A soft mattress can provide for a comfortable good night’s sleep and be beneficial to a person’s physical health and emotional wellbeing. In fact, many people report that they strongly prefer a soft mattress for the reasons mentioned.
On average, mattresses will be fully softened after a year of use. Depending on the material, a mattress may or may not soften substantially, but will always soften a little. After a year, the mattress will degrade slowly over its entire lifetime, as long as 8-10 years for some mattresses.
It is important, therefore, to investigate such questions as the expected lifespan of a mattress, how said lifespan can be lengthened if necessary, and possible products to help with softening a mattress as necessary, among other issues. Read on to learn more!
How Much Will My Mattress Soften Over Time?
The short answer is that if you have a mattress for any length of time, it is bound to soften. This is because it will be constantly exposed to both the weight of being slept on, the effects of elements in the air and anything else that the mattress comes into contact with.
You should therefore try to recognize how these factors will affect the rate at which your mattress softens. Generally speaking, memory foam and its gel offshoot tend to soften more quickly than latex foam.
As you will see, mattress softening is natural and can be a good thing based on several factors; however, you should certainly not automatically assume that an excessively soft mattress will be better for you than a firmer one. It will be worth your while to investigate, based on expert advice and your own experience, which is more suited for you.
How Long Does Memory Foam Last?
If you already own a memory foam mattress or are in the market to purchase one, you should be aware that the average lifespan for one is typically 8-10 years, though this number can vary.
However, it should not be merely assumed that a mattress will last a certain length of time. Like all objects, they need to be taken care of.
Foam Density Contributes to Mattress Lifespan
It is also important to understand foam density, which refers to the measurement of how much weight is in a single cubic foot of foam.
Foam density is crucial to understanding a mattress’s durability and thus how long it will last. This is because in cases with a higher foam density, there will be a greater concentration to help support someone’s weight and thus will likely decrease the amount of wear and tear that takes place over time.
Average Lifespan of a Mattress
See the below chart for further information on today’s popular brands and how long their memory foam mattresses typically last:
Mattress Expected Lifespan
|Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Adapt Memory Foam Mattress||The Chicago Tribune has reported that a Tempur-Pedic mattress that is “well cared for” is capable of lasting up to 15 years. This is significantly higher than the average for both a box spring and other memory foam mattresses.|
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the mattress comes with a 10 year warranty.
|Amerisleep Memory Foam Mattress||The official Amerisleep website reports that a memory foam or latex mattress can last more than 15 years, with some enduring for as much as 20+ years.|
One of Amerisleep’s selling pitches for their memory foam mattress is the range of foam density (4.0 to 5.3 pounds), which they assert is the ideal density that most consumers prefer. In turn, they contend that this also increases the mattress’s average lifespan.
Amerisleep offers a 20-year warranty for their memory foam mattresses.
|Nectar Memory Foam Mattress||The Nectar Memory Foam Mattress has been reported to last approximately 6 to 7 years, which would be considerably less than some of its competitors.|
Nectar offers a lifetime warranty for their mattresses.
|Zoma Mattress||Zoma Memory Foam Mattresses, which are billed as being designed especially for those with an active lifestyle, have an average life-span of 7-10 years.|
Zoma offers a warranty of up to 10 years.
|Helix Twilight Mattress||The Helix Twilight Memory Foam Mattress has an expected lifespan of 7-10 years. Its warranty is up to 10 years.|
|Serta iComfort Mattress||The Serta iComfort Memory Foam Mattress has an average lifespan of 8-10 years. It also offers a “cooling foam” option, which can increase the likelihood of the mattress’s longevity.|
The Serta warranty lasts from 1-20 years, depending on several factors.
|Casper Original Memory Foam Mattress||Casper reports their memory foam mattress as lasting up to 12 years, based upon what they advertise as its technological superiority.|
A Casper warranty is 10 years.
|Tuft and Needle Mattress||The average lifespan of a Tuft and Needle Memory Foam Mattress is 6 years, a few less than most of its competition.|
Tuft and Needle offers a 10 year warranty.
How To Tell If Your Mattress Is Too Soft Or Too Firm
This may seem like a redundant issue to discuss, given that for many people, the softness or firmness of a mattress is a matter of personal preference. The reality is, however, that a mattress can become too much of one, and this can have significant consequences for your sleep and physical health.
