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The 10 Best Medium-Firm Mattresses To Ease Back Pain For Any Sleep Style

The 10 Best Medium-Firm Mattresses To Ease Back Pain For Any Sleep Style
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Last updated on November 14, 2022
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Our bodies and our minds rely on a good night's sleep to function at their best. For certain people (i.e., some back or stomach sleepers), that could mean a firm or extra-firm mattress. Others may enjoy the feeling of truly sinking into something super soft and plush—we're looking at you, dedicated side sleepers. But for people who switch up their positions throughout the night or suffer from chronic or acute pain, a medium-firm mattress offers just the right amount of cushioning and support.

Extensive research has proven medium-firm mattresses provide exceptional pain-relieving benefits for those living with chronic pain or any lower-back pain. A 2003 study concluded that medium-firm mattresses can significantly reduce lower-back pain1. Additionally, a 2021 systematic review in the Journal of Orthopedics and Traumatology found that when compared to soft, firm, and custom-inflated mattresses, medium-firm mattresses came out on top in improving sleep quality overall.

Intrigued? Below, hear from experts on who should sleep on a medium-firm mattress and find our picks for the best medium-firm mattresses of 2022.

Who should sleep on a medium-firm mattress?

According to Pennsylvania-based chiropractor Allen Conrad, D.C., CSCS, medium-firm mattresses are best suited for individuals living with back pain, arthritis, and low-back facet syndrome. "When a spinal segment is degenerated, it loses its spinal and supportive ligament integrity," he explains. "As a result, when the postural muscles are not engaged while sleeping, the curvature of the spine loses its proper alignment. This leads to increased nerve pressure and stiffness when you wake up. To help prevent low-back pain when waking up, a medium-firm mattress can help."

While medium-firm mattresses can support most weights and sleeping positions, they tend to benefit side and back sleepers most. Conrad adds that the medium-firm design helps reinforce the lumbar curve for the back and side.

Mattresses are never one-size-fits-all, though, so it's still important to test a new mattress to determine if it provides enough pressure relief. "Side sleepers with higher body weight might need more pressure relief and support than provided by a medium-firm mattress," adds sleep educator and nutritionist Annika Carroll.

How to choose the best medium-firm mattresses.

Most brands offer a medium-firm mattress, which may increase the difficulty of your search. Luckily, clinical sleep educator and sleep coach Amy Korn-Reavis says there are a few ways you can simplify it.

First, always ensure that your mattress has a decent warranty, and look for a design that uses individually wrapped coils for extra support. "Individually wrapped coils help your mattress move independently, provide support, and prevent your mattress from getting too hot," she elaborates.

In addition to support, Carroll advises keeping body weight, mattress materials, and sleeping position in mind.

How we picked:

Firmness

To find mattresses with a medium-firm feel, we referenced each brand's firmness scale and considered how these designs feel in comparison to other mattresses of varying firmness levels.

Materials

We prioritized mattresses containing materials with extensive certifications, when possible. Since medium-firm mattresses are essential for sleepers seeking extra support, we also looked for mattresses that contain individually wrapped innerspring coils.

Reviews

We read hundreds of reviews to find out what people love (or don't love) about each of these mattresses, referencing reviewer feedback whenever applicable.

Price

Since everyone's budget is different, we selected mattresses at a variety of price points, paying close attention to trial periods, warranties, and product bundle options.

Our picks for the best medium-firm mattresses of 2022:

Best for couples: Birch Living Luxe Natural Mattress

Pros:

  • Made from nontoxic, sustainable, & organic materials
  • Strong back support
  • Cooling & breathable

Cons:

  • Sleeps warm, according to some user reviews
Materials: Organic CashmereNatural Latex
Sizes Available: TwinTwin XLFullQueenKingCalifornia King
Trial Period: 100 nights
Warranty: 25-year

Made from organic cashmere and natural Talalay latex foam, this mattress provides a safer, non-toxic sleeping environment. The hybrid design utilizes individually pocketed coils, which cradle your body and support spinal alignment. It’s topped with flame-retardant wool and an organic cotton cover, for a breathable, soft-to-the-touch feel.

With exceptional motion control, this is a great pick for couples who share a bed. It’s incredibly quiet, with none of the squeaking you might expect from innerspring coils—meaning even if you and your partner are on different sleep schedules, you won’t be disturbed throughout the night. Plus, the mattress is compatible with all adjustable bases.

