Before we begin, let’s first firm a few things up (get it). All jokes aside, this post is designed to be a helpful guide for you to lear how to make a mattress firmer. Let’s get to it.

Why You Might Need A Firm Bed

There are many reasons why you might need a firmer mattress. Your bed may have simply arrived a little softer than expected. Also, some mattresses tend to get softer with time, as you break them in. If you have a back injury or some back pain, your doctor may have recommended that you sleep on a firmer surface. Or maybe your partner moved in, and they need a firmer mattress. Whatever it is, we’re here to help.

Let’s first go over some reasons why having a firmer versus a softer bed can be so important, and then we’ll talk about some options for making your mattress firmer.

Why Firmness Level Is Important

purple mattress review firmness
The Slumber Yard creates a mattress firmness graphic for each mattress we review

The firmness level in a mattress plays an important factor in your sleep, health, and overall well-being. Depending on your weight, how you prefer to sleep, and whether or not you have any back issues, it’s necessary to get a mattress that can support your needs when sleeping. Because we spend eight hours a night sleeping, which translates to a third of our lives, we need to have a mattress that has the right level of firmness for our bodies. 

If a mattress is too firm for soft for your specific sleeper position, you could have a lot of pain in your back and spine. Finding a mattress that can support your weight and the position you like to sleep in is important. For instance, side sleepers need a less firm mattress that can align to their curves and spine when sleeping, while back sleepers may need more firmness. We’ll explore how to make your mattress firmer if it is too soft.

Options To Make a Mattress Firmer

Before running out and getting a new mattress, there are many strategies you can implement if you’re wondering how to make your mattress firmer. Unfortunately, a mattress may not always end up feeling as firm as it was the day you tried it out in the store. 

These options can help get your mattress to the firmness and comfort level you need it to be at. From taking advantage of the trial period to using a plywood board beneath your mattress, a few tweaks can ensure you’re sleeping comfortably.

Trial period. Many online mattress brands have trial periods, so that you can really get to know your new mattress before you commit. Most companies offer a 100-night trial period, but others, like Nectar for example, have year-long trial periods.

how make a mattress firmer

Check to see if your mattress is still within its trial period, because you might be able to return the bed for a full refund, and most of the time the company will come remove the mattress for you, also free of charge. You could also try contacting the company and see if they can help you. Novosbed will even send you a Comfort+ Kit, which is a free foam topper, if you feel the firmness of the bed isn’t quite right for you.

Try placing your mattress on the floor. If that makes it feel firm enough for you, you could either go for a cool college kid vibe and leave it there, or you can try slipping some plywood boards between your mattress and the bed frame. This will add some extra firm support and possibly harden your mattress.

Check your box spring. Box springs can wear out with prolonged use. When they lose their strength, they provide less support for your mattress than they should, which in turn may make your mattress feel softer. Replacing a box spring is usually much less pricey than replacing a mattress, and can help to harden up your bed.

how to make a mattress firmer box spring

Replace the worn out layers. More and more companies are manufacturing their mattresses with different layers of material, so it’s easy to switch out the ones that are more damaged. This is also a more affordable way to make your mattress firmer. Just make sure your mattress has a removable mattress cover.

how to make a mattress firmer

Dampness. Your bed can become soft from absorbing moisture from the air. This is common in humid areas or if you live close to the beach. If you think this might be the problem, just take your bed and lay it in the sun, and let it dry out for the day. This should not only firm up your mattress, but the sun should also kill off any bacteria, mold, and germs that may have occurred from the dampness. If you’re super worried about a contaminated mattress, you can also pay for a professional cleaning, but make sure to try this first.

how to make a mattress firmer dampness

Mattress topper. I know, you’re probably thinking, aren’t mattress toppers supposed to make beds softer? But there are tons of great mattress toppers you can find on Amazon that will make your bed firmer.

how to make a mattress firmer mattress topper

We suggest a dense memory foam or a latex one. Latex is a natural foam material made from the sap of rubber trees, and it’s known to be pretty firm and responsive. They have synthetic latex options, as well, which are usually cheaper. Toppers are usually around 2”-6” thick, so they can make your bed decently thicker, or just a little bit thicker, if that’s what you prefer. Also, mattress pads tend to be thinner and make mattresses softer, so look specifically for a topper.

Consider your room temperature. Some materials, like 100% memory foam or airy polyurethane foam, can be temperature sensitive. If you leave them in a cold room they We’ve even heard of pure memory foam freezing solid if left in a super cold climate! Try adjusting your thermostat in your bedroom to a lower temperature, or even leave a window open and get the fan going and see if that firms up your bed a bit. Likewise, a warmer temperature might make your bed softer.

Rotate or flip your mattress. Sometimes simply rotating your bed so that the heavier parts of your body lay in different spots can help. We always recommend that, no matter what kind of mattress you have, you rotate it seasonally to help prevent sagging or impressions.

how to make a mattress firmer flip mattress

If your bed is two-sided, you can also try flipping it to make it firmer. Just double check first that it’s a flippable mattress. Some beds, like the Plank for example, come with two different firmness levels on each side. If there aren’t different firmness levels, the unused side will still often be firmer.

Plywood board. One way to make a mattress firmer is to place a piece of plywood board between the box spring or bed frame and the mattress. This offers another layer of support beneath your mattress and prevents it from sinking down.

If all else fails, get a new mattress. As we explained above, the firmness of your bed is very important for your spinal health, and to prevent against body aches and stiffness. This is especially true for strict back or stomach sleepers. Also, having a worn out bed that’s been around too long is just not great for your body. If you’ve had your bed for over 10 years and it’s much softer than when you first got it, it might be time for a new mattress anyway. You can check out our list of Best Firm Beds or Best Beds for Back Sleepers if you want some help figuring out which bed might be best for you.

What is the Right Firmness For You

Side Sleepers

Side sleepers should have a mattress that’s more soft than it is firm. The softer mattress will align to the curves of the body better so that you won’t wake up with a stiff back or create back problems that will persist later on in life. 

Back And Stomach Sleepers

Back and stomach sleepers would benefit from a firmer mattress. A softer mattress can lead the hips and pelvis to sink in too much, which can result in poor alignment and ultimately, discomfort. A firmer mattress will help keep everything straight while sleeping in these positions.

Combo Sleepers 

For those who tend to sleep on their side, back, and stomach, then you’re probably wondering what type of mattress is best for you. In this case, think about what position you prefer to sleep in most, or which one is most comfortable. Whatever that position is, you should get the mattress with a firmness level that’s ideal for that specific position. Otherwise, you can explore using a hybrid mattress, or consider getting a mattress that’s somewhere in the middle so you can adjust with mattress toppers and/or plywood as you see fit.

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How can I make my memory foam mattress firmer?In order to make your mattress firmer, you can try a few things, like getting a firmer mattress topper, flipping your mattress (if it’s flippable), or placing plywood between the mattress and the bed frame/box spring.
Can a mattress topper make a mattress firmer?While a mattress topper won’t make the mattress itself firmer, it will help you feel that the bed as a whole is more firm. Using the right mattress topper is a great way to get your bed to the comfort level you desire.
How do I know if I need a firmer mattress?If you are a back or stomach sleeper a firmer mattress should be more comfortable because it’ll keep your spine aligned. Your doctor can also recommend a firmer mattress if you have a back injury or pain. Studies suggest that firmer bedding can reduce back pain, improve sleep quality, and decrease overall stress.