Why Your Sofa Bed Mattress Is Uncomfortable and How to Fix It

Sofa Bed

Sofa bed mattresses tend to be incredibly uncomfortable. If you’ve experienced a night on one, you know exactly what we are talking about.

But good news! It doesn’t have to be that way!

In this guide, we help you identify the underlying causes of why your sofa bed mattress is severely lacking in the comfort department, and what you can do about it. 

So grab a cup of joe or your favorite drink and get ready to take notes.

Why Is My Sofa Bed So Uncomfortable?

Don’t skip this step – finding the answer to this question is very important!

There are several possible explanations for your sofa bed’s discomfort. Understanding which elements of the sofa bed’s design are causing you the most grief can empower you with the knowledge you need to find the right solution (don’t worry, we’ll help).

Below we list out the most common issues with a sofa bed, and what you can do about it.

Problem #1: You are 'feeling the bar'

Making a sofa bed is no easy task. The frame has to be solid enough to effectively and safely hold the weight of multiple grown adults, while being nimble and flexible enough to discreetly fold into the sofa, out of sight when not in use.

By its very design, the sofa bed’s frame can be (and often is) a source of discomfort. Laying on your sofa bed, you might feel the bar poking through the mattress. It turns into a ‘Princess and the Pea’ situation, where the pea is MASSIVE. But let’s not put ALL the ‘blame on the frame’.

The Solutions

Mattress Topper

Decent Solution

Bar Shield

Decent Solution

New Mattress

Great Solution

Mattress Topper

While not always the best solution, a sofa bed mattress topper is affordable and available in a range of styles to suit virtually any sleeping style. Most mattress toppers are around 2″ thick, and can be a quick and easy fix for this issue.

However, if the underlying mattress is worn out or poorly constructed, a mattress topper will only do so much to help, and your investment might be best spent on a new mattress altogether.

Something else to note – if you purchase a new topper for your sofa bed, the added thickness of the topper may prevent you from closing your sofa bed. In this case, you will need to store the topper elsewhere when not in use.

Sofa Bed Bar Shield

If you’re more intimately familiar with the steel support bars under your sofa bed than you’d like to be…a sofa bed bar shield might be just the solution you need.

These ‘shields’, often made of a foldable, vinyl-covered foam layer, are placed over the sofa bed frame beneath the mattress. Some of these shields incorporate a 1/4” thick wood board base to add in ‘shielding’ the sleeper from the steel bars below.

That said, there are some drawbacks. For example, finding one that fits your make and model might be a challenge. Depending on the thickness and the room in your sofa bed, as well as how it folds, you might need additional storage space for the shield when not in use.

BEST SOLUTION: New Sofa Mattress

In many cases, your best bet is to splurge on a new sofa bed mattress (vs. sinking money into a worn-out mattress that you already kind of hate). While searching for a replacement mattress, be sure to find one that has a sleep guarantee and reliable warranty. The last thing you want is to end up in the same position you’re in now!

Problem #2: Feeling the Mattress Coils

Do you feel the coils of your sofa mattress poking through, sticking it to you worse than the tax man in April? Don’t suffer in silence. Feeling the coils of your mattress is a tell-tale and clear indication that you have a poor-quality mattress. Whatever cushioning it once had (or never had) no longer exists.

Solutions

Mattress Topper

Decent Solution

Bar Shield

Bad Solution

New Mattress

Great Solution

Mattress Topper

As mentioned above, a mattress topper is a fast and cost-effective way to improve the comfort of any mattress. However, if you’re feeling the coils, there is only so much a mattress topper can do and it generally is not the best solution. Fact is, those coils punching through will end up putting added pressure and wear on the mattress topper too, wearing it out and over time creating pockets of discomfort where the coils are located.

BEST SOLUTION: New Sofa Mattress

The reason you’re feeling the coils has less to do with the sofa bed design and more so the poor-quality mattress atop of it. Mattresses used in sofa beds are notorious for being cheaply made and uncomfortable. Low-quality materials, bad designs, lack of support, cheap foam and more all contribute to feeling complaints about feeling the coils poking and jabbing through the padding.

For this reason, the best option is often replacing the sofa mattress itself. The right mattress can make a world of difference, transforming that uncomfortable lumpy bed into one that will help you get to sleep faster and wake up feeling refreshed, not sleep deprived.

Problem #3: Sofa Mattress is TOO Soft

Soft is good. We like softball, a soft touch, soft-serve ice cream, soft blankets, and so on. But one thing you’ll loathe is a mattress that is TOO soft, leaving you feeling all the bumps and beams of the bed frame below.

