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Best Medium Firm Mattress

Lauren Fountain

Written by

Lauren Fountain, Certified Sleep Coach

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We recently updated this page to include the Bear Hybrid as our pick for best spinal alignment. The DreamCloud remains our best overall pick.

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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.

Product Details

DreamCloud Mattress

Best Overall

DreamCloud Mattress

DreamCloud Mattress
Price Range: $699 - $1,299
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 365 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 365 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, limited
Warranty: Lifetime, limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds
  • Couples who want to minimize sleep disturbances
  • People who tend to sleep hot
Highlights:
  • Sleep trial allows customers to try out their mattress for a full year
  • Innerspring coils promote airflow
  • Plush quilted cover cushions pressure points
DreamCloud Mattress

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on DreamCloud mattresses

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.

Nectar Mattress

Best Value

Nectar Mattress

Nectar Mattress
Price Range: $499 - $1,199
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 365 nights
Trial length: 365 nights
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Value seekers
  • Sleepers with sharp pressure points
  • Couples who value motion isolation
Highlights:
  • Gel-infused memory foam meant to reduce pressure buildup and heat retention
  • Competitive price-point
  • 365-night trial
Nectar Mattress

$599 off! $100 off + $499 in free accessories included.

The Nectar Mattress offers balanced performance at a competitive price-point. Budget shoppers may also appreciate the generous sleep trial and warranty.

A quilted cover made from a polyester blend encases the mattress and gives the surface a plush initial feel. Next is a 3-inch layer of gel-infused memory foam that deeply contours the joints to reduce pressure. The gel in this layer is also meant to absorb and dissipate excess body heat.

Following that is a polyfoam transitional layer intended to prevent you from sinking too deeply. This layer also keeps your weight evenly distributed to promote healthy spinal alignment. A 7-inch support core made from high-density polyfoam completes the design.

Combining the mixed-foam construction and medium firm (6) feel gives the Nectar a well-rounded performance. Our team found side sleepers and those up to 230 pounds feel the most comfortable on this mattress. They should feel significant contouring from the foam design but supported by the mid-range firmness.

Like many other foam models, the Nectar excels in motion isolation and pressure relief. The thick comfort layers absorb virtually all movement transfer. Sleepers should notice no disturbances when their partner changes positions at night. Those with sharp pressure points should find these layers greatly prevent aches and pains.

Along with the lower-than-average price, Nectar offers free shipping to the contiguous U.S. and a generous 365-night sleep trial. Nectar Mattress purchases are backed by a lifetime warranty against structural defects.

Nolah Evolution 15

Most Comfortable

Nolah Evolution 15

Nolah Evolution 15
Price Range: $1,099 - $1,699
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium (5), Medium Firm (6), Firm (8)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Back sleepers
  • Those who frequently experience lumbar pain
  • Couples
Highlights:
  • Reinforced perimeter enhances edge support
  • Plush Euro-top surface
  • Proprietary cooling technology and breathable coil support core regulate temperature
Nolah Evolution 15

Get an additional $30 off the Nolah Evolution Mattress for total savings of $730 with code: SF730OFF

Sleepers with back pain often need a mattress that supports the midsection and evenly distributes weight to promote spinal alignment. The Nolah Evolution 15 has a plush surface and zoned pocketed coils to provide targeted support. This combination helps keep sleepers on an even plane and prevents uncomfortable sinkage. The medium firm (6) model is one of three firmness options that sleepers can choose from, the other two being medium (5) and firm (8).

The Evolution 15 begins with a polyfoam quilted Euro-top that gives the surface a luxuriously plush feel. Next is a layer of proprietary AirFoamICE, a proprietary material infused with graphite designed to keep cooler than other foams. A transitional layer made from denser polyfoam cushions between the comfort system and coil support core. This layer also prevents you from sinking too deeply into the mattress.

The support core features zoned pocketed coils, centered around the midsection to reduce sinkage. The coils are also zoned along the perimeter to enhance edge support. These coils rest on a base layer of polyfoam. The mattress is encased in a cover made from ArticTex fiber, which is meant to keep the surface cool to the touch. The bottom half features handles so you can lift, rotate, and carry the bed with relative ease.

The medium firm (6) model performed best among back sleepers up to 230 pounds. Side sleepers over 230 pounds and stomach sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds may also find the feel comfortable. Sleepers who weigh under 130 pounds may prefer the medium (5) model, and those over 230 pounds may feel more supported by the firm (8) feel.

