Using a worn-out mattress negatively affects your sleep, and getting a good night’s sleep is important for your ability to focus, maintain a good mood, effectively manage stress, fight off colds, and prevent memory loss, and other serious illnesses.
Buying a new mattress isn’t the ultimate sleep solution, but it helps.
Your sleep is affected by many factors, including lifestyle, nutrition, medications, thyroid health, gut health, hormones, and circadian disruptions, such as traveling or working night shifts.
But a sagging mattress can often cause more problems than poor sleep–such as back pain, poor posture, and problems concentrating during the day.
Key Point: Not all mattresses are created equal and some will last longer than others, so in this article we will explain how to tell when yours is nearing the end of its rope.
How Often Should You Replace Your Mattress?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, a good rule of thumb is to replace your mattress about every eight years.
This timing could change depending on the type of mattress. For example, mattresses made of high-quality materials tend to last longer than lower-quality mattresses.
But how can you tell that your mattress is worn out?
Signs It’s Time to Buy a New Mattress
If you notice sagging, excessive wear, or soreness when you get up in the morning, it might be time to replace your mattress.
Let’s take a closer look at the reasons you might want to start looking at new mattresses.
When you get out of bed, do you see an indent of your body on the mattress? If so, it might be time to replace your mattress. Check for sagging in the spot you usually sleep in, as well as around the edges of the mattress.
Improper Spinal Alignment
You need support and comfort to maintain your spine’s proper alignment while you sleep. An old, saggy mattress that lets your hips sink interferes with your spine’s natural curvature and keeps you from getting the rest you need.
To achieve the right sleeping position, you need a supportive mattress.
Stiffness and Soreness
Do you wake up with unexplained aches and pains? These could be caused by other factors, but there’s an easy way to check.
If you wake up in pain, but you usually feel better once you get out of bed and move around, it’s probably time to replace your mattress.
Allergies and Asthma
If you’re having allergy-like symptoms, and it’s not allergy season, it could be your mattress. And even worse, it could be dust mites. More specifically, it could be dust mite feces! Yes, it’s gross.
Vacuuming, steaming, and flipping your mattress can help clean it, but sometimes the only solution is to replace your mattress.
Adding a Co-Sleeper
If you selected your mattress as a solo sleeper, but now you’ve added someone else to your bed, it can affect the mattress. Extra weight adds wear and tear on the springs, as well as the foam, cushioning, and other mattress components.
So if you’ve added a co-sleeper since you last replaced your mattress, and now you’re noticing some of the problems above, it might be time to get a new one.
How to Find The Best Mattress for You
When searching for the best mattress for you, consider three main things:
Comfort is subjective. I recommend trying out a few different mattresses and seeing which feels most comfortable for you.
Testing mattress should feel like a simulation of your ideal sleep experience.
Take your time to try out mattresses in all your favorite sleeping positions; I recommend taking 7–15 minutes.
Set an alarm and change positions at least every 10 minutes. If at any point you feel uncomfortable, move on and test more mattresses until you find the one for you.
Support is the ability of the mattress to hug your spine while allowing your body to relax, preventing your hips from sinking and relieving your pressure points (knees, hips, shoulders, and head). Support is important to help you get a good night’s sleep and to prevent pain when you wake up.
Mattresses can contain toxic foams, synthetic fabrics, chemicals, and flame retardants that can lead to health problems. The David Suzuki Foundation has some recommendations for more eco-friendly products. Careful shopping can help you find the best mattress for you and your home.
Types of Mattresses
Inner springs provide flexible support and comfort. Coil support systems help to distribute weight evenly across the mattress and allow easy movement during sleep.
Depending on the position of the mattress and springs, you might feel springs against your body, so be on the lookout for this when you’re testing mattresses. The number of springs does not necessarily correlate to comfort, so don’t be wooed by a mattress with more springs than another one.
Innerspring mattresses can last up to 10 years or longer if the mattress is two-sided, because you can flip it over to more evenly distribute any wear and tear.
Memory foam mattresses shape and mold to the form of your body, reducing pressure points and relieving pain.
This makes them a great option for people who deal with pain. They can also restrict or absorb movement during sleep, which means you’re less likely to be disturbed by a partner rolling over or getting up in the night.
