How to Make a Mattress Firmer
A flat and firm mattress guarantees a good night’s sleep. While the mattress you picked out might have been perfect for you originally, your mattress will soften over time. Not only can a too-soft mattress be uncomfortable, but also it can cause back issues. Prevent or fix a mattress that’s lost its firmness by following these simple tips.
Preventing a Too-Soft Mattress
Step 1 – Controlling the Temperature
If you can regulate the temperature in your bedroom, you can combat your mattress getting softer faster. The warmer the temperature in your room, the softer the mattress will get. Colder temperatures make it easier for mattresses to retain their firmness, so keep your room cool.
Step 2 – Providing Adequate Support
If your mattress has inadequate support, it will go soft more quickly. Make sure your mattress has adequate support, like a plywood base, and never simply put the mattress on the floor.
Fixing a Too-Soft Mattress
Step 1 – Buying a Mattress Topper
A mattress topper is a cushion-like pad that goes on top of your mattress. You can purchase ones in varying prices and qualities. Memory foam is a popular choice. Most toppers come with a strap that can be wound around the corner of the existing mattress, so that it doesn’t move. Place a topper on your too-soft mattress to fix the issue without having to invest in a completely new mattress.
Step 2 – Replacing the Existing Plywood
Before replacing the plywood under your mattress, check with your manufacturer for their recommendations. Then, if appropriate, purchase some plywood that has the same measurements as the mattress. Make sure the plywood is not treated, and that it has been sanded for even edges and sides. Replace the existing plywood on your mattress with the new one. Use the same type of materials on the new plywood that was used to secure the old plywood.
Step 3 – Replace the Box Spring
Box springs are known for giving in to the wear and tear of daily use. If your box spring is losing functionality or if it’s broken, replace it with another quality box spring to restore the original firmness. In addition, this will help raise the height of the mattress, giving you a firmer and flatter surface to sleep on.
Ways to Firm Up Your Old Mattress
Ways to Firm Up Your Old Mattress
- 1 Make a Mattress Firmer With a Bed Board
- 2 Do Beds With Slats Need a Box Spring?
- 3 The Difference Between Plush and Pillow Top
- 4 Do Mattresses Have Expiration Dates?
Over time, a mattress can become uncomfortable from uneven wear. You can make your mattress more comfy by firming it up to create a more supportive, even sleeping surface. Whether you prefer an extra-hard bed or simply need to tweak a soft mattress, you’re on your way to a more restful night’s sleep when you firm up your mattress.
Add a special pad to make the mattress more comfy. A thicker mattress pad provides increased comfort and greater support over a thinner one. Choose from either a latex or memory foam pad to top your old mattress. Latex foam pads are available in a variety of thicknesses to add the firming support level you need with a soft feel. Likewise, memory foam mattress pads are available in assorted densities but conform to your body’s shape to give you support where you need it.
Place a bed board between the mattress and box springs. A bed board typically consists of a solid piece of plywood or several wooden slats tucked inside a canvas cover. You can purchase a bed board or make one yourself, but either way, the bed board should be as long and as wide as the mattress to provide complete underlying support.
Exchange existing box springs for a new replacement. Because a mattress and box springs work together as a unified shock absorber, if you don’t currently have a set of box springs, adding this foundation gives your mattress immediate firmness. Box springs are designed with strong steel coils to deliver support; the best box springs compress and slightly give when you apply pressure to them. You can add years of comfort and usefulness to a mattress with quality box springs.
Improve the firm feel of an old mattress without spending a dime. It’s important to rotate and flip your mattress at least once every six months to avoid impressions and sags from sleeping in the same spot every night. If you have a pillow-top mattress with the pillow only on one side, you can’t flip the mattress but you can rotate it 180 degrees to more evenly distribute your body weight over the top of the mattress.
How To Make A Mattress Firmer
A comfortable mattress is the ingredient of a good night’s sleep. Each of us has different preferences regarding comfort, and the same goes for mattresses. You should buy a mattress that fits your needs, but sometimes things can go wrong; you may end up with one which is too soft. Mattresses can also get saggy and lose their form over time due to wear and tear.
Replacement is not always an option and of course, it does not apply for new ones. So today we are going to offer you some simple tips on how to make a mattress firmer.
Table of Contents
Make Your Mattress More Firm: 6 Easy Steps
1. Manipulating Bedroom Temperature
Temperature can affect the firmness. Generally, higher temperatures make it soft, while a colder environment makes it firm. So you can try lowering down the bedroom temperature using an air conditioner for a firmer finish. This will ensure that your sleep surface remains at a temperature that you love. Plus, it can significantly affect mattress life and longevity considering hot environments can cause sagging and hence reduce its overall lifespan.
