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How To Make My Mattress Firmer – Tips and Tricks

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Written By Alex Petrović

Certified Sleep Consultant

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2 April 2024 15 min read

Mattress firmness is incredibly important for both your health and your comfort. So, in case you've ever wondered how to make my mattress firmer, here's everything you need to know!

While having a soft mattress might sound like the best-case scenario, it's actually not. Well, at least not for everyone. And that's because heavier sleepers, stomach sleepers, and people with certain back problems might need a firmer mattress to stay healthy and comfortable.

But can you make a soft mattress firmer? As it turns out – yes! At least to a degree. So, if you've ever wanted to know how to make your mattress firmer, here are all of the ways you can go about doing so!

Why is my mattress softer than before?

Before we get into how to make your mattress firmer, let's discuss why it isn't as firm as when you bought it. After all, if the mattress was soft from the beginning, your options are somewhat limited as to how firm you can make it.

Generally speaking, if your mattress has become soft, it's caused by one of two things: the mattress itself or the bed frame. Or, if you're really unlucky, a combination of the two.

So, if you want to make your mattress feel firmer, you'll need to tackle one or both of these issues. And depending on the specific setup you have, there are a few things you can try.

How to make a mattress firmer?

Let's first talk about how to make the mattress itself firmer. Depending on the filling for your mattress, you have a few decent options. However, it's important to know that getting a new mattress is the only 100% guaranteed method to “make your mattress firm”.

And since firm mattresses are ideal for stomach sleepers, we recommend reading our guide on getting the perfect mattress for front sleepers. So, if none of our tips help improve your sleep quality, go check it out and get one of the firmer mattresses we've featured there.

But for now, let's get to the actual tips.

Rotate/flip your mattres

our reviewer sleeping on the Silentnight Miracoil Memory mattress

If you want to make an innerspring or memory foam mattress firmer, flipping the mattress over should be your first move. This is because quite a few mattresses are double-sided and can thus keep you comfortable regardless of how you flip or rotate the mattress.

This is especially convenient when it comes to foam mattresses with multiple layers. After all, once you're no longer sleeping directly on the worn-out layers, the mattress itself is bound to feel quite a bit firmer. Plus, flipping and rotating your mattress every few weeks can significantly prolong the durability of the mattress.

However, do also note that not all mattresses are double-sided. Most hybrid mattresses are specifically made to have an upper and bottom face for example. So, if you know the model of your mattress, check the description online.

But generally, if the mattress has the same cover material and bounciness on both sides, it can likely be flipped.

Check the level of humidity and the room temperature 

While we're all vaguely aware that mattresses suffer from wear and tear, we often forget that even things such as temperature and even humidity can affect the mattress. Namely, if you have a memory foam mattress and live somewhere with high humidity, it could become a bit softer as a result.

And that's because the mattress can “soak up” some of the moisture in the air. So, getting a good dehumidifier can result in the mattress becoming a bit softer. Plus, humidity affects wooden bed frames as well. And you'll see why that's important a bit later on.

A similar principle applies to the room temperature. The hotter it is in your room, the softer your mattress tends to feel. And since sleeping in a cold room can help you fall asleep more easily, lowering down the AC can provide double the benefits in this case!

But we do want to stress that the change in firmness level won't be astronomical. So, don't expect a soft mattress to feel like a medium-firm mattress or something like that.

Air the mattress out

While we're on the topic of moisture and temperature, let's quickly point out that even just airing out the mattress can provide some benefits.

For one, it can help lessen the number of dust mites and other allergens on the mattress itself. But it can also help with the moisture problem and make the mattress a bit firmer that way.

Plus, even if you don't want a firmer mattress, you really should take the covers off and air out your mattress from time to time just to keep it clean. This is especially important if the mattress is used by children who have dust-mite allergies or problems with their breathing.

Check for damaged springs

If you have a spring mattress, the springs are essential for keeping the mattress firm. However, the springs are also usually the first to go when it comes to wear and tear – especially if you jump onto the bed every night.

