March 1, 2020

How to Fix a Sagging Mattress

Read more about Mattress

An old or saggy mattress can lead to aches and pains as well as sleepless nights. If now is the wrong time to buy a new bed, there are some simple tricks that can help.

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Are you unsure if your mattress sags or if it's all in your mind? Grab a piece of wood or yardstick and lay it on the mattress. Do you notice gaps between the wood and mattress in certain areas?

If so, you are the proud owner of a sagging mattress. Don't worry, there are several easy and cheap fixes that don't involve buying a new bed.

Read our guide to learn:

Basic Steps to Fixing a Sagging Mattress

Mattresses sag for different reasons, but a few basic tricks may give you temporary relief.

  • Add a piece of plywood
    If you use a box spring, lay a thin piece of plywood between the mattress and the bed's frame. Make sure the plywood is the exact size of your mattress. If it's too small, the bed will sag in the areas the wood doesn't touch.

  • Add a mattress topper
    A thicker mattress topper (they come in 2-inch to 5-inch thicknesses) may alleviate sagging. You'll need one that's thick enough to compensate for the sagging areas while keeping you comfortable. A memory foam topper usually provides the most relief since its padding covers up the sagging.

  • Use pillows
    If you have used, somewhat pliable pillows, they may compensate for a mattress' sag. Place the pillows underneath the mattress in the exact spot it sags. Then lay the mattress down over the pillows.

  • Replace the box spring or foundation
    Sometimes it's not the mattress itself causing the sagging. If your box spring or foundation isn't supportive, it could cause mattress weaknesses. A box spring costs less than a mattress in most cases, which makes replacing yours a more affordable fix.

    If your foundation's slats are broken or lacking, you can fix the slats, add more slats, or place a piece of wood over the slats for a more even surface.

Can a sagging mattress cause back pain?
A sagging mattress can cause back pain due to spinal misalignment. When a mattress doesn't support your spine, you lie in an awkward position. That may be why your back may feel stiff or sore when you wake up. While this isn't the only reason for back pain, it may contribute.

How to Fix a Sagging Memory Foam Mattress

Memory foam has a tendency to wear out if you don't properly rotate the mattress. Some, but not many, memory foam mattresses are even flippable (check your manufacturer's instructions first).

If you notice that your memory foam mattress sags, immediately rotate it. This allows you to sleep on another area of the mattress, giving the sagging area a chance to bounce back over time.

If you find that rotating/flipping doesn't help, consider purchasing a memory foam mattress topper. A thin topper should help even out the sagging areas, giving you more comfort and added life for your mattress.

How to Fix a Sagging Pillow-Top Mattress

Pillow-top mattresses may sag under constant weight in the same area. Try rotating the mattress 180 degrees as soon as you notice any sagging. This distributes your weight in other areas, allowing that part of the bed to recover.

If rotating doesn't help, you can slip a piece of plywood between the mattress and the box spring or foundation. This gives the mattress a little more firmness, which may alleviate the sagging. If it's the box spring or foundation causing the issue, replace or repair the base.

Do Mattress Warranties Cover Sagging?

Every manufacturer's warranty has different rules, but many of them cover sagging. In fact, it's one of the most popular claims. While some sagging is normal, excessive sagging usually signifies a mattress defect.

Your manufacturer will state at what sagging depth they will take action. In some cases, they automatically replace the mattress at a certain depth. Others offer prorated refunds based on the sagging's measurements.

You can measure the depth by placing a piece of yarn or a straight piece of wood over the width of the bare mattress. At its deepest areas, measure the distance from the wood to the mattress. This is the measurement the manufacturer needs.

Not all manufacturers cover sagging as part of the warranty. Read the fine print before buying a mattress so you know for sure.

When Is a Sagging Mattress Beyond Help?

Sometimes there's no hope for your sagging mattress. If your mattress is more than 10 years old, for example, it may be time for a new one. Any fixes you apply will only be temporary.

In fact, even fixes on a newer mattress won't last forever. Enjoy the comfort while it lasts but start shopping for a new mattress as a more permanent solution.

You'll know when your mattress is beyond help when you experience any of the following:

  • Aches and pains after waking
  • Feeling unrested
  • Tossing and turning all night
  • Sagging despite temporary fixes

How to Prevent a Sagging Mattress

It's always best to be proactive rather than reactive. If you can stop your mattress from sagging, you won't have to take any of the above steps. So what can you do?

Here are some useful tips:

  • Flip or Rotate Regularly
    Flipping or rotating your mattress reduces wear and tear in one spot, giving you more life out of your mattress. Each mattress has different instructions regarding whether to flip or rotate your mattress. Follow the instructions closely and you may minimize the risk of sagging.

  • Use a Supportive Base
    Using the wrong or a worn-out base can cause premature mattress sagging. Make sure the base, whether a foundation or box spring, adequately supports the mattress. It should have enough legs, be sturdy, have supportive slats, and be in good condition.

  • Change Where You Sleep
    If you sleep alone, this step is a little easier. Throw pillows on one side of the bed so that you don't sleep there for a while. After a few weeks, switch sides. This reduces the risk of wear and tear on one area of the mattress.

    If you sleep with someone, find ways to evenly distribute the weight. If you both sleep in the middle of the mattress every night, you'll cause the mattress to sag in that area quickly.

Why Do Mattresses Sag and Do All Mattresses Sag?

At some point, most mattresses sag due to wear and tear. The foam in memory foam and hybrid mattresses wears out from constant use. The springs in innerspring mattresses bend and break. These issues cause sagging, even with the best efforts to prevent it.

Other reasons mattresses may sag include:

  • Soiling the mattress or spilling liquid
  • Inferior construction or materials
  • Poor foundation or box spring

Bottom Line

Fixing a sagging mattress can prolong its lifeā€”and improve your sleep. Take the appropriate steps to fix your mattress temporarily to save your back and your overall health.

People tend to sleep better when they have a solid surface to sleep on, but don't make it a permanent solution. Buy a new mattress sooner rather than later when dealing with a sagging mattress.

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