We’ve all had our head slipping into that cheeky little gap between the mattress and the bed frame. Or our pillow. Or worse, our phones.
Why does it happen?
It’s a matter of size. When the mattress is smaller than the frame, there will be a gap between them.
I know what you are thinking: “Why don’t companies just adapt mattresses’ sizes to the frames?”.
Mattresses in the United States come in standard sizes, but companies that make frames don’t care and just make whatever floats their boat. It makes sense, since they are still selling their products. If people stopped buying frames citing the gap as a reason, they’d fix them.
In this article, I am going to give you various solutions to this issue. The best solution depends on your current situation. For example, if you are fixing the bed of a small children, you should look into a more permanent solution than if you’re just annoyed that your pillows are falling in the gap.
Why you Should Fill the Gap
Aside from the obvious inconveniences caused by the gap, such as your pillows or phone falling in it, there are also more practical reasons to close it.
The gap between the frame and the mattress is a silent killer. You read it right. Children die every year because they get their neck stuck in the gap. So, if you have a small child, you should make sure the gap disappears immediately.
Even if you are a healthy person, how would you react to waking up with your head stuck in that gap? I know people who suffer from panic attacks that had similarly awful experiences. It’s just not worth it, especially since the fix is so simple.
Naturally, it’s an extreme case, and you know your situation better than I ever could. I’m just giving you a fresh perspective on the matter. Maybe you never even thought about it.
5 Ways to Fill the Gap Between a Mattress and a Bed Frame
There are two major ways to address the issue:
Temporary solutions are fine if the gap doesn’t pose any serious health hazard for you and the people who live with you. They might also be the only ones you can employ when the bed isn’t yours.
Something like placing pillows to block the gap or rotating the bed can be considered temporary solutions. They don’t mess with the headboard or the bed, but they still solve the problem, albeit in a less convenient way.
They are great when the space between the bed components is just a minor inconvenience, for example when the space isn’t enough for your head to fall in the gap, but your pillows still fall into it. Or maybe your phone falls into it (though I would recommend not sleeping with your phone on your bed, but that’s another story).
Permanent solutions will require a little more work on your side, but they look better, and you can go back to sleep in peace once you’ve adopted them. They are great because they fix the issue for good.
However, you should still consider upgrading to a permanent solution eventually. You never know what will happen in the future.
1. Change the Mattress
This goes straight to the root cause of the problem: the difference in size between the mattress and the bed frame. For example, your bed frame might be Queen sized, but your mattress is only Full sized. Or your bed frame is Twin-XL sized while your mattress is Twin sized.
Whatever the case, the difference in sizes is what creates gaps between the components. The easiest solution is simply to change the mattress to one with the perfect size for your bed frame.
As for which mattress to pick, there is a wonderful guide prepared by the health department from the University of Utah, but here the main factor to consider is comfort.
Most people will be fine with a regular memory foam mattress. Also, you need to pick a mattress that supports your back without being too hard. It depends on the perfect position for your spine, which is determined by your fitness level, weight, and overall preference.
2. Place Pillows Strategically to Block the Gap
This is by no means a permanent solution, but it’s good enough to stop your pillows from falling into the abyss. Place additional pillows to block the gap.
It’s ok if the pillows aren’t amazing, you aren’t going to sleep on them, you’re just using them as a way to bridge the gap. Alternatively, if you absolutely don’t care about looks, you can also directly close the gap with pillows, but at that point I’d suggest a more elegant solution like a wooden board or expanding foam, since pillows would get dirty and require constant washing.
⚠Warning: the pillows should be big enough to rest on the headboard without falling into the gap. Measure the distance between your mattress and the bed frame before purchasing them.
3. Move or Remove the Headboard
Some headboards have adjustable heights. Quick and simple fix. However, most headboards don’t have an adjustable height. Your best bet is to completely remove them.
Headboards aren’t necessary, so unless you absolutely want one because they look cool, get rid of them. Every headboard is different: some are attached directly on the wall, while others are part of the bed frame. You will have to do a bit of unscrewing, but the process is simple. You shouldn’t have any issues doing it.
4. Fill the Gap
If you are ok with doing some DIY work, filling the gap is a quick and inexpensive solution to the issue. Measure the gap and purchase a small wood board that’s big enough to fill it. Use a drill and screw your board to the headboard.
There you have it: an elegant and simple fix for the gap issue. It’s my favorite one by far due to how easy and cheap it is, but it has two potential flaws:
- You need to be comfortable with DIY work
- If you’re one of those people who sleep without a pillow, it’s extremely impractical
Alternatively, you can purchase expanding foam and use it to fill the gap, but this will require multiple cans of foam, and they’ll also look hideous. Granted, you will hide them with sheets and pillows, so it shouldn’t be an issue. It’s up to you to figure out if it’s a workable solution or not.
Dense foam is also a good option. Measure the gap and then purchase the right amount of foam to fill the gap. Easy and inexpensive.
In fact, there are companies who sell fillers specifically for gaps between the frame and the mattress. Pick the right bed frame’s size, and purchase the gap-filler.
5. Rotate the Bed
Okay, this might seem a little weird, but hear me out. The issue is that your head/pillows keep falling in the gap, right? What if the gap was on the other side?
So, simply rotate your bed by 180 degrees, and you have solved the problem. Your room will look a little weird the first times, but it’s just a matter of getting used to it.
This solution is great if you, like me, are too lazy to do anything that isn’t immediately available to you. If you don’t have extra pillows or ways to fix the gap, and you don’t want to unscrew nuts from your bed, then do this.
⚠Warning: if you move a lot during your sleep, you risk having your feet get stuck in the gap. It’s still way better than having your head entrapped in there, but it’s nonetheless a potential concern. This is what makes the solution mediocre.
The gap between a mattress and a bed frame is a mild inconvenience that can turn into a much bigger issue. Since it’s very easy to fix it, I recommend doing it as soon as possible.
All of the solutions I listed work fine, but some are better than others. It all depends on you. If you are more about looks and elegance, changing the mattress is probably the best option, but it’s also the most expensive.
If you are all about function, then removing the headboard or filling the gap with foam is an excellent way of tackling the issue.
What matters is that you remove the gap, because it is risky. We don’t have control over our sleep, and even perfectly healthy adults could get their head stuck in the gap between the bed components. And trust me, it’s not fun at all.
So, what are you waiting for? Fix the gap today!