If your mattress 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!