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Many people look forward to sinking into bed at the end of a long day, but there’s a fine line between a mattress with a conforming feel and one that engulfs you. Soft, plush mattresses aren’t always the right choice for certain types of sleepers. In fact, many individuals can benefit from a firmer mattress that prevents sinking in deeply.
Medium firm mattresses rank around a 6 on the 10-point firmness scale. These mattresses are popular among side, back, and stomach sleepers in all weight ranges, particularly those between 130 and 230 pounds.
A mattress that’s too soft can cause the spine to shift out of alignment. This change in posture puts pressure on the lower back, hips, and shoulders. Meanwhile, an overly firm mattress may not be contouring enough to cushion pressure points and conform to the shape of the body.
A medium firm mattress should support the natural shape of the spine for many sleepers, though shoppers will need to consider other factors such as body weight and sleep position. We’ll cover our top picks for the best medium firm mattress, along with factors that shoppers should keep in mind before making a purchase.
SleepFoundation readers get $200 off a DreamCloud Mattress.
The DreamCloud is a hybrid mattress that combines the comfort of memory foam with the bounce of coils.
A plush layer of polyfoam is quilted into the breathable cashmere cover for added cushioning. A layer of gel-infused memory foam beneath the polyfoam is engineered to alleviate sharp pressure points without trapping heat.
Memory foam contours closely to the body for pressure relief. However, it can cause the hips and back to sink in deeply. To prevent sleepers from pressing into the mattress’ pocketed coil core, the DreamCloud includes a transitional layer of polyfoam.
The DreamCloud’s support core is made up of a series of individually wrapped coils, so it can respond to changes in pressure without transferring movement to the surrounding springs. This construction is intended to adapt to each sleeper’s body for targeted support while enhancing airflow. A layer of polyfoam in the base reinforces the support core.
Side sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds will likely benefit from the DreamCloud Mattress’ ability to cushion the shoulders and hips while gently keeping the spine aligned. The individually wrapped pocketed coils and contouring foam layers also make it a good choice for couples who want to prevent movement-related sleep disturbances.
DreamCloud provides free shipping and returns to residents within the contiguous U.S. The company’s sleep trial allows customers to try out their mattress for 365 days. In addition, DreamCloud offers a limited lifetime warranty on all of its mattresses.
Sleep Foundation readers get the best price on the Tuft & Needle Original mattress.
The Tuft & Needle Original is a medium firm (6) model that’s well-suited for various sleeping styles and body types.
With a 10-inch profile, the Tuft & Needle Original Mattress is composed of two open-cell polyfoam layers. The comfort layer contains 3 inches of T&N Adaptive foam. This uniquely blended polyfoam is designed with an infusion of graphite and gel beads intended to help pull heat away from the body.
A 7-inch layer of polyfoam acts as the mattress’ support core. While the Tuft & Needle Original’s comfort layer is engineered to hug the shape of the body, the dense base of the mattress prevents the hips and back from sinking in too deeply. This design makes the mattress ideal for pressure relief among back and stomach sleepers. The open-cell structure also promotes air circulation to dissipate heat.
Tuft & Needle’s flagship mattress has a breathable knit cover. Customers can upgrade their cover with an antimicrobial treatment for an additional fee. This treatment is meant to protect against microbes and help extend the mattress’ lifespan.
Compared to other luxury all-foam mattresses, the Tuft & Needle Original model has a lower-than-average price-point.
Tuft & Needle offers free shipping within the contiguous U.S. Along with a 10-year limited warranty, the company allows customers to try out the mattress for 100 nights.
Save $200 at Saatva.com
The Saatva Classic integrates the contouring of an all-foam mattress with the durability of traditional innerspring models. Constructed with memory foam, polyfoam, pocketed microcoils, and innerspring coils, this mattress is suitable for all types of sleepers. The mattress comes in three firmness options: Plush Soft (3), Luxury Firm (6), and Firm (8). It’s available with an 11.5-inch or 14.5-inch profile.
A standout feature of the Saatva Classic is its dual-coil construction. Both coil layers are designed to enhance airflow throughout the mattress. The mattress’ base consists of 13-gauge support coils to enhance its durability. This foundation is topped with a thin layer of high-density CertiPUR-US memory foam that’s intended to cushion the lumbar region while preventing sinkage.
Above this lumbar pad is a series of individually wrapped microcoils. Engineered to respond to each sleeper’s pressure and movement, this layer appeals to couples and individuals who enjoy a responsive feel in a mattress.
