How to Make My Mattress Firmer and Reduce Back Pain

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How to make Mattress Firm: 10 help TIPs to try at home

Oct 14, 2021
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Do you feel like you are sinking when you’re on your bed? If your bed does not give you enough support and you wake up with all types of aches and back pains, a firmer bed might fix the problem. However, purchasing a new bed is costly, and you don't want to throw the entire mattress away.

These quick and easy tips will let you know how to make a mattress firmer for peaceful nights of sleep without having to spend thousands of dollars on a new mattress. We will discuss the importance of having the right firmness level, tips on how to make your bed firmer plus some other pro tips.

A firm mattress helps you sleep better and prevents back pains

A firm mattress helps you sleep better and prevents back pains Via: Amazon

Why You Need A Firm Bed

Losing sleep might be caused by stress, using electronic devices before bed, or having the wrong kind of mattress. A good, firm mattress is the basis of a relaxing night of sleep. There are a few reasons why you might need a firmer bed. It could be that the bed you just purchased is just soft to start with. Or, after using it for a while, your mattress starts to soften over time.

It might be because the box springs or bed frame doesn't give you enough support. All of these reasons can cause difficulties in sleeping and body aches. That's why you need a firmer bed, and we are here to provide a helpful guide on how to make a soft mattress firmer.

Let's read more to understand if having a firmer or softer mattress is more beneficial for you and why firmness level is crucial for a good night's sleep.

Firm Mattress vs. Soft Mattress

Firm mattresses can help keep your body in a straight, neutral posture

Firm mattresses can help keep your body in a straight, neutral posture

You will need a mattress that supports your body in a neutral posture, which means your spine should be in its standard shape when compared to the rest of your body, ie. neck, back, and heels all aligned. A great alignment lets your lungs take in more oxygen, boosting your circulation and alleviating joints.

You can sleep with no muscle pressure and even develop good posture over time. The wrong level of firmness might cause back pain and affect the quality of your sleep. Therefore, before you decide to purchase a new bed, a balanced level of firmness is vital.

The main difference between a firm and a soft mattress is the mattress’ construction and materials. Most mattress companies determine firmness using a one to ten scale: 6.5 is medium-firm, so anything above 6.5 is firmer, and less than 6.5 is softer.

The apparent difference between a firm and a soft mattress is the feeling when you put pressure on it. A firm mattress has a more stiff feeling when pressing, while a softer mattress will sink in more easily. The firmness level is more of a spectrum, and it depends on the person using the bed.

I used to own a level 5 firmness foam mattress. At first, it seemed to be a great purchase; the bed was comfortable and supportive. But after the first year, it started to sag and like a lot of people out there I wondered how to make my mattress firmer. That’s why we want to give you these helpful tips to make the bed firmer and improve your sleeping habits significantly. 

Before we get to those tips, let's talk about firmness level and why it is essential for your body posture and back problems. To find the best one, you need to look into other factors such as body weight, sleeper size, and subjective preferences.

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Why Firmness Level Is Important

Firmness is essential for people with back pains and back injuries

Firmness is essential for people with back pains and back injuries

Like we’ve mentioned earlier, having the right firmness level is key to a good night's sleep. Finding the right mattress depends on your weight, your preferred sleeping posture, and any back problems. For example, a memory foam layer mattress might be soft for a lightweight person, but it can feel firmer to a bigger sleeper.

A firm mattress is more suitable for back sleepers as they need more firmness, while side sleepers require a softer bed for a natural spine alignment. A great firmness level allows you to move around more easily while relaxing your muscles. That's why it is essential to know how to make a mattress firmer when it is too soft for you. Here are some benefits of a firm bed:

  • A firm bed is the best choice for people with back problems or recovering from a back injury.
  • It is excellent for people who sleep on their backs and stomachs.
  • It releases pressure on the lower back while providing lumbar support.
  • A firm bed won't compress easily when you lay on it, providing more support for back pain.
  • Firmer beds are generally more comfortable if you don't have back issues.
  • It provides more support and less stress on your muscles when sleeping
  • Your circulation is improved when sleeping on a firmer mattress
  • A firm mattress keeps your lower back from sinking
  • It distributes your body weight more evenly, which lessens any  pressure your muscles

The Right Firmness Level For You

The firmness level is subjective, and understanding how it might differ from one person's body type to another will help you find the right bed. We have mentioned that firm beds are ideal for back sleepers and stomach sleepers but not for side sleepers. Or that a heavy-weight person might benefit more from a firmer surface.

Let's find out which firmness level is suitable for different body types and sleeping positions. Please keep in mind that the "right" level of firmness is subjective, and it depends on your personal preferences and specific needs.

