What do you like in bed? And before you answer, we’re talking about how soft or hard you like your mattress.

We’re all different at the end of the day (aka bedtime!!) and what is considered comfortable in a mattress to some people will not be the same for everybody else.

Mattress firmness is as individual as a pair of shoes that fit just right, or that one top that goes with everything in your wardrobe. And because we’re all so different — all with different body weights, body compositions, and sleeping habits — how soft or hard you like your mattress can make a huge difference to the quality of sleep you’ll get.

And isn’t that what really matters? We all love a quality night’s sleep, especially when we feel the benefit the next day. So how do you know which mattress firmness is right for you?

While it may seem like an easy question to answer, you might be surprised to learn there’s a variety of factors to consider first.

Softly does it

On the whole, most people would probably prefer a softer mattress than a medium or hard one. After all, we’ve long associated softness with comfortability, relaxation, safety, and above everything else, a good night’s sleep.

This is only really true if you fall into the category of sleepers who are better suited to a soft mattress.

People who sleep on their sides are best a soft mattress that conforms to pressure points in the shoulders and hips, as well as the arm that gets tucked beneath side sleepers, preventing numbness and tingling.

The same goes for anybody prone to changing sleeping positions in the night, or anybody who has a lower Body Mass Index. A general rule of thumb is that the heavier you are, the firmer you want your mattress to be.

The hard way

Don’t look so terrified… A firmer mattress doesn’t automatically mean it’s going to be the less comfortable of the two. In fact, you might actually benefit a better quality of sleep on a hard mattress than a softer one.

If your Body Mass Index is above average, or you suffer from any lower back pain, then a firmer mattress is better at giving you that much needed support. It’s also a hell of a lot more comfortable in the long run.

A firmer mattress can also alleviate the pressure most people feel in their hips and pelvis when sleeping on their front — supporting these areas of the body so that they do not sink lower than the shoulders.

Somewhere in between

Of course, you may find yourself somewhere in between; a much broader firmness range spanning soft-medium, medium, and medium-hard.

Those of you who frequently change positions in the night but still on the heavier side would do best to stick to a soft-medium or medium level of firmness, as it will still mould to your body position but provide a little more support.

Sleeping on your back affords you the greatest range in firmness too, as pressure is more evenly spread across your pressure points while you sleep. That means — body weight permitting — you should be able to find comfort on the many variables of medium firmness.