Mattress firmness level – find the right firmness with these instructions

In order for the night to be spent comfortably, the mattress must have certain properties. One of the most important criteria when buying a mattress is the degree of firmness. Because the mattress must neither be too soft nor too hard to enable a restful sleep.

If you wake up in the morning with back pain or if you find it difficult to fall asleep in the evening, the mattress firmness level may not be ideal for you. When choosing the hardness, there are often prejudices that have long since become obsolete. Particularly soft mattresses, for example, are not beneficial to health or are gentle on the spine. Rather, the mattress hardness should be tailored to your body and your sleeping habits.

Find out in this guide what the mattress hardness is all about and how you can find the ideal model for you.

If you try different mattresses, the first thing you will notice is that they have an individual hardness . Some mattresses feel like you are lying on a hard board, while with other variants you literally sink into it.

The mattress hardness indicates how hard or soft a mattress is. It is important to note that the manufacturers only consider the degree of hardness of their own model series. Based on these, a gradation can be made.

On the other hand, it becomes difficult when you compare mattresses from different mattresses. The classification of mattress degrees of hardness is not standardized , so that each manufacturer makes the assessment according to their own criteria. Therefore, you should always be particularly careful when choosing and you should take advantage of the offer to sleep on the mattress for several nights before you decide for or against the purchase.

The degrees of firmness of the mattresses are marked with the letter “H”. A categorization from H1 to H5 has been established , with H1 representing a very soft mattress. The hardest mattress degree of hardness is awarded with H5.

Since there is no overarching standardization, it is difficult to compare the individual levels of mattress hardness across manufacturers. It is not necessarily a given that a mattress in H2 from manufacturer A really feels softer than a mattress in H3 from manufacturer B.


The mattress hardness indicates how soft a mattress is. But what do you have to pay attention to if you want to find the best variant for you?

It is of course best to seek advice from a specialist shop . Under the expert eyes of the consultant, you will most likely find the right mattress firmness level. In order not to go into the selection process without any preparation, you should consider the following characteristics :

body weight
Sleeping position
Subjective feeling

The most important criterion when buying the optimal mattress is body weight. The heavier the person, the higher the point load. Heavy people would sink much deeper on a very soft mattress hardness than light people would. Sinking too deep could result in a misalignment of the pelvis and spine. Back pain in the morning is to be expected and your health will suffer as a result. Therefore, body weight is one of the most important criteria for finding the right degree of hardness.

The load is not only dependent on body weight. The body size plays an important role. For the mattress, there is a clear difference whether a person weighing 100 kilograms is 1.50 m or 2 m tall. With the taller person , the load is distributed over a larger area , which is why there is less sinking. The smaller person will also put more stress on the middle part of the mattress. So it is not only the total weight that matters, but also how it is distributed.

Therefore, the stature is also decisive for the degree of firmness of the mattress in order to adequately support the spine. Athletic people with broad shoulders will distribute the weight more widely. If the weight is more concentrated on the stomach, there will be a higher load. People with a higher body weight and a less sporty stature should therefore prefer a harder variant. Otherwise the mattress will not offer the necessary stability to protect the spine.

The sleeping position is also important for the load. With side sleepers, the weight is concentrated in a smaller area. In addition, the load in the shoulder and pelvic area is particularly high. These types of sleep should rather choose a firmer mattress firmness.

However , if you sleep on your back , you can go for a softer model . The weight is distributed over a larger area and the spine needs less support.

Ultimately, subjective feelings also play a role. The mattress hardness not only has to be suitable for the spine, it also has to feel good. There are differences even with mattresses of the same firmness. So some models are divided into zones, the stability of which is different. This takes into account, for example, that the head area must be less hard than the pelvic area, for example. But you have to convince yourself whether the hardness enables a restful night for you.


There are a number of properties that you have to consider when choosing the optimal mattress. Body weight is the most important criterion and the following classification will give you an initial orientation. However, this is non-binding and you have to check whether the degree of hardness is comfortable for you based on your sleep behavior and physical requirements.

Degree of hardnessbody weightdescription
H1Up to 50 kgvery soft
H2Up to 70 kgsoft
H370 to 100 kgmedium firm
H4100 to 130 kghart
H5More than 130 kgvery hard


The body weight allows only a very rough estimate. But how can the feeling of lying on the individual degrees of hardness be described?

Degree of firmness H1 : Very soft mattress suitable for people up to a weight of 50 kilograms. Often chosen as a mattress for toddlers and rarely used by adults.

Hardness level H2 : Soft mattress up to a body weight of 70 kilograms. Considered one of the most common degrees of hardness for women.

Firmness level H3 : Medium-firm mattress suitable for a body weight of 70 to 100 kilograms. Often the ideal hardness for men.

Degree of hardness H4 : Harder mattress for a body weight of 100 to 130 kilograms. Ideal for tall people with a slightly higher body weight.