2. Using Toppers
Mattress toppers are mini sheets of memory foam or latex that can be put over the existing mattress surface to add support and make it firmer; these are typically anything between 2-6 inches in height. They also come in other fillings such as polyester, cotton, wool, and other natural and synthetic materials, which are usually much thinner (approx 1-2 inches) and are often calledpadsas opposed totoppers. Pads will most likely make your sleep surface softer, so best to avoid these. Buy a topper matching your current bed size for a cheap but effective solution. They come with straps that can be used to hold them in place. It is easy to attach them and add robust support for extra support.
3. Using Plywood Support
Lack of adequate support can make even the best mattress feel softer than usual. For best results, you can place a piece of plywood underneath when the boxsprings are no longer proving enough support. One thing to note is the plywood should match the mattress dimensions exactly; too small and there will be overhang, too large and the wood may protrude and cause injury. Additionally, smooth out the edges so that sharp corners are removed. You should check your manufacturer for recommendations before placing the plywood as it can sometimes invalidate the warranty. If placing the plywood does not solve your problem, then try replacing the boxspring.
4. Place It On The Floor
If it is not possible to follow the above methods, then you can place the mattress on the floor instead. Of course, there are certain things you need to keep in mind when placing on the floor, such as dust and bugs from the carpet, or colder temperatures emitting from tiled or laminate flooring, or even cold drafts from nearby doors. If done correctly, this can be a cheap way to make any which is soft to become firm. For more information, check our latest post on floor mattresses.
5. Flip It
Some mattresses can be used on both sides, but not all. If yours is a double-sided, then it’s possible. If it isn’t double sided then you may cause more damage than good. By flipping a mattress over onto the other side it can cause the surfaces to wear evenly, thus increasing the lifespan. Try flipping every so often, perhaps every 6 months or so. Regular changing of sides makes it retain shape for a more extended period.
6. Killing Bacteria
Another excellent way to make firmer is to have it out under the sun. You could do it every few months. Not only does it dry out and resolve mold, damp and mildew issues, but it can also kill many germs and bacteria as well. While not as effective as when you give it to a professional cleaner, it is definitely one of the things that you should try out which will make a difference.
The six things mentioned above are the cheapest and easiest methods. Which one you choose depends on your circumstances and budget, but as you can see it is quite simple to achieve effective results in a DIY fashion with little or no cost at all. Try some of them out, almost certainly you will see good results instantly.
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:
- Does it feel hard just because it’s new? Will it soften up over time?
- 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:
- Rotate it 180 degrees. Now the area that supported your head will now support your feet and vice versa.
- 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.
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:
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- The influence of bed firmness on sleep quality – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- 3 Signs Your Mattress Is Too Soft – health.com
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 Mattress Firmer
A few ways you can make a soft mattress firmer and more supportive.
Before we begin, let’s first firm a few things up (get it). All jokes aside, this post is designed to be a helpful guide for you to firm up your existing mattress. Let’s get to it.
Why You Might Need A Firm Bed
There are many reasons why you might need a firmer mattress. Your bed may have simply arrived a little softer than expected. Also, some mattresses tend to get softer with time, as you break them in. If you have a back injury or some back pain, your doctor may have recommended that you sleep on a firmer surface. Or maybe your partner moved in, and they need a firmer mattress. Whatever it is, we’re here to help.
Let’s first go over some reasons why having a firmer versus a softer bed can be so important, and then we’ll talk about some options for making your mattress firmer.
Why Firmness Level Is Important
When we talk about firmness here at the Slumber Yard, know that we are doing so in a relative manner, as firmness is a term that is relative to weight. Basically, the less you weigh, the more you lay on top of a mattress, sofa, or any other surface for that matter. When you’re laying more on top of a surface, instead of sinking down in it, it will feel firmer to you. Because of this, petite people might find more mattresses feel firm to them.
On the opposite end of spectrum, the more you weigh, the more you sink into a mattress or other surface. Because you’re sinking down into the material more, the surface will feel softer. Heavier people might find more mattresses feel softer to them, and may have a more difficult time finding a firm enough bed. In some cases, though, we have found that heavier people will sink right through the comfort layers of a mattress and will settle more on the poly foam or coil base layers, which actually make the bed feel firmer. This isn’t good for your spine though.
