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8 Best Medium-Firm Mattresses

Mattress Guides
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Medium-firm is one of the most popular mattress firmness levels for a reason. This firmness offers lots of support and lift without sacrificing the contouring and compression that make modern mattresses so comfortable. Best of all, there are tons of medium-firm mattresses on the market today. So you’re sure to find the one that’s right for you.

8 Best Medium-Firm Mattresses of 2022

Best Cooling Medium-Firm Mattress
Zoma Start CHECK PRICES
Best Organic Medium-Firm Mattress
Spindle CHECK PRICES
Best Medium-Firm Mattress For Allergies
GhostBed Classic CHECK PRICES
Best Medium-Firm Mattress for Athletes
Bear Hybrid CHECK PRICES

Best Medium-Firm Mattress Overall: Amerisleep AS2

  • Price Range

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  • Mattress Type

    Memory Foam

  • Thickness

    12 Inches

  • Firmness

    6 to 7 out of 10 (Medium-Firm)

  • Warranty

    20 Years

  • Sleep Trial

    100 Nights

Mattress Highlights
  • Plant-based memory foam cushion
  • Five-zoned transition layer
  • Ultra-durable support core
Recommended For
  • Most sleeping positions
  • Hot sleepers
  • Sleepers with allergies

If you want an all-around fantastic mattress that’s got just about everything, say hello to the AS2 by Amerisleep. This mattress has it all. It’s cooling and responsive. It’s eco-friendly and natural. It’s durable and affordable. And it’s comfortable to boot!

How the Mattress Feels

The AS2 is a plant-based memory foam mattress. Its Bio-Pur® foam is made using plant oils in lieu of some petroleum products. The plant-based memory foam fixes a lot of the issues inherent to traditional memory foam. It’s more breathable for better temperature control. It’s more responsive to spring back into place. And it’s more contouring for added pressure relief.

Another great thing about this mattress is it’s hypoallergenic. The plant-based memory foam has fewer harsh chemicals in it than regular memory foam. This means it’s excellent for people with allergies to typical things like dust mites and mold and people with chemical sensitivities alike!

What It’s Made of

The AS2 starts off with a comfort layer made of Bio-Pur® memory foam. This is the layer that provides all the pressure relief and contouring you’ll ever need. It’s also the layer that fights microbial growth to offer an allergy-free night’s sleep.

Next up, the HIVE® transition layer offers five zones of pressure relief and support so that each area of your body gets the exact combination of lift and cushioning it needs. For this reason, side sleepers who need extra support may enjoy this mattress over the others on this list.

Finally, an ultra-durable support core made of high-density foam supports the upper layers. It makes this mattress one of the most durable on this list. Expect it to last at least 20 years without sagging or experiencing soft spots.

All this comfort is wrapped in the cooling and plush Refresh Cover. This cover uses minerals to turn your body heat into far infrared energy. This can help keep you cool all night, no matter how hot you sleep.

SEE ALSO: Amerisleep Mattress Reviews

Pros

  • Plant-based memory foam offers superior comfort
  • Zoned transition layer provides targeted support to each body area
  • Ultra-durable support core means this mattress is built for the long haul

Cons

  • Not entirely synthetic-free

AMERISLEEP AS2

  • Refresh Cover converts body heat into infrared energy
  • Bio-Pur® foam improves on traditional memory foam
  • Targeted support ensures bed is soft and firm as needed

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Best Cooling Medium-Firm Mattress: Zoma Start

  • Price Range

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  • Mattress Type

    Memory Foam

  • Thickness

    10 Inches

  • Firmness

    6 out of 10 (Medium-Firm)

  • Warranty

    10 Years

Mattress Highlights
  • Gel memory foam cushions the body
  • Responsive transition layer
  • Cooling AirCloth cover fabric
Recommended For
  • Budget shoppers
  • Hot sleepers
  • Back, stomach, and some side sleepers

If you lead an active lifestyle and need a true medium-firm mattress, check out the Zoma Start. This mattress is a bit firmer than the original Zoma Sports Mattress, so it’s perfect for heavier athletes and those whose activity might lead to back pain.

How the Mattress Feels

The Start was designed for maximum recovery for physically active sleepers, so it offers a fantastic mix of contouring and responsiveness, thanks to its layers of gel memory foam and reactive material. The gel memory foam absorbs heat even as it follows the shape of your body to relieve pressure and keep the spine aligned.

