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How to Make A Mattress Softer

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Many people have difficulty finding a mattress that is both comfortable and supportive. However, this doesn't mean you have to live with a stiff, uncomfortable bed.

Is your mattress too hard for your liking? Do you find yourself tossing and turning all night because it's just not comfortable?

If so, you're not alone.

This article will discuss several ways to make a mattress softer and the importance of mattress firmness level to sleep health.

Key Takeaways

  • Placing a soft mattress topper on top is the easiest way to firm up your mattress.
  • Softening your mattress may make it unsupportive, so it's best to aim for an ideal firmness that’s not too firm or soft.

Simple Tips To Make A Mattress Softer

There are several ways to make your mattress softer. If you find yourself waking up with neck and back pain, consider trying any of these tips on making your mattress more comfortable.

Break It In

The best way to have a softer bed is through repeated use. When you first get your new mattress, it will feel firm and somewhat uncomfortable. 

This is because the materials for the mattress have yet to "mould" to your body. This will change over time. 

Your mattress becomes softer as it "breaks in" with continuous use.

If you must store a mattress for an extended period, be sure to flip it periodically to allow each side time to soften.

Jump On The Surface

In addition to breaking in the mattress, you can jump on the surface for a few minutes to encourage the mattress to soften up. Doing this movement repeatedly over the course of a week or two will help loosen the overall firmness. Mattresses are incredibly sensitive to weight, especially if it moves quickly, causing the material to expand and contract rapidly. That’s why the pressure of jumping can help make the mattress feel slightly softer overall after time.

Replace your bed frame or slats

Replace your bed frame or slats

If your current bed frame is old or doesn't provide adequate support, buying a new one can make a significant difference. 

An old bed frame could have had cheap and weak materials. In this case, it's best to replace it with something better. This could be wooden bed frames or a platform-style bed. 

Buy A Mattress Topper

When a mattress is too firm, placing a foam topper on top can reduce the firmness and make it more comfortable. That makes some of the best mattress toppers an excellent solution to softening a mattress.

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

While it might not be as effective as a mattress or bed replacement, the additional cushioning provided by quality and well-made toppers will help alleviate pressure points in your back and hips while providing the softness and comfort you crave.

Warm Things Up

Memory foam mattresses are heat-sensitive

Memory foam mattresses are heat-sensitive(1). As a result, heating your room temps to between 65 and 68 degrees will make your  memory foam mattress softer and more comfortable. 

When you're ready to go to sleep, turn down the heat and enjoy a softer bed.

Rotate Your Mattress

Rotation is a great way to soften your mattress. This helps distribute pressure evenly across the surface of the mattress and can help reduce pressure points.

Rotate your mattress at least once every three months for proper maintenance. 

Change Your Sleeping Position

You can try lying in a different position on your mattress to see if it makes a difference.

If you're currently sleeping on your stomach, try shifting to one side and then the other side of your mattress. 

This will help redistribute the pressure points and make them more comfortable for you.

Replace Layers

You may be able to soften a mattress by replacing the memory foam top layer. Any replacement foam, typically known as a mattress foam topper, can replace a layer if the original feels too firm.

Showing layers
Showing layers

However, it is essential to remember that some mattresses don’t allow easy access to the layers. Some have unzippable covers that give you access to the layers, while others are entirely enclosed and required scissors or a knife to strip away the cover to access the top layer.

If you decide to cut away the cover, it is important to note that this may void the warranty for some mattresses. It is also important to note that some mattresses have a fiberglass ‘sock’ that acts as a flame retardant, and cutting away the cover may expose you to health hazards. Always check the make and materials of your mattress before attempting to expose the inner layers.

Check Your Trial Period

If you find your mattress is too firm and want it softer, check your trial period. Usually, online mattress companies offer a trial period and recommend a set amount of time to break in the mattresses, as it should soften over time. However, if this is not the case with your mattress, and you're still within the trial period, you can return your mattress for a different firmness or a complete refund.

Flip Your Mattress

In addition to rotating your mattress, which is switching the head side to the foot of the frame, you can also consider flipping your mattress. It’s essential to remember that only certain types of mattresses, like the Peacelily, are flippable. That means you can switch them from the top side to the bottom and vis versa. This can help give the other side a break and give you an unused surface that may fall into your preferred softness range.

Typically, flippable mattresses should be flipped once or twice a year to ensure the integrity of the mattress.

Invest in a Softer Mattress

If everything fails, it's always best to invest in a new and softer mattress. When shopping for a new mattress, keep your priorities in mind. A softer mattress that balances comfort and support may be what your need. According to studies, investing in a new quality mattress helps sleepers who complain of poor sleep quality and those who believe their sleep quality can’t be improved (2). 

