Box Spring vs Foundation: Which One Do You Need?

Sleep is one of the most critical components of a healthy lifestyle. In addition to exercise and a good diet, it has the ability to transform your overall health.

When you climb into bed, you should feel comfort and ease which leads to at least seven hours of sleep. But at the foundation of your sleep environment is your mattress. While there are many different mechanisms and types of sleep technology, mattress firmness is crucial to consider.

In this post, we’ll explain the various mattress firmness levels on the market and how to select the right one.


What Is Mattress Firmness?

Mattress firmness describes how hard or soft a bed feels. This is a subjective topic that depends on personal taste. While one person may feel like a certain mattress is hard as a rock, it may offer optimal comfort for another person.


The good news is, that there are varying levels of mattress firmness out there, especially at Bedding Plus. Finding the right one is key to getting the sleep you need to feel strong, well-rested, and free of aches or pain in the morning.


Mattress Firmness Levels Explained

Before we break down mattress firmness levels, it’s important to distinguish between firmness and support.






While some people use these terms interchangeably, they aren’t the same.

Support is at the core of your mattress. For example, comparing an innerspring mattress with metal coils and a hybrid mattress with layers of foam in addition to coils. On the other hand, mattress firmness refers to the upper layers of a mattress. This is what you’ll immediately feel when you first lie down.


An easy mattress firmness chart of 1-10 is used to discuss varying mattress firmness levels. Here’s an explanation of each level on the chart.


Extra Soft (1-2)


Like sleeping on a cloud, this represents the softest mattresses on the market, which can actually be difficult to find. That’s because this type of mattress is so soft that it’s considered uncomfortable for the vast majority of people. For example, water beds would likely fall into this specific category.


Soft (3)


Often referred to as “plush” mattresses, these offer softness that is still enjoyable for some sleepers. Many memory foam mattresses also have this particular rating due to the sinking feeling that takes place. Deep pressure relief is made possible with this type of soft comfort.


Medium Soft (4)


For softness that is more balanced and approachable, a level 4 is your best bet. This still provides that feeling of a soft mattress but doesn’t provide any sinking.


Medium (5)


For the perfect combination of soft and firm, a level 5 mattress is medium. Many coil spring mattresses fall into this category as they provide support and firmness that doesn’t go too far in either direction. Hybrid mattresses are often in this category as well.


Medium Firm (6)


When you’re searching for something in the medium category, but with excellent support and pressure point relief, medium-firm is the answer. Most mattresses on the market fall into this range because they’re considered comfortable for a range of different sleeping positions. This is an appealing option for the majority of people.


Firm (7)


For excellent back support that pushes back against your body, a firm mattress is the best choice. A level 7 provides the firmness you need to avoid any type of sinking but still feels like a comfortable bed. This is ideal for people suffering from mild to moderate back pain.


Extra Firm (8-9)


Some individuals with severe back pain will opt for an extra firm mattress that falls into levels 8 or 9. These are incredibly stiff and often hard to find due to the fact that most people will find them uncomfortable.


What Level of Firmness Should My Mattress Be?


Deciding on a mattress firmness level can be complicated because there are several different things to consider. Your size, sleep position, and health will all have an impact.


Here’s what you should know about how these elements can be used to determine the best mattress for you.


Remember, if you still aren’t sure, our team at Bedding Plus is ready to help. Contact our friendly mattress experts to discuss your preferences.


Sleep Positions


Sleeping positions are personal and unique. While some may be better than others to avoid certain aches or pain, there is no one-size-fits-all guidance. The best sleeping position is the one that helps you get quality sleep throughout the night.



Side: Whether you’re curled up in the fetal position or straight like a log, 66% of people say this is their ideal sleep position. Most side sleepers will benefit from a softer mattress to keep their spine aligned and reduce pressure points. This will also provide support for the lower back while allowing the shoulders and hips to slightly sink.


Back: Those who enjoy sleeping on their backs reap the benefits of maintaining perfect alignment throughout the night. That said, there is more pressure on the lower back while sleeping in this position. This makes it important to find a supportive mattress that accommodates the slight curve of the lower back. A medium-firm to firm mattress is often the best choice.


Stomach: Sleeping on your stomach can help ease snoring and sleep apnea, but neck, back, and lumbar pain may come with this position. A firm mattress will help properly support the body while lying face-down.