Meanwhile, the Reactiv™ transition layer ensures you won’t spend any time waiting for body impressions to clear out. That means you can be just as active while you sleep as you are during the day without dealing with slow response time from your mattress!

What It’s Made of

The Start starts off with a breezy AirCloth cover that keeps cool air moving throughout the mattress. This airy cover works with the gel memory foam comfort layer to ensure your sleep surface doesn’t ever overheat. The gel memory foam also offers amazing contouring to ensure top-notch pressure relief despite the medium-firm feel.

Underneath the comfort layer, the Reactiv™ transition layer ensures that the sleep surface bounces back into place as soon as you move. So toss and turn to your heart’s delight on this ultra-bouncy all-foam mattress.

Finally, the Support+ foam provides lots of lift to keep you on top of the sleep surface. Not only does it provide fantastic support. It also ensures your mattress will last a full decade – not bad for a mattress that costs less than $500 for a queen!

SEE ALSO: Zoma Mattress Review

Pros

  • Offers comfort and durability for an amazing price
  • Transition layer provides excellent bounce and responsiveness
  • Cooling gel memory foam and an airy cover

Cons

  • Not for those who want natural ingredients

ZOMA START

  • Design offers the perfect temperature control
  • Buoyant transition foam for easy movments
  • Base foam keeps the body in a comfortable position

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Best Medium-Firm Hybrid Mattress: Nolah Evolution 15

  • Price Range

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  • Mattress Type

    Hybrid

  • Thickness

    15 Inches

  • Firmness

    5 (Plush), 6 to 7 (Luxury Firm), 8 (Firm) out of 10

  • Warranty

    Lifetime

  • Sleep Trial

    120 Nights

Mattress Highlights
  • Organic cotton cover for crisp softness
  • Heat escape gusset for coolness
  • Graphite infusions wick away heat
Recommended For
  • Hot sleepers
  • Various sleeping styles
  • Sleepers who want a luxury mattress

Hot sleepers looking for the latest and greatest cooling technology in their medium-firm mattresses should check out the Nolah Evolution 15. This mattress features a litany of cooling technologies to ensure that overheating is a thing of the past.

How the Mattress Feels

Of course, the thing you’ll notice right away is the Evolution’s cooling capacity. Its combination of breathability and thermal conductivity keeps the sleep surface cool to the touch, so when you lie down, you’ll experience a cool burst on your skin.

Don’t be fooled, though. That cool feel won’t dissipate after a few minutes of lying down. Between the heat escape gusset, the organic cotton cover, and the graphite-infused AirFoamICE™, you can expect a cool sleep surface all night!

What It’s Made of

The Evolution starts off with a cooling, quilted Euro topper topped with a highly breathable organic cotton cover. Directly underneath, the heat escape gusset keeps cool air flowing into the mattress, pushing hot air out.

Next up, the graphite-infused Nolah AirFoamICE™ provides thermoconductivity to draw body heat away from you and deeper into the mattress.

Underneath the AirFoamICE™, two layers of high-resilience and high-density transition foam increase the buoyancy of the upper layers and protect your body from the coils below. These pocketed coils offer adaptable support and even more airflow to keep the whole mattress cool and dry all night.

Pros

  • Pocketed coils offer adaptable support as well as cooling air circulation
  • Graphite-infused foam ensures maximum thermal conductivity
  • Heat escape gusset and breathable cotton keep cool air flowing

Cons

  • Coils may not be as durable as foam

NOLAH EVOLUTION 15

  • Luxurious design with a wealth of cooling features
  • AirFoamICE™ stays cool and relieves pressure
  • Pocketed coils with edge support and zoned design

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Best Medium-Firm Latex Mattress: Spindle Mattress

  • Price Range

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  • Mattress Type

    Latex

  • Thickness

    10 Inches

  • Firmness

    Customizable

  • Warranty

    10 Years

  • Sleep Trial

    365 Nights

Mattress Highlights
  • Latex is springy, breathable, & sturdy
  • Swappable layers for decidable firmness
  • Natural comfortable latex and textiles
Recommended For
  • Sleepers with chemical sensitivities
  • Eco-conscious sleepers
  • Sleepers unsure of their preferences

Those who want an all-latex mattress that offers all the benefits of pure, natural foam and organic textiles should check out the Spindle Mattress. But the Spindle is more than a medium-firm latex mattress. It features swappable firmness that allows you to choose your comfort level. If you’re unsure you need a medium-firm mattress, this one could be for you.

