February 28, 2020

How to Make a Mattress Softer

Read more about Mattress

A too-firm mattress may be the reason you're waking up with muscle pain every morning. If the return period has expired, you'll need to find a way to make your mattress softer. We cover several easy, inexpensive ideas below.

If your mattress is too firm, your quality of sleep can suffer. You may even wake up with unexpected aches and pains. Before you take any drastic steps, assess the situation.

Did you recently buy the mattress? If so, it may not be broken in yet. Most mattresses come with a trial period for this exact reason. Give it a little time to soften up before making a decision that may cost you money in return or restocking fees.

If the bed feels too firm even after breaking it in, consider returning it. Many mattress companies offer generous return periods. While it's a pain to return something so big, it may be worth it if you're uncomfortable with your purchase.

Has your mattress passed the return period or do you just not want to deal with the hassle? Don't worry, there are other steps you can take.

Is it bad to sleep on a soft mattress?
Sleeping on a soft mattress isn't right for everyone. Whether or not it's the best type for you depends on your weight and sleep position. Softer mattresses work well for heavier people who put more pressure on the surface. They are also great for side sleepers. No matter your weight or sleep position, your mattress needs to keep your spine in alignment—otherwise, you may face health problems.

Softening a Hard Mattress

Softening a hard mattress is easy with the following steps:

Check Your Base
Sometimes a too-firm mattress comes down to using the wrong base. A memory foam bed, for example, will feel hard on a box spring but cushiony on a solid foundation. Innerspring mattresses, on the other hand, provide the best support on a box spring. Always check with your manufacturer to determine what type of base you should use.

With any type of base, make sure it's sturdy. A box spring shouldn't be more than 10 years old and needs sturdy springs. A foundation should have even slats that be able to withstand the weight of the bed.

Break It In
While you probably shouldn't do anything crazy like walk on your mattress, you will need time to break it in. If you have kids, let them have a little fun on the bed (they probably will anyway, right?). If not, simply sleeping in the same spots on the bed will soften it up naturally.

Warm Up Your Room
Are you the type who turns the heat down at night? Colder temps could make your mattress harder. Memory foam mattresses are especially susceptible to this. Try warming up the room a bit to see if your mattress feels more comfortable after a few days.

Add a Mattress Topper
You can transform the feeling of your mattress by adding a topper. They come in a variety of materials and types, allowing you to choose the right level of cushioning. Most people choose memory foam or pillow-top to soften up their mattress—just make sure to keep the thickness around 2 inches. Too much cushioning and you may not have the spinal support you need.

Rotate or Flip the Mattress
If you have a flippable mattress (not all are), try flipping it. If you sleep in the same area every night, you may wear down the cushioning part of the mattress. Flipping or rotating the mattress gives you an area of fresh comfort and decreases the mattress' wear and tear.

Is it better to sleep on a hard or soft mattress?
The right firmness level depends on your sleep position. Side sleepers do best with a softer mattress, while back and stomach sleepers need a firmer surface. The right mattress is the one that aligns your spine, cushions your pressure points, and provides the comfort that helps you get a good night's rest.

Do Mattresses Soften Up?

Most mattresses take at least 30–60 days to break in. That's why most mattress manufacturers require you to sleep on a mattress for at least a few weeks before returning it. The mattress you receive at home will be much stiffer than the one you tried in the store (or the one you read about online).

That's a good thing. You're getting a brand-new mattress that needs time to soften up. This is especially true with foam or hybrid beds. Foam takes time to break in and soften. Don't give up after the first few nights—let your mattress settle in while your body gets used to the new mattress.

Do latex mattresses soften over time?
Your latex mattresses may feel firmer than you anticipated when it's delivered. That's because the foam and fabric need time to stretch and settle. This is especially true of made-to-order latex mattresses. The fresh materials don't have time to settle in the factory. That process happens at home, which means you need to give it time to soften.

How to Tell If Your Mattress Is too Soft

A soft bed may be welcoming, but there is such a thing as too soft. If any of the following issues occur, you may have a bed that's too soft:

  • Waking with an aching back?
    This could be a sign of spinal misalignment. Beds that are too soft don't properly align your spine, which leads to chronic back pain.

  • Getting "stuck" in your bed
    If you can't easily get in and out of your bed, it may be too soft. While you want cushioning, you also need to be able to hoist yourself out of the bed without feeling as if you were swallowed up by it.

  • Tossing and turning all night
    If you can't seem to get comfortable, your body may not be getting the support it needs. While a too-firm mattress makes you feel like you're sleeping on a board, a too-soft one doesn't support your body, making it hard to get comfortable.

Do hard mattresses cause back pain?
Hard mattresses themselves don't cause back pain. It's the curvature of the spine while you sleep that leads to problems. If your mattress doesn't properly align your spine, you may sleep in an unnatural position that causes back pain.

Bottom Line

A mattress that won't soften up over time isn't a lost cause. With a few steps, you can make your too-firm bed softer and more comfortable. If you bought your bed recently and are truly unhappy, however, start by checking the return policy—you may be able to exchange or return the mattress for a more suitable option.

More from CreditDonkey:

How to Make a Mattress Firmer

Best Memory Foam Mattress Topper

What is a Hybrid Mattress


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Air mattresses let you sleep anywhere. But not all air mattresses provide a supportive or even durable surface, though. Not sure which one is right for you? Read below for our reviews of the top airbeds available today.

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