It’s recommended that you spend 8 hours a night sleeping; even if you’re getting less, you’re still spending a lot of time on your mattress. Your mattress is something you use every day for many years, so it’s essential to make sure it’s perfect for you; otherwise, it can negatively affect all aspects of your life.
When you first start shopping for a new mattress you’ll see that they come in 6 different firmness levels: soft, medium-soft, medium, medium-firm, firm, and very firm.
The most popular firmness level is “medium-firm”, but each person has their own personal preference of what they like and enjoy best. There is no “one fits all solution”, that’s why there is wide range of choices to choose from.
However, if you’re having a bad sleep experience and you think it’s due to your mattress being too hard, then read our guide below and see what you can do to fix this problem.
Symptoms of Sleeping On A Mattress That Is Too Firm
There’s a range of issues that you can face from a mattress that’s too firm, so don’t assume you need to be experiencing all of these before you do something about it. The most significant sign that your mattress is too firm is just that it feels too hard and you’re not enjoying your sleep.
1. Your Mattress Doesn’t Contour To Your Body
When you first get your mattress, it will be firm but will start to soften up and should start contouring to your body, at least to some degree. If your mattress doesn’t have any give and doesn’t contour to your body at all, then it may be too firm.
It is recommended that you give your new mattress a few weeks, even a month before you decide if it’s comfortable or not. That’s because the mattress fillings inside need time to settle in and for your body to adjust.
For example, one of the most well known UK mattress retailers Dreams has a “40 night sleep guarantee policy”. This means that you can exchange the mattress for a different one that better suits you. However, they request each customer to sleep for at least 30 nights on their new mattress, until they decide if they want to exchange it or not.
2. Stiffness and Pain
If you wake up in the morning or during the night and feel pain or increased pressure and stiffness in your joints, especially your knees, hips, shoulders, and neck, your mattress may be too firm.
Especially, if you’re still feeling stiff and sore after you get up as you try to hobble around to get ready in the morning. You shouldn’t be feeling that way after a good quality sleep.
3. Severe Backache
Lower back pain is common as you get older, but if you’ve started getting increased pain in your lower back after getting your new mattress, then it’s the likely culprit.
A firm mattress can give good support to your lower back, but if it’s too firm, then it exacerbates the pain, so you need to find a good level of firmness, rather than just having a too firm mattress that causes problems.
4. Increased Tossing and Turning
If you’re spending the night tossing and turning instead of having a relaxing, comfortable sleep, then you need to consider why you’re tossing and turning every night. If you just can’t get comfortable or are actually in pain, then your mattress is far too firm.
Insomnia can be caused by a mattress that’s too firm; either it’s causing you pain during the night, or it’s having a cumulative effect on your lower back or neck that is just getting worse and stopping you from sleeping. If you’re unable to fall asleep and stay asleep at night, your mattress may be too firm or just not suitable for you.
Your insomnia may not even be that noticeable to you during the night, but if you’re experiencing daytime sleepiness, then you know for sure there is a problem with your mattress. In addition, your daytime sleepiness can cause you issues at work and put you into dangerous situations while you’re walking down the street or driving.
6. Numbness and Tingling In Limbs
If you’re waking up in the night or morning with numb limbs or tingling, it means your circulation is being cut off or compressed from a mattress that’s too firm; this is not healthy for you and should be corrected as soon as possible.
A mattress that doesn’t conform to your body and have any kind of slack or give to it is a significant health problem for you.
How to Make a Firm Mattress Softer?
The first thing you can do right away is to rotate or flip your mattress. It’s recommended that you rotate a new mattress once a month for the first six months, and then once every few months. If you haven’t done that already, check the label to see if flipping it over is allowed, if not just rotate it clock or counter clockwise.
Secondly, check the bed base to see if it’s damaged. If you’re sleeping on solid or sprung slats, check to see that there are no broken slats and that the gap between the slats is not greater than 7.5cm or 3 inches. Generally, sprung slats give better support and will make your mattress slightly softer, so you may want to consider switching over.
Another quick “fix” would be to invest in a mattress topper. Mattress toppers are usually 2-7cm thick and can make a considerable difference in how your sleep surface feels.
For example, consider getting a memory foam mattress topper, which is soft and supportive, and moulds to your body shape.
Check out the Dorma Memory Foam Mattress Topper which is 6.5 cm (2.5″) thick and is made from premium supportive memory foam. It’s priced at £139 – £219 depending on the size.
How to Buy a New Mattress with the Right Firmness Level?
If you’ve decided that you want to buy a new mattress, but are afraid of purchasing the wrong firmness level then there are a few things you can do about it. First is to buy a mattress that comes with a free trial.
In the UK you can find mattress brands with 365, 200, or 100 night trials (the Nectar mattress has 365 night sleep trial!). This is more than enough time for you to sleep and decide if you like or don’t like your new mattress. If you don’t like it, you can return it and get a full refund.
You may also want to read customer reviews of people who bought the mattress and see how they rated it. You should be able to find reviews on TrustPilot or on the retailer’s website. If possible you should visit a store and try out the mattress yourself.
Remember that new mattresses always start firmer than after a few nights or weeks of sleeping on them. However, if you don’t feel a difference after one month it could be that you picked the wrong firmness level in the first place. Some mattresses suggest you be a certain weight; otherwise, it really may be too firm for you but perfect for a heavier person.
You may find the environment isn’t suitable for your type of mattress, such as a gel or memory foam mattress in a too-cold environment may stiffen up and not become soft. It could also be that your mattress base or divan base is incorrect for the type of mattress you have, so it may need to be replaced.