How the Mattress Feels

The Spindle is a latex foam mattress. That means it’s springy and breathable, first and foremost. It will bounce right back into place as soon as you move. And it breathes in a way that memory foam just can’t. This makes it perfect for hot sleepers and active sleepers alike. You’ll never spend any time waiting for this mattress to spring back into place or shed heat.

The Spindle also features a highly breathable organic cotton cover with organic wool batting. The breathable organic textiles provide superior temperature and moisture control, so you never wake up in a sweat. And the wool batting also offers excellent pressure relief to protect your joints from pain.

What It’s Made of

The Spindle Mattress is wrapped in an organic cotton cover with organic wool batting. These all-natural textiles offer superior breathability and pressure relief. And this zippable cover can be easily removed for cleaning or for rearranging the different latex layers.

There are three layers of organic Dunlop latex foam in the Spindle: one soft, one medium, and one firm. If you want a medium to medium-firm feel, place the medium latex on the top of the mattress, with the firm layer just underneath and the soft on the bottom.

There are many iterations you could try with this mattress. For example, you can achieve a firm feel by stacking the layers top-down from firmest to softest. Do the opposite for a softer feel. The possibilities are endless. The only caveat is that you’ll need to sleep on your layer arrangement for at least a few nights to know if it works for you.

Pros

  • Swappable firmness for owner customization
  • Organic latex is durable and comfortable
  • Breathable cover keeps heat from lingering

Cons

  • Not for latex allergy sufferers

SPINDLE

  • Re-arrange the layers to change bed's feel
  • Moisture-wicking and heat-wicking organic cotton
  • Wool batting for natural flame barrier

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Best Medium-Firm Memory Foam Mattress: Saatva Loom and Leaf

  • Price Range

    See Price

  • Mattress Type

    Memory Foam

  • Thickness

    12 Inches

  • Firmness

    5 to 7 or 8 out of 10 (Relaxed Firm or Firm)

  • Warranty

    Lifetime

  • Sleep Trial

    365 Nights

Mattress Highlights
  • Antimicrobial treatments
  • Buoyant transition foams
  • Enhanced lumbar support
Recommended For
  • Sleepers with back pain
  • Stomach or sleepers
  • Sleepers with allergies

If you want a memory foam mattress with an incredibly luxurious feel and lots of fantastic features, say hello to the Saatva Loom and Leaf. This mattress offers plenty of contoured lift and buoyancy. This provides the perfect balance of pressure relief and spinal support.

How the Mattress Feels

The Loom and Leaf is a traditional memory foam mattress. So it has lots of contouring that can relieve pressure points and prevent pain. Even so, it features enhanced back support through the middle of the mattress. Thus, despite the high contouring power, you can expect a lot of lumbar support from this mattress.

The contouring and enhanced lumbar support mean this is a fantastic mattress for those who suffer from back pain – especially lower back pain. The added support can also make it a beneficial mattress for heavy sleepers, who place more wear and tear on a bed.

What It’s Made of

The Saatva Loom and Leaf starts off with a natural organic cotton cover that features Guardin™ botanical antimicrobial treatments. These treatments inhibit the growth of allergy-causing microbes like mold and bacteria.

Next, the proprietary gel-infused lumbar crown helps provide proper spinal alignment and enhanced lumbar support to relieve back pain. The enhanced lumbar support offers enough lift that even some stomach sleepers can enjoy this mattress. This lumbar crown sits on top of a gel memory foam comfort layer with micro-perforations for added moisture control.

Underneath these layers, transition layers of high-density memory foam and high-loft transition foam ensure that the comfort layer stays buoyant and free of sinkage. These layers work with the high-density base foam layer to ensure you never feel stuck inside this memory foam mattress, no matter your weight or sleep position.

Pros

  • Enhanced lumbar support offers relief from all kinds of back pain
  • Antimicrobial treatments fight common allergens like dust mites and mildew
  • Perforated gel memory foam helps control temperature and moisture buildup

Cons

  • Not as responsive as some other mattresses on this list

SAATVA LOOM AND LEAF

  • Extra lumbar support perfect for heavier sleepers
  • Botanical treatment keeps the surface fresh
  • Dense and durable memory foam layers

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Best Medium-Firm Mattress for Allergies: GhostBed Classic

  • Price Range

    See Price

  • Mattress Type

    Latex/Memory Foam

  • Thickness

    11 Inches

  • Firmness

    7 out of 10 (Medium-Firm)

  • Warranty

    20 Years

  • Sleep Trial

    101 Nights

Mattress Highlights
  • Non-allergenic latex foam top
  • Middle layer of cool gel memory foam
  • Durable base foam for structure
Recommended For
  • Budget shoppers
  • Hot sleepers
  • Sleepers seeking pressure relief

If you want a highly responsive all-foam mattress, consider the GhostBed Classic. This innovative mattress features a combination of aerated non-allergenic latex and gel memory foam to keep you cool and bounce back underneath your body as soon as you move.