This material can also reflect heat and make you warm while you sleep, but several companies offer special cooling memory foam options.
A memory foam mattress can last up to 15 years. But foam mattresses come in different materials and densities, all of which play a part in how well the mattress will hold up over time. With proper care, memory foam mattresses are quite durable.
Latex mattresses are made from either natural or synthetic rubber, and are known for providing a very firm, bouncy support that is uniform throughout the bed. Latex is also very comfortable, similar to memory foam. However, unlike memory foam, latex pushes back, ultimately providing more support.
If you don’t like the feel of a firm mattress, latex is probably not the right choice for you, though it’s still worth trying out. Play around with firmness levels. A latex mattress is also great for relieving back pain because it offers the best combination of comfort and support.
The durability of your latex mattress varies a lot, depending on whether it’s made from synthetic or organic latex. However, some latex mattresses come with warranties for up to 25 years!
A fusion of foam and innerspring mattresses, hybrid mattresses are made from base and top layers of foam that sandwich a coil support system. The ratio of spring and foam must be right for your ideal balance of support and comfort.
Hybrid mattresses don’t usually last as long as other kinds of mattresses. The longevity of a hybrid mattress depends mainly on the quality of the foam and the kind of coils used in construction. Most hybrid mattresses need to be replaced about every six years.
Pillow-top mattresses offer an extra layer of comfort between you and your mattress.
This won’t do anything to help the durability of your mattress, though. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. The extra layer breaks down over time, leaving you an uneven, and uncomfortable, sleeping surface.
Consider this carefully before you choose a pillow-top mattress.
There are two kinds of waterbed mattresses: hard-side and soft-side. The hard-side variety is what you might typically imagine when you think of a waterbed, while soft-sided waterbed mattresses, encased in a foam “box,” look a lot like other mattresses.
Waterbed mattresses can last as long as 10 years but, for obvious reasons, it’s a good idea to keep extra-close tabs on the condition of your waterbed mattress.
Nobody wants a flood!
This mattress looks like a standard innerspring mattress, but it uses air-filled chambers instead of coils, and is covered by a foam layer on top.
You can adjust this mattress’ firmness and support, but it might take some practice to find the right amount of air for you. Failing to ensure the right firmness can lead to back pain.
But if you can find the right balance, this can be a great choice. This kind of mattress is often used for patients with spinal cord injuries who are lying in bed for a long time.
Mattress Shopping Day Guide
- Plan to spend 1–3 hours shopping for a new mattress. And don’t be upset if you have to go to several stores to find the right fit. Take your time, and think long-term. You want to end up with an ideal mattress that will last you many years.
- Wear comfortable clothes. Tight clothes can prevent you from feeling and assessing the quality of a mattress. Ideally, wear loose clothes, since you’re aiming to simulate your ideal sleep environment. Also, bring your eye mask and earplugs, if you use them.
- Kindly let the sales person know that you want to take your time and test out the mattress. Sometimes they like to rush you, insisting that you move from mattress to mattress quickly. But you don’t want to rush this process, so simply ask for more time.
- Be aware of the marketing buzzwords such as “cool” and “natural products.” Don’t trust the mattress until you verify its comfort for yourself.
- In addition to testing a mattress for yourself, check out its customer reviews. This site collects reviews from various sources and is independent, so it’s not influenced by sellers with an agenda.
Consider Your Sleep Position
- Side Sleepers: Ensure the mattress isn’t too firm. Low or medium firmness might be better for you.
- Back Sleepers: Medium firmness is required to support your spine and relieve your pressure points.
How Often Should You Replace Your Mattress?
No matter what kind of mattress you have, you’ll eventually need to replace it. And there’s no one time to replace a mattress; it depends on a lot of factors that we’ve outline above.
So how often should you replace your mattress?
- If your mattress is starting to sag
- You’re waking up with aches and pains that get better after you get out of bed
- You’re having issues with allergies
- You’ve gained or lost a co-sleeper
It could be time to replace your mattress.
Conclusion: As you might have noticed by now, judging whether it’s time to replace your mattress or not will come down to your personal experience with your mattress. As a general rule though, if you’re noticing issues with your sleep quality–it’s probably time to replace or upgrade.