So, if some of the springs have been damaged, you can technically try to fix them. If you have a pocket sprung mattress, this shouldn't be too difficult as the springs are individually placed in their own pocket. So, you can try and find a replacement spring from the manufacturer or try to find a suitable replacement from a third party.

If it's an innerspring (or open coil) mattress, it can be a bit more difficult as the springs are interconnected. If you're quite handy, you can potentially still fix or swap out the springs though.

With all of that being said, there is some risk here. So, if your mattress is still within its warranty period, it's best to just contact customer support and sort it out through them. And since open coil mattresses are generally quite cheap, it might be more worthwhile to just look for a replacement.

Check for damaged layers

Just like you can swap out springs from a spring mattress, you can potentially change the foam layers in hybrid or foam mattresses. However, just like with the springs, it's worth noting that this will nullify your warranty and does require a bit of handiwork.

However, if you're so inclined, you can take off the mattress cover and check whether one of the foam layers has become soggy. This will typically be the top layer since it's taking on most of your body weight. But it can be the bottom, support layer as well.

Then you can either just take it out completely, if there are other foam layers underneath, or swap it out for a mattress pad or a coverless mattress topper. Mattress pads are likely going to be a better hit since they're thinner but this will vary from model to model.

Use a fitted sheet

If you have a very soggy mattress, a tight fitted sheet can make it feel a bit firmer. After all, it's “squishing” the mattress from all sides. This is especially good for memory foam mattresses, as they're easier to compress.

Of course, this won't make a huge difference. And actually putting the sheet on is sure to test your patience. However, if you want to make the mattress feel firmer, this could be a cheap way to do so.

Fixing your bed frame to make the mattress firmer

An image of wooden slats in storage bed.

As we've said, bed frames also play a part when it comes to keeping your mattress firm. So, if the mattress itself is relatively new and feels firm, it might be the bed frame that's causing your issues.

So, just like with the mattress section, we're going to go over a few things you can do to either fix or help your bed frame properly support your mattress.

Check whether the bed frame is in good condition

An image of a man assembling and checking corners of a bed frame.

If you want to make a mattress firmer and think the bed frame might be to blame, the first thing you'll want to do is check the frame itself. Look for any visible signs of wear and tear. For example, if one of the legs is unstable or if a slat has broken.

The slats are especially important since they're the ones holding up your mattress! So, check each slat individually and see whether any are bending more than they should. If so, swap them out.

Unlike with the mattress, getting new bed slats should be relatively simple. So, while this does nullify your warranty, it isn't as risky as tinkering with the layers of a mattress.

Check the box spring

If you don't have a divan bed but instead a box spring, you should inspect it thoroughly. Just like with spring mattresses, even a few wobbly springs can lower the performance of the box spring and lead to a soggy-feeling mattress. And since springs usually stay in shape for about 5 years, it could be time to check whether they're still standing strong.

However, fixing springs is also more complicated than just changing the slats. So, if you're not confident that you can do it yourself, see if you can call someone.

Also, if you have a divan bed and the frame is out of shape, you can get a box spring. They're generally better at making your mattress firmer and don't tend to be too expensive.

Place the mattress on the floor

An image of Silentnight 2800 Pocket Memory King Size mattress on a floor.

While this is far from a long-term solution, it can help out until you figure out what you want to do. After all, if your floor isn't firm, you have much bigger problems than just your mattress.

However, do note that this is far from ideal. After all, the floor is more likely to damage the mattress while you toss and turn at night. Plus, it's far from hygienic to be consistently so close to the ground.

So, we only advise you to do this while you wait for a new bed frame to arrive.

Place something between the frame and the mattress

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to make your mattress firmer in cases where your bed frame isn't up to par is to place something between the frame and the mattress. A plywood board is a solid option here as it's quite sturdy and easy to get by.

