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How To Make Your Soft Mattress Firmer

A firm, supportive mattress is crucial to your overall health. A firm mattress properly aligns your spine and ensures a restful sleep. Improved blood flow, deeper REM sleep, and improved recovery are all benefits of a firmer, supportive mattress.  Some studies even show a negative impact on sleep quality when laying on a sagging mattress in a prone or lateral position. However you slice it, a soft mattress can leads to problems.

Over time, mattresses break down, lose their firmness, and ultimately become softer. Most people immediately feel their mattress softening & decide they need a new mattress. Instead of throwing your hands up in defeat and looking to purchase a brand new mattress online (which sometimes can be the best option), you might be able to fix your existing firmness instead

Continue below for our top 6 tips to making your mattress firmer. You’ll reinvigorate your mattress & take your health back into your hands.

6 Ways On How To Make Bed Firmer

We’ve narrowed down the 6 best ways on how to make your bed firmer. These 6 ways take the most proven methods available to firm up your mattress. These options include:

  1. Add a bunkie board
  2. Buy a firm topper
  3. Buy a sturdy box spring or foundation
  4. Buy a more supportive pillow
  5. Change your sleep position
  6. Add a center support leg to your bed frame

Whatever decision you come to ultimately leads down the same road – making your soft mattress firmer and more supportive.

We cover every scenario in more detail below.

1. How To Make Your Mattress Firmer | Bunkie Board

  • Wood or steel options
  • Supports all mattress types
  • Good level of uniform support
  • Must be .5" or higher or won't support properly
how to make a soft mattress firmer - Signature Sleep Ultra Steel Bunkie Board with Premium Metal Frame Design, Twin Size
Signature Sleep Ultra Steel Bunkie Board

Bunkieboards are simple in nature. You add them underneath your mattress to create a firmer level of support. Over time, this better support system leads to less impressions & a more sturdy sleep surface. Our favorite aspect of bunkieboards is their pricing. Since they cost much less than buying an entire mattress, it’s a low cost way to make your mattress much firmer by creating a more durable support system. 

Bunkie boards come in two options, steel and wood. This choice mainly comes down to preference. Both types work well, but steel bunkie boards like this one make your mattress even more firm than similar wood options.

Bunkie boards work best for people that:

  • Have a metal frame with no direct box spring or support underneath their mattress.
  • Have an old piece of plywood or box spring under their mattress that may be poorly performing or contributing to the mattress softness. 

2. How To Make Your Mattress Firmer | Buy A Firm Topper

  • Reinvigorates mattress feel
  • You can customize firmness level
  • Cheap alternative to buying a new mattress
  • Doesn't directly address potential support issues
How To Make A Mattress Firmer - Pure Green 100% Natural Latex Mattress Topper - Firm - 2 inch Queen Size
Pure Green 100% Natural Latex Mattress Topper - Firm

Most people think of mattress toppers as ways to make your mattress softer. Fortunately, firm mattress toppers exist to do the exact opposite; make your mattress firmer. These firmer toppers use higher density foams and materials to create a more dense, firm feel that creates a “floating” feel on top of the mattress. 

There’s two main types of firm mattress toppers. They include:

Be careful. While a topper is a fantastic way to bring new life into your mattress firmness, it isn’t always the best option. If your mattress has deep structural issues like a bad box spring, or poor foundational support, adding a topper won’t do the trick. 

Firm mattress toppers work best for people that:

  • Don’t have a fundamental support issue with their mattress. 
  • Want a little extra firmness on top without buying a brand new mattress completely.

