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Flipping your mattress has been the norm for, well, decades.

With supposed benefits, like a prolonged lifespan for your mattress and enhanced comfort for you, who wouldn’t try it? But, as mattress designs have changed in modern times, the practice of mattress flipping isn’t as simple as it once seemed.

Read on to find out if it actually helps.

When you sleep in the same spot for months on end, you might start to notice a few dents in your mattress.

Continuing to sleep on that side can lead to uneven mattress wear and a not-so-great night’s sleep.

But the fresh surface that comes after flipping is said to help extend the lifespan of your mattress — after all, it’s no longer receiving pressure in the same places.

As well as potentially benefiting your bank balance, mattress flipping may promote improved sleep quality and help those with back pain.

But, while the surface you sleep on has been linked to sleep discomfort, there’s been little research into mattress flipping.

However, a 2009 study did find that replacing mattresses with medium-firm designs could reduce pain and increase sleep quality.

So it’s possible that the fresh surface may have similar benefits — especially if it hasn’t been slept on before.

Flipping a mattress means turning it over, so the side you were sleeping on is now facing the bed frame.

Rotating it, on the other hand, simply means turning it 180 degrees, so the end you placed your head near is now at your feet.

Flipping is designed to provide a completely fresh sleeping surface.

The problem is that some modern mattresses aren’t designed to be slept on both sides. If your mattress ticks the single-sided box, then rotating is your only option.

Although it may not provide the same sleep benefits as flipping, rotating can still prevent premature sagging by distributing your weight more evenly. That means it can help your mattress last for longer.

Note that some mattresses —particularly those with a zoned design — aren’t suitable for flipping or rotating.

But some can be both flipped and rotated for maximum effectiveness.

It all depends on if your mattress is designed for flipping.

Many of today’s designs only have comfortable and supportive layers on one side, with a firm layer of foam or metal springs on the other. Flipping this type of mattress would result in an ultra-firm surface and a pretty uncomfortable night’s sleep.

Reversible designs, however, can be flipped. In some cases, each side will have a different firmness level, so this may impact your decision. But, if both sides are equally firm, then flipping will only be a benefit.

If you’re not sure whether your mattress can be turned over, check out the label or manufacturer’s site.

If your mattress can be flipped, then the consensus appears to be yes.

It’s hard to say how much longer your mattress may live for as it all depends on the type and how well you look after it. But flipping definitely won’t make things worse, that’s for sure.

Unsurprisingly, there are no studies into the perfect flipping schedule. But most mattress manufacturers recommend flipping every 3 to 6 months.

Of course, you can do this more often if you feel like you need a quick refresh.

When it comes to rotating your mattress, recommendations can vary. Some designs, like memory foam and latex, are advised to be rotated 1 to 2 times per year. But older innerspring mattresses are better off rotated 2 to 5 times per year.

However often you do it, try to remain consistent for the best results.

Really, the only reason that should deter you from flipping is having an unsuitable mattress. Flipping a one-sided mattress, for example, will result in discomfort and quicker wear.

But if you have a flippable mattress, go right ahead.

Of course, you’ll need to be careful when moving a heavy item. If you need to, ask someone for help. And take it slow, propping the mattress up in stages, rather than attempting to lift and flip in one go.

The first step is to make sure your mattress can be flipped. Once you’ve confirmed that, make sure your bedding, pillows, and any nearby furniture are out of the way. You may also want to grab a friend, partner, or family member for help.

Then, follow these steps:

  1. Rotate the mattress 90 degrees so that the sides are now facing the head and foot of the bed.
  2. Use the handles if you need to.
  3. Lift the mattress up on one edge so that you can rest it against the head of the bed.
  4. Do any vacuuming and cleaning if you want to.
  5. Then, gently lower the mattress so what was once the underside is now facing up.
  6. Rotate again for 90 degrees to realign it with the bed frame.

Flipping can not only make a mattress last longer, but it can also give you a more comfortable night’s sleep. If your mattress isn’t flippable, consider rotating it for similar longevity benefits.

Remember, though, that no mattress can last forever. So, if yours is around 8 years old and causing you problems, you might want to consider investing in a new one.

Lauren Sharkey is a U.K.-based journalist and author specializing in women’s issues. When she isn’t trying to discover a way to banish migraines, she can be found uncovering the answers to your lurking health questions. She has also written a book profiling young female activists across the globe and is currently building a community of such resisters. Catch her on Twitter.