How to Make a Soft Mattress Firmer?

Romeo Vitelli
Romeo Vitelli
Expert Writer
Received his doctorate in Psychology in 1987, spent fifteen years as a staff psychologist in Millbrook Correctional Centre. In 2003 went into full-time private practice. read more
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Last updated: August 12, 2023
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Laying down on a new mattress feels like stretching out on a supportive, comfortable cloud. This feeling lasts for quite some time but eventually, you may notice that your mattress isn’t as firm as it used to be. Certain areas may start to sag, reducing your comfort level over time. The softer the mattress gets, the less support you’re going to have, so you may start thinking about buying a new one.

Luckily, there is an alternative. Instead of shelling out hundreds of dollars on a new mattress, it may be a good idea to look into methods on how to make a mattress firmer. There are a few options to choose from, depending on the type of mattress you’re using, as well as the quality of the bed frame, box spring, and even the accessories you use with it. This allows you to try out whichever option suits you best to get your mattress back to its former glory.

What makes a mattress soften/sag?

It won’t happen all at once but over time, your mattress will slowly lose its firmess, softening and sagging in the most used areas. You may think this is caused by something you’re doing wrong but this is a natural progression in a mattress’ lifetime. So, what causes a mattress to sag?

Well, this is the result of regular use. As time goes on, the foam in a mattress softens due to the nightly pressure of your body as you sleep. The softer the mattress gets, the more it will sag in those often used areas. That’s why couples notice sagging on each of the sides while the middle of the bed maintains it firmness for a bit longer.

Coil mattresses, on their own or as part of a hybrid, also sag due to a loss of tension in the metal coils. This reduces the support in those areas, which are likely the areas you need it most, like thenhip and shoulder areas.

The more your mattress sags, the more likely it is that you’ll feel some discomfort and pain, which will affect your sleep quality Trusted Source Changes in back pain, sleep quality, and perceived stress after introduction of new bedding systems This study compared sleep quality and stress-related symptoms between older beds (≥5 years) and new bedding systems. . There are ways to avoid these issues, though. Rather than immediately tossing your mattress after is starts to soften, you can learn how to make a sagging mattresss firmer. This will extend the life of your mattress while keeping you comfortable during the night and free of pain in the morning.

How to make your mattress firmer?

No matter what mattress you have, there are several different ways to increase the firmness. Some methods work better for some mattresses than others but you can try whichever option you like to create the proper support, keep your spine aligned, and reduce those morning aches and pains.

Change the bed frame

Your bed frame is designed to support your mattress, keeping it flat and firm during the night. Like mattresses, bed frames can slowly deteroiorate over time, wearing out and changing their shape. The wood of a bed frame can slowly sag in the middle from the consistent weight of sleeping bodies. This sagging creates a bow shape and could eventually break if not fixed or replaced.

There are also bed frames which have a pattern of cross beams with gaps between them. The mattress can sink between those gaps, which creates small sagging areas and can change the shape of the mattress. Metal frames also have this issue, which could lead to sagging mattresses. Changing the bed frame base can help maintain the proper mattress support so your mattress can do the same for you.

Change the box spring

Though they are a bit studier than an actual mattress, a box spring has similar features that wear out over time. A box spring is meant to support a mattress but if it starts to sag, the mattress will do the same. This makes your mattress feel softer than usual. Change it when needed to avoid this issue.

Get a firm mattress topper

Most people think that a mattress topper is only used to add softness to your mattress but many of them can be used to make a plush mattress firmer if needed. This depends on the type of mattress topper you buy. Many toppers are designed to offer more support and resistance instead of allowing you to sink into a soft, fluffy layer.

How to Make a Soft Mattress Firmer?

When choosing a mattress topper to make a pillowtop mattress firmer, or any other mattress type for that matter, look for ones made of materials like latex or memory foam. These materials are more responsive than some other types, so you get the proper support without buying an expensive new mattress.

Put a plywood board underneath

Another method to firm a sagging mattress is to place a plywood board beneath it. If the mattress is right on the bed frame, the board should go between them but if a box spring is used, it should be placed above the box spring and below the mattress. This will give you the best support possible since it is right beneath the piece you actually lay on.

As well as keeping the mattress rigid and straight, the plywood also has the benefit of protecting the mattress from dust and allergens, keeping it clean and healthy. There is a downside to this though, depending on the type of mattress you’re using. A plywood board will block airflow through a mattress. This could lead to mold growth, so this may not be the best option of you’re trying to make a foam mattress firmer since these mattresses need to breathe.