The Birch Luxe Natural Mattress arrives compressed and rolled in a box, via FedEx delivery. Reviewers say shipping is quick and the setup process is easy.

What Customers Say:

3,000 people have reviewed this mattress, giving it a 4.6 out of 5 rating overall. “We looked around for a while to find a mattress that was green and also cool. After sleeping on this bed for a month, we are happy that it is medium firm and that it’s super comfy,” one reviewer says.

Also Featured In: You'll also find this mattress in our rundown of the best mattresses for stomach sleepers and the best latex mattresses.

Best pressure relief: TEMPUR-Pedic Cloud Mattress

Pros:

  • Three king sizes available
  • Material adapts to weight, shape, & temperature
  • Limited motion transfer

Cons:

  • Memory foam
  • Too firm for some
Materials: CoilsTEMPUR® foam
Sizes Available: TwinTwin XLFullQueenKingSplit KingCalifornia King
Trial Period: 90 nights
Warranty: 10-year

Tempurpedic's unique TEMPUR material offers superb pressure relief and motion control that's made the brand a leader in the sleep space—and now it's available in a cloud-like mattress that combines plush cushioning with much-needed support. Similar to memory foam, TEMPUR adapts to every sleeper's weight and shape, yet it retains the the perfect sleeping temperature to ensure your sleep is never disrupted.

A great option for those who share the bed or need a little pain relief, the cloud mattress comes in three unique king sizes: original, split, and California. And while yes, it's costly, the mattress comes with a 10-year warranty to ensure at least a decade of stellar sleep.

That said, it is not the most sustainable choice, and the “medium-hybrid” firmness level may be too firm for some. If that's a concern, the slightly softer “medium” option, which is made without a layer of coils, may be a better choice.

Just note this mattress is not eligible for White Glove Delivery (or mattress removal service), however reviewers suggest it's a breeze to unbox and set up without professional assistance. Plus, there are no off-gassing fumes, although the brand still recommends letting the mattress expand for a few hours before sleeping on it.

What Customers Say:

If you need further convincing, take it from this five-star reviewer: “Bought a split king for my parents and they love it. Even though they are highly critical and difficult to please people, this purchase was an absolute home run.”

Also Featured In: Our roundup on the best cloud mattresses.

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Best value: WinkBeds Luxury Hybrid Mattress

Pros:

  • Hybrid design provides cooling, comfort, & pressure relief
  • Four firmness options: softer, luxury firm, firmness, and plus
  • Supports back, side, and stomach sleepers

Cons:

  • May be too firm for those who prefer a plush mattress surface
Materials: Eucalyptus-derived tencelGel-infused foamIndividually-wrapped pocketed coils
Sizes Available: TwinTwin XLFullQueenKingCalifornia King
Trial Period: 120 nights
Warranty: Lifetime

The budget-friendly Winkbed offers everything you love about a hybrid mattress sans the expensive price tag. Like other hybrid designs, it’s combines supportive coils with a pressure-relieving layer of memory foam that hugs your body without letting it sink into the mattress. While it comes in four firmness levels—including a softer model and plus option for heavier folks—the luxury firm is just right for those seeking a medium-firm feel.

Ideal for coupled sleepers, the Luxury Firm pick also offers superior motion isolation and standout edge support, so you have plenty of space to sprawl. Hot sleepers will also love the heat dispersing layer, which helps keep your body at a comfortable temperature all night long.

Like many mattresses, this one is compressed, rolled, and shipped straight to your door in a box. Once it arrives and is officially unboxed, you shouldn't expect any off-gassing smells.

What Customers Say:

Plenty of reviewers agree that this hybrid mattress won’t leave you disappointed. “I would highly recommend the mattress to anyone who is looking at the high-end mattresses that are sold in the local brick and mortar stores. The mattress is less than half the price of the ones that we considered and it is easily just as comfortable,” writes one five-star reviewer. Pain relief is also a highlight. Whether you’re a back, side, or stomach sleeper, reviews suggest that the innerspring coils and foam are going to give you the balance and support you deserve.

Also Featured In: One of our favorite hybrid models, the Winkbed is also featured in roundups of the best mattress for stomach sleepers and couples, as well as gel-infused options.

