a wide range of sleepers. And with a full year to decide if this is the right mattress for you, there’s comfort in knowing you can take your time trying it out. Eco-friendly with a long lifespan, the Avocado falls on the pricier end of hybrid mattresses, but you definitely get what you pay for.
To buy: Avocado Green Mattress, $1,399 for a Queen, avocadogreenmattress.com (Click to see exclusive offer)
Jillian is a wellness and lifestyle writer for Mattress Advisor. As a former insomniac, she is passionate about the health benefits of a restful night and helping you get a good night’s sleep.
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