Your sleeper type is also important when considering the firmness level you need in your mattress. Side sleepers tend to need a softer mattress that will accommodate their curves, instead of fighting against them and possibly limiting blood flow. Back and stomach sleepers will need a firmer mattress that will keep their spine in proper alignment while they sleep. Back and stomach sleepers shouldn’t have their hips or shoulders sinking into the bed too much, as this will cause the spine to be in an arched position, which can lead to back aches or other problems.
Plank is a firm mattress
Having a firm bed can also be better for your health. Remember, you sleep on your mattress for (hopefully) eight hours every night. Over the course of a lifetime, that’s a third of your life spent sleeping. Keeping the spine in proper alignment, whether sleeping on your back or on your side, is very important for the overall health of your body. This study even explores the concept that firmer bedding can reduce back pain, improve sleep quality, and decrease overall stress.
Keep all this in mind as we explore the different options you have when it comes to making your mattress more firm.
Options To Increase Firmness
Trial period.Many online mattress brands have trial periods, so that you can really get to know your new mattress before you commit. Most companies offer a 100-night trial period, but others, like Nectar for example, have year-long trial periods. Check to see if your mattress is still within its trial period, because you might be able to return the bed for a full refund, and most of the time the company will come remove the mattress for you, also free of charge. You could also try contacting the company and see if they can help you. Novosbed will even send you a Comfort+ Kit, which is a free foam topper, if you feel the firmness of the bed isn’t quite right for you.
Try placing your mattress on the floor.If that makes it feel firm enough for you, you could either go for a cool college kid vibe and leave it there, or you can try slipping some plywood boards between your mattress and the bed frame. This will add some extra firm support and possibly harden your mattress.
Check your box spring.Box springs can wear out with prolonged use. When they lose their strength, they provide less support for your mattress than they should, which in turn may make your mattress feel softer. Replacing a box spring is usually much less pricey than replacing a mattress, and can help to harden up your bed.
Replace the worn out layers.More and more companies are manufacturing their mattresses with different layers of material, so it’s easy to switch out the ones that are more damaged. This is also a more affordable way to make your mattress firmer. Just make sure your mattress has a removable mattress cover and you’re not
Dampness.Your bed can become soft from absorbing moisture from the air. This is common in humid areas or if you live close to the beach. If you think this might be the problem, just take your bed and lay it in the sun, and let it dry out for the day. This should not only firm up your mattress, but the sun should also kill off any bacteria, mold, and germs that may have occurred from the dampness. If you’re super worried about a contaminated mattress, you can also pay for a professional cleaning, but make sure to try this first.
Mattress topper.I know, you’re probably thinking, aren’t mattress toppers suppose to make beds softer? But there are tons of great mattress toppers you can find on Amazon that will make your bed firmer. We suggest a dense memory foam or a latex one. Latex is a natural foam material made from the sap of rubber trees, and its known to be pretty firm and responsive. They have synthetic latex options, as well, which are usually cheaper. Toppers are usually around 2”-6” thick, so they can make your bed decently thicker, or just a little bit thicker, if that’s what you prefer. Also, mattress pads tend to be thinner and make mattresses softer, so look specifically for a topper.
Consider your room temperature.Some materials, like 100% memory foam or airy polyurethane foam, can be temperature sensitive. If you leave them in a cold room they We’ve even heard of pure memory foam freezing solid if left in a super cold climate! Try adjusting your thermostat in your bedroom to a lower temperature, or even leave a window open and get the fan going and see if that firms up your bed a bit. Likewise, a warmer temperature might make your bed softer.
Rotate or flip your mattress.Sometimes simply rotating your bed so that the heavier parts of your body lay in different spots can help. We always recommend that, no matter what kind of mattress you have, you rotate it seasonally to help prevent against sagging or impressions. If your bed is two-sided, you can also try flipping it to make it firmer. Just double check first that it’s a flippable mattress. Some beds, like the Plank for example, come with two different firmness levels on each side. If there aren’t different firmness levels, the unused side will still often be firmer.
Nest Flip is a double-sided mattress
If all else fails, get a new mattress. As we explained above, the firmness of your bed is very important for your spinal health, and to prevent against body aches and stiffness. This is especially true for strict back or stomach sleepers. Also, having a worn out bed that’s been around too long is just not great for your body. If you’ve had your bed for over 10 years and it’s much softer than when you first got it, it might be time for a new mattress anyway. You can check out our list of Best Firm Beds or Best Beds for Back Sleepers if you want some help figuring out which bed might be best for you.