The perimeter of the Saatva Classic is strengthened by a thick layer of high-density polyfoam. This feature is beneficial for those who sleep near the edge of the bed. The mattress is topped with a 3-inch Euro-top that contains a plush layer of polyfoam for added comfort.
Saatva offers free White Glove delivery to addresses within the contiguous U.S., which includes setup of the Saatva Mattress and old mattress removal. The company also offers a 180-day sleep trial and a 15-year limited warranty.
*Get $200 OFF + 2 FREE Dream Pillows when you spend $1,750 or more. Use Code: SLEEPFOUND200
Helix tailors mattresses to meet every sleeper’s specific needs. The Midnight Luxe is geared toward side sleepers and shoppers looking for a medium firm feel. Its hybrid construction includes four layers of foam and a pocketed coil core for maximum comfort and support.
The Helix Midnight Luxe Mattress includes a Tencel pillow-top. This specialty material contains fibers that are designed to absorb and evaporate unwanted moisture. Underneath this plush pillow-top is a layer of high-density memory foam, which closely conforms to the shape of the body.
Engineered to alleviate pressure points in the hips and shoulders, the Midnight Luxe contains an additional layer of gel-infused memory foam. This foam is designed to cushion and support the spine while preventing overheating. A transition layer of polyfoam keeps sleepers from sinking into the mattress’ support core.
More than 1,000 wrapped coils make up the Midnight Luxe’s 8-inch support core. This supportive base is designed to feel soft around the shoulders and firm around the hips. This construction is meant to keep the hips aligned with the spine to evenly distribute body weight. A base layer of high-density foam supports the coils.
Side sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds and back and stomach sleepers under 130 pounds will likely find that this mattress cradles the body while keeping the spine in proper alignment.
Helix offers free shipping to all addresses within the U.S. The company also provides a 100-night sleep trial, which includes a 30-day break-in period before a return can be initiated. The Midnight Luxe comes with a 15-year limited warranty.
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Constructed with four layers of foam and a pocketed coil core, the Leesa Hybrid contours to the shape of the body while providing bounce for ease of movement.
Topping the mattress’ comfort system is a 1.5-inch layer of polyfoam. A second layer of 1.5-inch memory foam helps prevent motion transfer while alleviating sharp pressure points. A third layer of polyfoam rests on top of the support core to prevent sleepers from sinking too deeply into the mattress.
The mattress’ coil support core contains 6 inches of 14-gauge pocketed spring coils that are reinforced around the perimeter to enhance its edge support. Because the coils are pocketed and wrapped in fabric, each spring moves independently. This allows each coil to adapt to the sleeper’s movements without transferring motion.
A final layer of polyfoam supports the base of the mattress. The base foam is engineered to stabilize the mattress. The Leesa Hybrid’s cotton blend cover is designed to enhance airflow in the mattress and wick away moisture.
Leesa provides free shipping within the contiguous U.S. The company also offers White Glove delivery for an additional fee. The Leesa Hybrid Mattress comes with a 10-year limited warranty. The 100-night sleep trial includes a 30-day break-in period.
Best Pressure Relief
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Designed with back sleepers in mind, the Amerisleep AS2 Mattress is meant to provide targeted pressure relief and spinal support.
Amerisleep uses Bio-Pur memory foam in the AS2 Mattress. Unlike traditional memory foam, Bio-Pur foam is engineered to provide a responsive feel with light contouring. Its open-cell structure also enhances airflow, allowing the mattress to sleep cooler than traditional memory foam models. Bio-Pur foam uses plant-based oils in place of some of the petrochemicals often used in foam-based materials.
Underneath the 2-inch memory foam layer is a 3-inch layer of zoned polyfoam. This transition layer is designed to prevent sleepers from sinking too deeply into the mattress’ support core. While memory foam cushions the body’s pressure points, this denser layer of polyfoam helps keep the spine in proper alignment.
The Amerisleep AS2’s 7-inch Bio-Pur polyfoam support core provides a sturdy base for the mattress. With surface modification technology (SMT), the mattress is designed to cradle the head, back, and legs, while cushioning the shoulders and hips. The core is engineered to prevent sagging and deliver balanced support.
Enhancing the mattress’ breathability is a soft cover blended with cotton, polyester, and spandex.
Amerisleep offers free shipping within the contiguous U.S. Customers can try the mattress for 100 nights, with a 30-day break-in period included in the sleep trial. The Amerisleep AS2 Mattress also comes with a 20-year limited warranty.
