About 70 million Americans have trouble sleeping on a regular basis.1 People’s sleepless nights vary from stress, uncomfortable sleeping position, too hot, too cold, back pain, scratchy sheets, a sagging mattress, or a bad mattress. For some people, uncomfortably firm mattresses can pull them from pillowy dreamscapes and into a troublesome nightmare of tossing and turning.
Based on research, ideally, a medium firm mattress promotes a comfortable sleep, especially for those with back pain.2 Luckily, if your mattress runs on the firm side, there are ways you can make your firm mattress softer and more comfortable. Knowing how to make a mattress softer can help improve your sleep—and by extension, improve your health, well-being, productivity, and overall quality of life.1
#1 Give It Time
You know how you need to open a bottle of wine and let it air before you can savor it at its best? Mattresses work similarly. Many mattresses take about 30 days to fully soften, depending on the mattress firmness and mattress type.3
Memory foam mattresses sometimes need time to decompress after shipping, while traditional mattresses may need time for the stuffing to settle so that you feel fully supported.
You can check the care instructions for your mattress to find out how long it should take your mattress to reach its peak softness naturally. Some mattress companies offer an extended trial period so you can have time to decide whether or not you sleep well on the mattress once it’s fully softened.
However, “softer” doesn’t necessarily mean “soft enough.” If a mattress still feels hard after its settling period and you’re within the trial period for that company, consider returning it and choosing a mattress that better fits your needs.
#2 Give It Heat
Sometimes returning a firm mattress isn’t an option. Luckily if it’s a memory foam mattress, you have a simple fix: heat.
Memory foam softens when it encounters heat, which makes it excellent at molding itself to your body. It also means that you can soften a memory foam mattress before bedtime by applying heat.
To soften a memory foam mattress, try:
- Raising the bedroom temperature – Cranking up the heat (or lowering the air conditioner) by a few degrees can help soften your memory foam mattress.
- Using your body heat – As we mentioned, your body heat can soften a memory foam mattress. That means it may feel softer once you’ve spent a few hours sleeping on it—or trying to sleep on it. To soften your mattress up before bedtime, try reading or watching TV in bed for an hour or so.
- Insulating with bedding – Using bedding fabrics that insulate—like wool blankets and flannel sheets—can help your memory foam retain heat throughout the day and night. That, in turn, can help it feel softer come bedtime.
While these tactics specifically apply to memory foam mattresses, our next tip works equally well for mattresses of all kinds, regardless of the mattress material.
#3 Give It Padding
If your mattress feels hard, putting something soft on top can transform your bed into a cozy haven.
You have a few different options, depending on your budget and how much additional softness you want:
- Comforter and blankets – For a quick fix, try taking your fluffiest comforter or blanket and laying it directly on the mattress to provide you with some extra padding. Add your sheets and the rest of your bedding to that base. It’s an easy, accessible tactic to get you through the night.
- Mattress pad – Adding a mattress underpad can give you a thin layer of additional padding that (unlike a comforter or blanket) fits easily beneath your sheets. It’s often designed to protect your mattress from fluids, dust mites, and other mattress hazards. While it’s sometimes a more affordable option, it’s not as plush as a mattress topper.
- Mattress topper – When it comes to adding softness to your mattress, we recommend a mattress topper. Mattress toppers are way more affordable than buying a whole new mattress; a topper uses materials such as memory foam, latex, or feathers to create a soft, supportive layer on top of your mattress.
Ultimately, if you’re wondering how to make a firm mattress softer, it’s probably worth investing in a mattress topper. While each option has its merits, a well-designed mattress topper can help you customize your bedding to your exact comfort preferences.
When selecting the best mattress topper, we recommend looking for the following qualities:
- Dual-sided — A dual-sided topper lets you choose between two levels of softness because everybody—and every mattress—requires different levels of support.
- Hypoallergenic – Bedtime should feel like an invitation to relax, not an opportunity to discover you’re allergic to feathers. Choosing a hypoallergenic model gives you one less reason to stay up at night.
- Breathable materials – Heat might soften a memory foam topper, but if you live in a warm climate or tend to sleep hot, it’s probably not the best mattress topper for you. Instead, choose a topper that gives you something soft and breathable to sleep on, so you can feel cradled and cool all night long.
Looking for something a bit more soft and supportive? Wonder what it’s like to sleep on 100 pillows? Our Retreat Mattress Topper includes hypoallergenic and breathable materials while offering dozens of ultra-plush pockets of our exclusive Oomph™memory foam.
Choose Coop for a Comfortable Sleep
An uncomfortably bad mattress can wreak havoc on your nightly routine. Fortunately, time, heat, and a few bedding customizations can create an absolutely dreamy slumber.
At Coop, we’re devoted to improving your life eight hours at a time.
Whether you need a softer pillow or a softer mattress, we’ve got you covered. Our bedding collection includes a luxuriously soft mattress topper, an incredibly protective four-layer underpad, and a perfectly engineered pillow protector.
Everyone deserves a bed worth dreaming about.
- CDC. Sleep and Sleep Disorders. https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_us.html
- NIH. What type of mattress should be chosen to avoid back pain and improve sleep quality? Review of the literature. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34878594/
- Sleep Junkies. Mattress Too Firm? 6 Tips to Soften Your Mattress. https://www.sleepjunkie.com/mattress-too-firm/