I don’t know about you, but I’ve had some terrible luck with my mattresses. The last three I bought all had indents, started sagging at some point, or were just plain bad. So after my third incredibly expensive mattress started sagging, I began wondering, what the hell was wrong. I searched far and wide for the best solutions to repair the indents on my mattress, and here’s what I found.
Why Do Mattresses Sag?
The fact is, no matter how expensive or firm your mattress is, after a while, it will start to sag. After prolonged use, the materials will become soft regardless if you have a foam, latex, or polyurethane one. What’s more, innerspring mattresses will start to sag when the coil tension decreases.
Once this happens, your mattress will look like it has “peaks and valleys,” which are, as you can imagine, incredibly uncomfortable to sleep on. You’ll start to see sagging in the pressure point areas. Most often, these will be the parts where you rest your shoulders, midsection, and hips.
Also, if you sleep with a partner, your cuddling or spooning could be causing the indents. As the materials or springs start to deteriorate, you’ll start seeing prominent dips taking shape.
Even though all mattress types will start to sag after a while, there are some that handle it better than others. For example, air beds are the least likely to sag due to their adjustable air chamber support layers. Also, when used right, they can last anywhere between seven to eight years.
The second best mattress type is latex, which is an exceptionally durable material. Its unique structure allows your body to conform to it easier than to an innerspring mattress, for example. You can expect to see some sagging in the first five years, but it won’t deteriorate over time.
Hybrid and high-density foam mattresses have pretty similar structures that start sagging in the first three to four years. Both types have lifespans of six to seven years and have moderate sagging potentials.
Arguably, innerspring is the type of mattress most susceptible to indents. Often, due to the low-grade comfort materials, it can start sagging within the first two years. What’s more, it has the shortest lifespan out of all other types.
How a Sagging Mattress Impacts Sleep
A few minor indents here and there shouldn’t affect your sleep quality too much. But if your mattress is full of peaks and valleys, you’ll probably start to experience one of the following problems.
Once an innerspring or hybrid mattress starts to sag, the compressed comfort layers will disrupt the airflow. When this happens, the mattress has reduced breathability and can make your bed feel hot. If you already run hot while you’re sleeping, a sagging mattress will only make it harder on you.
Pain and Discomfort
If the surface of the mattress is uneven, it’ll cause you discomfort while you’re sleeping. You’ll probably feel pain in your pressure points, like shoulders, chest, midsection, and hips. Over time, the sensation will only get worse.
Overall Sleep Quality
If you have a sagging mattress, you probably don’t need me to tell you that it can affect your overall sleep quality. However, if you have insomnia or sleep apnea, having indents in your mattress can only make matters worse.
What’s more, innerspring and foam mattresses will start making a lot of noise once they start to sag. I don’t know about you, but I find it impossible to sleep or enjoy myself on a squeaky mattress, which is one of the reasons why I decided to fix it.
Fixing a Sagging Mattress
Before you go through the tiresome process of filing a warranty claim, you should see if you can fix the problem first. Here are some of my tried-and-true methods for fixing mattress indentation.
1. Rotate and Flip
No matter if your mattress has started sagging or not, you should rotate it every six months to a year. When you rotate it, you’ll be evening out the wear and tear and prolonging its lifespan.
Simply take your mattress and rotate it 180°, so that the part where you put your head before is now at the bottom. If your mattress weighs more than 90 lbs, make sure to ask someone for help when moving it to avoid hurting yourself.
Now, I know that a lot of articles also say to flip the mattress from the bottom side upward. But you actually can’t do that on most innerspring or hybrid mattresses.
Most often, you can flip a latex or foam mattress, but you should check with the manufacturer’s recommendations beforehand. Also, verify that your mattress has dual comfort layers and whether it features a flippable design.
2. Buy a Mattress Topper
Another way to fix the peaks and valleys in your mattress is with a topper. It’s an individual layer of cushioning that you can put on top of your regular, indented mattress to adjust its firmness. Now, most toppers measure 2–5 inches in thickness and come in a wide variety of different materials.
My favorite toppers are foam and latex, but you can also buy ones that are made from polyfoam, wool, and even feathers. I recommend buying one that’s at least four inches wide because that will help fill the indents much better.
In addition to helping with sagging, mattress toppers can help keep you warm during the cold months. But if you already run hot as it is, I suggest a ventilated topper for optimal thermal conditions.
If your mattress has more valleys than peaks, you can buy a mattress helper instead of a topper. The biggest difference between the two is that helpers go underneath your original mattress and provide support that way.
Most mattress helpers are made from convoluted polyfoam and can easily restore the shape of your mattress. What’s more, these work best with innerspring or hybrid mattresses.
3. Get a New Foundation
A shaky foundation is usually to blame for sagging mattresses, especially in queen-size beds. Over time, they’ll start deteriorating, or one of the legs will break. If one of the legs breaks, especially the middle one, you can’t fix it, and you’ll need to buy a new foundation.
Also, if the slats with gaps measure more than three inches in width, you’re bound to see some indents. But before you run down to the store for a new foundation, make sure to check your warranty. There, you’ll see which guidelines to follow when buying a new foundation.
4. Use a Thin Sheet of Plywood
If you have a slatted base, blocking it with some plywood can be a low-cost method of fixing it. For the best results, put a small sheet of plywood on top of your foundation, making sure that the plywood is covering every slat.
If you have a platform bed, I recommend putting down two pieces on it to ensure the best support. Even a small piece of plywood can help with the sagging problem and get rid of some of the indents.
But keep in mind that plywood shouldn’t be a permanent solution. To start, it’ll restrict your mattress’ airflow, causing it to run hot. Also, since there’s no airflow, the plywood will trap moisture and attract mildew and mold.
5. Put a Pillow Underneath
Putting a pillow under your mattress is another temporary way of fixing your indents. You should get a thin or a soft-fiber pillow or two and put them in the sagging areas to prevent putting stress on your pressure points. If you have some foam or latex pillows lying about your house, you could also use those.
However, since pillows weren’t meant to be put under the mattress, they won’t solve the sagging problem like the first three methods. You should only use them until you’ve rotated your mattress or bought a new topper or foundation.
Consider the Warranty
Since mattress sagging is a well-known defect, most manufacturers include it in their warranties. However, each company has specific measurements for every type of mattress they sell. So before you can file your warranty claim, you need to check what your manufacturer claims to be an indent.
Most often, the measurements will range from 0.5 inches to 2 inches. So if the sagging isn’t within these specs, the mattress company won’t accept your claim.
Now, every company and claim is different, but you should start by calling the manufacturer once the sagging reaches its measurements. What’s more, you should include photo evidence of the indents and your bed’s tag.
Having a bunch of peaks and valleys on your mattress is never fun. It’ll keep you running hot, destroy your sleep quality, and make a lot of noise. So to avoid having long, restless nights, you should take care of the problem as soon as possible.
My two personal methods for fixing indentation and sagging are using toppers and rotating the mattress every six months or so. But if you think your mattress is beyond help, check out your warranty and consider filing a claim.