How Can You Make A Hard Mattress Softer

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Mattresses are a major part of our lives, but how hard or soft they are can make a big difference for the quality of sleep you’ll get. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each type.

Pros of a Hard Mattress

1. They facilitate a neutral spine position, keeping your body straighter
2. They reduce the pressure on your circulation system, allowing blood to flow better
3. They prevent your lower back from collapsing, which allows you to inhale more oxygen while you’re sleeping
4. They support the use of props like body pillows and pillows between the knees
5. The human body can adapt to sleeping on a hard mattress and begin finding it comfortable

Cons of a Hard Mattress

1. Changing to a hard mattress (from a soft one) can be uncomfortable for several days
2. Studies have suggested that hard mattresses are not a good option for people with certain lower back problems (arthritis, rheumatism, scoliosis, etc.)
3. It can be harder to notice the differences in firmness between harder mattresses, and some may not be quite firm enough
4. Very few locations ever advertise their mattresses as "hard and solid" instead of "soft and plush", perpetuating the problem of people who are harming their bodies by sleeping on the wrong type of mattress
5. Body weight can eventually create indentations

Pros of a Soft Mattress

1. Soft mattresses can reduce back pain and help aging individuals deal with joint pain and problems
2. Slimmer, lighter people can sleep on a medium-firm mattress and enjoy the plushness without sacrificing spinal support
3. Soft mattresses can be a better option for people who sleep on their side, especially in a fetal position
4. Softness can be added through the use of pillow-top systems, allowing for a firm primary mattress with just a bit of softness on top
5. Research is continuing to work on ways to support the body even when softer mattresses are being used

Cons of a Soft Mattress

1. The softness can push a spine out of alignment and reduce the quality of sleep
2. Soft mattresses can be more expensive than their firmer counterparts
3. Two people may disagree on the amount of softness they want in a bed, making it harder to share
4. Soft mattresses tend to grow softer over time and may cease being appropriate after a few years of use
5. Tend to result in below-average buyer satisfaction

In short? You may want to consider a firmer mattress unless your doctor says otherwise.

What Can You Do To Make A Hard Bed Softer & More Comfortable?

Life is too short to spend it sleeping on a bed that doesn’t make you feel like a million bucks.

If you just bought a mattress and it seems overly firm, you’ll need to figure out a few things:

  1. Does it feel hard just because it’s new? Will it soften up over time?
  2. Did you buy something that simply isn’t right for you?

In the first case, you’ll be happy with your bed in no time. I’ve got a few tips that’ll help you break in your bed so it’s more comfortable.

If your situation is more like the latter, you’ve got a tough decision to make. Returning something this bulky (and personal) is a pain the rear. And some companies have more generous return policies than others, so you might not even be part of the return window.

Since you’ve already got the thing in your house, perhaps there’s a way to salvage the situation andmake your firm mattress softer.

Making Your Firm Mattress Soft

Check Your Foundation

If you’ve recently bought a mattress and it feels to firm, the first thing you should do is check your foundation. The reason is that not all types of mattresses are suited for different types of foundations. For example, if you recently switched from an innerspring bed to memory foam, you’ll need to ditch the box spring.

On the other hand, if you have something that’s not memory foam, then a box spring foundation can make your bed feel softer. This is something to keep in mind if perhaps you don’t have a box spring.

As a general rule, remember that box springs are designed for innerspring mattresses. Just as the name implies, it’s a box with springs inside that function as motion isolators for bouncy and disruptive coiled beds.

The foundation itself can be either a solid or slatted platform. Platforms tend to make a surface firmer, so if you’re feeling especially uncomfortable and you have a foam bed you may want to consider an adjustable base that may not be as hard.(See our top mattresses for platform beds here.)

Stepping on the Bed

A brand new mattress may be firmer than you anticipated, but you can easily soften it up by taking a few steps. Literally. You can break it in by sleeping on it night after night, and you’ll experience some softening over time. However, if you want more comfortable sleep sooner, you can walk across the top of it every day, preferably for several minutes at a time, and that should soften it up quicker.

It probably goes without saying, but I recommend doing this procedure without shoes, so that everything stays clean.