Best for Side Sleepers
Get 30% OFF and 2 FREE Pillows with every Idle Hybrid mattress purchased. Sleep Foundation readers also get an additional $25 off with code = SF25
The Idle Sleep Hybrid Mattress is flippable with two firmness options: Medium, which corresponds to medium firm (6), and Luxury Firm, which is considered firm (8). Shoppers can choose to have both sides of the mattress as the same firmness and flip it to extend its lifespan, or they can choose to have a different firmness level on each side for more versatility.
With a hybrid construction, the Idle Sleep Hybrid contains a combination of foam materials in its comfort layers and a pocketed coil core. Individually wrapped coils mean each spring acts independently to prevent noise and motion transfer. This 6-inch layer of individually wrapped coils also promotes airflow throughout the mattress.
Above the support core is 1 inch of polyfoam that acts as a transitional layer, and a 2-inch comfort layer of buoyant polyfoam. The top layer is meant to provide the contouring of memory foam without restricting movement. In the mattress’ quilted cover is a 1-inch layer of contouring foam for pressure relief. To promote cooling, the mattress is encased in a breathable polyester cover.
Side sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds may benefit most from the contouring foam layers of this mattress, which cushion pressure points in the hips and shoulders. Combination sleepers and individuals in most weight groups are likely to enjoy proper spinal alignment and cushioned support with the Idle Sleep Hybrid.
Idle offers an 18-month sleep trial, with a 30-day minimum before a return can be requested. The company also offers a limited lifetime warranty on the Idle Hybrid Mattress.
A medium firm mattress can suit a wide variety of sleepers. While comfort depends on personal preference, a person’s weight and primary sleep position significantly influence how a mattress contours to the shape of the body and relieves pressure points.
Mattresses that are too soft cause the sleeper to sink in near the hips, waist, and abdomen. This can strain the neck and lumbar region. A mattress that is too firm will not cushion pressure points in the shoulders, back, and hips.
Most individuals between 130 and 230 pounds prefer the light contouring and support of a medium firm mattress. This is especially true for back and stomach sleepers in this weight range. Side sleepers above 230 pounds tend to prefer a medium to medium firm mattress, while those who weigh less than 230 pounds tend to opt for softer models.
A medium firm mattress generally provides enough cushioning in its comfort layers to contour to the shape of the spine without causing it to sink out of alignment. A durable support core gently lifts the hips and abdomen for a balanced feel.
We’ll highlight the general guidelines for the best firmness levels for each individual’s sleeping position and weight range, but shoppers should consider their personal preferences before making a purchase.
|Weight||Side Sleepers||Back Sleepers||Stomach Sleepers|
|Less than 130 Pounds||Soft – Medium||Medium Soft – Medium Firm||Medium Soft – Medium Firm|
|130 to 230 Pounds||Medium Soft – Medium Firm||Medium – Firm||Medium Firm – Firm|
|More than 230 Pounds||Medium – Medium Firm||Medium Firm – Firm||Medium Firm – Firm|
Body type and sleeping position are two of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a mattress. Individuals who weigh more than 230 pounds tend to sink more deeply into soft beds, and often prefer firmer mattresses as a result. A firm mattress can contour to the natural shape of the body and support the spine.
People under 130 pounds generally need a softer mattress because they won’t sink in far enough on a firmer surface. A softer, more conforming mattress generally provides ample cushioning for pressure points.
Those weigh between 130 and 230 pounds tend to prefer a medium firm mattress, as it balances contouring with spinal support. However, sleeping position and personal preferences also play a role.
Buying a medium firm mattress online can save shoppers time that they would otherside spend browsing in-store models and speaking with salespeople. Shoppers can also save money, as online mattress companies typically have lower overhead costs than traditional brick-and-mortar stores, and can offer high-quality mattresses at more affordable prices as a result.
While buying a mattress online may seem like a drawback for those who want to test out their bed in person, many companies offer generous sleep trials to mitigate these risks.
A sleep trial allows customers to try out their mattress at home, typically for 90 to 100 nights. If the mattress isn’t the best fit, most companies allow customers to return their mattress, free of charge, within that time frame. Sleep trial requirements and conditions vary between manufacturers, and it’s important to read the fine print prior to making a purchase.
Along with sleep trials, many direct-to-consumer mattress companies lower costs for consumers through free shipping, returns, and seasonal promotions. Some mattress manufacturers offer free White Glove delivery and mattress removal, which makes the setup process easier.
Ordering a mattress online is usually a quick, simple process. You can choose your preferred mattress and enter your credit card information at checkout. Some companies offer financing options for shoppers who want to split the price of the mattress into multiple payments.
Mattress companies often use marketing jargon that may not accurately describe how their mattress will feel for different sleepers. This form of advertising is meant to appeal to all shoppers, without taking into account their unique body type or preferred sleep position. Rather than focusing on brand marketing, shoppers should consider the following factors when shopping for a new mattress.