How the Mattress Feels

When you lie on the Classic, you’ll notice the bounce of the latex comfort layer right away. Latex wants to retain its shape, so it jumps back into place as soon as you move in a way that memory foam cannot match.

At the same time, the memory foam layer below creates a level of contouring that latex alone can’t achieve. This makes the Classic a perfect mattress for those who want the contouring of memory foam and the springiness of latex – it has both!

What It’s Made of

The first layer of this mattress is the smooth, soft cover. This cover is a blend of viscose and polyester for optimum breathability and durability. The cover sits directly on top of the aerated latex comfort layer.

This layer offers all the springiness and bounce of latex. The perforated natural latex foam also offers enhanced breathability. The non-allergenic latex is also perfect for those who suffer from latex allergies. If you’re allergic to latex and still want the benefits of this natural foam, the Classic could be for you.

Underneath the latex layer sits a layer of gel memory foam. This memory foam complements the latex by adding extra contouring and thermal conductivity. That means it can pull heat away from you and offer the kind of contoured pressure relief that latex alone just can’t.

Finally, a layer of high-density base foam makes the Classic one of the most durable mattresses on our list, with a warranty of 20 years.

Pros

  • Durable cover fights rips and tears
  • Combination of latex and memory foam offers the best of both
  • High-value mattress built for the long haul

Cons

  • Not for those who want a synthetic-free mattress

GHOSTBED CLASSIC

  • Latex and memory foam provide contouring comfort
  • Airy viscose and polyester fabric cover
  • Durable base foam secures a shopper's investment

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Best Medium-Firm Latex Mattress: Avocado Green

  • Price Range

    See Price

  • Mattress Type

    Latex Hybrid

  • Thickness

    11 or 13 Inches

  • Firmness

    6 or 7 out of 10 (Relaxed Firm or Medium-Firm)

  • Warranty

    25 Years

  • Sleep Trial

    1 Year

Mattress Highlights
  • Zoned pocketed coils
  • Organic latex and textiles
  • Add-on pillow top softens bed
Recommended For
  • Eco-conscious sleepers
  • Sleepers who like a bouncy bed
  • Sleepers with chemical sensitivities

Those who want a mattress that was built with sustainability in mind should check out the Avocado Green. This certified-organic mattress features organic latex, organic textiles, and recycled steel coils. There’s no polyester, polyurethane, or poly-anything in this mattress!

How the Mattress Feels

The Avocado Green is a latex hybrid. So the first thing you’re going to notice is the amazing bounce it has. Its coils and latex work together to ensure you never, ever have to wait for your mattress to bounce back underneath you.

On the flip side, you’re dealing with latex foam and pocketed coils. That means that although this is a highly responsive mattress, you’re not going to be dealing with the kind of motion transfer you would with an innerspring. This means the Green is an excellent choice for couples who want a responsive mattress.

What It’s Made of

The Green starts off with a breathable, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified cotton cover. This cover sits on top of an equally breathable GOTS wool layer that offers natural temperature control and a synthetic-free fire barrier.

Underneath the layers of organic textiles sits the springy, natural latex foam. This Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) certified Dunlop latex provides ample support and buoyancy. It’s also an amazing alternative for those seeking relief from chemical sensitivities triggered by their synthetic foam beds.

Finally, a layer of pocketed coils arranged into five zones offers ideal support to each area of your body. The zones are targeted to areas like the head/neck, shoulders, and feet/knees to ensure optimal pressure relief.

