How to make a mattress firmer?

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One common complaint amongst homeowners is the issue of their mattress being too soft. A too-soft mattress can keep you awake all night because you are either stuck in or can't find a comfortable sleeping position which is not good for your health. Hence, knowing how to make a mattress firmer is invaluable knowledge that can help you sleep better.

Suppose you are looking for a practical approach on how to make your old mattress firmer or how to make a soft mattress firmer without replacing it entirely. Then, you are in the right place. This practical guide will let you in on all you need to know. Let's dive in.

Key Takeaways

  • The most popular way to adjust your mattress’s firmness level is to add a memory foam mattress topper on top of the mattress which instantly improves its firmness.
  • The second best way to make a mattress firmer is to flip the mattress over onto its underside (for turnable mattresses) or rotate the mattress 180 degrees (for no-flip mattresses)

Why is mattress firmness important?

Considering we spend about eight hours a night sleeping, we need a mattress with the right amount of firmness that can help improve posture, relieve pressure from joints, and support our body weight

Sleeping on a firm mattress is not a matter of debate if you suffer from back injury or back pain. This is why mattresses designed for bad backs are firm. In addition, the firmness of a mattress is an important factor in our sleep and health.

Testing the firmness
Testing the firmness

A recent study showed that an uncomfortable mattress, stress, and using electronic devices in bed are factors causing 75 percent of Americans to currently have sleep problems (1). But that's not all; the same study postulates that using a firm mattress helps reduce back pain and improve sleep quality for average-sized sleepers.

Is your bed too soft or not meeting your sleeping needs? Let's explore how to make a mattress firmer.

Steps to making a mattress firmer

You don't have to feel powerless or helpless in improving the quality of your beddings as there are many things you can do to improve the sleeping surface of your bed and make a mattress firmer.

Here is a list of them:

Flip your mattress

Most high-quality mattresses come in the form of a flippable bed. This means both sides can be used to sleep on. And even if it is not flippable, the unused side of the mattress is usually sturdier than average. Hence once your bed is double-sided, you can flip it to get a firmer surface.

Depending on how often you use your mattress, you should flip it at least once in six months. This will help distribute the wear and tear evenly so that it remains firm.

Place your mattress on the floor.

Place your mattress on the floor.

Sometimes using a bed frame might not be the best for your situation. Hence you can place your mattress on the floor and relive that cool college kid experience. This will add more support to your bed base and harden your mattress at no additional cost.

This is easy and cheap. However, it would be best if you kept in mind that bugs, dust, and dirt may get to your bed more easily. There are several more pros and cons that you need to keep in mind when deciding whether or not it is a good idea to place your mattress on the floor, like exposure to the cold when the mattress is resting directly on a concrete or tile floor as well as allergens. So use this method to firm up a mattress as a lost resort.

Use plywood support

Use plywood support

Another common and cheap method of making your bed firmer is to lay strong plywood underneath your mattress, between your mattress and the bed frame.

Although some brands may not recommend this because the bedding material will need to breathe from the bottom to avoid mold, it is an effective way to make your bed firmer. Hence, we advise you to talk to your mattress manufacturer before installing plywood.

Adjust room temperature

Some mattresses can be temperature sensitive, especially memory foam mattresses. Hence, if your mattress is too soft, it may be that your room is hot. To make your bed more firm, you should adjust the thermostat in your room to a lower temperature, keep the fan going and even leave the windows open.

Replace damaged or worn layer

Recently, mattresses are manufactured with different layers of material held together by a mattress cover. The best part about this type of mattress is that you can replace any worn or damaged layer instead of purchasing a brand-new mattress.

Thus, if your mattress becomes soft due to damaged or worn layers, you have to replace it, and your mattress will become firmer afterward.

Change the Box Spring

The box spring of your mattress could be the cause of your mattress being soft. The wear and tear over time may cause the box spring to loosen, leading to your bed becoming soft.

In situations like this, changing the box spring is recommended to make your bed firmer. The good thing is that; a new box spring doesn't just add to the firmness of your bed, but it also adds to its height.

Use Mattress Toppers

You might be wondering, aren't mattress toppers to make beds soft? Well! You are right, but there are amazing brands that help to make your bed firmer. Hence, if you are not getting the good night's sleep you deserve, using a mattress topper may help.

