11 Ways to Make a Mattress Firmer

Written by: Andjela Kastratovic
Updated: 06/22/2023

You’re ready to sleep. You get in your bed and toss and turn. It feels like your body is sinking too much into the mattress. You have back pain when you wake up. 

There’s one thing you might need to fix this problem – a firmer mattress. 

But you don’t want to buy a whole new mattress. Aren’t there other things you could do? Yes. This is how to make a mattress firmer.

How to Make Your Mattress Firmer

When it comes to making your mattress firmer, there are a couple of things you could try right now. 

Mattress Topper

Using a mattress topper is an excellent way to make your mattress feel more firm!

You need to put it under the bedding on top of your mattress. An added 2 to 6 inches of material can help your bed feel firmer. 

Also, there are plenty of options to choose from. Consider dense memory foam or latex mattress toppers to make your soft mattress firmer and more supportive.

Natural latex, derived from rubber tree sap, offers firmness and pressure relief but can get expensive. Meanwhile, synthetic latex is a more budget-friendly option, but it tends to be softer. 

However, know that a mattress topper can make a sagging mattress firmer, but it can’t fix terrible support layers. That’s a whole other construction issue. 

And what about getting a mattress pad instead of a mattress topper? Mattress pads can make a bed more comfortable, but they’re generally thinner than mattress toppers and can’t make the bed firmer. 

Rotate or Flip Your Mattress

You don’t have to invest in mattress pads or toppers! Sometimes a simple rotation or flip can make a mattress firmer! 

However, not all mattresses are made to be flipped or even rotated. For example, two-sided models can be flipped, but a lot of modern mattresses are designed to be non-flippable. 

So make sure to check the mattress instructions before you start flipping your all foam mattress. You don’t want to void your warranty! 

If your mattress can be flipped or rotated, you should do it every couple of months. This way, you can redistribute the weight, keep the filling even, help your mattress stay firm, and even make it last longer. 

Room Temperature

Did you know that you can use temperature control to make a mattress firmer or softer? 

Lower temperatures make materials like memory foam and polyurethane foam firmer and more supportive, while higher temperatures make them softer. 

However, when warmer temperatures soften your memory foam mattress, they can also reduce support. Adjusting your room temperature can improve the feel of your memory foam mattress, even if the difference is slight. 

Try lowering your bedroom temperature by opening the window or turning the AC on to try to get a firmer sleep surface.

Place Your Mattress on the Floor

Putting your mattress on the floor is quick, affordable, and down-to-earth.  

A floor is sturdy and provides consistent support.

But is it okay to place your mattress on the floor? There are two major drawbacks. 

  • No air circulation under your mattress makes it hot, even though it looks cool. Bed frames really help! Also, don’t forget to put a thin rug underneath. To air it out, occasionally prop the mattress against the wall. You can use that time to clean up under the bed as well. 
  • There’s also the problem of lower height. Because of this, older people or those with limited mobility shouldn’t place their mattresses on the floor just to make their bed firmer. 

Check and Replace Box Spring or Foundation

If your mattress feels too soft, check your box spring or bed frame. Over time, box springs can lose strength and provide less support, resulting in a softer mattress.

Replacing a box spring or getting a new bed frame is usually more affordable than buying a brand new mattress and can help firm up your bed.

Try a new box spring, slatted base frame, or platform bed to make your mattress feel a bit firmer.

Look for a bed frame with a firm edge or a box spring with a solid top for added firmness. A rigid wooden sided frame is a great choice.

The best foundation is mattress-specific. If you don’t want to void the warranty, make sure to check the instructions to figure out which foundation is best for your mattress. 

Add a Plywood Board or Bunkie Board

If you want to make your mattress firmer, add a plywood board or a bunkie board between the bed and the foundation. 

Placing plywood support between your box spring or bed frame and the mattress provides an extra layer of support, maintaining a firmer feel.

Adding a bunkie board, a solid or slatted piece 1 to 3 inches thick between the mattress and its base, adds support without raising the bed. 

However, solid bunkie boards can reduce airflow, which could make sleeping a bit warmer. 

Air It Out

Want to make your mattress firmer? You should try airing it out.

Moisture, especially in foam mattresses, can lead to mold, mildew, and premature sagging. To prevent this, find a dry and clean spot in the sun and air out your mattress once or twice a year. 

Airing out a mattress and leaving it to sit in the sun for a while also helps eliminate bacteria, mold, and germs. If you can’t take it outside, open your windows and let the sun hit the mattress. 

However, if your mattress is already moldy and sagging, it’s best to get a new one. 

Keep Your Bedding Flat

If you need a quick way to make your mattress feel firmer, you could use the power of adequately fitted sheets. 

Pull your bedding tight to the corners of your mattress. Applying pressure boosts support. 

Take a few moments each morning to ensure your sheets are tautly stretched across the mattress. This simple step helps maintain a firm surface throughout the day.

Also, choose sheets that are the correct size for your mattress. Ill-fitting and rumpled sheets can be uncomfortable and even make your bed softer. 

Replace Damaged Layers

Do you need to make your memory foam mattress firmer but have no idea how to do it? Good news! On some mattresses, you can replace damaged or worn-out layers!

