5 Methods for Fixing a Sagging Mattress
All mattresses serve an ultimate purpose: supporting your body, so your spine stays aligned while you sleep. When a mattress sags or develops an indentation, it may no longer hold your body in a position that keeps the spine straight. Even if the rest of the bed feels comfortable, a single indentation can throw off alignment, which can cause pain and other health consequences.
Fortunately, there are ways to fix mattress sagging and indentations, or at the very least, patch up the problem until you can buy a replacement. But before you dive into the details of mattress repairs, it helps to know how to identify damage and what causes it.
Body Impressions, Indentations, and Sagging
Regardless of their design and material quality, all mattresses experience the natural wear and tear that comes with age. That said, there's a big difference between normal aging and damage or defects.
Common mattress maladies include rips, punctures, and stains, but this guide tackles the bigger issues: damage that affects your mattress's integrity and support system.
When it comes to structural damage, people often confuse a few terms used to describe a mattress's condition. To fix a "bad" mattress, you first want to identify the type of damage you're dealing with.
What Are Body Impressions?
Body impressions naturally form in many mattresses, especially those with a soft, contouring top layer. Typically, body impressions only affect a mattress's uppermost layer and don't detract from the bed's support and pressure relief. However, body impressions can become a problem if they form deep enough and allow your spine to sink out of alignment.
What Is Mattress Indentation?
You can think of mattress indentations—also known as dents or divots—as potholes or valleys in your bed. People often use the terms “mattress indentation" and "mattress sagging" interchangeably; however, there is a slight difference. A "mattress indentation" refers to a specific sunken-in spot on the mattress, whereas "mattress sagging" generally refers to the mattress at large.
What Is Mattress Sagging?
When a mattress develops a noticeable dip or dips, it's called mattress sagging. Typically, mattresses begin to sag where the heaviest parts of the body—like the hips and shoulders—rest on the bed. Many mattress companies define substantial sagging at a certain depth for warranty purposes, typically around 1 to 1.5 inches.
What Causes Mattress Indentations and Sagging?
Even the strongest mattresses eventually sag, but with the right materials—like super-durable latex—a mattress may maintain its firmness and support for up to 20 years. But as the chart below shows, some mattress types and materials sag faster than others.
In most cases, mattress indentation and sagging result from:
- Prolonged use
- Uneven weight distribution
- Using an improper or low-quality foundation
- Inadequate care
What Type of Mattress Is Least Likely to Sag?
Does it Sag?
Why it Sags
Can sag within the first couple of years
Low-grade metal coils can rust and lose their agility quickly from continuous use.
Up to 5 years
Can sag within 1-3 years
Contains heat-trapping chemicals that cause sagging and slow response.
Up to 10 years
Softens, but maintains its bounce and typically doesn't sag for up to 10 years
Slowly softens due to regular wear and tear. Natural Talalay latex lasts longer that Dunlop and synthetic latex.
AirFoam™ retains its pressure relief for the duration of its lifespan
Our sag-resistant, high-resilience foam is free from the heat-trapping viscoelastic chemicals that degrade memory foam
5 Ways to Fix Mattress Sagging and Indentations
What should you do if your mattress starts to sag? Depending on the severity, it may be time for a new mattress. However, with minor sagging, you may still get a few good years of use with these tips and tricks. At the very least, you’ll be more comfortable while you wait for the replacement to arrive.
1. Rotate Your Mattress
A quick fix, but not a permanent solution
If you don’t rotate your mattress on a regular basis (about once every six months), you should. It’s a simple way to prevent mattress indentations from forming around pressure points. That said, if you’ve never rotated your mattress before, the opposite end of the bed likely hasn’t sagged. Simply rotate the bed 180 degrees for a fresh start.
2. Add a Mattress Topper
Improves overall comfort and works with any mattress type
Using a mattress topper is both a solution for a sagging mattress and a way to prevent indentation in the first place. Adding a topper or pad to any type of mattress creates an even surface, provides extra support, and extends the lifespan of your mattress.
It’s also an opportunity to add a material with contouring, cooling properties, and better pressure relief than your original mattress. Mattress add-ons like the Nolah Mattress Topper cost only a fraction of the cost of a new bed and easily attach to your existing mattress with elastic bands in each corner.
