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Spring Tension & Mattress Feel | Whats is the Difference

Choosing the perfect spring tension for your unique needs, body weight, and preferred sleeping position can be challenging. We’re here to dispel myths and confusing vocabulary so you can get a well-deserved peaceful sleep every night.

Mattress feel and spring tension (also referred to as comfort grade or mattress tension) are often used interchangeably within the industry, leading to many customers’ confusion. However, to find the perfect mattress to enjoy for many years to come, we believe it’s essential to understand the difference between the two.

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What is Spring Tension?

Spring tension is directly related to body weight and sleeping position. Spring tension is often categorised into four distinct tensions; Soft, Medium, Firm or Extra Firm.

It is important to note that these categories do not reflect the feel of the mattress against your body but rather the level of tension needed to support your body weight throughout the night. Body weight and sleeping position are the most important things to consider when choosing the right spring tension for you.

The first question you should be asking yourself when deciding which spring tension is right for you is which spring gauge matches my body weight and sleeping position? It is by answering this question that you can determine the exact amount of support you will need.

Spring Tension Wire Diameter (Gauge) Weight Range
Soft 1.2mm Up to 11 stone
Medium 1.4mm 11 to 16 stone
Firm 1.6mm 16 to 20 stone
Extra Firm 1.8mm 20 stone plus

By choosing the wrong spring tension, you will either have insufficient or excessive support, leading to an awkward sleeping position and ultimately, backache from lying awkwardly. If you have chosen the wrong spring tension, the best thing you can do is have your mattress replaced, which is why we offer a 100-night trial on a vast range of mattresses. 

What is Mattress Feel? 

Mattress feel describes the feeling of a mattress when you lie on it. In other words, it is the overall feel or comfort you receive from a mattress underneath your body. The difference between a mattress that feels super-soft with plenty of pushback and give and one that feels hard to lie on with little-to-no give is primarily dictated by the fibres used within the mattress above the spring. 

The feel of the mattress is determined by various elements working together in harmony to create a unique level of comfort. The four main factors that contribute to mattress feel are:

  • Type of fibre
  • Amount of fibre (GSM)
  • Your body weight 
  • Your sleeping position

All too often, individuals will choose a mattress based on spring tension alone. However, when you do this, you need to consider the other important factors if you want a truly peaceful and high-quality night’s sleep. 

It’s necessary to understand the importance of the fibres on top of the springs within the mattress itself. There is a multitude of options, and the one you choose will vary greatly depending on your priorities and needs from a mattress. For example, suppose heat dispersal is vital to get your best night’s sleep. In that case, natural fibres such as hand-teased wool mattresses and cotton are the way to go. However, if back and neck support is at the top of your agenda, we recommend horsetail or memory foam. For more information on this, read our article Mattresses: What’s Your Favourite Filling?

How do I Choose the Right Mattress for me? 

Choosing the perfect mattress for your individual needs primarily comes down to two important factors;

  • Body weight
  • Preferred sleeping position 

Using the handy table below, you can easily identify the perfect spring tension for your body weight. Getting this right is essential if you want to achieve a great night’s sleep.

Once you’ve identified the perfect spring tension for your body weight, you must ensure that this aligns with your preferred sleeping position. If you’re currently sitting on the border between two tensions, this will help to confirm your decision. 

If you’re a side sleeper, we’d recommend choosing a mattress with soft or medium spring tension. This will provide much more cushioning for your shoulders, hips and knees, as these areas will be under the most pressure during the night.

Suppose you sleep relatively flat on your front or back. It is usually best to choose a medium or firm spring tension, as this will provide maximum support for your spine and lower back. These areas often feel the most pressure for those who sleep on their front or back, so ensuring they’re well-supported is crucial to preventing discomfort or pain. 

Use our handy guide below to help identify the perfect spring tension for your unique sleeping position; 

Up to 11 Stones Soft Soft Soft Soft
11 - 16 stones Medium Medium Medium Medium
16 - 20 stones Medium Firm Firm Firm
Over 20 stones Firm Extra Firm Extra Firm Extra Firm

What if my Partner Needs a Different Spring Tension? 

Often, couples struggle with an uncomfortable and unsuitable mattress for far too long. This is detrimental to sleep and puts a strain on your relationship as one person may be sleeping safe and sound whilst the other struggles with discomfort. 

Lucky for you, we’ve got the perfect solution to this all too common problem. Our zip and link mattresses are brilliant for couples with different mattress needs. Each partner can choose the ideal spring tension for their unique needs. Then, we expertly zip & link the two mattresses together to ensure a brilliant night’s sleep for both of you.

If you need clarification on which spring tension or mattress feel will suit your sleeping position or body weight, feel free to get in touch with our mattress experts on 0161 2509200 or at [email protected]. We’ll be happy to provide our expert opinion. Our artisans have over 90 years of extensive experience in helping people get a good night’s sleep; we are confident we can help you make the best decision. 

Published: 11th November 2020 (Updated: 8th August 2023) | Graham

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