How to make a bed more comfortable (without buying a new mattress)

Lumpy mattress be gone ✨

A bed with white bedding and a pink headboard pictured in a white room and displayed on a terracotta wavy background.
(Image credit: Future / Beth Mahoney)

If you’re reading this, the chances are it’s because you’ve been sleeping in a bed that isn’t all that comfortable. We’ve all been there. You’re desperate to sleep but you just can’t get comfortable enough to drift off — the struggle is seriously real. 

While you’d obvi like to replace the mattress or frame and be done with it, it’s not always possible to do that as quickly as you might like. Whether it’s a money issue or your landlord won’t allow you to make those kinds of changes, it can feel super irritating when you’re being forced to sleep in an uncomfortable sleep space. 

I totally feel you on this. Recently, my mattress began to sag, and boy did I feel it. Within just a few nights of the problem starting it impacted my sleep and made drifting off — and staying asleep — a real struggle. 

Fed up with the sleepless nights, I decided to do some research and put a few different products to the test. And, the good news is that it turns out it’s actually much easier (and less expensive) than you’d think to make your bed more comfortable. 

Here's how can you make your bed more comfortable:

1. Try a mattress topper

If your mattress is the problem but you’re not able to afford to replace it or your landlord won’t allow you to, a mattress topper could be the answer. The purpose of a mattress topper is to add an extra layer of comfort, so even if your mattress is a little worse for wear, a topper could be a sleep game-changer. 

A mattress topper will sit atop your mattress (the hints in the name) and should boost comfort, enhance support, and cover any bumpy or sagging areas. Most consist of a thin layer of foam or other material. 

Oh and, FYI, if you’re a hot sleeper it’s best to look for a mattress topper that has cooling capabilities, think gel-topped memory foam. 

2. Add a mattress pad

Admittedly thinner than a mattress topper, a mattress pad is also a great option for cranking up the comfort of your bed. Especially if you’re looking to increase your comfort but need to keep your costs low — you’ll find that mattress pads are far cheaper than mattress toppers. Just like toppers, mattress pads come in a range of materials, including down, foam, and cotton. 

3. Treat yo’self to a new pillow

If you’re finding that you’re waking up with a sore neck and shoulders, then it might be time to spring for a new pillow (or two). In order to sleep well, you need a comfortable pillow that provides adequate head and neck support without being overly firm. So, if you’re sleeping with a pillow that’s too firm or a pillow that’s so old it’s lost all its supportive attributes, the time has probably come to upgrade it. 

Oh, and when you’re picking a pillow, don’t forget to take into account how you sleep. Because, JSYK, it’s (usually) better for back and stomach sleepers to have slightly thinner pillows, while side sleepers usually need thicker pillows.

4. Flip your mattress

While most newer mattresses aren’t designed to be slipped. But, if you have an older mattress (or a modern design that’s flippable), you might find that turning it over will make sleeping a little more comfortable. Just make sure to check whether your mattress should be flipped before you flip it. 

If you have a one-sided mattress — aka, there’s only padding on one side — you can’t flip it but it can still be turned around, which could help to enhance your sleep. 

5. Buy better linens

Could the reason that your bed isn’t all that comfortable to sleep in be the fact that your bedding is in need of an update? While treating yourself to new sheets and a new comforter won’t increase how comfortable the mattress itself is, they should help to make your overall sleep experience a more comfortable one. 

For better sleep, it’s important to pick bedding that works for you and your sleep habits. For a cooler night’s sleep, opt for natural fiber bedding like cotton and bamboo, rather than artificial fiber bedding. For a comfier bed setup, opt for jersey or flannel sheets. For crisp hotel-style bedding, stick to cotton.  

Beth Mahoney
Staff Writer

Hi! I’m Beth, and I’m a staff writer at Real Homes. With an eye for pretty things (think: quirky wall prints, scalloped edge furniture, and decadent-looking tableware) but a limited budget, I love nothing more than a bargain buy. I’m forever searching for items that will add style to my rather sterile, rented newbuild townhouse. I am forever searching for eye-catching and on-trend pieces of decor that will add personality without damaging the paintwork. When I’m not writing and researching trends and news pieces, you’ll usually find me camped out at my favorite coffee house with my Kindle, testing out new beauty products to blog about, restoring old furniture, or going on Instagrammable beach walks with my dog and fiancé.