3. How To Make Your Mattress Firmer | Buy A Sturdy Box Spring or Foundation

  • Reliable support
  • Height customization
  • Reduces body impressions + floating
  • More expensive than alternative options
How To Make Bed Firmer - Zinus 4 Inch Low Profile BiFold Box Spring
Zinus 4 Inch Low Profile BiFold Box Spring

Unlike bunkieboards, box springs are thicker and potentially act as more reliable forms of mattress support. The downside is they’re a little more expensive, so you have to decide how committed you are in making your mattress firmer. Our opinion? It’s crucial to have a firmer mattress if you find your existing mattress too soft. Finding your mattress too soft means one major thing; it’s not supporting your existing spine and pressure points in a positive way. This leads to a ton of potentially negative health benefits.

Box springs comes in several types. The two main types of box springs include:

  • Low profile – range in height from 4 – 6 inches. Mainly for people looking to add a short amount of sturdy support height to their existing setup. 
  • Standard – Standard box springs range in height from 7 to 9 inches. These box springs are as sturdy as their 4 – 6 inch low profile cousins. The only difference is in height (all else being equal).

Warning: Not all box springs are created equal. Make sure you carefully read reviews & ensure you don’t buy a box spring primarily made of particle board. Look for a box spring made with solid spruce or metal. Either option works perfectly for ensuring sturdy, solid support with the ultimate goal of creating a firmer sleep surface.

4. How To Make Your Mattress Firmer | Buy A More Supportive Pillow

  • A lot of variety & choices
  • A good pillow properly aligns your neck & spine
  • Cheaper than alternative options
  • Doesn't directly address potential support issues
Z 100% Natural Talalay Latex Zoned Pillow

Pillows are seriously overlooked ways to alter the relative firmness of your mattress. Of course a pillow won’t change the underlying firmness of your mattress, but sometimes you don’t need to. Sometimes re-aligning your spine in a more neutral position is all you need to get a relative firmness bump & a better night’s sleep. A soft mattress without an appropriately aligning pillow only compounds potential spinal alignment, back, & neck issues.

There’s 3 main types of pillows worth considering. They are:

  • Feather pillows
  • Memory foam pillows
  • Latex pillows

Our favorite pillows for each type include:

5. How To Make Your Mattress Firmer | Change Your Sleep Position

  • Cheap alternative to buying a new mattress
  • Reinvigorates the feel of your mattress
  • Doesn't directly address potential support issues

Like pillows, changing your sleep position is a very overlooked method of increasing relative firmness of your mattress. Although changing your sleep position doesn’t directly alter the firmness of your mattress, is still might address why you believe you need a firmer mattress.

A stomach & back sleeper needs a much thinner & firmer comfort layer. 

Side sleepers are different. They need a thick softer comfort layer to relieve pressure points on their body from the mattress. Side sleepers also require good spinal alignment that “fill in the gaps” of your “curved” profile. 

The result? Experiment with different sleep positions. Sleep on your stomach. Try some side sleeping. Perhaps consider our previous recommendation & buy a firm latex topper. From there, you can test different sleeping positions & monitor how your body responds. Our readers have had a ton of success doing this. 

6. How To Make Your Mattress Firmer | Add A Center Support Leg To Your Bed Frame

  • Cheapest alternative to buying a new mattress
  • Simple & effective method to increase firmness
  • Addresses potential support issues
  • None
how to make a mattress firmer - Bed Claw Unibody Adjustable Height Bed Frame Slat Center Support Leg
Bed Claw Unibody Center Support Leg

We saved one of the most important steps for last; your center support. A mattress without a proper center support is the difference between a soft mattress vs. a firm, supportive mattress. 

If you’re not sure if you have a proper center support for your mattress, lift your mattress up and take a look at your support. If you have a bed frame, check to see if you have a vertical bar running head-to-toe. This vertical bar is your center support structure. If you have a platform bed with slats, check to see if you have horizontal & vertical slats. If you only have horizontal with no vertical slats, then you do not have a proper center support. A vertical slat is a “must” for correct middle-support.

The good news? There’s a very easy step to take. Purchase a center slat support leg. Doing so will allow you to properly support the midsection of your mattress. This small change may significantly alter the firmness of your mattress. 

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