10 Ways to Make a Bad Mattress More Comfortable

For anyone who’s ever had a terrible night’s sleep on a lumpy mattress, here are 10 ways you can make it better!

Bye-Bye to Bad Sleep

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How to make mattress comfortable

If you’ve ever woken up with a sore back or a kink in your neck, you probably know what it’s like to sleep on a bad mattress. Life is too short for bad sleep, but you can't always replace an uncomfortable mattress as quickly as you'd like. Whether you're saving up for your dream mattress or are just determined to make your current one work, here are 10 ways to make a bad mattress more comfortable.

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Try a Mattress Topper

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Use mattress topper

A mattress topper sits on top of, or straps onto, your mattress. Its purpose is to provide a layer of padding to boost comfort, enhance support, or cover any awkward lumps. A topper typically consists of a layer of foam, which can range from thin (about two inches) to thick (four inches and up). Other options include down, memory foam, and cooling gel foams, all of which can be effective in making bad mattresses bearable.

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Consider a Mattress Pad

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Use mattress pad

Though thinner than a mattress topper, a mattress pad can also add a little comfort to an unforgiving bed. It slips over your mattress like a fitted sheet, and you then add your sheets on top. Mattress pads are available in many materials, including down, foam, and cotton, and they offer various levels of support and softness as well as protection for the mattress.

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Go for a Body Pillow

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Use body pillow

If your mattress leaves you with aches and pains, a body pillow might be able to give you the additional support you need to wake up feeling refreshed. Body pillows typically measure between 4 and 5 feet long and from 15 to 20 inches wide. They’re perfect for people who sleep on their sides, and they provide full body support that can improve alignment and take pressure off joints and muscles, alleviating the effects of a bad mattress. If you don’t want to invest in a body pillow without knowing whether you’ll like it, try sleeping on your side with a regular pillow between your knees. If you're comfortable in this position, you might benefit from a body pillow.

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Invest in a New Pillow

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Use new head pillow

If you're having trouble getting a good night's sleep, maybe your pillow is the problem. A truly comfortable pillow that supports your head and neck can make all the difference and can even go a long way toward compensating for a bad mattress. Picking the best pillow for you depends on your preferred sleeping position: Back and stomach sleepers can benefit from thinner pillows, and side sleepers usually need thicker, more supportive ones.

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Add a Heated Blanket

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Use heated blanket

This trick works for anyone with a memory-foam mattress that’s a bit too firm and, as a result, causes discomfort at night. A heated blanket—it doesn't have to be set very high—can help soften the memory foam, helping you to get more comfortable and enjoy a good night’s rest. If, however, you don't have a memory-foam mattress or can't handle the additional heat, this isn't a solution for you.

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Flip Your Mattress

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Flip mattress comfort

Most mattresses manufactured today are not designed to be flipped, but if you have an older mattress or a modern flippable model, maybe turning it over will make it more comfortable. Flipping a mattress helps it wear more evenly and lets you sleep on the side that is less worn, which might be the key to a better night's sleep. Check your mattress before you try to flip it. Only two-sided, innerspring mattresses can be flipped. If you have a one-sided mattress—meaning one side has no cushioning and can’t be slept on—you can't flip it. You can, however, rotate a one-sided mattress from time to time, which might result in a more comfortable sleeping surface. 

Related: 12 Things No One Tells You When You’re Buying a Mattress

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Check Your Box Spring

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Bed box spring

If your mattress is uncomfortable and you have a box spring (the array of coiled springs in a cloth-covered wooden frame that is used to support a mattress), it’s worth checking the condition of the box spring. The coils can weaken over time and cause the mattress above to sag. Replacing a worn-out box spring could be a cost-effective way to improve a mattress's performance. Signs of a tired box spring include creaking noises, a sagging platform, or age (a box spring more than a decade old). Depending on your bed frame and mattress, you might not even need a box spring at all. In fact, getting rid of one could even make that old mattress more comfortable.

Related: 10 Easy Hacks to Fix a Squeaky Bed

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Buy Better Linens

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Sheets duvet bed

While a new comforter or sheets won’t make a bad mattress more comfortable, fresh linens can help make an uncomfortable mattress feel cozier. Investing in a high-quality comforter or sheets can make your bed seem softer and more luxurious. Jersey or flannel sheets can give a comfy T-shirt feeling to the bed, but if you're more into crisp hospital corners, go for stiffer cotton sheets.

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Cover It With Egg Crate

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Use egg crate topper

Egg-crate foam mattress toppers can help make a bed feel cooler, relieve pressure on parts of the body, and provide an extra layer of comfort over a bad mattress. They're also handy for camping or traveling and for protecting your mattress. Egg-crate toppers come in different materials, including traditional foam, memory foam, and gel-infused cooling foam.

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Support What's Sagging

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Use plywood mattress prop

If a sagging mattress has you feeling grumpy, try fixing the droopy areas by stuffing old towels under the mattress. It won’t be a perfect solution, but it might help add support until you are ready to invest in a new mattress. Alternatively, you can put a wooden board under the sagging area, or have a piece of plywood cut to size to fit the bed frame and place it under the mattress.

Related: 10 Five-Star Bed Frames That Fit Any Budget

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