Temporarily firmer mattress?
April 14, 2018 6:00 PM   Subscribe

My soft(ish) mattress hurts my boyfriend’s back, but is perfect for me alone. When we sleep on it together I do notice that we sink into the middle together with the added weight. Is there something I can do to temporarily make it firmer when he sleeps with me?

We are in an LDR so he’s only sleeping at my place for a week or two every three months or so. If we live together in the future I’m sure we can find a compromise mattress or get a sleep number bed with adjustable halves or something. For the time being I want to find a temporary way to make my mattress firmer while he’s here that I can remove when he’s not. I currently have a mattress/box spring on the floor set up. Would putting a frame under the box spring help? Is there a firm mattress topper I can buy? Should I put a plywood platform between the mattress and box spring? If the firming is not dramatic I am willing to keep it permanently. I am not willing to buy a new mattress right now.
posted by Waiting for Pierce Inverarity to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Grab a couple firm pillows. Place then in between mattress and box spring.
That worked for me for a temp fix when a heavier partner made me roll to middle.
posted by beccaj at 6:13 PM on April 14, 2018

I've had success with a lower back pillow in the distant past for a similar problem. Even a folded up blanket might be a good first test.

If that doesn't solve it, maybe stick the frame and springs out of the way and see if the mattress straight on the floor works. If so then maybe plywood would do the trick.
posted by cjdavis at 6:30 PM on April 14, 2018

Option 1: multiple layers of cardboard laid out on top of the box spring. (This is what people did in a third-world country I lived in for time, to firm up plain cotton mattresses on top of old-school spring bed frames). Option 2: If you're someplace where you can easily get a set of IKEA mattress slats to put between the box spring and the mattress, that will significantly reduce the degree to which the mattress proper can sag, and then you can always use the slats themselves if you ever decide to buy a proper bed frame. Option 3: cut-to-fit plywood, or something like 1x3 lumber cut to width and possibly secured with duct tape run top/bottom or stapled nylon strapping (this is essentially what IKEA bed slats are) to make it easy to deploy when he visits/remove when he's not--whichever is easier for you to get cut to the right size and insert/remove as needed.
posted by drlith at 7:32 PM on April 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

I use a sheet of plywood (well two sheets, because you can't do a queen mattress with one sheet) to firm up my bed. How much you feel like wrangling a couple big pieces of 1/2" plywood (and storing them when not in use) is up to you, but it works.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:48 PM on April 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

Rather than storing cardboard or plywood, you could get a folding bed board. (I have no experience with that brand, it was just an example.)
posted by cabingirl at 8:33 PM on April 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

a sheet of plywood (well two sheets, because you can't do a queen mattress with one sheet)

You pretty much can! A queen mattress is 4800 sq in, a plywood is 4608. If you cut the plywood in half along a diagonal squared up into five stairsteps, you can shift one half down a step to get something that's close enough to a queen mattress that it works great. That's what's holding up my mattress!
posted by aubilenon at 9:29 PM on April 14, 2018 [5 favorites]

I definitely used a bed board to firm up my saggy dorm mattress in college. I'd go that route.
posted by radioamy at 11:21 PM on April 14, 2018

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