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Can you make your mattress firmer without replacing it entirely? This article answers the question of how to make your mattress firmer by offering solutions that can be easily done in the comfort of your own home.
Not having their mattress firm enough can cause all sorts of problems for sleepers, such as not getting the right amount of support and pressure relief needed for a comfortable night’s rest.
Hopefully, this guide can help sleepers find a solution that helps them make their beds a bit firmer.
Why Firmness Can Be Important
Firmness is important not only because it determines how easily the sleeper can move around, but it’s also vital for things like spine alignment and pressure relief for the joints, hips, and back. If it’s too firm, a mattress might feel uncomfortable, and if it’s too soft, there might be too much sinkage or not enough reinforcement.
Want to learn more? Read our complete mattress firmness guide.
How Thickness Comes Into Play
Thickness can also be important for heavier folks because there is less risk of bottoming out. Other factors are more preference based, including how much material you want to be sleeping on and possibly sinking into. However, thickness does not translate directly to sinkage — it can also mean there are more transition layers and a solid support layer making up the foundation.
9 Ways to Make Your Mattress Firmer
Sleepers may sometimes feel powerless in improving their bedding, but it does not have to be that way. There are many things sleepers can do to improve the condition of their sleeping surface by making it firmer than they may have thought possible.
Many brands offer a lengthy trial period, which allows customers to test drive their purchase for a few months to see if it is to their liking. If not, they can easily return it to the manufacturer for a full refund or an exchange for a firmer choice.
1. Flip the Bed
Sometimes mattresses can be flipped to be made firmer, as the other side can sometimes be softer or harder, depending on the brand and configuration. Usually, this comes in the form of a flippable bed, meaning one that has two sides to it and can be used both ways.
Most of the time, the unused face of the mattress will usually be a bit sturdier than average, so you do not necessarily need one built to be two-sided, rather it just needs to be double-sided. Sleepers should check to make sure ahead of time if that is the case with their product.
2. Use a Mattress Topper
Normally, mattress toppers are designed to make a sleeping surface softer, but not all brands fit this purpose. Some are geared towards increasing resistance and support. As a result, your sleeping surface can be made firmer, solely by adding the appropriate topper to it.
These toppers can be made from several different materials, such as memory foam or latex. Some might perform better than others, though, so doing your research on various materials will help with this. You can check product descriptions on either the manufacturer’s website or at a retailer for more information.
View Our Full Guide: Best Mattress Topper
3. Check and Replace Worn-Out Layers
Sometimes, the culprit is damaged layers. This might be a bit more complicated, as not all manufacturers make their products with easily swapped-out layers or removable covers, but some brands may offer these types of services.
Check to see if your layers are worn out and if they can be replaced. If so, this just might give you the extra firmness needed to make your sleeping surface more suitable for resting on.
4. Check and Replace Box Spring or Platform
Box springs and platforms may play a role in reinforcing layers to keep them more resistant to pressure. Over time, these can wear out, as most things do, meaning that sleepers may have to replace them eventually. Luckily, there are affordable options that can be done without spending too much money.
In some cases, the solution to your mattress is simply changing the base.
5. Add/Replace Plywood Support
One trick to firmer up a bed is to add plywood directly under the mattress, either between the mattress and box spring or the bed frame if you don’t have a box spring. Doing this adds a supportive base layer to your mattress that can add some firmness.
Some brands may not recommend that customers use plywood underneath their beds because the bedding materials may need to breathe from the bottom to not grow mold. This is especially true with all foam beds.
6. Move the Mattress to the Floor
Sleepers may be familiar with this method already, as sometimes having a bed frame might not be ideal for your situation. Sleepers can place their bed on the floor of their bedroom, which should add more support to the base of the bed without any additional cost.
This option should be the cheapest alternative and some people might prefer this since a bed frame can take up more room.
Read More: Is Sleeping on A Mattress on The Floor Bad?