Lightweight Sleepers

Lightweight sleepers who weigh no heavier than 130 pounds will find a soft to medium soft mattress comfortable (level 1 to level 3). A soft-range bed might give them the preferred firmness level. When a lightweight sleeper lays on a firm mattress, they might feel the pressure near their joints. They need a softer surface that provides more compression to protect their body’s curves.

Average Weight Sleepers

A medium-soft to medium mattress is recommended for an average weight sleeper, basically someone who weighs anywhere from 130 to 230 pounds. If you are a side sleeper, you might consider a medium soft mattress (level 4). If you sleep on your back or stomach, a medium (level 5) might be the best choice.  

Plus-Size Sleepers

If you weigh 230 pounds or more, you probably will enjoy sleeping on a firm mattress (level 6 and above) that provides more support and less compression. The firmness supports your lower back, shoulders, and hips without sagging along with the weight.

Side Sleepers

While firm mattresses provide outstanding support for plus-size sleepers, side sleepers tend to prefer a softer mattress thanks to its pressure relief. As they lay on their side, there is more pressure on the shoulders and hips. The smoother surface helps align the normal spine curve and prevent back problems after waking up.

Back And Stomach Sleepers

Stomach sleepers benefit most from firm mattresses to keep their bodies aligned

Stomach sleepers benefit most from firm mattresses to keep their bodies aligned

Different from side sleepers, back and stomach sleepers might feel best on a firm mattress. Sinking into the bed too much can lead to poor spine and body alignment. That's why they need soft mattresses to relieve more pressure and keep everything straight.

Combo Sleepers

If you sleep in multiple positions, think about which way you prefer most: your side, back, or stomach. You should find the proper firmness level for that particular position and adjust the firmness level accordingly by learning our tips on how to make a bed more firm.

Different Types Of Mattresses

Finding the right mattress can be stressful with so many beds with different features available. This section will break down the popular types of mattresses, their firmness levels, and lifespans.

Innerspring Mattresses

Innerspring mattresses give significant back support

Innerspring mattresses give significant back support Via: Amazon

Spring mattresses are the primary type of mattress. A layer of coils is surrounded by other materials such as foam, fibers, or latex to support your body. If you sleep on your back or stomach, you will find the spring mattresses very comfortable as they offer significant back support. Their firmness level is from medium to firm, with a lifespan of five to eight years. There are budget options of innerspring mattresses available.

Firmness: Medium to Firm

Lifespan: 5 – 8 years

Pros

  • Great with back and stomach sleepers
  • Provide back support
  • Inexpensive options

Cons

  • Not great with people with back pain
  • Not suitable for heavier sleepers.
  • Wear out easily
     

Foam Mattresses

Foam mattresses can change its form to suit the user’s shape

Foam mattresses can change its form to suit the user’s shape

Foam mattresses are made from different foam materials that offer more softness than other types of mattresses. Many users reported that a memory foam mattress changed its form to fit their body's shape.

The foam mattresses let you spread your body pressure equally, encourage better blood circulation and support peaceful sleep. They offer soft to medium firmness and are better for side sleepers. Foam mattresses tend to last longer than the traditional innerspring option.

Firmness: Soft to Medium

Lifespan: 8 – 10  years

Pros

  • It molds to your body shape
  • More resilient than innerspring type
  • Great with side sleepers

Cons

  • Not enough support
  • Sleepers might feel they're sinking down
  • Expensive

Hybrid Mattresses

Hybrid mattresses have the combination of springs and foam materials

Hybrid mattresses have the combination of springs and foam materials

A hybrid mattress combines layers of springs and foam: they include layers of soft materials like foam or cotton with spring coil layers. They offer the "best of both worlds" feeling, providing support and comfort for a good night’s rest. You won't feel like "sinking", and the bed is generally quieter than the traditional spring options. Hybrid types have a longer lifespan than innerspring, from 8 to 10 years.

Firmness: Medium

Lifespan: 8 – 10  years

Pros

  • Softer than innerspring mattresses
  • More consistent support than foam alternatives
  • Quieter

Cons

  • They can be expensive

Pillow Top Mattresses

A pillowtop mattress gives extra support if your current mattress is too soft

A pillowtop mattress gives extra support if your current mattress is too soft Via: Amazon

Pillowtop mattresses offer an extra layer of cushion material on top of a spring, foam, or hybrid mattress. If you find your pillow top mattress too soft, there are ways to make it more supportive and firmer. Here's how to make a pillow top mattress firmer: first, you should remove the pillow top and the box spring.

