How to Determine if Your Mattress Is Too Firm

How to Determine if Your Mattress Is Too Firm

You want your mattress to support your body while you sleep, but support isn’t synonymous with a mattress that’s too firm.

If your mattress falls into the “too firm” category, it can be uncomfortable.

Read on to learn how to determine if you’re dealing with a too-firm mattress and how to solve the problem. 

Why is it bad if a mattress is too firm?

Lack of comfort aside, it can be problematic to sleep on a firm mattress because it won’t allow you to sink into it enough, which can cause you to wake up feeling stiff or with body aches. A mattress that’s too firm can be harmful to your health.

So, it’s therefore important to determine if your mattress is too firm.

While seeing how you feel after a night’s rest on it is a good starting point, there are other ways to tell if you’re dealing with a too firm mattress.

Can A Mattress Be Too Firm For You (And Not Others)?

Man Holding For Backs

A mattress can definitely feel too firm and cause you problems, but have you ever experienced feeling uncomfortable after sleeping on a too-firm mattress only for your loved one to say that the mattress feels great to them?

How soft or firm a mattress feels can depend on your weight and sleeper position.

Basically, the more you weigh, the more you might feel that you’re sinking into a mattress, so it will feel softer.

On the other hand, the less you weigh, the more you’ll feel you’re not sinking into the mattress enough, which will make it harder underneath your body.

When it comes to the position in which you like to sleep, if you sleep on your stomach or back, you will need to sleep on a firmer mattress to support your back.

If you sleep on your side, you require a soft mattress to support your shoulders and hips.

If the bed is too firm and you sleep on your side, you might find that you wake up with tingly arms and hips because of how the mattress restricts blood flow in your body.

How You Can Tell If Your Mattress Is Too Firm

Aches and pains, and even numbness, in your body, can all point to your mattress being too firm.

There are other signs to look out for, such as if it takes you a long time to fall asleep.

A study published in Sleep Science found that when people started sleeping on a medium-firm mattress instead of a high-firm mattress as they’d previously done, they reduced their falling-asleep time from an average of 67 minutes to just 21 minutes!

Another specific symptom of sleeping on a too-firm mattress is joint pain.

This is because a hard mattress puts too much pressure on your knees, hips, shoulders, and back, as Self-reports.

While your body’s aches and pains can be due to other factors, if you’re experiencing joint pain and never have previously, then your mattress could be the culprit.

Can You Make A Firm Mattress Softer?

Hand On Mattress

So, what do you do if your mattress is just too firm?

You might not want to try to get a refund for it, and this might not even be possible according to the manufacturer’s rules.

In addition, you might really like your mattress, in which case you might wonder if your too firm mattress will naturally become softer overtime.

This really depends on the type of mattress you have.

For example, if you have a traditional memory foam mattress, it will soften up a bit with time, while an organic latex mattress won’t – how it feels when you first purchase it is how it will stay.

That said, there are other ways in which you can help to make your mattress feel softer. Here are some tips.

Make Sure It’s Resting On The Right Foundation

Maybe the mattress isn’t too firm but it’s resting on a foundation that’s too hard.

Make sure you’ve got the right foundation for the type of mattress you have.

If you’ve purchased a memory foam mattress, for example, it shouldn’t rest on a box spring foundation as this will make it feel harder.

On the other hand, an innerspring bed will feel softer on a box spring.

Walk On Your Bed

Your mother always told you not to jump on your bed, and you shouldn’t, but you can walk on your mattress every day to soften it up!

You should do this for a few minutes every day to “break it in.” However, it’s worth bearing in mind that this isn’t an immediate solution. It will take time for the bed to become a bit softer.

Use A Bed Topper

By making the surface of your mattress softer, you can bypass the problem of a too firm mattress.

A bed topper is like a supportive layer that goes on top of your bed to make it more comfortable to lie on.

You can choose a bed topper of various materials, such as latex, cotton, feather, and even memory foam, depending on your needs.

If you choose a memory foam topper, you want to make sure that it’s soft by choosing a product that’s low-density and is less than two inches thick.

Keep It Warm

A memory foam mattress is sensitive to temperature.

You can see this by how it “hugs” your body and absorbs your body heat, becoming more flexible when you sink into it.

By keeping your bedroom warm, this could help your memory foam mattress absorb heat and become a bit softer.

You could do this by adjusting your bedroom’s thermostat or sleeping with more blankets on your bed.

Related Questions

What’s the best way to test the firmness of a new mattress you want to buy?

Don’t just sit on it or lie on it for a minute – you should lie on the mattress for at least 10 minutes in the position that you sleep in to see if it feels comfortable.

If not, then move onto a mattress that’s softer or firmer. If you’re buying a mattress online, see if it has a 100-day trial.

What is the “mattress firmness” scale?

It rates how firm a mattress is from 1 to 10.

So, 1 will be very soft, 2-3 will be soft and plush, 4-6 will be firm with some plushness, 7-9 will be a hard mattress with limited softness, and 10 is extremely firm with no softness or plushness.

What firmness should you choose based on your weight?

If you weigh less than 130 pounds you should choose a softer mattress to offer support.

If you weigh between 130 and 230 pounds, you should choose a medium-firm mattress, while weighing over 230 pounds means you should choose a firm mattress to prevent sinking into it, according to Sleep Help.


Buying a mattress that feels too firm can be upsetting, but you don’t have to make do with the discomfort.

By knowing how to tell if your mattress is too firm and following some tips to make your mattress feel softer, you’ll be on your way to having much better sleep.