You're at the grocery store rocking your sweats and tennis shoes with a list of essentials for the week. (Not on that list of essentials? A bag of Oreo's, but no judgement here if those round chocolate morsels with a perfectly creamy filling make their way into your cart.) But back to the point, an avocado may be on your list—since, unlike Oreos, it's considered a "good" fat. When browsing the produce section, you'll probably find avocados in a range of different colors and firmness levels. And just like a mattress, there are several things to consider when choosing the one to add to your cart. If it's going to sit in a bowl on your kitchen counter for a few days you'll likely prefer a light green, under ripe variety, whereas if you're going to make fresh guac for dinner, you're going to select a dark green, ripe avocado that's soft when squeezed. Pretty simple, right? Well, unfortunately, choosing the firmness level of your bed isn't as cut and dry as choosing a piece of fruit (and yes, it's a fruit). We're here to provide a few pointers to help you decide whether a plush, soft, medium, firm or universal mattress is right for you.
It's All Relative
First things first, know that every mattress company out there defines firmness levels or comfort levels in a different way. Even universal comfort is a subjective term. Luckily, there are several ways to navigate the muddy waters if you're shopping for a new mattress:
Option 1: Do Your Research
If you've Googled the term "mattress firmness guide," you've likely come across comparison charts like this one from Sleepoplis, which rates different brands on a scale from one to ten, with one being the softest. This chart, for example, rates "universal comfort" options like Casper and Leesa as a six on the firmness scale and Tuft & Needle as a seven. But the Sleepoplis chart isn't a comprehensive list of all the mattress options on the market. If you're searching for a particular brand, prominent mattress review sites, like Sleep Sherpa, will often compare the feel of one mattress to another. For example, Sleep Sherpa compares Muse to Novosbed.
Option 2: Lay On It In Store
If you want to play the role of mattress critic, laying on a mattress will give you the best idea of whether its comfort level is, well, comfortable to you. If you have the time, you can drive to your local mattress retail store and spend 15 to 20 minutes laying on over a dozen different brands while others shop nearby. And while this is an option for those who feel they need to do their homework before buying a mattress, the problem is that you can't really tell how a mattress will sleep long term in a 15-20 minute period.
Option 3: Conduct a Risk-Free Sleep Trial
Regardless of whether you've spent weeks researching mattress brands online or a full day shopping in store, know this: most online retailers offer a risk-free sleep trial. Why? Because you should be able to actually sleep on your mattress before you decide if it's worth keeping for another eight years. Generally, sleep trials range from 90 to 120 days, which means you could try it out for up to four months before deciding whether it is or is not for you. Just make sure there are no costly disposal or re-stocking fees associated with your return before choosing this option.
Option 4: Take a Sleep Quiz
Some brands, like Saatva and Tempurpedic, have several different comfort options to choose from. But many of them don't have a sleep quiz to point you to the right option. Muse offers a proprietary Sleep Personality Quiz based on actual sleep science that will uncover the best mattress firmness level for you in less than two minutes. All you have to do is answer a few simple questions about your body type and sleeping position. Ready to decide once and for all whether you're a soft, medium or firm?