Mattress Type and Materials
How a mattress feels depends on its construction and composition. A traditional innerspring mattress supports the spine and regulates temperature differently than an all-foam model. Understanding your priorities in a mattress can help narrow down the mattress types and materials you’re interested in when comparing brands and models.
Sleep quality affects nearly every aspect of your life, so investing in a high-quality mattress can be beneficial. Still, most shoppers have a budget to consider when comparing mattresses. There are plenty of well-made mattresses to suit every price-point. Setting a realistic budget from the start will help you find a mattress that suits your needs.
Motion isolation is an important feature for couples who share a bed. How a mattress transfers motion can greatly impact your quality of sleep. In general, the more contouring a mattress is, the better it isolates movement. Many medium firm mattresses have foam comfort layers that help reduce motion transfer. Couples who are concerned about sleep disturbances may want to consider a memory foam mattress, which isolates motion more easily than hybrid or innerspring models.
Medium firm mattresses typically support the spine and cushion pressure points for most weight ranges. Individuals between 130 and 230 pounds are most likely to appreciate the light contouring of a medium firm mattress. A semi firm support core also helps keep the spine aligned, which contributes to a mattress’ ability to reduce aches and pains.
Strong edge support allows sleepers to use the entire mattress surface without feeling like they may roll off the bed. Most medium firm mattresses offer sturdy edge support. Individuals who prioritize edge support and ease of movement in a mattress may want to focus on innerspring and hybrid models, as these mattress types are more likely to have coils support cores with reinforced perimeters.
Sleeping comfortably through the night can be difficult on a mattress that traps heat. Individuals who tend to sleep hot often benefit from a mattress that dissipates heat and promotes air circulation. Gel-infused memory foam, individually wrapped coils, and breathable covers are a few materials that are engineered to promote temperature neutrality.
Contouring refers to the way a mattress conforms to a person’s unique body shape. In general, foam mattresses provide better contouring than many innerspring and hybrid models, though this will depend on the comfort layers in the mattress. When combined with a sturdy support core, contouring mattresses often deliver enhanced pressure relief.
How a mattress performs is affected by its construction. There are five common mattress types: hybrid, innerspring, foam, latex, and airbed. Each mattress type offers a unique set of benefits and drawbacks for different sleeping positions and weight ranges.
Each mattress category shares certain characteristics that can give you an idea of how it will feel. However, different brands and models can differ widely in terms of quality and construction, so shoppers should still research the details of a mattress before buying.
Hybrid mattresses typically blend the durability of a traditional innerspring support core with the contouring comfort of foam or latex. The bottom section, or base, of a hybrid model often contains innerspring coils, which add bounce to the mattress. The top comfort layers are usually contouring materials, like foam or latex, that conform to the shape of the body.
Medium firm mattresses tend to offer a sturdy support core and contouring comfort layers for a balance of back support and pressure relief. Back sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds are likely to feel most comfortable on a medium firm hybrid mattress.
Innerspring mattresses primarily contain a coil support core, along with a thin amount of fiber fill or foam in its comfort layers. As a result, they’re typically firmer than other models. While innerspring mattresses typically don’t offer the same amount of contouring as foam, latex, or hybrid models, they can offer support and promote proper spinal alignment.
A medium firm innerspring mattress is suitable for most sleepers who weigh more than 130 pounds, particularly back and stomach sleepers. The relatively thin comfort layers and strong support core can prevent the spine from sinking out of alignment for these individuals.
Foam mattresses are generally constructed with multiple layers of memory foam and/or polyfoam. The support core typically includes high-density polyfoam to help support the hips and align the spine. The mattress’ comfort layers often include memory foam or softer polyfoam to cushion pressure points and contour to the shape of the body.
Medium firm foam mattresses generally provide more contouring and pressure relief than innerspring or hybrid models, making them ideal for side sleepers. That said, most people who weigh more than 230 pounds will find that a medium firm foam mattress does not prevent sinkage as well as models with coil-based cores.
Harvested from the sap of rubber trees or produced synthetically, latex is a responsive material that can add bounce to a mattress. Latex mattresses offer moderate contouring, but they don’t deliver the hug-like feel of all-foam models. The support core typically contains denser latex than its comfort layers.
Latex mattresses are a good choice for stomach sleepers looking for a medium firm feel. The mattress should be firm enough to keep the abdomen from sinking in and soft enough to cushion the chest.
