If you’re thinking about purchasing a new mattress you’re probably fretting over whether you should buy a soft mattress or a firm mattress. Luckily, we’re here to help.

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Who should buy a firm mattress?

There is still a lot of debate about this, but recent research shows that a firm mattress might not be so great for people with back problems because of the areas it puts pressure on. People with back pain should stick to a medium-firm mattress. Healthy people, on the other hand, can generally benefit from a somewhat firmer mattress.

Still, personal comfort is a huge factor in the quality of your sleep, so you should make sure to properly sleep-test your bed by lying on it in the position you normally sleep in for as long as possible before you actually make a purchase.

Why do firm mattresses help?

A firm mattress makes it easier for you to breathe deeply during sleep. Oxygen is necessary to repair your body, so the amount of oxygen you receive while sleeping has a profound impact on the quality of your sleep.

Tips for an effective sleep test

Properly testing a mattress before you buy it is the only real way to figure out whether or not the mattress will work for you. There are a few different things you can do to make your sleep test more effective:

  • Set a timer for 20 minutes when you lie down to test the bed and make sure you don’t get up before it goes off
  • Sleep in a position as close to the position you would regularly sleep in as possible. You might even want to take off your shoes so you can get really comfortable
  • Bring your own pillow with you to replicate your home sleeping experience more closely—unless of course you’re also looking for a new pillow, in which case make sure to find your ideal pillow first and then test it with different mattresses
  • Wear comfortable clothing so it’s easy for you to relax during the sleep test
  • Focus on breathing deeply to replicate how you breathe during your sleep.

What are the most comfortable firm mattresses?

You absolutely have to test out a mattress yourself before you buy it, but reviews can give you an idea of what mattresses you should be testing out in the first place. Here are the five most highly rated firm mattresses:

  1. Sealy Posturepedic Cooper Mountain III Cushion Firm Euro Pillow Top Mattress – The Cooper Mountain III Cushion Firm Euro Pillow Top Mattress is the highest rated firm mattress currently available, with a rating of 4.5 stars. It accomplishes this with five different layers of foam, including a thin layer of memory foam and a 1.5″ layer of SealyCushion Extra Soft Foam. The top layer of foam is also combined with FlameGuard Fiber designed to make the mattress safer.
  2. Sealy Posturepedic Plus Warrenville III Cushion Firm Mattress – The Warrenville III Cushion Firm Mattress features a thin layer of memory foam as well as two thicker layers of SealyCushion Extra Soft foam. These three layers of foam combine with a Core Support Center made of Gel Memory Foam to give the Warrenville III a 4 star rating.
  3. Simmons Beautyrest Recharge World Class Milliani Luxury Firm Pillow Top MattressThe Milliani Luxury Firm Pillow Top Mattress earns its 4 star rating with a 2″ layer of gel memory foam and a ½” layer of GelTouch foam. It also uses Surface Cool Plus Fiber to help you stay comfortably cool when you’re trying to sleep. The Beautyrest Pocketed Coil system reduces movement transfer when somebody’s rolling around in bed, making this an excellent bed for couples.
  4. Serta iSeries Vantage Firm Mattress – The Serta iSeries Vantage Firm Mattress has a top layer of Pillo-Fill and Pillowsoft Foam along with two inner layers of foam. This includes a layer of CoolAction Duel Effects Gel Memory Foam and a layer of Serta Support Foam. The iSeries Vantage Firm Mattress also features the BestEdge Foam Encased Edge Support, a full foam encasement system designed to provide comfort from one edge of the bed to the other.
  5. Stearns & Foster Signature Port Isabel Luxury Firm Mattress – The Port Isabel Luxury Firm Mattress from Stearns & Foster uses several layers of foam to achieve its 3 star rating. These include two thin top layers of PrimaSense Gel Quilting foam and an inner 1″ layer of memory foam. It also features individually wrapped titanium coils, which reduce movement transfer and make it easier for couples to share a bed.

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These mattresses have  been tested and highly rated by experts who understand the importance of proper sleep posture as well as ordinary customers like yourself, but you should make sure to give any mattress a proper sleep test before you purchase it.