Not firm enough. You don’t want your sleeping surface to end up like this, especially if it’s a brand new mattress. Chances are the trial period for your purchase is still ongoing. The brand that made the bed allows returns or exchanges. It’s just that you don’t want to initiate a return or exchange request yet. Maybe there’s another way?
There’s some good news. There are simple tips on how to make your mattress firmer. For one, your model may need only a few manual adjustments. You can rearrange the layers–a rare feature, but there are manufacturers that offer this. For another, you can add a firm item for support at the top or at the base. These options and more will be explored below.
All of these mean you don’t have to let go of your new mattress. We know you may have been attached to it because you researched hard before buying it. Further, for others, the mattress they have does not come in multiple firmness levels. Or the next firmness level may already be reserved for those recovering from certain conditions or pursuing a physically demanding lifestyle.
Table of Contents
- Why Firmness Is Important
- When Do You Need A Firmer Mattress?
- How to Make Your Mattress Firmer
Why Firmness Is Important
When we talk about firmness, we are referring to the feel of the mattress. This is determined by the conformity and support coming from the layers. In other words, a softer mattress will have more give and little support. A firmer one will have little give and more support. In between, there is a medium firmness that balances these two qualities.
Getting the right firmness is important because it affects spine alignment. It also yields support for your body size and sleeper type and relief for your pressure points. You probably encountered these benefits during your research. And these could be the reasons you went for your current mattress model. But if you want to jog your memory, you can check out our Mattress Firmness Guide before making changes.
After your quick review, you’re on track to turning around this “not firm enough” situation. At the same time, you want to be sure about this decision. Keep in mind that, if you’re still on sleep trial. you’re choosing the alternative to returning or exchanging your mattress. And if you’re no longer on it, the stakes are higher when it comes to picking the most appropriate solution to the issue.
When Do You Need A Firmer Mattress?
There are several cases in which a firmer mattress is necessary. One is if you snooze on your back. Some conformity from the comfort layer/s and pushback from the support layer/s should help you achieve comfortable sleep. If the firm version of your dream model does not match up to your expectations, create makeshift support instead.
You can do the same if you change your mind about the soft or medium-firm bed you just bought. It is important to not go for a higher firmness level right away and test the waters first. See if you are a stomach sleeper, a medium-firm mattress should work fine. If you sleep on your side, a plush feel can provide your curves with the hug they need.
Lastly, you can also add a sturdier and solid material to firm up an already-firm mattress. It could be that you need the extra support for your heavy or bulky frame, recovery from an injury or illness, or the demands of your active lifestyle. Switching up to Ultra Firm (8 to 10 on the firmness scale) may not be the smart thing to do.
How to Make Your Mattress Firmer
1. Flip the mattress.
This is limited to mattress models with flippable sides or those that use uniform materials, e.g. foam. Flipping the mattress is an old practice that evens out the wear of both sides. Thus, it preserves the bed’s life. At the same time, it makes for a great solution to the firmness problem. If the unused side is made of high-density foam, you can be sure it is firmer.
The downside here is that the comfort layer now becomes the support layer after flipping. Some comfort layers are made of memory foam or latex foam, with superior conformity and responsiveness, respectively. You may lose some of these benefits if you go with this option. But it is still worth a try. Also, this is most beneficial if your mattress has been broken in for at least 30 days.
Another kind of flipping
If you have a mattress with dual firmness levels, like Layla, you can just flip to the firm side if the soft side doesn’t suit you. Such models are designed to give you customization options even if you are only spending on a single mattress.
2. Rearrange the layers of the mattress.
This is applicable to mattresses with customizable layers. Very few companies offer this feature. But if your model has it, there are two main ways to rearrange the layers. First, check if your manufacturer will let you return the mattress so they can adjust its firmness. You may have to shell out money for the shipping and customization services. But they will rearrange or replace some layers of your mattress.
The other method involves rearranging the layers yourself. This means the mattress comes with layers that you can arrange based on your needs and preferences. If the surface turns out soft, you can rearrange the layers to make it firmer. Usually, the manufacturer will guide you in making the right configuration. You are only asked to follow the specifications to achieve optimal comfort.
If your mattress has materials that are not designed to be rearranged, don’t try deconstructing and experimenting with it. You won’t have the tools to put it back. Better check out the rest of the solutions shared here.
3. Replace the layers.
If your mattress has endured a significant amount of everyday wear, the layers may not be as good as they used to be. They can feel saggy and worn-out. And instead of being lifted and supported, your body may now be falling all the way to the bottom. You can take it as a sign to replace your current mattress.
But if it hasn’t reached 5 years, it would be a waste to throw it away just like that. Check if your manufacturer provides a service similar to the one above. Ask if they’re replacing old bed materials and fixing the layers to deliver the right firmness. Going straight to the seller is imperative because it’s often just them who have the materials and know-how to put them together.