7. Watch That Thermostat
Another tip is to keep an eye on the thermostat. Temperatures may seem like they do not have a significant effect on a mattress, but they absolutely can affect how firm it is, particularly for memory foam mattresses because they respond directly to heat. The warmer it is, the softer the foam becomes, and when it’s cooler, the foam will naturally firm up.
Get More Info: Best Temperature for Sleep
8. Air the Mattress Out
Over time, a mattress is likely to absorb body sweat and moisture from the air. Additionally, spills or nighttime accidents could contribute to this dampness, further softening up the bed. Airing out the mattress, however, could help firm it up and improve its overall condition. To air out your bed, leave it to dry outside in the sun. Another benefit to this is that sun exposure can help kill off bacteria and mold.
9. Keep the Bedding Flat
Believe it or not, the snugness of your sheets could help your bed feel firmer. The tighter your sheets fit across the bed, the better. The added closeness reduces the bed’s ability to shrink and soften. If your current sheets cannot be pulled tightly, consider investing in a new set and see if makes a difference. Additionally, if you have a memory foam bed, cooling sheets may help the memory foam stay firmer since this foam responds to temperature changes.
Other Helpful Hints
Use Your Trial Period (If Still Valid)
If you are running out of options or if other methods do not quite work, there is also the trial period of your product, if it is still in effect. Usually, trial periods have a specific time frame, like 100 nights, where you can return it for a full refund if it is not to your liking. Take advantage of this if possible.
How to Know You Need a New Bed
Knowing when to get a new bed varies from individual to individual, as there is no set rule for when a sleeper should replace their bed. However, most manufacturers recommend an average of seven years. You should also pay attention to how the material is holding up and whether it is falling apart or sagging in areas.
Find Out More: Side Effects of Sleeping On a Bad Mattress
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there special considerations for memory foam?
Yes, there are special considerations for memory foam because it shapes to temperature, which means it’s softer when warm and firmer when cold. Therefore, you should verify your bedding is not sagging due to this.
Who needs a firmer mattress?
People who need a firmer mattress are usually stomach sleepers, back sleepers, and heavier people. The robust support that typically comes with firmer beds can help these people by keeping them more lifted as they lie down. Hot sleepers can also benefit from firmer beds so they’re not as stuck in the layers, which could cause them to absorb additional heat.
How good are firm mattress toppers?
Firm mattress toppers can be very helpful for creating a firmer bed surface on a mattress that’s older and beginning to show signs of sagging or one that is new but too soft. Typically, the thicker the topper, the more you’ll feel a difference. That being said, if you try out a topper and still don’t experience enough firmness, you may have to consider investing in a new bed.
Does a mattress pad work the same as a mattress topper?
Mattress pads can provide added comfort and protection to a mattress in a similar fashion to toppers. However, a mattress pad won’t provide the same level of improvement that a topper would. Toppers are made to provide a noticeable difference, so if you want more of an improvement, a topper would be best.
How can I fix a pillow-top bed?
A pillow-top bed is subject is also subject to sagging, but the good news is that you can improve things. First, you can add more blankets beneath a bed sheet to help adjust this. Second, you can try removing the top, if detachable, and put it in a dryer to fluff it out.
Need more details? Learn how to fix a sagging mattress here.
Making a mattress firmer may seem improbable, but there are tips and tricks on how to handle a bed that starts to slump a little. Each method may yield varying results, depending on the type of setup a person has, which means that it might help to know what your mattress needs ahead of time.
Another important thing to keep in mind is warranties, as some products might still be in within this time frame and you may be able to get a replacement to fix these problems. If not, then following the methods provided may go a long way in making sleep more comfortable.
Jill Zwarensteyn is the editor for Sleep Advisor and a certified sleep science coach. She is enthusiastic about providing helpful and engaging information on all things sleep and wellness.
Based in Los Angeles, she is an experienced writer and journalist who enjoys spending her free time at the beach, hiking, reading, or exploring new places around town.
She’s also an avid traveler who has a personal goal of being able to successfully sleep on an airplane someday.