The bed frame can be the reason why your bed isn't as firm as you wish. You can try placing the mattress on the floor or replace the pillow top with another one with a higher number of springs for a firmer feel.

Adjustable Bed Mattresses

If you would like to alter the mattress's head and foot for more comfort or sleeping preferences, there are adjustable mattresses available on the market. Please keep in mind that not every mattress is compatible with flexible bed frames.

Futon

A futon is great for saving space because they can transform from a bed to a couch

A futon is great for saving space because they can transform from a bed to a couch Via: Amazon

A futon is a mattress that can transform into a couch to save space. It is ideal for small rooms or if you love to have guests staying over in the living room. Futons are made of layers of material like wool, latex, or cotton. You will need to flip the futon at least once every two weeks for maintenance. They are generally thinner than other kinds of mattresses, but it's great to shop for 6 inches or higher mattresses for maximum comfort.

Pros

  • It can be used as a couch/guest bed
  • Inexpensive
  • Foldable, therefore, save space
  • Ideal for small homes

Cons

  • Uncomfortable compared to other types
  • Insufficient support
     

Waterbed Mattress

A waterbed mattress can relieve pressure and keep users warm at night.

A waterbed mattress can relieve pressure and keep users warm at night 

A waterbed mattress is filled with water. Back in the 1980s, you would have to fill the bed with a hose. Now there are fill tubes that help make the setup easier. Users prefer waterbeds since warm water can relieve pressure and is suitable for therapeutic purposes. Plus, it is an excellent way to keep warm during cold nights.

Pros

  • The warm, heated water can relieve pain
  • Therapeutic purposes

Cons

  • Hard to set up
  • Water can leak out
  • Heavy

Air Mattress

Air mattresses are great for short term solution and travel purposes

Air mattresses are great for short term solution and travel purposes

Air mattresses are popular because they’re lightweight and portable. It is a short-term solution for camping and travel purposes. One thing that we love about an air mattress is that you can adjust the firmness. This feature is excellent if you have guests coming because everyone has their sleeping preference. People who experience back pains will also enjoy this customized firmness because you can adjust it accordingly for pain relief.

Pros

  • Customized firmness
  • Great for guests and campers
  • Offer pain relief
  • No sagging over time

Cons

  • Pumps can be noisy and become faulty
  • It might take a while to set up
     

Tips On How To Make Mattress Firmer

Finding the right mattress can be a challenging task. You don't want to stick with a too firm or too soft bed, which can cause all sorts of sleeping problems. However, if getting a new mattress is not in your budget right now, these tips on how to make the mattress firmer might help. From taking advantage of some brands' trial period to renewing your box spring, we got a few helpful guidelines on how to make mattress firmer that can ensure you a good night's sleep.

Turn Or Flip Your Mattress

Flipping or turning your mattress can make your mattress firmer

Flipping or turning your mattress can make your mattress firmer

Some mattresses start to sag after a while, depending on the brands and types of mattresses. It could be a few months or a few years after buying. Sleeping on top of these mattresses can feel like getting "stuck" or "sinking" in your bed.

An easy solution is by rotating it to take turns sleeping in different areas of the bed. This tip prevents the bed from sagging since you will be placing pressure on different spots. If your mattress is flippable, you can flip it to the other surface. Since the other side of the bed isn't wearing out over time, it is usually firmer than the one you used.  

Plywood Board

Putting a board under the mattress can make the bed firmer

Putting a board under the mattress can make the bed firmer

Another way to make the mattress firmer is by putting a board under the mattress. With a plywood board, you will get an extra layer of support underneath your mattress. A plywood board helps prevent the bed from sagging and improves support at the end of the mattress.

So before you google: "my bed too soft how to fix " all you need is a piece of plywood board. The board provides strength and makes your bed feel firmer without having to do anything to the mattress itself. Please contact your mattress manufacturer to find out if your mattress is compatible with adding a plywood board. Some bed materials such as foam might need space to breathe at the bottom to prevent developing mold.

Trial Period

Some online mattress brands offer trial periods where you can test and try your new mattress before you decide to purchase it. Some companies give a trial that lasts from 90 to 100 days, but other brands like Nectar extend it to a year-long trial period. This offer is beneficial if you are new to mattress shopping and you are unsure which one will suit you best.

If you find your mattress too soft or uncomfortable, you can return it within the trial period.  Remember to check with the manufacturer if your mattress is within the trial period so you can exchange for a new one or a full refund. Some brands offer removal service free of charge and give the bed to a charity or send it through a recycling process.     