Pros

  • Components of this mattress are recyclable, biodegradable, or both
  • Zoned pocketed coils offer ideal pressure relief to each area of your body
  • Comfort without harsh chemicals

Cons

  • Not for those with latex allergies

AVOCADO GREEN

  • Organic textiles and organic latex for cool, dry cushion
  • Fantastic, all-natural comfort without harsh chemicals
  • Dunlop latex resists sagging and compression

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Best Medium-Firm Mattress For Athletes: Bear Hybrid

  • Price Range

    See Price

  • Mattress Type

    Hybrid

  • Thickness

    13 Inches

  • Firmness

    6.8 out of 10 (Medium-Firm)

  • Warranty

    Lifetime

  • Sleep Trial

    120 Nights

Mattress Highlights
  • Copper infusions for a clean chill
  • Responsive comfort foam for relief
  • Pocketed coils isolate motion
Recommended For
  • Hot sleepers
  • Heavier sleepers
  • Sleepers needing responsive relief

Bear is a brand focused on athletic recovery, and the Bear Hybrid is one of the topline models they offer. Excellent for anyone looking for a responsive mattress that helps them wake up feeling refreshed and fully ready to tackle the day.

Plus, if you’re allergic to any of the standard list of allergens (mold, mildew, dust mites, etc.), consider the Bear Hybrid. This mattress uses copper infusions to make your sleep surface hostile to all kinds of microbes. The hostile environment for them makes for an even more comfortable and pleasant environment for you!

How the Mattress Feels

The Bear Hybrid is a memory foam hybrid, so it features a highly contouring comfort layer and adaptable support coils. That means the first thing you’ll notice about this mattress is just how contouring it is. It can follow the curve of your body better than just about any mattress because it contours all the way through.

You’ll also note the coolness of this mattress. Copper isn’t just antimicrobial. It is also highly thermally conductive. So it can draw heat away from your body even as it fights microbe growth.

What It’s Made of

The Bear Hybrid starts off with a moisture-wicking, hand-quilted cover. The Feran Ice and Celliant fiber blend helps create a cool-touch feel that keeps you dry all night, no matter how much you sweat.

Next up, the copper-infused memory foam offers superior pressure relief to keep your joints pain-free. This is also the layer that fights mold and bacteria buildup to keep your allergy symptoms suppressed.

Next, the responsive comfort foam ups the adaptability of the comfort layer and also protects your body from pressure exerted by the pocketed coils below.

The Bear Hybrid features a support layer made of individually wrapped coils. These coils provide adaptable support to encourage proper spinal alignment. They also sit on top of a high-density support foam base that increases stability and protects the bottom of the coils from damage.

SEE ALSO: Mattress Sizes and Dimensions Guide

Pros

  • Pocketed coils offer adaptable, dynamic, and responsive support
  • Copper infusions help prevent overheating and microbial growth all at once
  • Thick transition foam provides excellent pressure relief and buoyancy

Cons

  • May not be as durable as other mattresses on this list

BEAR HYBRID

  • GOTS-certified textiles and GOLS-certified latex
  • Antimicrobial copper wicks away heat
  • Motion-isolating wrapped coils with edge support

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How to Choose a Medium-Firm Mattress

Picking a firmness level is one of the trickiest parts of choosing a mattress. So if you already know you need a medium-firm feel, congratulations! You’re halfway there. But there are other factors you need to consider when looking for the perfect mattress.

Material

Besides selecting a firmness level, another major part of finding the right mattress is making sure you get the right material. This can be tricky, too, as different materials and types of mattresses have different strengths and weaknesses.

Memory Foam

Memory foam has a whole lot to offer. It’s affordable. It’s comfortable. And it’s relatively durable. Memory foam is a type of flexible polyurethane that was specifically designed for the human body.

It’s the most contouring material on the market. It can follow the curve of your body to offer fantastic pressure relief and superior spinal support. This makes memory foam the perfect mattress for side sleepers and back sleepers alike.

Those who sleep on their sides and backs need extra contouring to achieve optimal spinal alignment. Memory foam mattresses offer this in spades.

However, all that amazing contouring comes at a cost. And that cost is responsiveness and temperature control. Memory foam is the least responsive of all the bedding materials on the market. It can have issues with body impressions and slow recovery time.

There are infusions and other sleep technologies that can counter this effect, but they still don’t make memory foam as responsive as other materials. That means it is likely not the best material for you if you like to toss and turn.

As far as temperature control goes, memory foam tends to want to retain heat. This means that those who sleep hot may not enjoy this material.

There are many different sleep technologies that can help counter the heat retention of memory foam, like gel infusions and open cell construction. But they still will not make memory foam as cooling as coils or latex. Keep this in mind if you tend to wake up in a sweat.

Hybrid

Hybrid mattresses are made with a pocketed coil support core topped with at least two inches of foam. This foam comfort layer can be made of either memory foam or natural latex. As long as the foam is sitting on top of a pocketed coil support core, it is a hybrid mattress.

