Memory foam mattresses had become a popular option for beds since their introduction several decades ago. Some people find them to be a strong alternative to traditional mattresses, but you may wonder if there are ways you can make them more comfortable. We’ve looked into this topic for you, and we’ve found several methods you can use to make your memory foam mattress softer or firmer as you prefer.
To soften your memory foam mattress:
- Keep using it every night (it should soften over time)
- Heat it by raising the room temperature to 20-22 degrees Celsius (68-72 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Try a mattress topper (wool, egg-crate foam, latex, and cotton are good options)
- Kneel, walk, crawl or roll across the mattress for several minutes each day
To make your memory foam mattress firmer:
- Lower the room temperature
- Put a plywood board between the mattress and the bed’s foundation
- Try a firm mattress topper (compact wool is one good choice)
You can also try rotating your mattress 180 degrees if you find that it’s too firm or too soft. If your mattress can be flipped, you can try that, too.
We know that was a lot to take in, so we’ll talk more about those options and give you other information you’ll need to get the most out of your memory foam mattress.
Softening your memory foam mattress
If you find it challenging to get a good night’s sleep because your memory foam mattress is too firm, don’t worry. There are plenty of ways you can soften it so you can start sleeping more comfortably.
Keep Using It
It’s not unusual for a brand-new memory foam mattress to feel firm. These mattresses usually soften over time with regular use. Just sleep on it normally every night, and your body’s heat and weight should cause it to soften gradually. It usually takes 60 nights to complete this process, and you should see the most difference after the first 30 nights. However, you may also notice a difference as soon as seven days into using it regularly.
Raise the Room Temperature
The bedroom’s temperature affects whether a memory foam mattress feels soft or hard. A warmer room temperature softens the mattress, while a cooler room temperature makes it feel more firm. A room temperature of 20-22 degrees Celsius (68-72 degrees Fahrenheit) will help soften the mattress.
Soft Mattress Topper
Mattress toppers can make your bed feel softer or firmer depending on its density and what material they are made of. For a softer feel, use a topper with a lower density than your mattress. Wool, cotton, feather, polyfoam, egg-crate foam, and latex toppers are good choices for softening your mattress.
Put pressure on the mattress
You can take several minutes a day to exert pressure on a new mattress and help it soften faster. Try kneeling, walking, crawling, or rolling across the top of the mattress. If you try this method, make sure you kneel/walk/crawl/roll across the entire surface, so you soften the whole mattress.
Hardening your memory foam mattress
Is your mattress so soft you find it hard to fall asleep at night? No worries! There’s plenty of techniques you can try to firm it up.
Lower the Room Temperature
Just like how raising the bedroom’s temperature softens a memory foam mattress, lowering it makes it firmer. Try setting the temperature to 60 degrees.
Put a thin plywood board between your mattress and the bed’s foundation. Inspect it occasionally to ensure that it stays strong and doesn’t sag in the middle.
Firm Mattress Topper
You can firm up your mattress if you buy a mattress topper made of strong material like compact wool.
One more option
If your mattress is too soft or firm, you can try occasionally rotating your mattress 180 degrees so that both sides are used equally. If your mattress can be flipped, try flipping it as well. It’s best not to use one side much more heavily than the other in the long term.
How long does it take for a memory foam mattress to fully expand?
You’ll usually have to wait 24-72 hours before a new memory foam mattress fully expands, though some mattresses can expand up to 90% in 4-6 hours. To begin the expansion process, carefully unpack and roll out the mattress. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you don’t damage it. Then, set the room’s temperature at 20 degrees Celsius or higher as the warmth helps memory foam mattresses expand faster.
How long does it take to get used to a memory foam mattress?
As we said before, memory foam mattresses usually take some getting used to, especially if you buy a brand-new one. Typically, it takes around 60 days to break in the mattress, though you may start feeling more comfortable sleeping on it in as few as 30 days.
Again, if you’d like to get acclimated to your new mattress faster, keep your bedroom set to a warm temperature. You can also walk or crawl on the mattress for a few minutes every day until it starts feeling comfortable when you use it at night.
What thickness memory foam mattress is best?
You’ll find that memory foam mattresses are usually between 6 and 14 inches thick. You should get one that’s 10-14” thick as mattresses lower than that range will start sagging and becoming softer in just a few years.
However, the thickness shouldn’t be your only consideration when you buy a memory foam mattress. You also need to take into account its density and firmness level.
Density is a measurement of how much foam a mattress has in a certain area of volume. It’s often listed in pounds per cubic foot (PCF).
Lower-density mattresses (2.5-3.9 PCF) have better airflow and are lighter and easier to get used to quickly. On the other hand, higher-density mattresses (5.5 PCF and above) are more durable and adapt more easily to your body’s shape, but they are more expensive and have worse airflow. Medium-density mattresses (4-5.4 PCF) are a good compromise between the two extremes and provide excellent motion isolation, making them a great choice if you’ll be sharing the bed with a partner.
Generally, you’ll want to find a mattress with a PCF of 3 or higher to ensure it’s not too soft.
A memory foam mattress’s firmness is listed as its Indentation Load Deflection (ILD). You should only consider mattresses with a minimum ILD of 10 as anything less will be too soft.
What are the disadvantages of memory foam mattresses?
While memory foam mattresses have their advantages, there are some drawbacks to be aware of as well.
For instance, they capture a fair amount of your body heat when you lie on them. Sometimes this tendency isn’t an issue, especially during fall and winter, but you may find that your bed becomes much warmer during the summer. You’re more likely to encounter this problem if you live in a hot, humid climate. Luckily, manufacturers offer alternatives to address this problem, including open-cell and gel foam, and you can consider these options when deciding if memory foam is suitable for you.
Memory foam mattresses are also notably heavy, so you may have to get a friend to help you if you ever need to transport yours, rotate it, or raise one of the ends to fit sheets under it.
Be careful not to spill any liquids on your memory foam mattress or expose it to moisture. These mattresses aren’t water-resistant, so you should purchase a waterproof mattress cover if you’re worried about getting your bed wet.
Lastly, these mattresses tend to emit strong odors when they’re brand new. This phenomenon is referred to as off-gassing and occurs when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) break down. The smell should mostly disappear after 2-3 days. There’s no completely conclusive evidence that these odors are seriously harmful. Still, some people might experience an adverse allergic or respiratory reaction to them, so leaving your mattress alone for 2-3 days to air out is advisable.
If you want to avoid these smells, you can seek out a higher-quality or plant-based brand that will have less or no odor. Alternatively, you can consider another mattress type, for example, a pillow top mattress.
Memory foam mattresses are a great choice for anyone wanting a comfortable bed that conforms to their body shape and preferred sleeping position. Plus, as we’ve discussed, there are several options for altering their firmness if you find that yours doesn’t quite feel right.
If you enjoyed our discussion about memory foam mattresses and want to learn more, you can read our posts on their longevity and the longevity of memory foam pillows.