3. Vacuum Your Mattress to Redistribute Filling
Best for pillow top mattresses and lumpy mattresses
How do you fix a lumpy mattress? If it has a pillow top, you’re in luck! To redistribute the filling and smooth out the top layer, simply vacuum the mattress surface. This will flatten lumps and fill in indentations.
4. Place Pillows Beneath the Mattress
A short-term solution for isolated indentations
The pillow trick won’t fix a mattress with a significant bow, but it can help even out indentations and add support as a temporary solution.
You can think of this method as a spot treatment for mattress divots. Locate the indentations (most likely where your shoulders and hips press into the bed) and slide a flat pillow underneath.
5. Use Plywood to Reinforce Your Mattress Frame or Foundation
For mattress sagging caused by a faulty base
Mattress frames and foundations, also known as bases, provide a flat surface for your mattress. A sturdy, even base helps support your body weight and reduces the natural sagging that comes with prolonged use. Without one, your mattress will sink, likely causing aches and pains. Bases also keep your mattress clean and protected by raising it off the floor.
If your foundation can’t hold the weight of your mattress and body, you may need a new mattress base altogether. However, readjusting the slats (if applicable) or placing a sheet of plywood on top of your existing foundation may do the trick.
Depending on the severity of the sagging, you can cut the plywood to the shape of your entire mattress or place a smaller square directly beneath the indentation.
How to Prevent Mattress Indentations and Sagging
Whether you bought a brand-new mattress or decided to fix your existing bed with one of the methods described above, you’ll want to do everything you can to prevent future sagging and indentation. A few ways to maintain your mattress’s structure and support include:
- Rotating your mattress every six months
- Adding a mattress topper for extra support
- Investing in a quality mattress foundation
- Using a mattress protector to prevent bacteria and mold, which can weaken mattress foam
- Keep your bed clean with regular maintenance like washing your sheets and spot treating any stains
Understand Your Mattress Warranty
People dealing with a sagging or indented mattress often ask if their mattress’s warranty covers the deterioration.
Every company’s warranty policies differ, but most mattress warranties only cover manufacturer defects, not damage caused by the owner or normal wear and tear. Your mattress warranty may specify what indentation depth or amount of sagging is considered normal versus the result of a manufacturing defect.
It’s also important to note that improper use typically invalidates a mattress warranty. For example, using your mattress directly on the floor without a proper foundation often invalidates the warranty.
Proper Base or Bed Frame Support
To prevent mattress sagging, sinking, and indentations, you need the right foundation for your mattress. A proper foundation will elevate your mattress from the ground and provide a flat, sturdy surface for your mattress.
So, what type of support does your mattress need? It depends on its construction and materials. You should confer with your mattress’s manufacturer, but in general, each mattress type is compatible with the following foundations:
Innerspring Mattresses– You can use an innerspring mattress with a platform (solid or slatted) or a bed frame with a box spring. Most innerspring mattresses don’t have the flexibility to use with an adjustable base.
Nolah AirFoam™ Mattresses– We designed our AirFoam™ mattresses to work with all foundation types, including platforms and adjustable bases. While you can use your Nolah AirFoam™ mattress with a bed frame and box spring, we recommend a stronger option for maximum longevity.
- Memory Foam Mattresses– Memory foam mattresses require the support of a platform (solid or slatted) or an adjustable base. We do not recommend using a memory foam mattress with a bed frame and box spring.
- Latex Mattresses– Latex mattresses are heavier than most other mattresses and require the support of a platform (solid or slatted) or an adjustable base.
- Hybrid Mattresses– Hybrid mattresses are heavier than most other mattresses and require the support of a platform (solid or slatted). Some hybrid mattresses—including all of Nolah’s hybrid models—have the flexibility to use with an adjustable base. Be sure to check with the mattress manufacturer for compatibility information.
When Is It Time to Say Goodbye to Your Bed?
Hopefully, these tips and tricks will help you prolong the life of your mattress. But as with all products, there comes a time when buying a new mattress is better than trying to repair a lost cause. If your mattress doesn’t keep your spine straight, causes significant aches and pains, or has lost its structural integrity—it’s time for a better, newer bed.