However, people have also gotten quite creative. So, some have even used pool noodles or styrofoam for the same effect. On a similar note, you can also stick a folded-up towel into the mattress cover if only one area of the mattress is sagging.

Note that this won't do too much if you have a softer mattress. But if it's just the bed frame that's messing up, it could help out. Plus, it costs next to nothing to try.

Getting a firmer mattress topper

An image of a woman rolling Dormeo Octaspring Classic mattress topper.

We've decided to give mattress toppers their own segment as getting a firm mattress topper is going to be the easiest way to make your mattress firmer. After all, the entire purpose of a mattress topper is to slightly modify the feeling of your mattress.

With that being said, not all firm mattress toppers were made equal. Just like with mattresses, it's good to know the difference between a good mattress topper and a waste of money. So, let's just quickly go over what you should look out for when getting firm mattress toppers.

Foam mattress toppers

If you want a firm mattress topper, getting a model that uses foam might seem somewhat counterproductive. After all, isn't memory foam known for being incredibly soft?

Well, yes and no.

On the one hand, a mattress topper that only uses memory foam is likely going to lead to a softer mattress. On the other hand, not all foam mattress toppers only use memory foam.

You can find good foam toppers that use high-density foam. And these will definitely make your mattress firmer. In fact, we even have a list of some good firm mattress toppers that you can look through right now!

Latex mattress toppers

The great thing about latex is that it provides the same hugging sensation as memory foam while also being bouncier and firmer. And while latex mattress toppers aren't too common, you can definitely find them in the UK!

This way you can get a firmer mattress without really giving up on any of the comfort – especially if you're used to foam mattresses. In fact, you can even look into getting a good latex mattress if this sounds like the ideal mattress firmness for you.

Synthetic mattress toppers

Synthetic toppers are generally going to be a safe choice when it comes to mattress firmness as they tend to be quite sturdy. Plus, synthetic toppers are extremely convenient, since there are hundreds of different models that can vary greatly in price.

So, finding a mattress topper that's the perfect firmness level and also doesn't break the bank should be more than doable. After all, if you just want to make a mattress firmer, you don't have to buy the fanciest topper on the market.

Hybrid mattress toppers

Lastly, we'll talk about hybrid mattress toppers. Generally, just take everything we've said in the previous section and flip it upside down. For one, they're rather hard to come by. In fact, the Simba mattress topper is one of the rare examples we could find.

However, if you want to make a mattress firmer, these toppers are also likely the most effective. After all, they come with their own spring system! And in terms of pressure relief and support, few things can beat a solid spring layer.

However, do note that hybrid toppers also aren't cheap. In fact, you can even find a budget mattress that's roughly the same price as a proper hybrid topper.

Which mattress toppers can make your mattress firmer?

If you're feeling slightly overwhelmed from all of the topper categories and what they bring to the table, don't worry. Here's our short list of a few mattress toppers that can make your mattress firmer and provide the comfort you've been looking for!

When should you get a new, firmer mattress?

an image of a couple getting a new mattress

While we're sure that most people would prefer to “fix” their current mattress instead of getting a new one, this isn't always possible. After all, sometimes you just need to throw out your old mattress and find a new, better mattress to keep you comfortable.

Generally, if you've had your mattress for over 10 years, you definitely need a new one. After all, you can't make a mattress firmer if it's barely staying in one piece. In fact, when it comes to innerspring or foam models, even five years can cause serious damage to the mattress.

So, let's quickly go over a few tips to ensure your new mattress has the right mattress firmness level and will stay that way for a while to come.

Do you need a firmer bed?

This might sound like a very odd question, as you don't really get any firmer than metal or wood but let us explain. Namely, if you're getting a new bed frame or even just a new mattress, it could be worth looking into sofa beds specifically.

This is because a good sofa bed is typically going to be on the firmer side and will be a lot more durable than most standard bed frames.

On a somewhat related note, you can even look into getting a storage bed, as they usually have a very sturdy construction and can make your mattress feel firmer. Plus, you get some added storage out of the deal, which is always a plus.

