Supportive vs. Firm Mattress: What’s the Difference?

You’ve likely seen the words firmness and support thrown around when it comes to mattresses. While it may seem that firmness and support mean something similar, these two words mean entirely different things when it comes to your mattress. This article will explain the main differences between these two terms, helping you make a well-informed decision when deciding to purchase a new mattress.

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Mattress Firmness and Support Are Not Interchangeable 

Mattress firmness describes how the top layers of the mattress feel to the touch. While some people prefer a very firm mattress and others prefer a super soft mattress, generally speaking, the majority look for something in-between - a six out of ten on the “firmness scale.”

The surface of the mattress needs to be soft enough for you to relax into, allowing your body the pressure relief it needs to sleep. However, the firmer your mattress, the less likely it is that the sleep surface will be soft enough to keep you comfortable - this is why you need to bear in mind that firm mattresses will have a lot less give, the further your move up the firmness scale.

On the other hand, mattress support refers to how well your spine is kept in alignment while you sleep. Lack of mattress support can often lead to sore muscles, a bad night’s sleep, and poor posture over time. Mattress support is often delivered by the lower thicker layers of a mattress - whereas mattress firmness is the feel of the top layer of your mattress.

What is the Firmness Scale? 

The firmness scale is designed to give you an indication of how firm a mattress is. The scale goes from one to ten — with one being the softest type of mattress and ten being the firmest. When a mattress is at a one, be prepared for a super squishy, sinky experience. When at a ten, bring your softest PJ’s as it will feel like your perched on top of a diamond!

The ‘universal level of comfort’ falls between numbers five through seven. These mattresses are firm enough to provide proper support, but soft enough to feel a sense of luxurious comfort and relaxation.

Support vs. Firmness: Which is Most Important? 

While mattress firmness is more of a personal choice, support is not. Mattress support is critical for restful sleep — you’ll know you’re not getting support if you wake up with an achy back every morning - this is a sign that you’re in need of a new mattress.

When upgrading your mattress, you should look for one that supports the natural curvature of your spine in all sleep positions. A layer of good quality memory foam will help with this by contouring to your body shape.

How to Find the Right Fit For You 

It can be overwhelming to consider all of the different firmness types the big bed stores have come up with over the years. At Winkl we like to keep things simple. We’ve done away with the endless variations and developed a solution we call ‘the perfect firmness’ - an unbeatable balance of comfort and support for the majority of NZ sleepers. Winkl mattresses are both around 6 out of 10 on the firmness scale, however The Lux offers a slightly softer, plusher feel that gives a real sense of luxury without compromising support.

If you’re in the marker for a mattress that offers the perfect level of comfort and support, take a look at our firm mattress options. We’re confident we have you covered. Sweet dreams!