Why are sleeper sofas so uncomfortable? And how to fix it

My back is shattered after sleeping on a sofa bed for a week. But I’m not an isolated case. Why is sleeping on a sofa bed so uncomfortable? The reasons lie in the mattress and in the structure. But rest assured, there are solutions to this problem, and now I am listing them for you.


What makes the sofa bed so uncomfortable?

Photo by Sidney Sim

After a week on the sofa bed, you start looking for solutions because sooner or later, you will find it uncomfortable. The main reasons why sleeping for a long time on a sofa bed is so painful are to be found in the mattress first and in the structure second.

The uncomfortable mattresses of the sofa beds

Often the mattress in the sofa bed is of poor quality and is manufactured with cheap materials so as not to affect the price too much. In addition, it must be a mattress that can fold and store inside the structure, thus preventing you from being able to install higher and more comfortable mattresses.

The uncomfortable structure of the sofa bed

Even the structure of the sofa bed contributes, albeit to a lesser extent than the mattress, to the general discomfort. The structures of the sofa beds, in fact, are generally light metal structures that must fold and be easily opened and closed by anyone. This disqualifies all those solutions where heavy and bulky slats or structures are required, for example.

How can I make the sofa bed comfortable?

The sofa bed is a very valid alternative to the bed , only not as comfortable in the long term as a traditional bed.

There are solutions to make the sofa bed more comfortable. Still, they do not apply to all specific cases, so you must choose the one that best suits your situation.

Basically, there are three solutions.

  • Add a thin mattress on top of the current mattress.
  • Replace the mattress with an air mattress and protect the base with a plywood panel.
  • Replace the mattress with a more performing one

Add a Thin mattress.

Adding a thin mattress is a good solution if your primary problem is how the structure feels when you lie or move during sleep. Many thin mattresses can be rolled up and stored in a compartment when not in use.


The additional mattress, if chosen well as this could be, will create that further isolation and comfort you need.

Of the three solutions proposed, it is undoubtedly the cheapest.


Suppose the mattress of the sofa bed is too damaged or really bad. In that case, this solution will unfortunately not help you. It will undoubtedly improve but not by much. Furthermore, it is a solution that cannot be considered if you are short of space, and let’s face it, you generally have a sofa bed just when space is scarce. This is because you will have to think of a compartment where to put the additional mattress.

If the room allows it, a good design solution is to add an object holder behind your sofa bed so you will have a place to store pillows and mattresses and a shelf for books or glasses.

This solution is also not recommended for those who open and close the sofa bed daily because it will be impossible to close it without removing the additional mattress.

Air mattress and plywood base

Of the three, this is the most exotic solution. Practically the original mattress is replaced with an air mattress. To make everything work plywood sheets are attached to the structure so as not to let the mattress come into contact with the metal structure.

Obviously, you will have to equip yourself with a bit of DIY to insert the plywood panels of the right size for your structure so they can be closed. Also, you will need to purchase a quality air mattress .


With this solution, you could solve your comfort problems. Even if the air mattress cannot have the same performance as a good latex or foam mattress, it can still be acceptable. Certainly, thanks to the height produced by inflation, it will be much better than before.


This solution is not recommended for those who have to open and close the sofa bed daily and do not have the patience to inflate and deflate the mattress daily.

It is also not recommended for those unable to create a basic plywood structure on their own because requiring the intervention of a technician could be very expensive.

Use a more performing mattress.

As anticipated at the article’s beginning, the mattresses supplied with the sofa beds are often of poor quality. One solution could be the straightforward one of replacing the mattress with a more performing one.


Simply replacing the mattress could solve all problems of inconvenience. It is the simplest and most practical solution and, in many ways, perhaps the best choice.

You may even find yourself so comfortable with the new mattress that you don’t feel the difference from a real bed.


You will need to find the right mattress of size, height, and stiffness so that it can fold and stretch out frequently while maintaining its shape and properties.

Maybe you will have to go by trial and error, so you will have to be able to give the mattress back if it doesn’t fit.

It may be the most expensive solution.

My choice

After all these analyzes, I choseā€¦ all three solutions. That’s right, I found a way to go step by step without losing too much money.

I decided to buy this thin mattress in addition. If it doesn’t work, I know I can reuse it on my home mattress permanently.

So if the first option fails, I will buy this air mattress with its base frame so that if it doesn’t work, I can use it as a spare bed for occasional guests and store it when not in use.

And as a last resort, I ask myself to replace the mattress. For the moment, I have my eye on this.

What have you chosen to do?

Leave a Comment