If your mattress has a zippered casing, you can easily replace the top layer if it has softened or if you desire more firmness. Many manufacturers offer replacement layers and provide detailed instructions. You could even fix a whole sagging mattress by replacing the support layers!You can also replace mattress layers with multiple joined layers instead of buying a new mattress. Contact the manufacturer to see whether they sell those layers, and check the mattress warranty while you’re at it!

Trial Period

Did you know that many online mattress brands offer sleep trials?

It’s the best way to ensure your new mattress fits you perfectly. Trial periods range from three months to a year, giving you plenty of time to decide whether you like it. 

If your mattress is too soft and you prefer something firmer, check if your bed includes a sleep trial. You can exchange it for a firmer option if you’re still in the trial period. 

Visit the manufacturer’s website for more information on their trial period policy.

New Mattress

Did any of the above methods make your mattress firm? If not, it might be time for a new bed. 

Remember, the firmness of your mattress is crucial for your spinal health and overall comfort. If your bed is way past its life expectancy and falling apart, you need to replace it. 

Do the research and invest in a new firm mattress that’ll give you the comfort you need. 

Why Mattress Firmness Is Important

Firmness levels are usually shown on a scale from 1 to 10, from extra soft to extra hard. According to data, 47% of sleepers prefer medium-firm mattresses, but that might not be the case for you. 

Sleeping well and feeling great depend on your mattress’s firmness level. Finding the right balance for your body and preferences is key. After all, we spend a significant chunk of our lives in bed!

If your mattress feels too firm or soft for your liking, don’t worry! There are ways to make it just right. 

How to Choose the Perfect Mattress Firmness

But how do you find the perfect firmness? How do you know how much material you should let your body sink into, and is it all subjective? 

Well, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind. 

Sleeping Position

Depending on your sleep style, selecting the right mattress firmness is essential for a good night’s rest. Let’s break it down:

  • Back Sleepers: Choose a medium-firm to firm mattress. A too soft mattress will let the hips of back sleepers sink in too much, while firm ones keep their spines aligned and give a supportive feel.
  • Side Sleepers: Medium-soft mattresses with a solid support layer are best for side sleepers. These mattresses relieve hip and shoulder pressure while aligning your spine. Side sleepers should look for memory foam mattresses.
  • Stomach sleepers: A medium-firm bed or even a firmer model might be best for stomach sleepers. The firmness maintains spine alignment and reduces strain by preventing midsection sinkage. 
  • Combination Sleepers: Focus on your most comfortable sleeping position and select a mattress with the right firmness. Also, combination sleepers should consider a hybrid mattress with a medium firmness level that can be customized with mattress toppers or plywood.

Body Weight

Your body weight determines the ideal mattress firmness. 

Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Lightweight sleepers (under 130 pounds): since they don’t put much weight on the bed, a soft or medium-soft mattress is usually the best choice. It gives them firmness and support, but they still feel comfortable. 
  • Average weight sleepers (between 130 and 230 pounds): We recommend a medium or medium-firm mattress for this weight category. This mattress’s firmness level gives them comfort and support and doesn’t let their bodies sink in too much. 
  • Heavy-weight sleepers (over 230 pounds): a firm mattress is generally the best option for heavier sleepers. The firmness won’t let their body sink, so they won’t feel like they’re stuck in the mattress, and it gives more support. Heavy-weight sleepers can add a hard foam topper to make a mattress firmer.

Why Would You Need a Firmer Bed?

There are many reasons you might want to make a mattress firmer:

  • Your preferences changed (you always had a soft mattress but now you want a firmer one).
  • Your mattress lost firmness over time.
  • You have back pain
  • You need to find a solution that fits both your and your partner’s preferences

A firmer mattress has great health benefits. It improves posture and spine alignment for better sleep. It’s one of the best choices for stomach, back, and heavy-weight sleepers. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Firm Mattress Better for Your Back?

Definitely! Firm mattresses can provide excellent back support and even relieve pressure. Most orthopedic mattresses are firmer. 

However, it’s best to chat with a healthcare professional when it comes to back pain. A firmer mattress might not always be the correct answer!

Who Is a Firm Mattress Best For?

A firm mattress is an excellent choice for people who need more support or prefer a firmer sleeping surface. Back, stomach, and heavy-weight sleepers usually love to sleep on a good, firm bed. 

So if you prefer to avoid sinking into the mattress, look no further! 

Do Firm Mattress Toppers Work?

Yes. You can go for a firm mattress topper if it is too soft or starting to sag. Just keep one thing in mind – while mattress toppers can improve comfort, they can’t fix deteriorating support layers. 

Final Thoughts

What’s your take? Is it enough to add a firm mattress topper, a plywood board, or change the room temperature to make your mattress firmer? Or will you need a new mattress?

Good luck!

Reviews written by:

Andjela Kastratovic - Co-editor

Anđela is a content writer by the day and an Illustrator by night. She loves anything creative, but sleep takes the cake – that’s why she enjoys writing for Anatomy of Sleep so much!

While in high school, she got accepted for her dream job – a ‘professional sleeper’. Her job was to test new mattresses from a local mattress brand and write reports on the quality of sleep. Ever since then, she’s been in love with reviewing mattresses and putting her compelling research into ultimate buyer’s guides. While not exploring the latest brands, she likes to illustrate and spend time with her dog and friends.