Your mattress could be too soft because it’s worn out. It could be sagging toward the middle. It could be made from materials that are too soft for your liking. The bottom line is that if you’re not comfortable with how your mattress feels, you need to find a way to make it firmer.

Our sleep experts will offer some ways to accomplish this, but first, we’re going to talk about why mattress firmness matters.

Why Does Mattress Firmness Matter?

The type of mattress you use and the firmness of that mattress have a significant impact on your comfort at night. For example, back sleepers and the occasional stomach sleeper often do well with a medium-firm mattress.

In contrast, side sleepers may find the same mattress too firm because it applies more pressure to fewer areas of the body. This can ultimately lead to back pain and other issues. Though comfort is largely subjective, there are some truisms across the board in terms of what’s good for your health and spinal alignment.

The firmness scale can help you determine which level of firmness is best for you, but if you need to make your current mattress firmer, you can follow some of the tips below.

12 Easy Ways To Make Your Mattress Firmer

Make your mattress firmer and adjust its feel to the perfect level of comfort. Sleep is essential to overall health, so don’t hesitate to test several different options if you find one of these doesn’t work.

1. Get A Mattress Topper

Is your mattress too soft? The fastest (and often most affordable) way to fix that is to use a mattress topper. These can instantly firm up your mattress without requiring you to buy other replacements. Pillow top options are a little softer, while mattress pad choices are firmer (though often less reliable).

Many mattress toppers come with additional benefits, such as extending the lifespan of your bed, which makes them a smart long-term investment. For most people, getting a firm mattress topper is the fastest and easiest way to adjust the firmness of a bed. Just make sure to do your research and shop around.

2. Check Your Base or Box Spring

If your bed frame or slats are misaligned, they could be allowing your bed to sag down in different places. Checking the base or the box spring is a good way to be sure the problem is with the mattress itself, and not with its positioning.

Many wonder whether they actually need a mattress foundation. If you don’t already have a foundation, get one – it can improve the support and durability of your mattress and protect it from other elements like mold or allergens.

3. Look For Worn Out Layers

Look for worn-out comfort layers on the mattress itself. Many modern mattresses are made up of several layers, and if one is worn out, it may be causing the issues.

Note that there’s not a ton you can do about an essential layer being worn down. You can employ one of the techniques on this list or start looking for a new mattress. You can also consult your mattress warranty and see what options may be available.

4. Try The Plywood Method

Placing a piece of plywood directly beneath the mattress can prevent sagging. A sagging mattress can sometimes cause back pain, so it’s important to remedy this.

If you go this route, your plywood boards should be in as few pieces as possible. This will help with sagging more than having a lot of thin, narrow boards that can move around at night. Consider gluing or stapling the plywood boards together. It’s not a perfect solution obviously but can hold you over until you’re ready to buy a new mattress.

5. Flip Your Mattress

In some cases, the best way to make a mattress firmer is to flip it over. This doesn’t work with all types of mattresses, including more high-quality mattresses and those with pillow tops.

But some mattresses need you to flip them so they can maintain an even level of firmness over time. If you have a soft bed, check the tag to see if you should flip it.

7. Rotate Your Mattress

Rotating mattresses is similar to flipping them. Like flipping, this allows you to sleep on a different part of the mattress and give the other sections time to return to their regular position. You can rotate almost any mattress, although some don’t recommend this. Consult your product information to make the right choice.

8. Tighten Up Bedding

Take a look to see if you can tighten up the plush mattress with your fitted sheet. Loose sheets are often uncomfortable and hard to use, while tight sheets can trap loose elements of bedding in place.

9. Place Your Mattress on the Floor

Placing your sagging mattress directly on the floor can help you sleep better, especially because floors offer even firmness and won’t jostle around like plywood. This is certainly the cheaper alternative to getting a new mattress foundation, but it does come with its pitfalls.

Having your mattress on the floor can actually weaken support over time and leave it vulnerable to damage from dust and allergens.

11. Make Your Mattress Firmer On One Side

Some people want their bed to be firmer, while their spouse or significant other would rather make the mattress softer. In cases like that, you may want to look at how to make a pillow top mattress firmer on just one side, allowing both of you to have your ideal level of comfort.

You can test some of these methods, but know that it may be difficult to make firmness adjustments to just one side of the bed.

12. Just Get A New Mattress

If you’ve tried other options and your mattress still isn’t firm enough, it may be time to just get a new mattress.

Helix Sleep makes mattresses specifically designed for sleep position, body weight, firmness preferences and other factors. You can take our sleep quiz to help you identify the best fit for yourself or you and your sleep partner. We also offer up to 0% mattress financing for 6-12 months or in four installments.

Adam Tishman
Adam is a co-founder and CEO of Helix Sleep

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