Hardness level H5 : From a body weight of 130 kilograms, the hardest variant is recommended. These are sometimes also offered as “XXL” mattresses.

Which of these mattress degrees of hardness is best for you can only be determined in a practical test . It is important that your spine is adequately supported and does not assume any unnatural curvature.

Therefore, when lying down, you should make sure that your shoulders and pelvis only sink in so deep that the spine retains its natural shape . If you sink in too deep, the body will be too low and the head too high. The cervical spine is unfavorable and tension in the neck can develop.

If the mattress is too hard , the material will not adapt sufficiently to your body shape. There could be a hollow back and back pain in the morning.


If the hardness of the mattress is not optimally adapted to your body, this can have various negative health consequences . You should definitely avoid these and make sure you have a suitable mattress.

After the first few nights, the consequences will largely go unnoticed. Over time, however, a multitude of complaints arise that affect your quality of life.

Back pain can occur due to the wrong position during sleep . These are particularly noticeable in the lumbar region, as a mattress that is too hard does not develop any support there. The pelvis is in an unfavorable position and this can lead to tension and pain in the muscles.

Even pain in the shoulder area may be due to a too hard mattress. In particular, if you sleep on your side, this area is subject to greater stress.

The wrong mattress can be harmful to the entire body and, based on the very “direct” influences, can prove to be unfavorable. Headaches can also be a result of the wrong toughness, as can increased tiredness and less energy during the day. In addition, the risk of a herniated disc increases .

So don’t make any compromises and choose a mattress that is hard enough to meet your needs. If the weight difference to your partner is particularly large, then choose mattresses of different hardness for each side. This guarantees that your health will not be impaired. With the right topper, you don’t even notice that there are two single mattresses.


As already mentioned at the beginning, the classification of the different degrees of hardness is up to each manufacturer. There is no uniform standardization, so differences can occur.

The degrees of hardness should be easily comparable within a manufacturer. The gradation will be understandable and the choice will be easier.

It is, however, much more difficult to compare the degrees of hardness across manufacturers. Therefore, the relationships to body weight presented here are only intended as a rough guide . There is no general answer as to whether the manufacturer follows this information or prefers a different classification.


Have you decided on a mattress and now noticed that it is too hard? Or does your used mattress feel completely different, but you don’t want to buy a new one yet?

Then there is the possibility of making the mattress that is too hard a little softer. For this you need a gel pad , which is called a “topper”. This is included in the construction of box spring beds as standard and can also be used with ordinary beds and mattresses.

The topper is placed on the regular mattress. It is relatively thin and usually consists of a soft foam. The foam adapts to the spine under the influence of body heat and creates a softer impression. The pressure is better distributed and the degree of hardness corrected. This will make a mattress that is too hard feel a little softer.

Conversely, however, it is not possible to make a mattress that is too soft with a topper harder. These are made of a soft material and do not offer the necessary stability to make the mattress harder.


Choosing the right mattress firmness for children becomes even more complicated These are still growing and body weight and size are subject to greater change. In the case of children’s mattresses , there is often only a division into soft or hard.

Practice is more important than the classification of the degree of hardness . Small children should not sink more than 4 centimeters into the mattress. With babies, the head is particularly important and the mattress must not give in more than 2 to 3 centimeters. With a positioning pillow you ensure a safe position for the baby.

Make sure to test the children’s mattress on site and look at the sleeping position from the side. Under no circumstances should the mattress be too soft. It is better to choose a slightly harder variant, as this is also better designed for growth and will be suitable for the next few years.


Buying a mattress shouldn’t be taken lightly. After all, you spend a large part of your life on it. A mattress will be in use for an average of 10 years before you decide on a new model.

Therefore, you should proceed very carefully when choosing the right degree of hardness. Otherwise you will not only make a financially expensive bad investment, but also damage your health.

Modern mattresses in particular, such as the Casper mattress , are touted as “one fits all” models . These are made of such an adaptable material that is well suited for all types of sleep. If you are unsure about the purchase, use the 100 rehearsal nights offered by many providers and choose a “one fits all” option.


The firmness of a mattress is one of the most important purchase criteria. The hardness is largely responsible for how comfortable and gentle a mattress is. With the optimal mattress, you will relieve your spine and create a completely new feeling of sleep.

So use the opportunity to test the mattress and see how deep you sink in. The spine should keep its natural shape. Then you will be prepared for the next 10 years and experience a restful sleep.

Jamie Clark

Hello, I’m Jamie Clark, 32 years old, and I have been living in the USA for a few years.
Since I was a child, I have suffered from a house dust allergy, severely affecting me. I felt the effects both while exercising and while sleeping. Constant sneezing after getting up and difficult breathing were the consequences. The allergy has also developed into asthma, which is still a sporting restriction today.

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