Use a Mattress Topper

Buying a topper is one of the quickest, most effective, and cheapest ways to make a hard surface softer. By adding a supportive layer to the top of your bed, you can enhance pressure point relief and contouring. There are different materials available, including latex, memory foam, wool, cotton, feather, polyfoam, and down alternative.

The most popular option is memory foam. If you go with this variety, get something that is under two inches thick and a lower density for extra softness. (See our guide on memory foam density.)

Warm it Up

This tip works if you’re sleeping on a memory foam mattress. Because memory foam responds to external temperatures, a warm room will make it softer, and a cold room will make it harder. If you’re sleeping in a chilly bedroom, consider upping the thermostat a few degrees to make things warmer.

Rotate and Flip It

If your mattress can be rotated or flipped, this option might provide some relief. It won’t work for pillowtop beds, but most others are flippable. You have two options:

  1. Rotate it 180 degrees. Now the area that supported your head will now support your feet and vice versa.
  2. Flip it over so that the top side is facing down.

Just like you rotate your tires regularly for even wear, the same should be done for your mattress.

Making Your Soft Mattress Firm

Check Your Foundation

If your bed is getting older, the first thing you should do is check your foundation to make sure everything is intact and there hasn’t been excessive wear and tear. Without a solid foundation, you’re likely to feel the uncomfortable effects of a sagging mattress.

If you have a boxspring, check to make sure that it feels firm and resilient. If not, it’s time to have it replaced. If you have a platform with slats, check to make sure that none of them are broken, sagging, and they’re no more than three inches apart. Anything more and the bed won’t have enough support, which will create a sagging or sinking feeling.

Here’s a cool life hack that’ll only cost you a couple of bucks: put a thin board, like plywood, between the mattress and the boxspring. You’ll get a firmer surface, and if you and your partner have different preferences, you can just put the board on one side of the bed.

Make it Cooler

As you know, memory foam responds to temperature. Since you can make a mattress softer by warming it up, the same is true when you want to make it harder. Cooling the room down to a lower temperature will stiffen up the material and make your bed feel firmer.

Rotate and Flip It

While this tip was mentioned as a way to make a hard mattress softer, it’s usually more effective for making a soft and saggy cushion feel firm again. Because we tend to sleep in the same area of the bed, it’s not unusual for it to have indentations and body impressions that rob your body of support.

By rotating or flipping it, you may be able to find a spot that has the firmness you’re seeking.

Mattress Topper (again)

It’s a lot easier to use a topper to make a firm bed soft than the other way around, but it is still possible. There are a couple of materials that will subtly enhance the firmness of your mattress, though it won’t be dramatic. The materials you should look for are Dunlop latex and compact wool. Avoid foams, as they’ll have the opposite effect.

Replace Layers

Does our bed have a removable zipper cover? If so, you may be able to take out old, saggy layers with fresh, firm ones. You may need to get the help of a professional, and make sure you double check your warranty. Manufacturers tend to void a warranty if you’ve materially altered their products.

How to Make Your Bed Comfortable

Have you ever had one of those days where you long for the moment that you can get home, crawl under the blankets, and relax? Pure heaven, right?

I’ve found that one of the easiest ways to ensure that my bed is the most comfortable space in the house is through a special layering technique. Each part of is a delightful sensation of softness and luxury.

Here are my top four go-tos for a comfortable night of sleep:

  1. Soft flannel sheets: In cooler weather, nothing beats the coziness of flannel sheets. When the weather heats up, I switch to jersey, t-shirt sheets. They are so soft!
  2. Add a memory foam mattress topper: Side sleepers tend to need more pressure relief on their hips and shoulders. A topper made out of memory foam provides the perfect amount of cradling support.
  3. Add a mattress pad cover: Get a quilted variety that holds your topper in place while doing double duty as an extra layer of padding.
  4. Get a body pillow: Sometimes I like to snuggle, but I don’t always want some hot, sweaty human with dragon breath taking up my space. That’s why I love my body pillow. I get all the benefits of a snuggle partner without any of the drawbacks(You can check out this one that we’ve reviewed earlier).

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a hard bed cause back pain?

Beds that are too hardortoo soft can both cause back pain. In the case of one that is too firm, you’ll find that it’ll push on your pressure points (hips, shoulders, and torso) and cause misalignment. One way to tell if your mattress is too hard is if your arm falls asleep even though you’re not putting much weight on it.Here you can see some of the picks that can relieve back pain.