Hybrid mattresses may also have transition layers to increase buoyancy and pressure relief, but transition layers will not come in every hybrid.

Hybrid mattresses offer the best aspects of both coils and foam. They offer adaptable support and high contouring to keep your spine aligned and your pressure points protected. They offer lots of bounce for those who like to toss and turn. And they also provide tons of breathability so that hot sleepers can stay cool.

The main issues with hybrid mattresses are their decreased durability and their expense. Hybrid mattresses’ pocketed coil support cores are much more durable than innerspring open coil systems. But they are typically not as durable as dense foam support layers.

This means your hybrid mattress will last longer than an innerspring mattress, but it will not last as long as an all-foam mattress.

Hybrid mattresses are also the most expensive mattress type over time. They are slightly less expensive than latex mattresses up front. But they will not last anywhere near as long as a latex mattress does. That means year over year, you will be paying more for a hybrid mattress than any other kind of mattress.

Natural Latex

Natural latex foam comes from the processed sap of the rubber tree. There are two basic types of natural latex: Talalay and Dunlop. Talalay latex is lighter and more contouring than Dunlop, while Dunlop is denser and more durable than Talalay.

That means if you want a latex mattress that has lots of pressure relief and cradling, Talalay is likely your best bet. But if you want a highly durable and buoyant mattress, Dunlop is likely more your speed.

Natural latex offers lots of benefits. It’s eco-friendly and sustainable. It’s highly breathable for hot sleepers. It bounces right back into place in an instant for active sleepers. And it is an extremely durable mattress, so if you hate shopping for beds, you will probably not have to replace your latex mattress for several decades.

The main issues with latex mattresses are their weight, their expense, and their allergy potential. Plus, organic and natural mattresses with latex are extremely expensive up front. While their durability makes up for some of this cost, your budget will definitely take a hit at the beginning.

Latex mattresses are also very heavy. This is something that you will need to think about if you move frequently and will need to relocate your bed. Not to mention their potential to trigger allergies.

While latex mattresses are very hypoallergenic for people who do not have a latex allergy, if you do have a latex allergy, it’s best to stay away from them. Even though you’ll be sleeping on sheets and a mattress protector, there is always the potential for your skin to come into contact with the latex. So if you know you’re allergic, it’s better to go with memory foam.

Innerspring

Of all the mattress materials on the market today, innerspring construction is the oldest and the most problematic. Innerspring mattresses combine an open coil support core with a comfort layer made of any plush material from foam to cotton to fiberfill.

These mattresses do have a couple of things going for them. They are extremely bouncy, so if you like that traditional bouncy bed feel, you might want to stick with an innerspring mattress. These beds are also the most breathable of all the mattress types, so they keep cool air flowing underneath you all night. However, this is where the benefits of an innerspring bed end.

These mattresses have a lot of problems. For one thing, open coil systems have tons of issues, from magnifying motion transfer to developing noise problems as they age. Not to mention the fact that they cannot contour because their coils are wired together.

This means that open coil systems tend to sag rather than take your body’s shape. And it also means that innerspring mattresses are not as durable as any other mattress type. So while they are cheaper up front than other types of mattresses, you will also be replacing them much more often.

Who Should Sleep on a Medium-Firm Mattress

Medium-firm mattresses are among the most popular mattresses because they offer so many benefits to so many different sleepers. In a lot of ways, they’re just as versatile as medium mattresses, a popular mattress for couples or combo sleepers.

However, there is some confusion as to which sleepers should be using this firmness level. Here are some of the most common types of sleepers who could benefit from a medium-firm mattress.

Back Sleepers

Of all the sleepers who can use a medium-firm mattress, back sleepers are the ones who almost always need one. Medium-firm mattresses were made with back sleepers in mind.

That’s because back sleepers need slightly more support than compression, but they still need lots of contouring to support the lumbar region. Medium-firm mattresses can still contour to your body to compress under your buttocks and fill in your lumbar region. At the same time, these mattresses for back sleeping have sufficient support to keep you lifted onto the sleep surface.

An overly soft mattress can let you sink into the mattress and bend your spine out of alignment, while an overly firm mattress won’t rise to meet your lumbar region, which will let it collapse and lead to lower back pain. For all these reasons, medium-firm mattresses are perfect for just about everyone who sleeps on their back.