Flip and rotate the mattress

Another option for making a mattress firmer is to flip it now and then. This will help maintain the integrity of each mattress side, so they don’t wear as quickly and those sagging middles don’t form so soon. Not every mattress can be flipped, though, so you do need to check out what layers are included in the makeup of the mattress to be sure you can do this without affecting the quality of the mattress or your sleep.

There are also a variety of mattresses that come with different firmness levels on each side. The Flip Double Sided Hybrid is one of these, with a firm feel on one side and a medium feel on the other. This allows you to flip it as needed to give you varying support levels. You can add a Milliard Gel-Infused Mattress Topper as well to give you even more support and increase the lifespan of your mattess at the same time.

Rotating your mattress will help reduce the wear and tear from nightly use. You can do this every 3 to 6 months to be sure that you’re evenly distributing your weight over the mattress. This is a must for mattresses that can’t be flipped but should also be done on those that can to keep them looking and feeling their best for as long as possible.

Sleep on the floor

Not everyone has room for a huge bed frame, so they may be used to sleeping without one. Even if you have the room for one, those who want to maintain their mattresses integrity and firmness may want to consider getting rid of theirs. Placing your box spring and mattress right on the floor adds support to the base, which can prevent it from wearing out and keeps those sagging areas from forming too soon.

Keep your room cool

There are a few mattress types that are temperature sensitive, so if you want to know how to make a memory mattress firmer, one option is to adjust the thermostat in your bedroom. These types of mattresses can absorb heat from the air in your home as well as from your body. This heat can soften the mattress, decreasing the firmness and making it less supportive while you’re sleeping.

As well as adjusting your thermostat, you can also open a window on those cool days to circulate the air. If opening a window isn’t an option, placing a fan in your room can help lower the temperature and maintain the support level to make a Temperpedic mattress firmer and more comfortable throughout the night.

Benefits of sleeping on a firm mattress

Sleeping on a firm mattress may sound uncomfortable but there are benefits to these types of mattresses that other types may not be able to compete with. A firm mattress gives you the most amount of lumbar support, which keeps your spine straight and prevents back pain. Anyone who is already dealing with a back injury should stick to this type of mattress to give them the support they need to recover.

How to Make a Soft Mattress Firmer?

Firm mattresses also don’t compress the same way a soft mattress will. This supports your weight along the entire length of your body, relieving pressure on your lower back and preventing further injury or pain. They also do have a bit of softness to them to add comfort and keep you relaxed during the night.

Which mattresses are the firmest?

Mattresses are rated on a firmness scale, which is why many mattresses include a number as well as a rating. This scale is from 1 to 10, with extra soft mattresses at 1-2, medium mattresses at 4-5, and extra hard mattresses at 9-10. The extra hard mattresses are the firmest mattress options there are, though they are usually only used for therapeutic reasons. They have very little cushion to them, so are avoided by most people.

When choosing a mattress, consider your size and favorite sleeping position first. Soft mattresses are good for light or average people that sleep on their sides since they allow them to sink in a bit for the maximum comfort level. Medium-firm mattresses are great for everyone, while mattresses for heavy people or those who sleep on their backs should be firm.

No matter which one of these options you choose, it is best to maintain the right firmness in your mattress, adding a bit extra when needed to keep your body aligned as it is supposed to be in any position. This will ensure that you’re getting a good night’s sleep and waking up rested and refreshed.

Final thoughts

A supportive mattress won’t stay that way forever, no matter how you care for it. Mattresses deteriorate over time regardless of what you do. This doesn’t mean that you have to allow the softening and sagging of the mattress to affect your sleep. There are several different ways for you to adjust your sleeping area to increase the firmness and maintain the comfort while you’re sleeping.

These methods include replacing your bed frame or box spring, adding a plywood board, or moving your bed to the floor to keep it as supportive as possible. Flipping and rotating your mattress helps increase its lifespan and adding the proper topper can add more firmness when needed. Keeping your room cool by lowering the thermostat, opening a window, or turning on a fan are also great options, plus they keep you from overheating while you sleep. No matter which option you choose, you’ll get the firmness you want for a better night’s rest.


Changes in back pain, sleep quality, and perceived stress after introduction of new bedding systems
This study compared sleep quality and stress-related symptoms between older beds (≥5 years) and new bedding systems.
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