Why does a new mattress feel firm?

Some types of mattresses feel firm when they’re brand new, and they can take some time to settle. This is especially true for memory foam. Some online companies compress their beds in a box for shipping. When a company does this, you’ll find that it will already be soft.

However, if your bed arrives fully intact, expect a bit of an adjustment period. It might be 30 days or more. Just like when you buy shoes and have to break them in to get rid of that “new” feeling, the same holds true for this type of product.

Does adding plywood underneath the bed make it firmer?

Yes, absolutely! You only need to do this if you have boxsprings. Otherwise, a solid platform frame will have the same effect.

Can I make my memory foam mattress firmer?

Yes, there are a few ways to make a memory foam bed feel firmer. The first is to sleep in a colder room. Cooler temperatures firm up the foam material. Another thing you can do is get a firm topper.

Conclusion

Whether you got a new bed that doesn’t match your expectations, or you have an old bed that’s starting to show its age, you can use one or more of these tips and make your sleep experience something that you actually look forward to each night.

Sources and References:

  1. The influence of bed firmness on sleep quality – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  2. 3 Signs Your Mattress Is Too Soft – health.com

More Reading:

Author: Sleep Advisor

Our team covers as many areas of expertise as we do time zones, but none of us started here as a so-called expert on sleep. What we do share is a willingness to ask questions (lots of them), seek experts, and dig deep into conventional wisdom to see if maybe there might be a better path towards healthy living. We apply what we learn not only to our company culture, but also how we deliver information to our over 12.7M readers.

Sleep research is changing all the time, and we are 100% dedicated to keeping up with breakthroughs and innovations. You live better if you sleep better. Whatever has brought you here, we wish you luck on your journey towards better rest.

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There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to better health and better rest, but no one has time to sleep, let alone figure out how to upgrade the sleep they’re getting.

From figuring out how to buy a mattress, suggesting ones that are good for different needs and body types, or breaking down the newest science behind technology and wellness breakthroughs, Sleep Advisor has you covered.

How to Make a Firm Mattress Softer

I like a softer mattress, and here are all the tricks I’ve learned to get a better night’s sleep!

I have never been an adherent to the school of the firm mattress. A bed should be about comfort. It should be a refuge from the harshness of the world and a place to relish sweet dreams. There are many things you can do to make a firm mattress softer, let’s start with the cheapest and work our way up.

1. Use a Foam "Egg Crate" Mattress Topper

This is what my mother always called those foam pads that you can put on your mattress. In college, my roommate had never seen one of these, until I threw one on her spartan bed to cushion her bony body. They are the cheapest way of softening up a bed. I recently bought one for around $20 at Wal-Mart. Of course, they vary in thickness, so the more you pay, the thicker of a foam pad you’ll get. Throw it down on the bed, top with sheets, and you’re done!

2. Use a Feather Bed

The classic choice, a featherbed is made up of bird down mixed with larger feathers to make a fluffy, soft nest for your bed. There is a very wide price range when it comes to featherbeds. You can go down to your local Bed Bath and Beyond and pick one up for $70, or you can go to Macy’s and buy a $400 Charter Club featherbed.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when shopping for a featherbed, however. The first is the percentage of down the featherbed has. You want a high percentage of down in a featherbed, because more down means less larger feathers. These larger feathers can prove crunchy and will poke out of the fabric, pricking you when you are just dozing off.

Another thing to consider is the thickness, or fluffiness, of a featherbed. Your weight will compact the bed a bit, though it can be fluffed back up. A cheaper bed will not wear well over time and will be flat as a pancake in a few months. A good featherbed will resume its shape after a good fluffing, however, and will last many years.

3. Buy a Memory Foam Topper

The new kid on the block, memory foam is what the astronauts sit on during takeoff. Memory foam is made of polyurethane that’s chemically altered to be very dense. It’s also responsive to heat, making it softer in warm spots and harder in cool areas. Because memory foam is so dense, it can be very heavy, but it is also very supportive.

Memory foam, unlike feather beds, does not have as large a range of quality. Yes, some memory foams may be softer than others (marginally), but there aren’t factors like down percentage to encounter. The key quality to consider while searching for a memory foam topper is thickness. The thicker the memory foam the more support, and the further you are away from your hard mattress. Memory foam runs from about $110 for a 1/2" topper to $800 for a full-on mattress. Many in between sizes exist, usually made in half-inch increments.