The best mattresses in a box in Australia are the ideal comfort and support for your body, so you'll want to consider these first before opting for a new mattress.

You’d want to choose a mattress that fits your budget and provides adequate support. Don't compromise on either quality or price. 

Additionally, look for a product that features hypoallergenic material and uses natural ingredients to soften the mattress without adding chemicals to it.

A soft mattress on a bed frame
A soft mattress on a bed frame

Making a Mattress Softer — My Personal Experience

According to my experience, one of the best ways to soften a mattress that worked for me is simply breaking it in. My mattress was relatively new and too firm for me. I gave it time, jumping around on the surface a bit during the break-in period. After about two weeks, the mattress had softened to a level where I was comfortable on my side.

I have also used mattress toppers to soften too-firm mattresses. However, the important thing to remember with this is to choose a topper that’s soft, not firm. I went for a super plush option, giving extra sinkage that helped the mattress redistribute my weight better, and I was more comfortable.

Importance of Mattress Firmness Level To Sleep Health

The mattress firmness level is a crucial consideration, especially if your body is used to sleeping on something soft or what you consider as "ideal" for your body shape and size.

If you consider yourself as having a firm bed, softening it might cause discomfort or even pain over time because your body is not used to the softness of the mattress. 

This will lead to an adjustment period before your body gets used to it, possibly leading to back and neck problems or other health issues. According to studies, the ideal mattress firmness is medium-firm (3). This softness allows for sinkage between 2-3 inches, which is soft enough for most side sleepers to feel their weight redistributed for adequate pressure relief. When softening your mattress, aiming for this firmness level will ensure you have enough support and comfort. 

A mattress that's too soft for some people can be too hard for others. The key here is finding just the right balance of firmness and softness that suits your specific needs and preferences.

If you are a side sleeper, a mattress that's too firm might ache your body and result in back and neck problems after a long time. On the other hand, a mattress that's too soft for side sleepers will give excessive softness to your head, neck, or shoulders.

If you are a back sleeper, you need to consider how the mattress reacts to pressure once applied. Too little pressure results in no support and comfort at all. 

This will cause extra stress to your body after an extended period or may even lead to waking up with aches and pains all over the body, especially if you sleep for 6-8 hours every day. 

Remember, there are top-quality mattresses for bad backs, too, so look for one that gives you adequate support. Mattresses with a firmness rating as low as 5, like the Peacelily, can still provide enough support while remaining soft. I found I could stay comfortable on this mattress no matter what sleeping position I was in during this model’s testing phase. Harder mattresses that are 7 or higher, like the Koala’s firm side, may benefit from an addition of a soft topper. I was comfortable enough on my side while testing Koala’s firmness, but if you’re sensitive to a firm mattress, a topper will help even out the pressure while keeping your spine supported.

If you are a stomach sleeper, then the mattress should be soft enough to support your weight evenly from head to toe. This will allow your spine and other parts of your body to lie naturally in a straight position and ensure that neck and shoulder muscles are relaxed. Typically, stomach sleepers can benefit from some of the best firm mattresses in Australia, as these provide a good balance between comfort and the necessary support to keep the hips aligned.

FAQ

What are the symptoms when a mattress is too firm?

Some of the common symptoms when you sleep on a mattress that's too firm are:

  • Aching and stiffness in the back and neck;
  • Difficulty falling asleep, or waking up and being unable to get back to sleep;
  • Pressure points may also cause body parts to go numb and lead to adrenal exhaustion.

Will a firm mattress soften after repeated use?

A lot depends on what kind of material constitutes the base of your mattress. However, most mattresses have layers of memory foam/polyurethane or latex that can soften up over the years.

Conclusion

There you have it—proven tips on how to make a mattress softer. If you're looking for something really cheap or quick to buy, this isn't it. Your decision to purchase a mattress should be made with care, learning as much as possible on the subject

The tips above will help you soften your mattress over time while also providing a comfortable sleep.

If you have questions, do not hesitate to let us know in the comments below.

References:

  1. Kinetic study and thermal decomposition behavior of viscoelastic memory foam Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0196890416302989
  2. NIH National Library of Medicine (2006.) Subjective rating of perceived back pain, stiffness and sleep quality following introduction of medium-firm bedding systems. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19674684/
  3. Journal of Orthopaedics and Traumatology (2021.) What type of mattress should be chosen to avoid back pain and improve sleep quality? Review of the literature. Retrieved from: https://jorthoptraumatol.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s10195-021-00616-5

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