Best for athletes: Helix Midnight Mattress

Pros:

  • Supports all sleeping positions
  • Temperature-regulating
  • Foam contours to your body’s curves

Cons:

  • Too thin for some
Materials: Memory FoamIndividually-wrapped steel coils
Sizes Available: TwinTwin XLFullQueenKingCalifornia King
Trial Period: 100 nights
Warranty: 15-year

This medium-firm hybrid design supports all sleep positions, but the cradling sensation of memory foam and the pressure-relieving innerspring coils makes it one of our favorite mattresses for athletes, and a strong choice for side sleepers—both of which need a little extra support.

It also excels in temperature control, so hot sleepers can rest easy. Though, if you are the type of person who could use extra relief from night sweats (same, same!), you do have the option of adding a GlacioTex cooling cover on top of your mattress for even more cooling.

The Helix Midnight mattress ships in a box and is delivered to your doorstep with free, no-contact delivery. Mattress orders typically ship within three to five business days, and, once your mattress arrives, reviewers say it is easy to unpack and place onto your bed frame or box spring. To fully eliminate any odors from your mattress, the brand recommends allowing the mattress to breathe and come to shape for a few hours.

What Customers Say:

Many shoppers celebrate this model for successfully supporting all sleeping positions—including combination sleepers—by giving it a 4.5 out of 5-star rating. “This Helix Midnight mattress is very comfortable for all sleeping positions (back, side, stomach). After sleeping on it the first night, I was surprised to notice it helped my posture (a chronic problem).” one reviewer says.

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Best hybrid: Brooklyn Bedding Signature Hybrid Mattress

Pros:

  • Available in a variety of sizes including split and multiple RV dimensions
  • Three firmness options
  • Ascension coils help distribute weight

Cons:

  • Some reviews mention sagging
  • Memory foam
Materials: Memory FoamIndividually-encased coils
Sizes Available: TwinTwin XLFullShort FullQueenShort QueenOlympic QueenKingShort KingRV KingSplit KingCalifornia KingSplit California King
Trial Period: 120 nights
Warranty: 10-year

With a ton of sizes available (including options for RVs), reasonable pricing, and cooling and supportive cushioning, this is an excellent hybrid mattress—especially for for side sleepers. Thanks to memory foam, individually encased coils, and a solid base layer, sleepers can enjoy a perfect medium-firm mattress feel that supports them all night long. Customizability is another major plus of this mattress: There are three firmness levels to choose from with an cooling cover option.

On the downside, the use of memory foam makes this mattress way less environmentally-friendly. However, it’s a solid choice for people who truly prefer the feel of memory foam but need the support of innerspring coils.

While the brand does not offer set up service (or old mattress removal) at this time, reviews suggest that mattress set up is easy from start to finish.

What Customers Say:

“I had done months of research trying to find a hybrid mattress that fit my needs and budget. This mattress was definitely the most affordable and I’m glad I listened to the positive reviews,” one five-star reviewer raves.

FYI: Some reviewers suggest this mattress has issues with sagging and motion support. However, it's has more than 9,000 ratings, which are mostly positive.

Best for back pain: DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress

Pros:

  • Pressure-relieving for the neck, shoulders, back, and hips
  • Sewn-in handles make setup easy
  • Free pillow, mattress protector, and sheet set included with the bundle option

Cons:

  • Some reviews mention sinking
  • Heavy
Materials: Memory FoamCashmere blendIndividually-wrapped innerspring coils
Sizes Available: TwinTwin XLFullQueenKingCalifornia King
Trial Period: 365 nights
Warranty: Lifetime

Constantly waking up with aches and pains? Never fear, there is still hope! This mattress is one of our top choices for sleepers with neck and back pain, thanks to its seven supportive and pressure-relieving layers. This sturdy construction and excellent motion control makes it a must-have for heavier sleepers and couples who share a bed.

While the medium-firm design is great for all sleep styles, it's also the only option offered in this design—so smaller sleepers should definitely consider upgrading to the DreamCloud Premier for a plusher top. Regardless of your preferred firmness, you can opt in for a bundle option, which comes with free extras like a mattress protector, pillow, and sheet set. Sweet dreams are definitely made of this!

For delivery, the mattress is vacuum-sealed inside a box and shipped to your doorstep with no signature required. While the brand does not offer mattress setup at this time, it does remove old mattresses in the state of California.