An airbed allows you to control the firmness of the mattress. Airbeds are designed with air chamber support cores that can be inflated or deflated, depending on each sleeper’s preference. These mattresses typically come with a smartphone app or remote control that allows individuals to customize firmness. Airbeds usually have comfort layers of foam, latex, or fiber fill.
Airbeds offer a higher level of customization than other models, making them suitable for nearly all sleeping positions and weight ranges.
Once you have a medium firm mattress that suits your needs, accessories that complement your bed can help enhance your sleep quality.
A well-constructed pillow keeps the neck supported and the head cushioned. Keeping the cervical spine (neck) aligned is crucial for pressure relief.
Side sleepers tend to prefer lofty pillows filled with down, polyester, or shredded foam or latex. These materials allow you to manipulate the pillow for maximum comfort and neck support. A medium or high loft pillow should fill the space between the neck and shoulders.
Back and stomach sleepers typically need a low loft pillow to keep the cervical spine aligned.
If a brand-new mattress doesn’t work with your budget, a high-quality mattress topper can be a suitable temporary solution to enhance the comfort of your existing mattress. Mattress toppers typically measure around 1 to 3 inches in height. They sit on top of your mattress, under your fitted sheet, and are made of materials like down, foam, latex, or fiber fill.
A mattress topper isn’t a permanent fix, but it can provide a more comfortable surface to sleep on if you want to adjust the firmness of your mattress. That said, it cannot repair a broken or sagging mattress.
Medium firm mattress toppers add a slightly sturdier surface to soft mattresses and deeper contouring for overly firm models. Though toppers tend to be less expensive than a new mattress, they are less durable.
Medium firm mattresses feel noticeably firm when you lie down, but they also provide ample cushioning in their comfort layers. Mattress firmness is rated on a scale of 1 to 10, or extremely soft to extremely firm. Medium firm is toward the middle of this scale.
Individuals won’t sink into the mattress as deeply on a medium firm model as they would on a softer mattress. The balanced features of a medium firm mattress work together to ensure the spine remains aligned without sacrificing the contouring comfort that many sleepers prefer.
Medium firm mattresses can help prevent the hips and lumbar region from sinking in too deeply, which is good for the back. Proper spinal alignment is essential for all types of sleepers.
Mattresses that are too soft tend to sag near the hips, which strains the lower back. Mattresses that are too firm, on the other hand, can put pressure on the spine. Medium firm mattresses tend to balance contouring with full-body support, but shoppers should consider their sleeping position, body weight, and personal comfort preferences when selecting a mattress firmness.
If you aren’t ready to invest in a new mattress, a mattress topper can be used to make your current mattress more firm. Mattress toppers sit on the surface of your mattress and act as an additional comfort layer. They are produced in different height and firmness options to suit a variety of needs.
A mattress topper is not a permanent solution for making your mattress feel firmer, or a remedy for an unsupportive mattress. While foam, latex, or down toppers are not as durable as a new mattress, they can be used to temporarily adjust the firmness of your current mattress.
A medium firm mattress is suitable for many side sleepers, particularly those who weigh more than 130 pounds. That said, side sleepers typically need more cushioning than back or stomach sleepers. The comfort layers in the mattress must feel soft enough to alleviate pressure points in the shoulders and hips.
Side sleepers under 130 pounds likely won’t experience the pressure relief they need from a medium firm mattress. These sleepers tend to prefer a soft to medium mattress for additional cushioning.
Medium firm and firm mattresses are generally less susceptible to degradation than softer models. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t subject to normal wear and tear. While a soft mattress may sag more quickly, medium firm mattresses can still form impressions and lose support over time.
Most mattresses will need to be replaced every 6 to 8 years, as they tend to become less supportive in this timespan. Firmness is not the only factor to consider, as the quality of materials used and the construction of the mattress also affect its overall durability.
Whether a medium firm mattress can cause back pain will depend on several factors. Body type and sleeping position should both be considered before choosing a mattress firmness.
Individuals who weigh between 130 and 230 pounds are likely to experience moderate contouring and proper spinal alignment on a medium firm mattress. This can help prevent back pain.
Those who weigh less than 130 pounds may not sink into the mattress enough, which can put pressure on the lower back. Sleepers who weigh more than 230 pounds may sink into a medium firm mattress too deeply, which can press the spine out of alignment and lead to back pain.
Firm mattresses sit around a 7 or 8 on the 10-point firmness scale, or one to two points higher than medium firm (6) models. Medium firm mattresses have slightly softer comfort layers to contour to the shape of the body and cushion pressure points. Firm mattresses tend to offer less contouring, preventing the sleeper from sinking into the bed.
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