When it comes to deciding how firm your mattress should be, it mostly comes down to a matter of personal preference. However, it’s also essential to find a bed that’ll healthily support your spine and body, or else you may choose something too soft or too firm. If you prefer to feel like you’re sleeping on a stone, it’s important to find the best firm mattress for your sleep needs, or you may be sacrificing quality, undisturbed sleep. In this guide, we’ll discuss the four main things to consider when deciding how firm your bed should be and then touch upon our firm mattress recommendations.
The Amerisleep AS2 is our Editor’s Choice as the best firm mattress because it offers adequate support to hold your spine in a neutral position and support healthy sleep positions.
If only finding the most comfortable mattress was as simple as declaring you want a firm bed, and choosing one out of the hundreds to try. Unfortunately, the process is a bit more complicated than so; and how firm a bed feels varies greatly by who is laying on it. Meaning, what may feel firm to one person, may not feel the exact same to the next— this can make buying a mattress for a couple tricky. Below, we’ll discuss what specifically to account for before choosing your next firm mattress.
- Sleep Style: How you sleep also influences how firm your mattress should be. Typically stomach and back sleepers are more comfortable on firmer mattresses because they hold your body in a neutral position and aid in maintaining a healthy spine. On the other hand, side sleepers need to find a mattress that is soft enough to allow their hips and shoulders to compress in the bed. When side sleepers sleep on firmer mattresses, they don’t always let the hips and shoulders to sink into the bed adequately, which can result in pressure points and chronic pains.
- Body Type: Your height, weight, and build can impact how a bed molds to your body and supports you. If you don’t bring much weight to the mattress, it may seem like many beds feel firm. However, if you’re on the heavier side, or have a weight above 250 pounds, you’ll probably find most beds feel soft and unsupportive.
- Zoned Support: Firm mattresses do well when it comes to fostering a healthy spine, but firm mattresses with built-in zoned support do much better. Zoned support reinforces proper spinal alignment, enhances support in the lumbar region of your body, and offers relief for pressure points.
- Perks of Firm Mattresses: Sleeping on a flat surface is thought to improve circulation, increase oxygen flow, and ease stress on your muscles and veins. However, if you suffer from back pain or have a condition such as scoliosis, a firm mattress can make symptoms worse.
What’s the Best Firm Mattress?
When it comes to firmness, there isn’t a set amount of standard options; instead, firmness falls on a spectrum, allowing for more variety. In this section, we’ll be discussing our three favorite firm mattresses on the market right now.
Our Editors’ recommend the Amerisleep AS2 as their preferred firm mattress. Amerisleep makes and sells five mattresses; each model ranges in firmness and is built with different sleepers in mind. Their AS1 and AS2 are firm and medium-firm, respectively. Then, comes their AS3, a medium mattress, followed by their AS4 and AS5— softer models. You may be wondering why we didn’t recommend Amerisleep’s AS1, as technically it’s Amerisleep’s firmest mattress; however, the AS1 is lacking in targeted support technology, which contributes to healthy sleep. Amerisleep integrates HIVE technology into every one of their mattresses besides their AS1. The reason they don’t integrate HIVE into the AS1 is that it can take away from the firmness of the AS1; so if you’re looking to “sleep on a rock,” their AS1 is the closest thing to it. That said, we’ll be focusing solely on the AS2 below.
Amerisleep’s AS2, their medium-firm mattress, is recommended to both back and stomach sleepers. It’s also been voted their best mattress for back pain relief because it is soft enough to allow for pressure relief but firm enough to hold your spine in a neutral, healthy position. Let’s look at the design of this bed:
The first layer of the AS2 is 2 inches of Amerisleep’s proprietary Bio-Pur®. When you lay on this layer, it’ll mold to your body and fill the gaps between you and the bed, offering instant comfort and tension relief.
HIVE® technology directly below Bio-Pur® offers extra support, ensuring you won’t sink uncomfortably far into the bed. This layer is made by grouping hexagonal shaped cutouts into five comfort zones within the foam; these hexagons are closer together to feel firmer where you need more support, and farther apart to feel softer where you need more cushion. The design of this technology promotes healthy sleep and prevents your body from falling into unnatural sleep positions.
The last layer of this bed is Amerisleeps’ Bio-Core® foam, a high-density poly-foam core. This layer is designed to be strong and durable, offering firm support to the two layers and sleeper above.
All three of these layers work together to provide sleepers with a comfortable, firm sleeping surface. If you buy an Amerisleep bed and decide it’s not suitable for your sleep needs, you have the option to exchange it for a different model or return it for a full refund through their 100-night sleep trial. On the other hand, if you choose to keep your Amerisleep bed because it’s a good match for you, it’s protected for the next 20 years under Amerisleep’s extensive mattress warranty.