One significant feature of this model is its cooling capabilities. Foams can often trap too much heat, but this bed combats heat retention with a breathable coil support core and foam infusions engineered to regulate temperature. Thanks to the bouncy feel from the coils, the mattress also earned high marks for responsiveness for sex. The bed’s stellar performance in edge support and ease of movement allow couples to comfortably use the whole surface for sleep or sex.

Nolah offers free shipping to the contiguous U.S. and a 120-night sleep trial. Customers can opt out of the sleep trial to receive up to $160 off their mattress purchase. Nolah Evolution 15 orders come with a lifetime warranty against structural defects.

Helix Midnight Luxe

Best for Side Sleepers

Helix Midnight Luxe

Helix Midnight Luxe
Price Range: $1,099 - $2,349
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 15 Year, Limited
Warranty: 15 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds
  • Back and stomach sleepers under 130 pounds
  • Individuals who want pressure relief with a firmer feel
  • Couples who want to minimize sleep disturbances
Highlights:
  • Gel-infused memory foam and pocketed coil core enhance airflow
  • Individually wrapped coils help reduce motion transfer
  • High-density memory foam prevents the hips and back from sinking into the mattress
Helix Midnight Luxe

Get up to $350 off + 2 free Dream Pillows

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.

Saatva Classic

Best Luxury

Saatva Classic

Saatva Classic
Price Range: $887 - $2,296
Mattress Type: Innerspring
Firmness: Soft (3), Medium Firm (6), Firm (8)
Trial length: 365 Nights ($99 Return Fee)
Trial length: 365 Nights ($99 Return Fee)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Split King, California King, Split California King
Who it's best for:
  • Hot sleepers
  • People who frequently sit or sleep near the bed’s edge
  • Those who enjoy bouncy beds
Highlights:
  • Coil-on-coil design offers superior responsiveness
  • Memory foam pad enhances lumbar support
  • Three firmness options
Saatva Classic

Buy more, save more. Get up to $450 off.

Coils are known for giving beds a bouncy quality. The Saatva Classic doubles down with its unique coil-on-coil design. By using two layers of springs, the flagship Saatva mattress provides top-end responsiveness and above-average pressure relief.

The comfort system of the Saatva starts with layers of polyfoam and a memory foam pad to support the lumbar spine. These foams are placed within a Euro-top and a cover made of organic cotton. The next component of the comfort system is a layer of microcoils. These coils are individually wrapped so that each one is better able to react to the weight of the body, improving contouring and motion isolation.

Beneath the microcoils is the support core, which is composed of traditional Bonnell coils. This layer is either 4.5 or 7.5 inches tall depending on the model selected, and the coils are quite thick (13 gauge) to generate significant stability. An encasement of high-density polyfoam goes around the perimeter of the coils to strengthen the Saatva’s edge support.

With all of these layers working together, the Saatva has a sleeping surface with considerable bounce and the ability to soften pressure points to promote healthy spinal positioning. In this way, it’s responsive enough for sex and supportive enough for sleep. Firmness options include soft (3), medium firm (6), and firm (8), and height options include 11.5 inches and 14.5 inches.

An extra benefit is free White Glove delivery in which technicians from Saatva come to your home to install the mattress and remove an old one. After installation, you have 365 nights to test the bed out. If you decide to make a return, a $99 return shipping fee is subtracted from your refund. A lifetime warranty offers coverage for defects in materials or manufacturing.

Luxury Firm WinkBed

Best for Couples

Luxury Firm WinkBed

Luxury Firm WinkBed
Price Range: $1,149 - $2,049
Mattress Type: Innerspring
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 120 nights (30 night requirement)
Trial length: 120 nights (30 night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Back and stomach sleepers up to 230 pounds
  • People who experience back pain
  • Couples looking for a balance between bounce and motion isolation
Highlights:
  • Quilted Euro-top provides solid pressure relief
  • Zoned coil system promotes spinal alignment
  • Lifetime warranty
Luxury Firm WinkBed

Get $300 off all mattresses

The WinkBed is a hybrid model available in four firmness options. With a medium firm (6) feel, the Luxury Firm option combines solid pressure relief, edge support, and bounce, allowing it to accommodate the comfort needs and preferences of people who experience back pain during sleep.

