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 firm up your existing mattress. Let’s get to it.
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.
When we talk about firmness here at the Slumber Yard, know that we are doing so in a relative manner, as firmness is a term that is relative to weight. Basically, the less you weigh, the more you lay on top of a mattress, sofa, or any other surface for that matter. When you’re laying more on top of a surface, instead of sinking down in it, it will feel firmer to you. Because of this, petite people might find more mattresses feel firm to them.
On the opposite end of spectrum, the more you weigh, the more you sink into a mattress or other surface. Because you’re sinking down into the material more, the surface will feel softer. Heavier people might find more mattresses feel softer to them, and may have a more difficult time finding a firm enough bed. In some cases, though, we have found that heavier people will sink right through the comfort layers of a mattress and will settle more on the poly foam or coil base layers, which actually make the bed feel firmer. This isn’t good for your spine though.
RELATED: Best Firm Mattresses List
Your sleeper type is also important when considering the firmness level you need in your mattress. Side sleepers tend to need a softer mattress that will accommodate their curves, instead of fighting against them and possibly limiting blood flow. Back and stomach sleepers will need a firmer mattress that will keep their spine in proper alignment while they sleep. Back and stomach sleepers shouldn’t have their hips or shoulders sinking into the bed too much, as this will cause the spine to be in an arched position, which can lead to back aches or other problems.
Having a firm bed can also be better for your health. Remember, you sleep on your mattress for (hopefully) eight hours every night. Over the course of a lifetime, that’s a third of your life spent sleeping. Keeping the spine in proper alignment, whether sleeping on your back or on your side, is very important for the overall health of your body. This study even explores the concept that firmer bedding can reduce back pain, improve sleep quality, and decrease overall stress.
Keep all this in mind as we explore the different options you have when it comes to making your mattress more firm.
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. 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.
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.
Mattress topper. I know, you’re probably thinking, aren’t mattress toppers suppose to make beds softer? But there are tons of great mattress toppers you can find on Amazon that will make your bed harder. We suggest a dense memory foam or a latex one. Latex is a natural foam material made from the sap of rubber trees, and its 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. 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 against sagging or impressions. 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.
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. 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.
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