Your weight and body frame are important to keep in mind as you select your mattress firmness level. The more you weigh, the more you will sink into a mattress. This is especially true when it comes to a memory foam mattress that allows for even more sinking and conforming to your body.


In general, heavy people should choose a thicker mattress on the firm side to achieve the best support. Innerspring models with metal coils will generally fall into this range and often provide the best mattress firmness for a good night’s rest.


Likewise, lighter people should sleep on a soft to medium mattress. A hard mattress would put too much strain on their joints and back. Some level of sinking is necessary for those who fall into a lighter weight category.




For those suffering from body pain, it can be difficult to choose a mattress. When you spend roughly 8 hours in bed, the mattress firmness level has a serious impact. Some mattresses are better than others when it comes to targeting various problem areas, whether it’s due to injury or aging.


  • Back Pain: While there may be variations due to weight and other circumstances, most people suffering from back pain will benefit from using a medium-firm mattress. When you go mattress shopping, try out different mattresses that fall somewhere between levels 5 and 8.
  • Hip Pain: Most people with hip pain have issues with body alignment. For this reason, a medium-soft mattress is ideal to provide pressure point relief. The lower back will have the support necessary to remain in proper alignment, but softness will provide much-needed comfort and sink in the right places.
  • Shoulder/Neck Pain: Shoulder and neck pain is prevalent among people who sleep on their side, especially if the mattress is too firm. A mattress firmness on the softer scale is best for those with shoulder and/or neck pain because it allows for extra cushioning.


Mattress Firmness By Type


While there was once a time when all mattresses were made the same way, today’s market is incredibly diverse. Advances in technology and dynamic materials have created a whole new shopping experience. At first glance, it can be overwhelming, but the Bedding Plus experts are here to assist you.


While each mattress on the market is unique, it will always fall into a specific category. These are the main types of mattresses available in a range of different firmness levels and brands.




Innerspring mattresses are considered the most traditional. Using a coil-based support system, these provide a bit of bounce and are generally budget-friendly. On the mattress firmness chart, they are on the firmer side. Due to the nature of innerspring construction, they often lack motion isolation. That means you’re more likely to feel movement whenever your bed partner changes positions throughout the night.


Memory Foam


While an innerspring mattress provides a spring back effect, memory foam allows for some level of sinking. This new technology relies solely on foam, allowing for body contouring. Those suffering from body pain often enjoy the pressure point relief that comes with a memory foam mattress.


When it comes to couples, this type of mattress is a favorite because it cuts down on motion transfer. You’re less likely to be disturbed by the feeling of your bed partner moving.


Based on variations in construction, memory foam often falls somewhere between 4 and 6 on the mattress firmness chart. They are medium, medium-soft, or medium-firm.




For the perfect blend of innerspring and foam technology, a hybrid mattress is an ideal choice. These beds have a foundation of metal coils to provide support and stability. On top of this foundation is where you’ll find layers of foam or latex to enhance the comfort you feel on the surface.


These mattresses often fall into the medium-firm category on a mattress firmness chart. The innerspring and foam combination allow for bounce-back and stability.




Mattresses with layers of latex allow for responsive and breathable comfort that cradles pressure points. That said, the countless layers still allow for support across the entire mattress to reduce motion transfer.


Latex is generally considered to be firmer than a memory foam mattress, but there are different levels of firmness available. Bounce-back usually mimics that of an innerspring mattress with a quicker recovery.



For those who have needs that vary every day (or different needs from their bed partner), an adjustable bed is ideal. These beds use different chambers of air to enable a customizable feeling every night. By pumping more air into the mattress, it becomes firm. Likewise, taking away some of the air makes it softer. These usually come with a remote control or respond to an app on your smartphone.

It’s Time To #SleepBetter


A better night’s sleep is right around the corner. At Bedding Plus, we make it our mission to help customers create the perfect environment for optimal rest. From mattresses of all firmness levels to pillows and linens, we carry everything you need! No need to shop at multiple retailers.

What’s more, we’re a locally-owned and operated family business with deep roots in Louisiana. Our friendly team members have been assisting the same customers for several generations, making them knowledgeable and trustworthy.

With delivery, set-up, and 0% interest-free financing for up to 60 months, you won’t find a better deal in town. We even offer a 365-night comfort guarantee on qualifying purchases.

Visit us at one of our convenient locations across southern Louisiana and get the sleep you need tonight!