What to Do When Your Mattress Is Too Soft

Finding ways to make mattresses softer is simple. But what if you want a firmer mattress? Learn what to do when your mattress is too soft.

By Nicole Gleichmann

You spend 1/3 of your life sleeping in your bed. These hours do more than just determine how comfortable you are at night; they can influence how you feel every minute of every day. Learn how to make your soft mattress firmer to improve your sleep and overall quality of life.

What to Do When Your New Mattress Is Too Soft

Too soft of a mattress is a problem most common with stomach sleepers. To keep the spine in proper alignment, firm support is needed. Stomach sleepers rarely experience this because they require extra give for their hips and shoulders to sink in.

Proper spine alignment is critical for good sleep, allowing you to wake up feeling refreshed. If your new mattress is uncomfortably soft, first see if you can exchange or return it for one that better fits your needs.

But, if your mattress just needs a little tweaking, or if you have no option but to keep it around, there are a few tricks that you can employ to boost mattress firmness.

Tips #1: Use a Firm Foundation

Box springs, as their name implies, are springy. If you’re using a box spring, you can you’re your mattress feel firmer by using a more solid foundation. Try

  1. Laying Your Mattress on the Floor: The floor is a firm, sturdy surface for a mattress. You can also use the floor to see if a sturdier foundation would help you sleep better, or keep your mattress there permanently.
  2. Using a Slatted Foundation: Slatted wood or metal foundations can be used with most mattresses to provide a less bouncy surface.
  3. Placing Plywood Boards Underneath the Mattress: Insert a sheet of plywood the same size as the mattress between the mattress and the box spring or slatted foundation.

Tips #2: Add a Mattress Topper

While most people envision a plush layer made to soften your mattress, there are mattress toppers that add firmness. Latex foam toppers 2” or thicker are our favorite option, but some memory or polyurethane foam toppers can do the trick. Look for one that’s designed to feel firm and supportive.

Tips #3: Drop the Thermostat

Memory foam mattresses respond to room temperature. The cooler the surroundings, the firmer the mattress. Turn down your thermostat a few degrees for a firmer feeling mattress.

Other Things to Note

To help keep your mattress in tip-top shape for years to come, and to ensure that it stays covered under warranty, there are a few maintenance tips you should know.

  1. Rotate and Flip Your Mattress: You want to do your best to not sleep on the same part of your mattress every night as this can lead to localized sagging. The easiest way to do that is to rotate or flip your mattress on a regular schedule. Try to rotate every three months and flip it every six months (if your mattress can be flipped).
  2. Know Your Warranty: Using the right foundation can extend the life of your mattress, but using the wrong one can void your warranty. Read about your mattress to learn what’s recommended.
  3. Use a Waterproof Cover or Mattress Pad: Waterproof mattress covers or pads help to protect your mattress from damage.

What to Do When Your Old Mattress Is Too Soft

The longer you have a mattress, the softer it’s bound to become. This is particularly noticeable with memory foam and innerspring mattresses.

With a memory foam mattress, you might first notice some softening in the first few months following use. This happens as the memory foam gently breaks in. But more problematic is the increased give that can come following 5 or more years of use as the comfort layers break down.

As for spring mattresses, “softness” that comes from age is often a lack of support caused by the springs losing their spring-back.

Here’s what you can do to make your old mattress more comfortable.

Step #1: Check the Warranty

The first thing to ask yourself is whether or not you have a warranty that might cover the sag or loss of support. Not every mattress will come with a quality warranty, and those that do only cover severe sagging.

Step #2: Decide If It’s Worth Fixing

No mattress lasts forever. Even a high-quality mattress that’s well taken care of is going to degrade over time. And once your mattress has reached a point where you no longer find it comfortable, the best option is usually to buy a new mattress rather than to try and squeeze out a few more months from the old one.

Even with every step outlined below, an old mattress is still unlikely to feel as comfortable as a new one. But there are times when you’ll need to make do with what you have.

Step #3: Take Steps to Make Your Mattress Feel Firmer

If you’re in a position where you need to keep your current mattress and make it more supportive, review the tips outlined above for making a new mattress firmer. The same strategies will work for an old mattress.

As a general process with an old mattress, we find the following three-steps fairly effective:

  1. Use a sturdier foundation: If you’re using a box spring, you might find that inserting a piece of plywood between the box spring and the mattress cost effective and helpful. Be sure that the piece of plywood measures the same size as your mattress. Alternatively, you can place your mattress directly on the floor.
  2. Fill in holes before using a topper: If you find that your mattress is saggy in the middle, fill in the hole before you place your topper. You can do this with pillows, blankets, or anything soft and clean.
  3. Place the topper: Only once you’ve leveled out the surface of your bed should you use a new mattress topper. Be sure to find a mattress topper that is advertised as firm and measures at least 2” thick.


Having a mattress that’s just the right firmness level can help you get a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling great. There are many ways to help firm up your mattress. But there are times when the best option is finding yourself a new, firmer mattress.

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