Renew Your Box Spring

Instead of replacing the whole mattress, you can try renewing your box spring. The coils of your box spring can wear down after using for an extended period, and they might lose their support. A worn-out box spring will give your bed a softer feel. By getting a new box spring, you can regain firm support and add height to your bed. 

It is a cheaper option for fixing your soft bed. It adds resilience and sufficient support that your bed needs without you having to run to the store and buy a new mattress. Simply by changing the base you will make your mattress feel firmer, and thereby guarantee a good night's rest.

Switch The Worn-Out Layers

Some brands have mattresses with several layers of materials inside a mattress cover. If you can replace a specific layer worn out during use, you don't have to purchase a new bed which can cost a lot of money. It is easier to switch the parts that are damaged and replace them with new ones.

You need to remove the mattress cover, check for any damaged layer, and replace them. Contact your manufacturer to see which layer is replaceable and get a new part from the same brand. Not all companies will offer to swap the removable layers, so check before deciding to remove any layers from your bed.

Install A Firm Mattress Topper

A mattress topper can give your bed a firmer feeling

A mattress topper can give your bed a firmer feeling

You might think that a mattress topper makes the bed softer, but some materials such as dense memory foam or latex topper can give your bed a firmer feeling. Most toppers are from 2 inches to 6 inches thick, which can make your bed thicker. Some people use a firm mattress topper for back pain to encourage healthy sleeping posture and spinal alignment.

Mattress toppers are a cheap and simple option to increase the firmness of your bed. There are many types of mattress toppers to increase endurance and support. We highly recommend getting memory foam toppers with various firmness levels to adjust to your specific needs.

Please check the brand guidelines to know which toppers make your bed firmer and which make it softer. For example, a mattress pad is generally thinner, and they help make the bed feel softer instead.

Our pick for the Best rated mattress topper: PlushBeds Natural Latex Topper

This mattress topper is best for users who look for firmness with all-natural materials. It is made from 100 percent natural latex. There are different firmness levels from soft to medium, medium-firm, and extra firm.

Plushbeds Latex topper provides a "floating" sensation, and it also spreads your body weight more evenly than other foam options. This latex topper is mite-resistant and odor-free, a great addition to your bedding settings.

Place Mattress On The Floor

Placing your mattress on the floor is an easy tip on how to make mattress firm

Placing your mattress on the floor is an easy tip on how to make mattress firm

Another easy tip that you can do without any tool is to place your mattress on the floor. Keep in mind that there are risks of dust and insects getting under your bed. The best way is to keep your floor clean and check for any bugs or mites in your house. Sleeping with your mattress on the floor might help with blood circulation, spine alignment and prevent muscle pain.

Sometimes, a worn-out bed frame makes your bed feel softer. Placing it on the floor helps with the firmness and adds more support without the cost of replacing your bed frame. Plus, sleeping on the ground might give you cooler air to help with body temperature rising in the middle of the night. 

Keep An Eye on Room Temperature

Some mattress materials such as memory foam or polyurethane foam can be affected by temperature changes in your room. They can quickly soak up the heat and get soft or become harder in a colder environment. For instance, the memory foam mattress can become solid if left in freezing rooms. To make your bed firmer, try changing the room temperature or opening a window.

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Dampness Level

Some mattresses can absorb the air moisture as well as the heat in your room. This feature can make your bed softer, and there are chances of bacteria developing too. If you happen to live in areas with a high humidity level, such as the beach, get your bed out to the sun to dry out for a day. This way, you will get the firmness level back and kill any germs, viruses, allergens, or mold inside the mattress.

Pro Tips

Trying to change where you sleep on the mattress can help prevent your bed from sagging. If you tend to sleep on the left side, maybe switch to the middle or the right side of the bed. Rotating your bed is an excellent option but changing where you sleep on the bed will maintain your bed's firmness.

The next pro tip is to get a bed sheet that is the same size as your mattress. The next step is to pull the bed sheet tight from side to side to create more pressure. This will help firm your bed up.

Time To Consider A New Mattress

Time to buy a new mattress if you have used the mattress for more than its lifespan

Time to buy a new mattress if you have used the mattress for more than its lifespan

If you tried everything above, but there is no improvement in sleeping quality, it is time to get a new mattress. Especially if you have been using the mattress for more than its lifespan (which is different for each type of mattress), the bed is no longer suitable for your body.

Conclusions

We hope that you enjoyed reading our how to make mattress firmer guide. If you find your bed too soft to sleep in, there are various tips to make it firmer that you can try at home. Every sleeper needs a bed with a balanced firmness and sufficient support for their body.

Let us know if any of the above tips work for you. Comment if you have any other suggestions that we forgot to mention and share this article with your friends and family.

 

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