How to make a bed more comfortable — without buying a new one

Goodbye, lumpy mattresses. The time is nigh for learning how to make a bed more comfortable with these six tweaks

How to make a bed more comfortable so it looks as easy to sink into as this plush 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 wondering how to make a bed more comfortable, chances are you’ve been sleeping in a bed that sags, doesn't suit your body, or generally feels downright horrible. We’ve all been there and the struggle at night is real. 

Whether it’s a money constraint stopping you from upgrading your mattress, or your landlord won’t allow you to replace your bed, non-restorative sleep doesn't help anyone. That's why we've done a deep dive and have six tips to make your bed more comfortable.

Ditch the sleepless nights with these budget-friendly, low-hassle tips, all without investing in the best mattress.

How to make a bed more comfortable

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 cough up the dough for a new one, investing in the best mattress topper your money can buy could be the answer. 

Wondering what a mattress topper is? These nifty bedroom items 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. They boost comfort, enhance support, and cover any bumpy or sagging areas. Most consist of a thin layer of foam or other material. 

And, if you’re a hot sleeper, shop for the best cooling mattress topper or pad. Some options come with gel-infused memory foam to keep you cool. This might surprise you as most people assume memory foam can be on the sticky side. However, there are loads of benefits to buying a memory foam mattress topper.

Try a mattress topper

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 (like the Slumber Core) come in a range of materials, including down, foam, and cotton.

FYI, we particularly love the Slumber Core as it doubles up as one of the best mattress protectors too.

Treat yourself to a new pillow

If you wake up with a sore back, neck, and shoulders, it might be time to invest in a pair of the best pillows. 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. 

When choosing a pillow, don’t forget to take into account how you sleep. It’s usually better for back and stomach sleepers to have slightly thinner pillows, while side sleepers usually need thicker pillows. And, you don't have to spend hundreds on new headrests either (our best affordable pillows includes this $3.50 Target pillowproving how cheap it can be to make your bed more comfortable).

Flip your mattress

Some newer mattresses (including the best mattresses in a box) aren’t designed to be flipped. But, if you have an older mattress, or a modern design that’s flippable, you might find turning it over will boost the support and make sleeping a little more comfortable. 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 enhance your sleep. 

Alternatively, if your mattress is showing serious signs of wear and tear (typically around the 5-10 year) mark, it might be time to change it. Luckily, we've tested some of the best cheap mattresses. Don't forget to recycle your mattress responsibly if you do have to say sayonara to your old one. 

Buy better linens

Could the reason that your bed isn’t all that comfortable to sleep in be the fact that your bedding requires an update? While treating yourself to the best bed sheets and the best duvet insert or 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 choose sheets that work 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. But if you don't know where to start, we've collated a list of the best bedding brands to shop from.

Shop for a new frame or headboard

Buying the best bed or the best headboard can be expensive, hence why I've kept this point last. But if you're sleeping without the proper infrastructure in place, it's time to invest. When choosing a bed, pick an option that your mattress sits comfortably within. Also, if you have the budget, go for an upholstered or storage bed. These tiny details will make a world of difference (especially in a small bedroom where the best storage headboard can help to declutter your scheme).

Beth Mahoney
Freelance journalist

Hi! I’m Beth Mahoney and I’m a former staff writer at Real Homes. I’ve been a journalist for the national press for the past six years, specializing in commerce and trends-related lifestyle articles, from product reviews and listicles to guides and features. 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.

With contributions from