The mattress uses a Tencel cover, which is soft to the touch and wicks heat away from the body. A gel-infused polyfoam Euro-top cushions the body while pulling away excessive heat. Below the Euro-top is a proprietary SupportCell polyfoam layer, which has a higher density that promotes contouring but is also firm enough to keep the body from sinking too deep. A zoned coil system in the support core provides extra support around the sleeper’s midsection. The coils are pocketed, so each coil can move independently and air can flow freely between them. Added edge support in the coil layer creates a sturdy perimeter.

Side sleepers who weigh between 130 and 230 pounds should find just enough pressure relief to cradle the shoulders and hips while also receiving ample support to keep the lumbar area from sagging. Back and stomach sleepers up to 230 pounds should also benefit from this balance of cradling and support.

WinkBeds provides a lifetime warranty and a 120-night sleep trial.

Leesa Legend

Best for Back Pain

Leesa Legend

Leesa Legend
Price Range: $1,899 - $2,699
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 100 nights (30 night requirement)
Trial length: 100 nights (30 night requirement)
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers
  • People who experience painful pressure buildup
  • Hot sleepers
Highlights:
  • Coil-on-coil design balances support and pressure relief
  • Foam layers offer motion isolation
  • Ventilated foam and coil systems enable air circulation
Leesa Legend

Up to $500 off mattresses + 2 free down alternative pillows

The Leesa Legend is a luxury hybrid mattress that was designed with spinal alignment in mind. The construction offers a nice balance of cushioning and support to optimize healthy sleep posture across a range of sleeper types.

The bed’s cover is made with Merino wool, organic cotton, and fiber derived from recycled water bottles, resulting in a soft luxurious feel. Underneath are two layers of foam that contour the body closely to relieve pressure. This is followed by a layer of microcoils that respond to the body for enhanced pressure relief, while also generating support. A layer of sturdy pocketed coils round out the construction.

With a medium firm (6) feel, the Leesa Legend is a versatile mattress that excels in many performance categories. The cushioned foam layers and the responsive coils are great for relieving pressure, which may appeal to sleepers who experience painful pressure buildup in areas like the shoulders, hips, or spine. While the coils generate bounce, the foam layers absorb some of the motion to help buffer you from a co-sleeper’s nighttime movements.

Hot sleepers will appreciate the ample air flow through the coil systems. The top layer of foam is also ventilated to reduce heat retention, which can be a problem with traditional foam. The well-balanced design is suitable for most sleep positions, but it caters especially to side sleepers who weigh above 130 pounds.

The Leesa Legend is backed by a 100-night sleep trial as well as a 10-year warranty for customers who choose to keep the bed. Shipping is free to customers in all 50 states.

Birch Mattress

Best Pressure Relief

Birch Mattress

Birch Mattress
Price Range: $1,349 - $2,099
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 25 Year, Limited
Warranty: 25 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Hot sleepers
  • People who weigh at least 130 pounds
  • Consumers who prefer to buy eco-friendly products
Highlights:
  • Composed of organic and sustainably sourced materials
  • Zoned coils reinforce the perimeter and reduce sinkage
  • Excellent temperature control thanks to breathable comfort layer and steady airflow through the coils
Birch Mattress

SleepFoundation readers get $400 off a Birch Mattress.

Many people naturally run hot in bed and are prone to sweating in their sleep, and living in hot or humid places can exacerbate this issue. The Birch Mattress is a good option for hot sleepers thanks to its material construction. These include a breathable cover made from organic cotton, a ventilated latex comfort layer that promotes cooling near the surface, and pocketed coils that generate airflow throughout the interior. The fire barrier also contains wool, which has moisture-wicking properties to keep you dry during the night.

Natural latex found in the Birch Mattress has received eco-INSTITUT certification, indicating the material has been tested for volatile organic compound emissions. The cotton is certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard, while the wool has earned a Wool Integrity NZ certification to ensure sheep are treated humanely. These certifications should appeal to shoppers who prefer buying sustainably made goods.

Durability is another asset. The latex holds up well over time and won’t develop indentations too quickly – a common complaint about memory foam – while the coils are sturdy enough to provide long-lasting support. The coils are reinforced along the perimeter to prevent excessive sinkage when you get on and off the mattress. Due to its medium firm (6) feel, the Birch Mattress is best suited to people who weigh at least 130 pounds.

The Birch Mattress is reasonably priced for a latex hybrid model and customers in all 50 states qualify for free ground shipping. Your order includes a 100-night sleep trial for testing out the mattress, as well as a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty against structural defects.