Memory foam can also be considered a good investment, because it retains its shape and lasts a very long time. (I’m talking about "it may come with you to your next mattress" long time).

4. Use a Combination of These Methods

I personally enjoy the best of both worlds. On my bed, I have a hybrid feather and memory foam topper. The memory foam provides a half-inch base while feathers are on top. The feathers provide a pillow-like feeling, while the memory foam provides curve-hugging support. I bought this about a year ago, and the topper is still going strong. For about $110, I consider it a very smart investment in a good night’s sleep. Keep your eye out on places like eBay and Overstock.

Questions & Answers

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Comments

Dawn

Where can you find this hybrid? I’ve looked everywhere. Is there a brand name or another name for it?

Shelly

I have a memory foam pad and I really like it. My husband loves the feel but isn’t very fond of how hot the memory foam makes him.

CennyWenny

9 years ago from Washington

Ava-I agree, memory foam takes a little getting used to, but once you do you can never go back!

Ava Da Luca

Memory foam is really the way to go it last a really long time and feels great. Make sure to go to a place where you can try it out first though some people don’t really like the feel of it.

bizijebator

9 years ago from slovenia

lots of good information, it helped me a lot.

keep up that good work

Sarah Carlsley

9 years ago from Minnesota

MMMmm-memory foam. I wouldn’t go back to anything else. Great hub, thanks for the ideas!

Susan Hazelton

9 years ago from Sunny Florida

Great options, there’s nothing worse than tossing and turning all night on an uncomfortably had bed. Thanks for the information.

RamonB

Interesting read, but I can’t understand anyone wanting to make a mattress softer. I love my firm Millbrook bed and I hate staying in hotels where the mattress always seems to have too much give.

For me, firmer is always better 🙂

Zach Smith

Memory foams might make the mattress a lot firmer. Latex foams might be a better choice since these mattresses usually have lesser density. Try looking for a latex pad. What is great about latex is that it offers a combination of upper back support and lower back comfort. Many people are in need of this type of comfort.

MARIEL ELLEMAN

thanks . this really helped becuz i was going to buy the new TEMPURPEDIC CLOUD SUPREAM it cost around 2,000 but now i can get a soft mattress without paying all that mony:)

relica

10 years ago from California

You have a lot of great ideas for softening a firm mattress. It almost makes you think that if you are going to err on the firmness of your mattress when you are buying a new one, you should error on the side of firmness, because you can always soften it up. Nice hub.

CennyWenny

10 years ago from Washington

BM-Try Overstock.com, they always have an interesting selection of bedding goods for a reasonable price.

BM

Where can I get a memory foam + fiberbed hybrid in queen size or memory foam and down. Ive looked evryhere but I cant seem to find it

CennyWenny

10 years ago from Washington

Model Girl- Wal-Mart and Bed, Bath and Beyond are both good choices, as is Target. Sometimes you can score good deals at stores like Ross and TJ Maxx too!

Pretty Model Girl

10 years ago from Tempe, AZ

You know, this is a really good idea. I hate my mattress now, it’s so uncomfortable. Other than Overstock, where’s a good place to pick up a topper in person?

fat boy bean bag

Its fairly a good job. I think I got what I was looking for. Its really nice now to shop for mattress. As there are a variety of mattresses so difficult to choose one. But thanks to your hub which helped me in this regard. Thanks once again.

Stephanie Marshall

11 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Lots of options! Nice job on this Hub. Makes me want to go shopping.

ps. I love your avatar with your dog!

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How to make your firm mattress softer

New mattress too hard? Try these tips before you return it.

If your bed is too firm it can cause aches, pains and disrupt your sleep.

Did you set up a brand-new mattress , only to wake up the next day and find it too firm? One of the downsides of buying a mattress online (or even a store IRL) is that you don’treallyknow what it’s going feel like until you sleep on it. Even if you have the chance to test out your mattress in a store before you buy, sometimes that’s not enough to know how comfortable it will be to sleep on. So if you prefer a softer mattress, but keep waking up after sleeping on your new bed with aches and pains from the firmness — it’s not too late.

Before you resort to going out to buy a new mattress — consider these tips below to help make your new bed more comfortable. Is your mattress too soft instead? Try these tips to make a soft mattress more firm .