These toppers are usually made of different materials, such as memory foam or latex. We recommend you go for the one that gives your mattress the firmness you seek.

A mattress topper on a mattress
A mattress topper on a mattress

A firm mattress ensures you have all the support needed for a restful night's sleep.

Keep Your Bedding Flat When Cleaning It

Even though most bedding like duvets, and pillows are machine-washable nowadays, it is still a good idea to dry them flat so that the filling doesn’t bunch up in weird ways that cause the bedding to become lump and uneven. But if you smooth out your bedding after washing it, the filling layer will lay flatter and make your mattress feel a little firmer. 

Air the Mattress Out Outside in Indirect Sunlight

It’s always a good idea to air out your mattress outside. The warmth from the sun eliminates bed bugs and dust mites and also gives the mattress a fresher smell. Most people don’t realize that the sunlight’s heat also stiffens the fibers in the synthetic fabric that makes up the mattress’s cover, giving the mattress a firmer feel (2). 

Check the Mattress Manufacturer’s Sleep Trial Period

If your mattress has lost a significant amount of its original firmness, check the sleep trial and warranty information. Most mattresses do soften over time, especially if the majority of their composition is memory foam, but if the mattress is too soft and you have had it for less than a year, the materials might be faulty. Your warranty will explain the return protocols and what is covered. 

Use Mattress Firmness Inserts To Increase Mattress Firmness

Mattress inserts are also called mattress pads, which can be inserted under the mattress to improve firmness. They are effective in altering the mattress's firmness, provided it is not too thick, and are best used with mattresses with a maximum depth of no more than 8 inches. 

Turn and Flip Your Mattress To Improve Its Firmness

If your mattress has two sleeping surfaces (one on each side), you have four ways to adjust its firmness. The first is to flip the mattress over, and the second is to rotate it horizontally to move the bottom left corner to the top right of the bedframe. 

This means you can change your mattress orientation every second month (if necessary), prolonging its lifespan and giving you a consistently firm mattress. We recommend pinning a ribbon, with a safety pin, to the bottom left corner of the mattress on the top-facing layer so that you can remember what your last rotation was. 

Buy a New Mattress If Yours Is Sagging or Lumpy

A mattress that has lost its structure due to collapsing edges or compressed inner layers can’t be made firmer with any of the suggested methods, so it’s best to rather buy a new one. Once a mattress’s integrity has been compromised, there is no way to revive it, and it should be sent to a mattress recycling collection point so that it can be disposed of in a responsible way.

My Experience With Making a Mattress Firmer

Because the mattress in the main bedroom is a no-flip mattress, my experience when making a mattress firmer was successful when I turned the mattress so that the foot-end was rotated to the headboard end. But this gave me limited options to adjust the mattress firmness, so I placed a high-density memory foam mattress topper on top of the mattress to create the ideal firmness for myself and my partner.


Is a firm mattress important for everyone?

A firm mattress is important for all. Considering we sleep for one-third of our lives, we must provide our body with the necessary support needed in those hours of laying down. However, firmness is relative to the perception of its subject.

What is the ideal firmness level?

The ideal firmness level of your mattress is dependent on your body weight. The larger you are, the more firm your mattress should be.


Mattresses do lose their firmness due to prolonged use over time. If purchasing a new bed isn't your priority, then how to make a soft mattress firmer is of utmost importance to you.

Many people find it challenging to make their mattress firm, but that shouldn't be your case after applying these steps. Using these steps will help your mattress become firm and guarantee you sound sleep before getting a replacement mattress. However, if you are looking to replace your mattress, here are the best memory foam mattresses for you. 

Do you have another method in making your mattress more firm? Have you tried any of these steps mentioned above? We would love to hear your opinions in the comment section.


  1. Bert Jacobson, Ali Boolani, Doug Smith. (March 2009). Changes in back pain, sleep quality and perceived stress after introduction of new bedding systems. Retrieved from
  2. Vasile S, Malengier B, De Raeve A, Deruyck F. Influence of selected production parameters on the hand of mattress knitted fabrics assessed by the Fabric Touch Tester. Textile Research Journal. 2019;89(1):98-112. doi:10.1177/0040517517736471

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