Back Pain Sufferers

It’s a common misconception that softer mattresses are better for those with back pain. In fact, studies have shown it’s actually the opposite. Medium-firm mattresses are best for back pain.

This is because medium-firm mattresses are best for spinal alignment. Such mattresses for back pain keep your body lifted while still contouring to your shape. This ensures your spine stays in a straight line and helps alleviate all kinds of back pain.

Some Heavier Sleepers

Heavier sleepers often do best on firmer mattresses. Mattresses are designed to support the average human body weight range (130 to 230 pounds). Those who clock in above that should consider a firmer mattress.

Medium-firm mattresses can benefit heavier sleepers who might otherwise need a softer mattress. Heavier combo sleepers can benefit the most from a medium-firm mattress, but some extra-heavy side sleepers might also benefit from the support offered by a medium-firm mattress.

Some Couples

Many couples need the versatility of a medium mattress. But many couples may do even better on a medium-firm one. If one or both partners is on the heavier side, has back pain, or is a back sleeper, a medium-firm mattress might be a better choice.

Petite Stomach Sleepers

Most petite sleepers need a softer mattress. But this is not true for petite stomach sleepers. Most of the time, stomach sleepers need firm or even extra-firm mattresses. This is because sleeping on your stomach causes your lower back to overarch as your pelvis sinks into the mattress. This will eventually lead to chronic lower back pain.

Firmer mattresses keep your pelvis lifted and ensure that your spine stays aligned even when you sleep on your stomach. But petite sleepers may find that firm or extra-firm beds exert too much pressure on their bodies.

Going down to a medium-firm mattress can help ensure that petite sleepers get enough lift to keep their bodies on top of the sleep surface without exerting painful pressure that leaves their hip joints or other pressure points hurting.

Other Firmnesses on the Firmness Scale

The firmness scale starts at 1 and goes to 10, with 1 being the softest. Typically, you will not find mattresses that are softer than around a 3 or firmer than around an 8 because nobody wants a mattress that offers no support or no give.

Medium-firm mattresses fall around a 6 on the firmness scale. That means they offer an almost even balance of support and cushioning, but that balance slightly favors support. As we discussed above, this makes medium-firm mattresses best for back sleepers and those with back pain, among others.

If you don’t fit into one of the categories of sleeper that needs a medium-firm mattress, you may have to pick a different firmness level based on your sleep style and your body type. Your preferred sleep position determines the baseline firmness that you need, and if you fall outside of the average human body weight range, then you will need to go up or down from there.

Soft

Soft mattresses come in at a 3 on the firmness scale. This means they have tons of pressure relief and not a whole lot of lift. So most people do not need to sleep on a soft mattress. The only people who really need a soft mattress are petite side sleepers (under 130 pounds).

Side sleepers need tons of pressure relief, and those who fall into the petite category typically need to go softer in order to get the amount of cushioning their bodies need. So if you’re a lightweight side sleeper, you probably need a truly soft mattress.

Medium-Soft

Most side sleepers need a medium-soft mattress (4). This feels still offers tons of pressure relief to protect your sensitive pressure points like your hips and shoulders. But it also provides a little bit more lift to ensure that you don’t sink into the mattress and feel stuck or wind up with back pain due to being bent out of alignment by singing into your bed.

Other sleepers who might do well on a medium-soft mattress are lightweight combo sleepers. If you’re a petite person, a medium mattress might exert too much pressure on you if you like to change sleep positions throughout the night.

Medium

Medium mattresses (5) are another hugely versatile mattress category. They offer an equal balance of support and cushioning. That means that they can provide comfort to all kinds of sleepers. Average-weight combination sleepers will likely enjoy a medium mattress.

Heavier side sleepers are another category of sleeper who can get a lot out of a medium mattress. Couples who have different sleep needs may also benefit from the versatility of this mattress. And a medium mattress is also the firmness level you need to go for if you’re purchasing a mattress for a guest room.

Firm

Firm mattresses are a 7 on the firmness scale. These mattresses provide lots of lift and support and not a whole lot of cushioning. That means that they’re not as popular as medium and medium-firm mattresses because they don’t offer the kind of pressure relief that most people need. However, there are a couple of different scenarios that may mean you need a firm mattress.

For instance, most stomach sleepers need a firm mattress in order to keep their pelvises lifted and their spines aligned. If you have an overly soft mattress and sleep on your stomach, you will probably wind up with back pain because your pelvis sinks into the bed. Firmer mattresses for stomach sleeping limit this sinkage.