What Customers Say:

After more than 8,000 reviews, this bed still boats and impressive 4.8 out of 5 star rating. According to one reviewer, “One of the best mattresses I’ve ever slept on, very comfortable! I was having back issues, which is why I decided to try this mattress. After two days, most of my pain was gone. And after a full week, I have no more back pain.”

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Best non-toxic: Avocado Green Mattress

Pros:

  • Organic & non-toxic materials
  • Temperature-regulating
  • Pressure-relieving

Cons:

  • Too firm for some
Materials: Organic CottonOrganic latex rubber foamOrganic woolIndividually-tuned tempered steel coils
Sizes Available: TwinTwin XLFullQueenKingCalifornia King
Trial Period: 365 nights
Warranty: 25-year

Memory foam may be a great mattress material for cushioning and softness, but not all foams are created equal—some contain potentially toxic materials you may not even be aware of. If you’re on the hunt for a ‘cleaner’ medium-firm mattress, look no further than Avocado.

Its hybrid design features non-toxic materials like organic cotton, organic wool, and a certified organic latex rubber foam that's made without polyester or polyurethane. While nontoxic materials are a major plus, rest assured that this mattress is equally comfortable to sleep on, boasting just the right amount of support from a combo of plush foam and more than 1,000 innerspring coils.

While this mattress may be more expensive than others on this list, think of it as an investment item that will benefit your health for years to come. Plus, it ships direct to your door with white glove delivery service available for a small fee. Just be warned the all-natural pick does smell like latex, however the scent is easily covered by layers of blankets.

What Customers Say:

This mattress has more than 16,000 reviews, most of which carry the same general tone as this happy customer: “What a wonderful mattress. It feels like sleeping on air. Gives support where it is needed without the thick feeling of foam. Sleeping temperature is also just right.”

Best cooling: Saatva Solaire Adjustable Mattress

Pros:

  • 50 firmness settings on each side
  • Natural, organic materials
  • Excellent motion control

Cons:

  • Air pump system setup may require professional assistance
  • Doesn’t work with all adjustable bases
Materials: Natural LatexOrganic CottonMemory Foam
Sizes Available: Twin XLFullQueenKingSplit KingCalifornia KingSplit California King
Trial Period: 365 nights
Warranty: Lifetime

Hot sleepers: this one’s for you. Made from breathable cotton and naturally-cool latex materials, this mattress is temperature-regulating, dispersing heat away from your body. The adjustable mattress uses small air chambers to change firmness settings based on your needs—so it can be the best medium-firm, soft, or even extra-firm option. And or queen beds or larger, each side of the bed can be individually customized to the sleepers preferences. (Our ranking for the best mattresses for couples checks out).

The air pump system is operated by remote control, allowing you to make the mattress firmer or softer by raising or lowering the air chambers to either fill with or deflate. While instructions for the air pump system are included in the product manual, some reviewers suggest taking advantage of the brand’s white glove setup to avoid any confusion.

On that note, Saatva is one of the few brands that offers free home delivery and setup for all mattresses, bases, and frames—so there's no need to wait for the mattress to expand or stop off-gassing. Plus, the team even removes your existing mattress and box spring.

What Customers Say:

Reviewers agree that this mattress is breathable and cool. “I was very comfortable in terms of how the mattress felt in addition to how the mattress and sheets kept my body cool (sweat-free) throughout the night,” one five-star reviewer writes.

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Best tall mattress: Nolah Evolution 15" Hybrid Mattress

Pros:

  • Great for all sleep positions
  • Multiple firmness levels
  • Pillows are included with purchase
  • Cooling

Cons:

  • No negative reviews
  • Mattress is heavier and may require additional help for setup
Materials: Organic CottonMemory FoamCoils
Sizes Available: TwinTwin XLFullQueenKingSplit KingCalifornia King
Trial Period: 120 nights
Warranty: Lifetime

A full mattress can be the perfect size for solo sleepers, offering just enough room to splay without taking over all your room space—and this model from Nolah is a great option to bank on. Not only does it support all sleeping positions (and boasts three firmness levels), but two pillows are included with your purchase, so you get more bang for your buck. Above all, this mattress doesn’t skimp out on support—it's 15 inches thick with nine layers of ciuks and cushioning giving cool, plush support.