Thing is, at first, a soft mattress might feel plush and superbly comfortable. This can be deceiving.

The Solution

Mattress Topper

Bad Solution

Bar Shield

Bad Solution

New Mattress

Great Solution

Best Solution: New Mattress

Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot that can be done about a mattress that is too soft. The softness (or firmness) of a mattress is a feature engineered into its design and is dependent on the materials used. Soft mattresses are often the result of cheap, recycled or fill foam.

In such cases, your money is best spent on an upgrade that is made to your unique specifications and custom-tailored to meet your every need.

Why not a topper?
This is a common question – why can’t a topper be used to add support to a soft mattress? This would be nice, as it’s often the less expensive option.
Unfortunately, and contrary to belief, toppers are not designed to be supportive! In fact, adding a topper to a soft mattress will often only make the situation worse! Mattress toppers should only be used when you want to make a firm mattress feel softer. Speaking of ….

Problem #4: Sofa Mattress is TOO Firm

Firm mattresses aren’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, a firm mattress usually means your body is being supported! However, if a mattress is TOO firm, it can cause other issues. Pain or discomfort in the hips and shoulders is a common complaint when a mattress is too firm.

It takes just the right combination of support and comfort to provide enough support for back and joints, while not feeling overly rigid and stiff. 

The firmness of a sofa mattress is largely the result of its design. This leaves you with two options to improve comfort:

Solutions

Mattress Topper

Great Solution

Bar Shield

Bad Solution

New Mattress

Great Solution

Best Solution: Mattress Topper

As we’ve previously explored in this guide, a mattress topper is a great way to enhance the comfort of your sofa mattress. Toppers are designed to modify the feel of a mattress, transforming an otherwise uncomfortable surface to one that offers luxurious comfort and the support you need to get a good night’s rest.

New Mattress

Although a mattress topper is a good solution, now might be a good time to assess the quality and lifespan of the current mattress. In some cases, your money might be better spent on a mattress upgrade – one is a bit softer and comes with a sleep guarantee and warranty.

Problem #5: A Sagging Mattress

If your sofa mattress is sagging, it could be either the mattress , the sofa bed frame itself, or in extreme cases, it’s a combination of the two. If the issue is with the frame itself (which often includes the black fabric ‘decking’ that supports the mattress), it can cause the mattress to lay on top of the frame bars. This results in the mattress having dips and lumps where the frame bars are located, rather than being smooth. 

What Causes the Frame To Do This?

  • Worn out or damaged frame perimeter coils
  • Frame mechanism design lacks foundational support for the mattress
  • Black fabric decking is stretched out and sagging

The Solutions

Mattress Topper

Bad Solution

Bar Shield

Decent Solution

New Mattress

Great Solution

Sofa Bed Bar Shield

Once again, a sofa bed bar shield is an affordable option that may solve this problem. It will provide a stable surface for the mattress, and should reduce the sagging issues that may be the result of a worn-out sofa bed frame.

Best Solution: New Sofa Mattress

Continuing on with the theme of the article, oftentimes the issue of an uncomfortable sofa bed can be solved by simply purchasing a higher quality mattress. This is also the case if your current sofa bed is sagging. If you purchase a sofa bed mattress with adequate support, it’s likely the issue of a sagging mattress will disappear altogether.

New Sofa Bed Couch

In some rare cases, a worn out frame will also cause the mattress to sag – regardless of the quality of the mattress. If you find yourself in this position, a new mattress may help …but ultimately the issue is with the bed frame itself. The best solution might be to invest in a new sofa bed couch; although we generally only recommend this if you know your sofa bed is going to get a lot of use.

Making Your Sofa Bed More Comfortable: a final word

A sofa bed is a versatile and space-saving piece of furniture. Doubling as both a sofa and a bed, sofa beds are perfect for growing households and guests staying over. But they aren’t perfect. New sofa bed couches are notorious for including mattresses that simply aren’t very comfortable. Adding to the discomfort is a hard (but necessary) steel frame used to support the bedding and to create a foundation for the mattress.

Luckily, you have options, and you (or your guests) don’t need to suffer another night on a hard, lumpy, sagging mattress. At Mattress Insider we know just how important a good night’s sleep is for your health (and sanity). With quality sleep related to everything from productivity and memory, to warding off serious health risks, we’re here to provide you with the tools, resources, knowledge, and products to get the best sleep of your life.

Have questions? Not sure what option would be the best fit for your sleep style, body type or space? Let us know how we can help.

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