Bear Hybrid

Best for Spinal Alignment

Bear Hybrid

Bear Hybrid
Price Range: $1,248 - $1,998
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night break-in period)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night break-in period)
Warranty: Lifetime warranty
Warranty: Lifetime warranty
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers
  • People who sleep hot
  • Those experiencing painful pressure buildup at night

 

Highlights:
  • Foam comfort system offers ample pressure relief
  • Supportive coils prevent excessive sinkage
  • Cover is composed of cooling fabrics
Bear Hybrid

30% off sitewide, plus 2 free Cloud Pillows with mattress purchase

The Bear Hybrid is a well-balanced mattress that combines the cushioning of foam with the strong support of pocketed coils. The even mix of contouring and support makes this an ideal model for sleepers who need a mattress that helps keep the head, neck, and spine aligned.

The mattress begins with a cover quilted with gel-infused polyfoam that gently cradles the body, followed by a memory foam layer that contours the body closely. Beneath is another layer of polyfoam that further promotes contouring but has a firmer feel to prevent the body from sinking into the support core. The core is composed of pocketed coils that offer strong support but also respond to the body for gentle pressure relief. Altogether, the mattress has a medium firm (6) feel that should feel comfortable for a wide array of sleepers.

The Bear Hybrid has just the right balance of contouring and support for most side and back sleepers, especially those seeking cushioning for areas where pressure builds up at night. It’s best suited for side sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds. People in this weight group will sink just far enough to receive cradling in the shoulders and hips but won’t sink uncomfortably deep. Hot sleepers should find this bed very comfortable, thanks to the strong ventilation through the coils. The cover is also made with Celliant fibers and a Feran Ice fabric, which together wick moisture and maintain a neutral surface temperature.

Bear offers a 365-night sleep trial for customers to try out the mattress, as well as a lifetime warranty for those who choose to keep the bed. Shipping is free to the contiguous U.S.

Who is a Medium Firm Mattress Best For?

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

Sleeping Position

  • Side Sleepers: Side sleepers typically need a softer mattress than back or stomach sleepers. A mattress that’s too firm can irritate pressure points in the shoulders and hips. As a result, medium firm mattresses are ideal for side sleepers above 130 pounds. Those who weigh less than 130 pounds may not sink deeply enough into the mattress.
  • Combination Sleepers: A medium firm mattress is suitable for combination sleepers, particularly those who switch between back and stomach sleeping. These individuals typically prefer a mattress that won’t sag near the midsection or lower back. Medium firm mattresses also provide a sturdy surface for combination sleepers to switch positions.
  • Back Sleepers: Medium firm mattresses are ideal for back sleepers, particularly those between 130 and 230 pounds. The best semi firm mattress allows for enough contouring to support the lumbar spine and the space between the head and neck. Softer mattresses can cause the spine to sink out of alignment, which strains the back.
  • Stomach Sleepers: Stomach sleepers generally need a firmer sleeping surface to prevent their hips and abdomen from sinking in too deeply. A medium firm mattress typically provides enough support for the midsection, while cushioning the upper body of stomach sleepers.

Body Type

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.

How to Shop for a Medium Firm Mattress Online

Buying a medium firm mattress online can save shoppers time that they would otherwise 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.

If you order your mattress online and reside in the contiguous U.S., chances are the retailer will mail your “mattress in a box” free of charge via standard ground shipping. Folks in Alaska, Hawaii, and other places outside the lower 48 usually need to pay extra delivery fees.

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.

Important Mattress Considerations

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.

Price

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

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.

Pressure Relief

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.

Edge Support

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.

Temperature Neutrality

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

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.

Types of Medium Firm Mattresses

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

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

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

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.

Latex

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.

Airbed

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.

Accessories to Complement Your Medium Firm Mattress

Once you have a medium firm mattress that suits your needs, accessories that complement your bed can help enhance your sleep quality.

Pillows

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. As you shop for your best pillow, be sure to consider your unique sleep style.

Mattress Toppers

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does "medium firm" mean?

    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.

  • Is a medium firm mattress good for your back?

    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.

  • How can I make my current mattress more firm?

    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.

  • Is a medium firm mattress good for side sleepers?

    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.

  • Do medium firm mattresses last longer?

    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.

  • Can a medium firm mattress cause back pain?

    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.

  • What is the difference between firm and medium firm mattresses?

    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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About Our Editorial Team

author
Lauren Fountain

Certified Sleep Coach

Lauren is a Certified Sleep Science Coach with extensive experience researching and testing a wide variety of sleep products.