If you’re wondering whether or not it’s time to replace your mattress, then chances are — it is. There may not be a set rule as to when you need to make a change, but it’s safe to bet that a mattress that is uncomfortable or shows obvious signs of wear probably needs to go.
Along with wear and tear, a change in your sleeping arrangements or your health may also justify the need for a new mattress.
Dust mites and other allergens can also accumulate on your mattress and bedding, giving mattresses a shelf life, especially for people with allergies or respiratory conditions.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, a mattress has a lifespan of approximately 8 years. Depending on the quality and type of your mattress, you may get more or less time from it. Any mattress made with higher quality materials is likely going to last longer.
The type of mattress you buy makes a difference.
An innerspring mattress contains coil support systems that help to distribute your weight evenly across the mattress.
They can last up to 10 years — sometimes longer if they’re two-sided and can be flipped over for more evenly distributed wear and tear.
Foam mattresses come in different materials and densities, which will determine how well they hold up.
A quality memory foam mattress can last from 10 to 15 years with the right care, which includes regular rotating.
The durability of a latex mattress can vary depending on whether you buy a synthetic or organic latex mattress.
According to the Sleep Help Institute, some latex mattresses come with warranties for as many as 20 to 25 years.
Hybrid mattresses are a fusion of foam and innerspring mattresses. They usually contain a base layer of foam, a coil support system, and a top layer of foam.
They don’t last as long as other types of mattresses, but the durability depends on the grade of the base foam and the type of coils.
On average, a hybrid mattress needs to be replaced after 6 years.
A pillow-top may provide an extra layer between you and your mattress, but it won’t necessarily increase the mattress’ lifespan. The extra cushiony layer can break down over time and leave you with an uneven sleeping surface.
Waterbed mattresses come in two types: hard-side and soft-side. Hard-side mattresses are the traditional type of vinyl waterbed mattresses, while soft-side are encased in a foam “box” and look much like other mattresses.
Although less popular now than in the past, waterbed mattresses may be making a comeback. They can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years.
There are a few reasons to replace your mattress, with the main one being comfort. Over time, a mattress can lose its shape and begin to sag, creating dips and lumps. An uncomfortable mattress can interfere with your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
Not getting enough sleep has been linked to a number of diseases, including:
- heart disease
- kidney disease
Dust mites and other allergens also accumulate in mattresses, which can cause or worsen symptoms in people with allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions. A 2015 study found that mattresses contain the highest concentration of dust mites in a household.
If you notice any of the following, then it may be time to replace your mattress:
- Signs of wear and tear. Signs of wear include sagging, lumps, and coils that can be felt through the fabric.
- Noisy springs. Springs that squeak when you move is a sign that the coils are worn and no longer providing the support they should.
- Muscle stiffness. When your mattress isn’t comfortable and no longer supporting your body the way it did, you could wake up feeling sore and stiff. A 2009 study found that new mattresses reduced back pain and improved sleep. Check out these tips for choosing a mattress that’ll keep you pain-free.
- Your allergies or asthma has worsened. Mattresses are where the majority of the dust mites and allergens in your home live. This can wreak havoc on allergies and asthma. Vacuuming and cleaning your mattress regularly can help, but if you find your symptoms aren’t improving, then it’s time for a change.
- You can feel your partner moving. An older mattress will lose its ability to reduce motion transfer, causing partners to feel more movement in the mattress when one person turns over or gets in and out of the bed.
- You’re putting more weight on your mattress. Gaining weight or adding a sleeping partner can affect an older mattress and change how well you sleep. When your mattress needs to support more weight than it did before, you may notice changes that make it less comfortable. (Wondering if you should let your dog sleep with you at night?)
You may be able to prolong the life of your mattress with some extra care. The following are things that you can do:
- Use a mattress protector to protect against spills, dust, and debris.
- Make sure your mattress is properly supported with the right box spring or foundation.
- Rotate the mattress every 3 to 6 months to promote even wear.
- Clean your mattress as directed by the manufacturer.
- Open your windows regularly for better ventilation, which can reduce dust and moisture buildup.
- Keep your mattress upright when moving it to prevent creasing or damage to the springs.
- Keep pets off the bed to reduce the risk of damage from claws and chewing.
- Don’t let your children jump on the bed as this can damage coils and other mattress components.
- Remove sheets and mattress covers occasionally to air out your mattress.
Regular vacuuming can help keep allergens and dust mites to a minimum. You can also sprinkle your mattress with baking soda and vacuum it 24 hours later to help remove trapped moisture and odors.
Mattresses should be cleaned once a year and spot cleaned in between as needed.
What about flipping?
If you have a two-sided mattress, flipping it every 6 or 12 months can help distribute the wear so it stays comfortable longer. Most mattresses being manufactured now are one-sided and don’t need to be flipped, such as pillow-top and memory foam mattresses.
You spend about a third of your life in bed, and getting a good night’s sleep is crucial to better health. It can be tempting to “just live with” an old or inadequate mattress, but replacing it can lead to huge benefits for your sleep and health.
If you have persistent aches and pains despite maintaining your mattress, talk to a health professional or specialist about what may be causing your symptoms.