If you are a heavier back sleeper, you may also want a firm mattress because you may find that a medium-firm mattress does not give you sufficient lift to prevent sinkage. A firm bed is not always the right mattress for back pain, but it can be a good choice for heavier individuals.

Extra-Firm

Extra-firm mattresses (8) are the firmest of all. They offer very little give and thus very little cushioning. Pretty much the only people who can sleep on extra firm mattresses without feeling like they’re sleeping on a piece of plywood are heavier stomach sleepers. If this does not describe you, it’s highly likely you don’t need an extra-firm mattress.

FAQs

How do I know if a medium-firm mattress is right for me?

There are several things that could indicate that a medium-firm mattress is a good fit for you. One of the strongest indicators for a medium-firm mattress is back sleeping. Most back sleepers need a medium-firm mattress to offer the right mix of contouring and support to keep their spines aligned.

This is also true for those who suffer from back pain. Medium-firm mattresses provide the perfect amount of support for optimal spinal alignment without sacrificing too much pressure relief. This can help relieve multiple causes of back pain all at once.

Finally, medium-firm mattresses are also a good fit for many heavier sleepers. If you weigh over 230 pounds, you may need extra support to keep your body from sinking into the bed. A medium-firm feel provides this lift without eliminating comfort.

What is the best material for a medium-firm mattress?

That depends on what you’re looking to get out of your mattress. If you don’t care all that much about responsiveness and want a lot of contouring, memory foam is your best bet. Memory foam is also an excellent material for those wanting to keep the cost of their new mattress down because it’s durable and affordable all at once.

Active sleepers who want a lot of bounce in their beds should choose natural latex or a hybrid mattress. Hybrid and latex foam mattresses are also fantastic choices for hot sleepers who need tons of breathability. Coils and latex both allow for lots of cooling airflow to ensure maximum temperature control.

Should side sleepers sleep on a medium-firm mattress?

Typically, side sleepers need a softer mattress than a medium-firm. This is because sleeping on your side exerts pressure on your hip and shoulder joints as your body presses them against the bed. If you don’t have a soft enough mattress to counter this problem, you could wind up suffering pain in these pressure points.

The only real exception to this rule is for the big and tall. If you’re a side sleeper who is just over 230 pounds, you should probably still stick to just a medium mattress. However, if you’re well over 230 pounds, you may need to go up to a medium-firm in order to ensure your body stays lifted on top of the bed.

Will a medium-firm mattress help with my back pain?

Medium-firm mattresses can absolutely help with back pain. Though, intuitively, it might seem like the pressure relief of a soft mattress would help relieve back pain, studies have shown that the lift and support of a medium-firm mattress is actually the best way to alleviate back pain that comes from the way you sleep and a host of other issues.

The only real exception to this rule is if your back pain is due to stomach sleeping. If you are an average-weight or heavier stomach sleeper, then you will need a firm or even extra-firm mattress to prevent lower back pain due to sinkage in your pelvis that overextends the spinal column in the lumbar region.

How much should I expect to pay for a medium-firm mattress?

A mattress’s firmness doesn’t typically impact its price. This means that unless there’s a large difference between firmness levels and terms of layering and materials, you can almost always expect to pay the same price for the same mattress regardless of which firmness option you select.

The aspects of a mattress that impact its price much more than firmness are its size and its construction. Of course, it goes without saying that the larger the mattress, the more expensive it is. And some materials are also more expensive than others.

Regardless of their firmness level, innerspring mattresses are the cheapest mattress type on average. Memory foam isn’t much more expensive on average than innerspring mattresses, although it is much more durable, meaning you will pay less for a memory foam mattress than you will an innerspring mattress over time.

On the other end of the spectrum, latex and hybrid mattresses typically have a much higher average sticker price. Latex might be a little more expensive than a hybrid up front, but its increased durability means that it will cost less than a hybrid over the course of its life.

Bottom Line

Medium-firm mattresses can help with a host of issues, from back pain to overheating and more. Just make sure you know your ideal firmness before purchasing a medium-firm mattress. Otherwise, you might get too much support or not enough. While they are excellent for some sleepers, others will find the best mattress for them offers a different feel.

Harrison Wall is Sleep Junkie’s business strategist and sleep analyst. He also authors posts on bedding and mattress accessories. Harrison regularly coordinates with new mattress companies and tests their products to determine what really helps you get better rest and have brighter mornings.

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