How to calculate the perfect mattress firmness

Whether it's too firm or too soft, mattress firmness levels aren't exactly intuitive. After all, we're sure a bunch of you probably still think that getting a soft mattress is the best way to go.

So, let's actually break it all down and see whether you can benefit from a firmer mattress or not. This all boils down to your body weight and your sleeping position, as you'll soon see. And then we'll get into a few tips to ensure your new mattress is ideal for you in every way.

An infographic showing the mattress firmness scale

How your sleeping position and weight influence mattress firmness

Depending on how you sleep and whether you're of a larger or smaller build, different mattress firmness levels are going to be more or less appropriate for you. And this mostly boils down to the position of your spine.

As you can see in the table below, generally, stomach sleepers with a larger build are going to want very firm mattresses while lighter side sleepers are going to want softer mattresses.

An infographic showcasing different mattress firmness levels

This is because the firmness of the mattress directly dictates how much your body, especially your hips and shoulders, can sink into the mattress itself. So, here's the rundown:

Side sleepers

Side sleepers generally want softer models. This is because your hip and shoulder need to sink into the mattress to prevent your spine from curing in your midsection. You can check out our favourite mattresses for side sleepers right here.

Stomach sleepers

As we've mentioned in the beginning, stomach sleepers want firmer mattresses. This is because if the mattress allows your hips to sink, it will create a curve and put pressure on your lower back.

Back sleepers

Back sleepers generally also want a slightly firmer mattress, so that their hips don't dip too far. However, it's not as crucial as with stomach sleepers since your backside will usually sink in without putting too much pressure on your spine.

However, if you do suffer from back pain, here's a list of a few mattresses that can help support your back.

How the filling affects mattress firmness

Lastly, if you've decided that you need a medium-firm mattress for example, which filling will be the best option? After all, a memory foam mattress isn't going to behave in the same way as a spring mattress. And depending on what you're looking for, certain mattress types definitely have an advantage.

So, let's quickly go over the different mattress types and see what they typically excel in.

Memory foam mattresses

If you want a mattress that can relieve pressure, memory foam models are usually your best bet. They also come in all shapes, sizes, and price points, so, you'll likely be spoiled for choice. However, if you do want a firmer bed, make sure that the mattress uses high-density foam.

And keep in mind that most of the tips we shared in the beginning about how to make your mattress firmer work particularly well when it comes to foam. So, while they're not always the best option for people searching for firmer mattresses, they can suffice.

And you can check out our favourite memory foam mattresses right here.

Spring mattresses

While it's a bit more difficult to make a spring mattress firmer, this shouldn't be too much of an issue. After all, if you're looking for orthopaedic mattresses, most of them will be firmly (pun intended) in the spring mattress category.

However, we will point out that pocket spring mattresses are generally the better option here. This is because they can provide more support and less motion transfer.

And here's our list of the best pocket-sprung mattresses you can find in the UK.

Hybrid mattresses

We've already talked about how great a hybrid mattress topper can be, so, it shouldn't be a surprise that hybrid mattresses get all positive marks as well. After all, you get a foam layer for added comfort and springs to make the bed feel firmer.

It's a win-win situation! Although they are a bit more expensive and hard to come by.

Luckily for you, we've already spotted and ranked the best hybrid mattresses you can find in the UK.


Overall, there are certainly ways to make your mattress feel firmer. Whether it's tinkering with the mattress itself, the bed frame, or just adding a mattress topper, you can make a relatively soft mattress feel firm.

However, getting new bedding gear is going to be your safest option ten times out of ten. And hopefully, you now know what to look for when getting a new bed or a new bed frame. But if you do have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section!

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About the author

Alex Petrović
Sleep Consultant
A CPD certified Sleep Consultant with more than 2000 hours of research into all the different ways we can get a great night's sleep. As a former insomniac, I know how difficult life can be without a nightly recovery and I love that I get to share everything I've learned with you all. So hopefully we can all sleep soundly!
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