What’s more, this mattress provides relief to those living with chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia, with one reviewer writing, “I have fibromyalgia, and this bed has been a lifesaver! Most of the time I sleep on my side, but it does well when I sleep on my back as well. It is firm enough to give support while still being soft enough to be comfortable.”

The brand ships all mattresses compressed and rolled in a box. While some reviewers say shipping is pretty speedy, keep in mind that shipping times may vary due to volume or region. Once your mattress does arrive, Nolah advises letting your mattress air out for a full 24 to 48 hours to ensure all odors are eliminated. Since it’s on the heavier side (94 pounds for a full), you’ll likely want at least one extra set of hands to set it up.

What Customers Say:

“I used to have painful pressure points in my hips and shoulders with my old mattress and wake up multiple times in the night to roll over. But that has gone away with this one! Plus, it was easy to set up with a second person helping,” one reviewer boasts. FYI: this mattress doesn’t have any negative reviews on the company’s website, so you may want to research the Nolah brand further before purchasing.

Best innerspring: Saatva Classic Mattress

Pros:

  • Organic & recycled materials
  • Available in two heights and in three comfort levels

Cons:

  • Sleeps warm
Materials: Organic Cotton CoverCertiPUR-US® Certified FoamsRecycled Steel CoilsNatural Thistle Pulp Flame Retardant Barrier
Sizes Available: TwinTwin XLFullQueenKingSplit KingCalifornia KingSplit California King
Trial Period: 365 nights
Warranty: Lifetime

Let’s be real, innerspring mattresses get a pretty bad rap—many liken them to dated (and not to mention uncomfortable) coiled mattresses that squeak with every toss and turn. We’re here to fix that misconception: this model from Saatva is one of the best innerspring mattresses on the market today, and let’s just say it’s come a long way since the innerspring beds you’re used to.

This mattress marries organic cotton, CertiPUR-US® certified foams, and recycled steel coil materials together, to form a mattress that’s great for all types of sleepers. Because of its sturdy design, you can expect a comfortable and supportive night’s sleep, with no lingering back or neck pain in the morning. Plus, it’s made with safeguarding against sagging, cooling benefits, and offers two heights and three levels of firmness to choose from.

As mentioned, Saatva offers customers free home delivery and setup, along with removal of your old mattress.

What Customers Say:

This mattress has an overall 4.8 star rating, with an overwhelming majority of reviews (we’re talking over 2,000) being four-stars and higher. Take it from this reviewer: “What a wonderful mattress in so many ways—the fabrics, innersprings, the comfort. From the first day, I thought this must be what heaven feels like.”

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FAQ

Do medium-firm mattresses get softer?

As a medium-firm mattress ages, it may feel softer or less supportive over time, says Korn-Reavis. To keep your mattress in good health, Korn-Reavis recommends turning it every six months. "This allows you to change the pressure on the mattress and maintain optimal support," she explains.

Is a medium-firm good for side sleepers?

Yes. According to Korn-Reavis, medium-firm mattresses offer more support than foam mattresses, so they're an attractive bedding option to side and back sleepers in need of pressure relief in the neck, shoulders, hips, and back areas. "A medium firm mattress cradles your pressure points, so if you are sleeping on your side (or if you have pain issues), it will not put too much pressure on you," she adds.

What does a medium-firm mattress feel like?

Not too soft or too firm, a good medium-firm mattress should provide the perfect balance of comfort and support to your body, without sinking, Carroll explains, adding, "It should feel like you are sleeping more on the bed instead of in the bed."

The takeaway.

If you've struggled with chronic pain, particularly in your lower back, a medium-firm mattress could be just what you need to take your nights from restless to restorative. As with any mattress, make sure you consider materials, warranties, trial period, firmness level, and sleeping position when choosing the right mattress for you. After all, we spend a lot of time in bed, and it's important to make sure you're setting yourself up for the best sleep you can get.

Meet The Experts

Courtney Leiva is a writer whose work has been featured in HuffPost, The Daily Beast, BuzzFeed, Women's Health, Business Insider, Yahoo Lifestyle, Well + Good, and more.
Scott Nass, M.D., MPA, FAAFP, AAHIVS is a family physician and HIV specialist in California. He takes a holistic approach to healthcare, incorporating principles of functional medicine and using food as medicine when working with patients.