Telling if Your Mattress Is Too Firm
The most obvious sign of a mattress that is too firm can simply be found by laying on it: does it feel almost like you are laying on a board or the floor? Aside from that, there are other clues you can use to decipher if your mattress is too firm:
- You are stiff after waking up: No one likes a stiff back and joints, and these can occur due to a mattress that is exerting too much pressure on the back. Be careful, however, to not automatically assume that your stiffness is caused by the mattress, as there are other factors that could be involved.
- Insomnia or lack of sleep: An extra firm mattress can contribute to a bad night’s sleep through the discomfort keeping you awake.
- Room Temperature: A Memory Foam Mattress in a low temperature room can become excessively firm, and may have trouble softening if the mattress has not been crafted with care and quality.
- Absence of a Comfort Layer: Comfort layers are an integral part of making sure that your body has protection against excessive rigidity from a mattress. More on this in another section!
How Do You Know If Your Mattress Is Too Soft?
It can be tempting to desire a mattress that, proverbially speaking, is as soft as a feather. After all, you will not deal with any constant tension that might come with a hard mattress, so it is a good deal, right?
Actually, firmness isn’t altogether a bad thing in of itself, and just like an overly firm bed, a mattress that is too soft can lead to a number of issues such as back, shoulder, and joint pains and stiffness, insomnia issues, and even struggling to get out of bed when you want to, among other possible problems.
Additionally, and while sleeping on an adult’s bed is discouraged for children due to the elevated risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, this is especially the case with excessively soft mattresses.
How to Soften Up a Mattress That is Too Hard
If you own a mattress that is too hard or buy one only to be disappointed in its firmness, there are ways you can soften up the mattress.
Apply Weight to the Bed
A mattress is almost certain to become softer when weight is placed on it. Obviously, you can do so by sleeping on it every night, but according to the website Sleep Advisor, you can literally step on the bed and thereby expedite its becoming soft.
You will need to be in doing this however and you are not advised to have children or adults jump on it!
Add a Mattress Topper
Mattress toppers can serve many purposes, including if you want to ensure that no food, animal hair, liquids, or other undesirable residue ends up on the mattress itself.
They are also a highly effective way to quickly make your mattress softer. You can find mattress toppers online through the name brand websites, at most mattress stores, or through online shops such as Laylasleep.com.
Add a Bed Base
A bed base is absolutely vital to a memory foam mattress’s livelihood. According to a blog post by Amerisleep, a mattress foundation provides for a firm support of the mattress and thus preventing it from sagging or other complications.
It also increases the mattress’s lifespan, allows air to flow smoothly and easily, and can help keep the mattress clean.
As with a mattress topper, bed foundations can be purchased through the mattress retailers or at specialty stores.
Increase Heat Flow In The Room
As mentioned earlier in the article, a mattress can become hardened when it is constantly exposed to cold air. This, in turn, can be remedied by simply turning up your thermostat.
Alternatively, however, if you are in the heat of summer and cannot be comfortable in a heated room, you have the option of placing the mattress during your active hours in a separate heated room. Placing a pile of warm blankets on the bed is not a bad idea either.
It should be noted that it is not recommended that you place a heating pad on top of memory foam however, as this can result in lasting damage to the mattress. You should also avoid an electric blanket, hot water bottle, or a heating pad as these can likewise damage the memory foam.
How To Harden A Mattress That Is Too Soft
What about a mattress that is too soft? Having already established that this is not a good thing and can lead to health problems, let’s take a look at important tips formaking a soft mattress more firm.
Flipping Your Bed Over
Many people who own any kind of mattress–be it memory foam, spring box, latex or other–will likely flip their mattress over at some point. They could be desiring a better feel, trying to remove a stain, or for another reason.
Flipping a bed in order to make it more firm is a logical choice because it is simple and easy, and will quickly result in a firmer side to sleep on. You should keep in mind, however, that this step works best if you have a flippable mattress.