4. Find a solid platform.
If you are replacing your bed foundation or on the hunt for one, this is a welcome alternative. Consider using a platform bed. This type of foundation or bed frame is preferred by people who want a minimalist bedroom design. But if you’re asking how to make a soft bed firmer, your answer can be found in a stable and solid base. This low-profile foundation reinforces the support coming from the mattress layers.
If you already have a bed frame or foundation, see if you can add a box spring to the dynamic. The box spring works together with the mattress to support sleepers while they snooze. It is also good to pair with all-foam types. However, it is not advisable to use it on top of a platform. The former elevates while the latter keeps it low. But both work to reinforce mattress support.
5. Place plywood under the mattress.
This is one of the most affordable solutions presented in this guide. You can buy or upcycle a piece of plywood by placing it under the mattress. This is like the lower-cost version of the platform or box spring. Just make sure the material fits the foundation to ensure that the mattress is supported. Measure the base, especially if it has border panels that keep the mattress “cradled”.
Before you do this, check what your manufacturer says about putting plywood underneath the mattress. Unlike platforms that can have slats and box springs that can be breathable, plywood will not let air circulate. Many mattress models require proper ventilation to sustain their maximum performance. You may call your manufacturer or do online research to be sure. While effective, plywood may affect the mattress negatively in the long run.
6. Use a mattress topper.
Here is a safer, faster, and more affordable solution for those who need to act now. A mattress topper is made specifically to adjust your comfort level. You can add a firm version to bump up the firmness of your sleeping surface. Likewise, it can also make mattresses plusher if the sleeper prefers this instead. But since we’re talking about how to make a mattress firmer, get something firm.
Mattress toppers are very common. So, be vigilant when shopping for one. They can contain memory foam or latex foam, just as most mattress comfort layers. But not all of them are high-quality and fit for the job. Read the description well before clicking the Buy button. You will need resistance to achieve a firmer bed, to begin with.
7. Keep room temperature at an optimal level.
You probably know that a memory foam mattress can sleep warm (it used to be hot) so a cooler room can help alleviate the situation. But there is one more reason to watch the thermostat. How to make a memory foam mattress firmer? Make sure there is a low temperature in your sleeping area. Too much heat can make memory foam shrink and deteriorate faster.
You are not only prolonging the life of the mattress. You also stand to benefit from this practice. First, you can keep the space you are sleeping on firm and intact. Second, you are also setting up the condition for your body to stay cool while you drift off. This is one of the easiest and most convenient solutions you can try if you think your mattress has gone soft.
8. Transfer your mattress to the floor.
There are certain benefits to your spine alignment, back conditions, and overall sleep that come from sleeping on the floor. If there aren’t any, why would the Koreans and Japanese continue doing it, right? While we are not suggesting you sleep on the floor tatami style, you can do something similar. Place your soft mattress on the floor.
The pushback coming from it can make up for the support your mattress is lacking. Of course, this is not applicable to all situations. Living in an apartment or condo is conducive to this setup. It is super easy and convenient to do. The best thing about it is that it’s free! One potential downside here, though, is that it can also be conducive to dust, dust mites, and bugs.
9. Place the mattress under the sun.
What does this tip have to do with our topic? Well, you want to know how to make a mattress firmer? This is one of the free and simple tricks you can do to maintain the internal structure of your mattress. And it has to do with killing off the bacteria and bugs residing inside your bed. These pesky creatures eat away at the cells making up the top layers.
This can leave the structure compromised. Just imagine what termites do to buildings. Molds and mildew, bed bugs, and dust mites can do this to your mattress. As a result, the mattress will shrink, sag, and soften. To prevent this, take it out for a sunbathing session every 3 months. You can schedule this alongside your spring cleaning, mattress flipping, or mattress rotation.
It may not be effective as professional cleaning, but it can help you get rid of a potential cause for the problem.
There you have it: 9 actionable tips on how to make a mattress firmer. Some are free and easy to do. Others are also simple but require more steps to complete (e.g. returning a mattress for layer repair/replacement). Overall, they can be done instead of buying a new mattress of different firmness. The trick is to choose the most appropriate solution for your case.
Meanwhile, we are not dismissing the fact that you can take advantage of your trial period instead. If you can have your mattress returned to the manufacturer without risk and with little to no cost, try that! But know that you will have to buy the perfect mattress the next time. Otherwise, it can be a vicious cycle of testing out mattresses.
That said, we leave the decision-making to you. We trust that you will make a smart choice. This is for your comfort and sleeps quality. So take your time. Sleep on it if you can. Or start experimenting on the tips shared in this guide. You don’t want to be stuck with a soft mattress for long.