Do you ever wake up with a sore back, hip pain, or a stiff spine? Don’t blame this on old age just yet—it’s most likely your mattress. While we as a society often overlook back pain because it can be caused by so many different things, waking up with back pain is a major sign that it has something to do with your mattress, especially if you notice the pain or stiffness fades over the course of the day.
Our first recommendation is to look for sagging spots in your mattress. A sagging mattress causes spinal pain or stiffness because it throws your spine out of proper alignment. Remember, we spend a third (give or take) of our 24-hour day sleeping. That’s six to nine hours that your spine could be laying out of whack, which can affect blood flow and your muscles.
To check if your mattress has sagging areas, try laying something flat like a yardstick across the top surface of your bed and look for gaps underneath. Common areas are usually where heavy spots of the body, like the head, hips, and shoulders, lay. Also run your hand over your mattress and feel around for areas that are lumpy, hard, or where there may be areas where your springs feel different or are poking through. If you feel any of these, you either need to fix the mattress or get a new one.
If your memory foam mattress is sagging, first try rotating the bed 180 degrees or flip it if it’s a double-sided mattress. This will make it so that your body applies pressure in different areas. This can sometimes even out the foam by redistributing weight.
If that doesn’t work for you, consider a memory foam mattress topper. A thick topper can help to fill in slight indents, and also doesn’t change the feel of your mattress. There are tons of memory foam toppers available in different thicknesses and they come with different features like cooling, pressure relieving, or even scented.
Most of the time with pillow top mattresses like Avocado for example, they can’t be flipped, so the only answer is to rotate the bed. The same idea applies; your weight will be redistributed and can hopefully even out the pillow top.
If that doesn’t work, try sliding a 1” thick wooden board between your mattress and box spring or bed frame where it’s sagging. The board will act as an additional layer of support, which will hopefully even out the bed and help to reduce the sagging. Keep in mind that it can possibly make your mattress feel firmer, though.
You could also try checking your bed’s box spring to see if it has any broken or weak spots. A bad box spring can’t support a mattress properly, which can lead to sagging. You can test your box spring by simply pushing your hands on it, or you could even grab your small children and have them walking around on it a bit.
If your mattress has a slight sag, or you notice it might need more support in a certain area, in some cases you can fix it with plywood. Just place the plywood between your mattress and your box spring, in the area where you need the fix. If you don’t have a box spring and rest your bed on your bed frame, you might need to double up on the plywood to make sure it remains straight and sturdy. Plywood won’t completely fix the issue but it should at least help.
If you just want a little more support from your mattress overall, cut your plywood so that it’s the same dimensions of your mattress, and then place the plywood under the entirety of your bed.
Unfortunately, the solutions above are temporary solutions. They are not going to fix your mattress completely. The only thing that will truly fix your mattress problem is getting a new mattress. Here are some hard and fast rules for when you’re way overdue to get a new mattress:
If you have decided you need a new mattress, check out our list of the Best Bed-In-A-Box Mattresses available online.
In our experience (and we’ve tested well over 100 beds in all categories), hybrid and coil mattresses are the sturdiest beds and tend to hold up better over time, meaning less sagging or permanent indentations. One mattress that is particularly noteworthy is the Saatva mattress. This mattress actually uses dual layers of coils believe it or not. It has a innerspring support system on the bottom and individually wrapped coils in the middle for maximum support.
If you’re looking for an extra durable mattress, Saatva is definitely a good option. Alternatively, you might also want to check out our list of Best Hybrid Mattresses for some other options that won’t sag on you.