Brooklyn Bedding Plank
Brooklyn Bedding recently released a mattress designed for “sleepers who say a typical firm is never enough,” called Plank. As the name suggests, this bed is meant to be as firm and as flat as sleeping on a plank. The unique feature about this bed is that its flippable firmness; meaning one side of the mattress has one firmness, and when you flip it over, the other said has another. Another flippable firmness bed is the Layla, but unlike the Plank, the Layla offers one firm side and one soft side— whereas the Plank offers one side as “Firm” and one side as “Extra Firm.”
Brooklyn Bedding hopes to offer better back support and increase your oxygen flow by creating one of the flattest mattresses in the market. Below, we’ll talk about the makeup of this bed.
Starting with the firm side up, the Plank has 1.5 inches of pillow-top material in place to offer a bit of cushion between you and the firm foam. Quilted within this layer is an inch of gel memory foam, built to resist body impressions, ensuring you won’t be sinking into the material.
On their website, you have the option to swap this cushy pillow-top for a cooling one, infused with extra cooling technologies. If you’re a hot sleeper, paying the additional price for bonus cooling technologies could make all the difference in the comfort of your bed.
There are two layers to the Plank mattress: 2 inches of firm TitanFlex™ foam and 7 inches of high-density, solid poly-foam. Below the 1.5-inch pillow top layer lies the TitanFlex™ material. TitanFlex™ is Brooklyn Bedding’s proprietary poly-foam, engineered to feel like a mix between memory foam and latex foam. When you lay on this bed, TitanFlex™ offers deep compression support.
Below the layer of TitanFlex™ is the Plank’s support layer, durable poly-foam. If you choose to use the “Extra Firm” side of this mattress, this will be the first layer your body touches. The solidity of this layer should prevent you from sinking even the slightest bit into the bed. Not only does this layer serve as the “Extra Firm” surface, but it also gives the rest of the bed enhanced support to prevent premature deterioration.
Finally, the design of the Plank is finished off with a .75 inch quilted pillow-top above the high-density foam layer. This layer is thin enough to create virtually no space between you and the dense layer below but is in place to offer instant comfort when you lay down on this bed.
When you shop with Brooklyn Bedding, you receive a 120-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty. They also ship their beds for free throughout the continental US— and, if you decide to return your mattress during your sleep trial, they will return it free of charge, too.
If you are looking for the firmest of the firm and are a stomach or back sleeper, the Plank is worth looking into; however, it does lack in zoned support technology, and instead only offers gel memory foam to contour and support your body. If you experience frequent pressure points from your bed, the Plank could be too firm for your body.
The last mattress we wanted to touch on is the WinkBed, one of the top-rated hybrid mattresses. The WinkBed is available as “Softer,” “Luxury Firm,” “Firmer,” and “Plus.” Depending on how firm you prefer, WinkBed offers a range of “firm” beds, and their “Plus” firmness is available for heavier sleepers who require more support from their mattress.
The WinkBed combines poly-foam, gel memory foam, and a pocketed coil system to create both a solid and pain-relieving mattress. Let’s look at the layers of this bed:
When you lay down on the WinkBed, you’re met with a layer of gel-infused memory foam. There are a few benefits to infusing gel in memory foam, besides creating a cooler sleeping surface, gel is thought to increase the firmness where it’s placed. Many brands will infuse gel into the lumbar regions of the first layer of their bed to create enhanced back support, however, WinkBeds infuses gel into their entire top layer. Doing this reduces the chance of the memory foam trapping heat, and it prevents your body from sinking into the foam. Having said that, this layer should still contour to your body and offer pressure relief.
Below the layer of memory foam lies the micro-coils, referred to on their website as the LumbarLayer™. Micro coils are, as you can imagine, not as tall and durable as a full pocketed coil system. Rather, these coils are thinner and hold your body up in the mattress, preventing a sinking feeling. It’s important to note, these coils offer more support for your torso and prevent your spine from sagging— hence the name LumbarLayer™.
Finally, lies the durable pocketed coil layer. These coils give the bed a firmer, bouncier feel and offer zoned support for your body in five specific areas. These three layers combined suspend your body “on top of the mattress” and are engineered to prevent against uncomfortable sinking.
When you buy a WinkBed, it comes with free shipping, free returns, 120-night sleep trial, and full replacement lifetime warranty. WinkBeds offers one of the best warranties we’ve seen while researching beds. Though their beds come with a higher price tag, the warranty ensures your investment is backed for the rest of your life— which could prevent you from having to dish out another thousand dollars 10 years down the line when it’s time for a new bed.
Did You Find Your Next Bed?
We hope this guide has helped point you towards the most suitable mattress for your own sleeping needs. Remember, consider your own body type and sleep style before taking a shot in the dark regarding how firm your bed should be. If you buy the wrong bed, it can result in uncomfortable nights, unhealthy sleep positions, and recurring pains. Choose the healthiest option for yourself by reading online mattress reviews and buying guides, and shop in confidence knowing most brands offer generous sleep trials with their beds— helping you make the best decision for yourself.