Try a mattress topper

A plush mattress topper or mattress pad can help your bed feel softer.

Don’t underestimate the power of a soft mattress topper to totally change the way your bed feels. This is one of the least expensive options since you won’t have to replace the mattress or bed frame to feel a difference.

Some things to look for when you check out a mattress topper are "plush," or down-filled toppers. Memory foam can be a good option, but sometimes these toppers will feel more firm. If you currently have a memory foam mattress and it feels too firm, try a plush pillow top mattress topper. If you have a regular mattress but want to see if memory foam will feel softer, you can always get a soft, less dense topper to see if it helps you.

Consider the foundation

It’s important to consider what type of foundation you have if you want your bed to feel softer.

If you have a new memory foam mattress, chances are you may have ditched your box spring for a different support. This could be part of the problem since a box spring may feel softer compared to a more firm surface, like a platform or slat foundation.

If you have a regular mattress, using a box spring support may help the mattress feel softer. If you have a memory foam mattress, check with the manufacturer before placing it on a box spring since many say that a box spring is not a good support for a memory foam mattress.

Give it some time

If you just purchased a new bed, it may simply take some time to "break in" the mattress. If you purchased a "bed in a box" or memory foam mattress that came compressed inside a box, it may take some time to fully expand and could feel less firm over time. Try waiting it out a few more days before deciding it’s time to return it and try another mattress.

If you want to try giving the mattress some time to wear in, you can always add a softer mattress topper on it in the meantime while you wait. This will of course vary depending on the type of mattress you have, but it’s worth trying if you’re patient and aren’t losing too much sleep.

Check the temperature in your room

Do you like to keep your bedroom really cool at night? If you have a memory foam mattress this could actually make the mattress feel more firm. This is because the memory foam mattress material is more sensitive to temperature.

Your body heat could help it feel a bit softer, but to really feel the difference consider warming up your room at night to help the mattress feel more soft.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

Memory Foam Mattress Too Firm? Here’s How to Make It Softer

Memory foam is well-known for its ability to mould to your body shape and give it proper support. But after just a night of sleeping on it,many people will already conclude that it’s too firm.

We say give it a chance. It’s new and meant to feel firmer at the start.

The rule of thumb is tonever expect a memory foam mattress to be soft off the bat as it needs to be broken in before getting that desired plushness and comfort. Memory foam mattresses may require a longer break-in period due to the higher density of material per cubic foot.

Your new mattress needs your time and patience to adjust to you, and you to it. Just like introducing anything new in your life (new people, a new job, new shoes), an adjustment period is essential to break in and make yourself comfortable. Great things take time! If you end up gettinga great memory foam mattress, it’ll be worth it in the end.

How Long Will It Take to Break In A Memory Foam Mattress?

It can takeanytime between 2-4 weeksfor your body to adjust to any mattress. So before committing to any brand, make sure you know their terms and conditions!

If you wish to speed up the process, here are4 ways to make your memory foam mattress softer:

1. Just walk it off.

You can put in the extra effort towalk gentlyon your mattress a few times daily. Not only is it opportunity for exercise, but it’s also a proven way to soften your mattress. Putting a bit of weight on it is another option – like shoe boxes filled with stuff or hard-bound books stacked up together.

2. Warm it up.

Memory foam mattresses aretemperature-sensitive. This makes them able to react to body heat and mould to your body shape accordingly. They become softer in the heat and firmer in the cold. So, if you bought a mattress during winter season and can’t break into it, try turning the heat up. This should get your mattress softer in no time.

3. Sometimes only time will tell.

Spend as much time with your new mattress even AND especially if you still find it firm. Sit, read, eat, watch TV on it. Sleep on it every night regularly. They are bound to soften with body weight and temperature anyway, so sometimes you can only be patient and hope for the best.

4. Top it up (with topper!)

If after awhile you still find your mattress uncomfortable, maybe it’s time to consider a topper for extra cushioning. Make sure it’s soft and plush but still supportive. Some gel memory foam toppers can transform your mattress to a cloud-like haven without compromising support.

Great Sleep Takes Time

In due time, we hope you begin to appreciate the wonders of your memory foam mattress. It’s a bit of effort and patience combined but designed to be worth your while.

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