Goldilocks said it all when she sunk into three bear beds and found one too soft. Even a kid knows enough to register a complaint when nights grow long and sleep is as elusive as a winning lottery ticket. According to the American Chiropractic Association, 40 to 60 percent of people have trouble sleeping, and plenty of these insomniacs blame their discomfort on a soft mattress. Unlike Goldilocks, you have options that don't cost a fortune.
Take the Bed Apart
You can see which part of your bed is the culprit. If one or more of the wood slats holding your mattress and box spring in place have fallen out of the frame or are sagging, you'll have solved the problem. Replace the lumber with new slats. If you want a little insurance, replace six old slats with eight new ones so weight is distributed more evenly.
Rebuild Your Bed Slowly
Since you took your entire bed apart when you took it down to the wood slats in step 1, start rebuilding slowly. Put the mattress directly onto the new wood braces, leaving out the box springs. Get some rest. This move will give you an opportunity to identify the box springs as the soft bed demon. If the result is yet another sleepless night, put the mattress directly on the floor. Many people discover they get better rest on a mattress alone. You could be one of them.
Try a Plywood Insert
While putting a firm piece of plywood (at least a half-inch thick) between a mattress and box spring is a fairly cheap way to remedy a soft bed situation, this technique gets mixed reviews. Some insist a thick wood board un-mushes their mattress, while others continue to stare at the ceiling, waiting impatiently for dawn. Any type of plywood will do.
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Trade Your Bed
If you have friends who can't sleep because their bed is too hard, suggest a swap. Obviously, the age, condition and size of your bed will all be determinants, as will the distance between you and your bartering buddy. If your universe of friends is large enough, you may be able to pull this off. It's a good idea to sleep in your friend's bed before switching so you don't have regrets.
Wise Up and Pony Up
When you've tried everything and you're still sleepless in Seattle or Syracuse, buy a cheap new bed. Larry Thomas of Furniture Today swears in 2011 that coil counts are overrated and there are plenty of $200 mattresses that work as well as $1,500 models. Don't get bells and whistles like pillowtop mattresses that can break down and turn mushy.