How Do I Make My Mattress Softer

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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.

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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Make Your Mattress Softer

The best way to alter the comfort of your mattress, short of buying a new mattress, is to add a mattress topper. Mattress toppers, pads, and even some mattress protectors will usually add a layer of comfort padding that can have a significant impact on the feel of your mattress.

Mattress Toppers, Pads, and Protectors

The best way to change the comfort of a mattress, particularly make it softer, is with a mattress topper. Mattress toppers are usually designed to add a few inches of padding, commonly memory foam, on top of your mattress. This can have a drastic impact on how much pressure relief your mattress provides, and make the sleeping surface significantly softer. Mattress pads are generally thinner, often just a quilted layer of cotton or another more mundane material, but this can still have a noticeable impact on the softness and pressure relief of your mattress. Mattress pads also commonly including temperature regulating pads, whether that be a heated mattress pad or a pad with cooling gel. Lastly, mattress protectors’ primary function is to protect your mattress from spills and dirt, but these products often use soft fabrics or padding that can also help your mattress feel softer. Depending how much of an effect you want, and if you are interested in any other features, any one of these options has the potential to breathe new life into your mattress.

  • Mattress Toppers – often a thick layer of memory foam, can make your mattress much softer
  • Mattress Pads – often thinner, quilted cotton is common, can also have temperature regulating features
  • Mattress Protectors – primarily to protect from spills and dirt, can also have thin padding

Memory Foam and Latex Toppers

The most popular mattress toppers are made from memory foam and latex foam, and they can substantially change the feel of your mattress. Memory foam mattress toppers are a great choice for sleepers who enjoy body-hugging comfort and conforming support that memory foam is known for. Latex foam mattress toppers are ideal for sleepers who like the feeling of sleeping "on" a mattress, rather than "in" it. Latex foam is more responsive than memory foam, so it doesn’t produce the same sinking feeling that some sleepers dislike. If you’re not sure which type of mattress topper will give you the comfort you desire, or if you have questions about a mattress topper you saw on our site, you can call 1-800-455-1052 to speak to a friendly mattress expert who can give you all of the information you need to make a confident purchase and improve your sleep.

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 Fix a Too Soft or Too Firm Mattress

If yourmattress is too firm or too soft, it can be difficult to get comfortable. Luckily, there are a few ways you can hack your mattress to make it better, without necessarily spending a lot or buying a new one.

Your options will depend on the shape of your existing mattress and on how firm or soft you’d prefer it to be.

Make a Mattress Firmer

If your existing mattress is too soft, there are a couple ways to increase firmness. Keep in mind that if your bed has lost its supportiveness and is causing pain, these hacks may not make a major difference in comfort.

1. Check Your Foundation

If a mattress is not properly supported, it can be prone to sagging. Make sure your boxspring still offers firm, resilient support, or that your foundation is solid. Also ensure your steel frame is in good shape (kings and queen size often need center bars/feet for adequate support). If you use slats, ensure they aren’t sagging or broken, and that they’re no more than three inches apart. If your foundation isn’t in good shape, replacing it can improve firmness.

You may also place solid wood or particle board sheets between the mattress and boxspring to offer a firmer surface, or consider using a platform bed where the mattress rests directly on a solid wood base. The board trick can be used on just one half of the bed if only one partner has an issue with the softness.

2. Add a Firm Topper

Although mattress toppers are usually used to soften surfaces, materials like firm dunlop latex or compact wool can slightly improve firmness or at least improve supportiveness. Avoid softer foams and fibers, however.

3. Replace Layers

If your mattress has a zip-off cover, removable topper or replaceable layers, you may be able to swap overly compressed or worn out layers with new, more supportive ones. Professional upholsterers may be able swap and resew layers as well, though beds with glued layers are likely not swappable (and your warranty would likely be voided).

4. Rotate Your Mattress

If you haven’t done so recently, try rotating your mattress 180 degrees. You should do this every so often when you buy a new bed, as it will promote more even wear. If your bed is flippable, that’s an option as well.

5. Consult Your Warranty

If your mattress is still under warranty, you may be able to claim repairs or get a replacement. Most warranties do not cover moderate softening over time, but most do cover deep impressions or defects.

Make a Mattress Softer

Making a mattress softer tends to be easier than making a mattress firmer, so you’re in luck.

1. Use a Mattress Topper

There are all kinds of mattress toppers available that can add additional contouring or pressure relief to the surface of a too-firm mattress. This is by far the simplest way to correct a too-firm mattress.

Memory foam and latex excel and pain relief and prove durable, though wool, cotton, feather, and poly foam toppers are also popular as well. Sleep Like The Dead finds that the following types of toppers have the highest owner satisfaction:

  • Memory Foam Toppers, particularly toppers under 2” thick with lower foam density
  • Wool Toppers
  • Down Alternative/Fiber Toppers

2. Break Your Mattress In

If your problem is a new bed that feels to firm, you may need to work on break it in. Walking across the surface of the bed for several minutes per day, continuing to sleep on the bed, and rotating it often can help.

3. Rotate Your Mattress

If your bed is feeling too soft where you normally sleep, rotate the mattress or flip it if it is two-sided. Just like with too-soft beds, this promotes even wear and can help your bed stay comfortable longer.

4. Warm it Up

If you are sleeping on a temperature sensitive memory foam mattress, excessive firmness could be due to a too cool room. A gently heated mattress pad or warmer room temperature could help soften the surface a bit.

These tips and tricks can help you get a little more life out of a bed or simply improve the comfort. But, if your bed is truly in bad condition (broken springs, impressions several inches deep, deep sagging), than these tweaks may not be enough. Remember, the average mattress is only designed to last around 8-10 years. For beds that are beyond toppers and tweaks, check out our guides to finding the best mattress and how to have a better mattress shopping experience.

If you have any other tried and true tips for making a bed softer or firmer, feel free to share below!

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I have traded out 2 mattresses so far and now hate the third. How in the world am I going to find one that works? I feel like I tried everything out there. I tried a firm Truenergy and a luxury firm with pillowtop- both too firm. Then tried plush and too soft. I may just have to suffer forever.

I was always comfortable on the floor watching TV. I decided to replicate that surface of carpet over cement. Over time, I slowly added a 24″ in. X 24″ in. board only where my hip lie. Then, I added a plastic tub mat, then a bath-size throw rug., all covered by a quilted mattress cover. Finally, THAT solved my sciatica lower back problem which I have had for ten years. Try different surfaces around your home such as a flattened cardboard box until you achieve the right hardness. These layers do not show through when my bed is made up. OH, what a relief it is!

I recently switched from softer to firm! Worst mistake ever! If u can buy something in between that provides support but also cushion so it’s comfortable to lay on but your body isn’t sinking into it! I was told to buy firmer bc I’m a belly sleeper, however it didn’t wrk out in my favor. I’m trying to decide whether to return it or try softening it up!

Return. Drained as iam am from spending 2000.00 on so called firm plush. First one was like sleeping on a bed of rocks. My husband likes his side, but it’s just too hard for mr.

I recently purchased a firm mattress because my older one was a softer plush. My older mattress is still comfortable, however, my back was aching after sleeping on it only a few hours so I thought maybe I needed firmer. I now have this new mattress that I find extremely uncomfortable because it feels so hard! Do I go through the trouble of returning it, if that’s possible or do I buy something to soften it up? Feeling a bit overwhelmed and that I made a bad decision with choosing firm!

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