Add A Mattress Topper
While a topper may seem counterintuitive given its role in making a mattress softer, it can also serve the opposite purpose. In fact, there are mattress toppers that are specifically designed to make a memory foam mattress more firm. Let’s take a look at few of these:
- Bed Story 3” Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper: This mattress topper is made with thermostatic memory gel foam and is advertised by the retailer as being eco-friendly. It is highly rated by Wayfair.com and in the Amazon.com Customer Reviews.
- RUUF Active Cooling 4” Memory Foam Mattress Topper: Like the title of the product says, it is designed to both increase the mattress’s firmness and cool it down. Currently, it is highly rated, but slightly less so than the Bed Story in the Amazon Customer Reviews.
- Lucid 4” Bamboo Charcoal Memory Foam Mattress Topper: This unique topper made from heated bamboo is ideal for those with nighttime overheating issues, and can help eliminate odors emitting from the mattress. One downside, however, is that has been reported to have durability issues.
- American Firm Conventional Polyurenthane Foam Mattress Pad Bed Topper: While not as well-known as some of its competitors, this mattress topper has been praised for its budget-friendly value.
- Avocado Vegan Topper: If you are concerned about use of animal products in your bedding, this topper may be the solution for you as it is made entirely from organic cotton.
If you examine any of these and find that they seem to be the right fit for you, you could find that it is the difference-maker you need for a firmer mattress and a good night’s sleep.
Put Your Mattress On The Floor (At Least Temporarily)
Contrary to what some people might assume, a memory foam mattress is completely safe to place on the floor.
The reason why this might be a good idea–at least for a time–is that the floor can help harden your mattress. If you go this route, however, it is highly recommended that you take extra precautions to ensure that the mattress receives an adequate flow of air. This will prevent it from becoming overheated and thus breaking down.
If you aren’t comfortable with placing your mattress on the floor, you can also consider getting a large piece of plywood to put under it.
Actively Limit Your Mattress’s Exposure to Moisture
Needless to say, moisture is not a good thing for a bed. In fact, it can help soften your bed beyond what you are going to be comfortable sleeping on. Some possible sources of moisture could be humid air that is let inside by open windows, liquids getting on the mattress, or a humidifier in the room. Over time, these can bring bacteria and other undesirable things.
Casper.com recommends putting your mattress out in the sun on a dry day in order to help rid it of any moisture.
Decrease Heat Flow In The Room
Just as an increase of temperature will soften a memory foam mattress, the opposite rings true when the temperature is decreased.
An important note: may seem to contradict the recommendation of placing the mattress out in the warmth of the sun’s rays, they are in fact perfectly compatible. The dry air during the day mixed in with the cold air at night will ensure that the mattress is rid of destructive moisture and germs, as well as becoming more firm.
Gel Foam, Memory Foam, and Latex
Memory Foam, its Gel offshoot, and Latex are three of the most popular forms of mattresses on the market today. Indeed, they are slowly replacing the traditional box spring mattress that was common for generations.
But what exactly are these three types of foam mattresses, and is one preferable to the others in terms of mattress softening and hardening?
- Memory Foam is basically polyurethane foam that has had chemicals added to it.
- Gel Memory Foam is both its own layer and a part of foam, with the ability to help cool the mattress being what separates it from the typical memory foam model.
- Latex Foam is made entirely from rubber, and it is known for making the mattress feel soft and comfortable.
Some Important Distinctions
At the end of the day, a mattress that makes you comfortable is going to be the best mattress you can find. That said, there are a variety of opinions about which of the three foam mattresses is the most desirable.
- According to the website Sleepopolis, memory foam mattresses are recommended for those who want to be able to sink more into the mattress while not doing so too quickly. Latex mattresses, on the other hand, are suited for those desiring a greater “bounce”.
- Latex mattresses are at a price disadvantage to both memory foam and gel mattresses because of the cost of getting their materials.
- The main difference that may lead a consumer to select either a gel or memory foam mattress is the cooling function that a gel mattress and/or topper will provide. As it relates to mattress softening, you might find the traditional memory foam to be more effective at it.
As you can see, there are important advantages and disadvantages to the three styles. If you are in the hunt for a new mattress, you will need to consider the pros and cons of each form.
It is clear that a mattress will soften or harden based upon many factors, including the composition of the mattress itself, the conditions it is exposed to over time, and any modifications that alter it. You should be aware of all of these and how they can enhance or inhibit your chances of a good night’s sleep.