How Often Should You Replace Your Mattress?

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Finding the right mattress is so important – because we spend so much of our lives sleeping, having a comfortable and supportive mattress is key – when you finds that perfect mattress, it is an enormous relief.

However, all good things must come to an end – even if your mattress has served you well, there comes a moment when it’s time to move on and say farewell. So, how do you know when the time is right to say goodbye?

Let’s talk about how people can know that your mattress has run its course. If you keep an eye out for these clear signs, it should be quite easy to tell.

Signs You Need A New Mattress

Before you look for evidence that your mattress is finished, you should think about how long you’ve owned it. The average mattress lasts between seven and 10 years, so f it has been over 10 years since you purchased your current mattress, it’s probably time for an upgrade.

Even if that number is closer to the seven-year mark, it may still be time to purchase a new one. To know if it’s time to replace your mattress, look for the following signs.

1. Your Mattress Is Sagging

If your mattress is starting to sag, it’s an obvious sign that you might need a new mattress. Sagging can occur when the coils in a mattress start to weaken or the memory foam begins to lose its shape.

You can partly tell that a mattress is sagging if there is a noticeable body impression in the mattress – this is especially common for heavier people, whose bodies may leave a deep indentation in the mattress. If you get up and your mattress does not quickly return to its normal, flat appearance, it might be time to consider a new mattress.

If a mattress not sagging over time is important to you, be sure to read our list of the best mattresses that won’t sag.

2. Your Mattress Makes A Lot Of Noise

Squeaking sounds and screeching metal sounds might be a sign that your mattress should be replaced. This mostly applies to mattresses that feature coils, and it is possible to fix this issue by tightening any bolts in the mattress or box spring.

However, a noisy mattress could also mean that the coils are starting to age and may not be quite as supportive as before; this could mean the mattress is sagging and the you aren’t getting the support you need.

3. Your Mattress Has A Bad Smell

This may not be the most pleasant thing to consider, but your mattress may just start to smell. This can happen over time as mildew, mold, and fungi build up in the mattress – it can happen even more quickly if you live in a humid climate.

If you take a whiff of your mattress and smell some serious must, it might be time to get rid of it.

4. Your Mattress Aggravates Your Allergies

When mold, mildew, and dust mites invade a mattress, they might exacerbate issues with allergies. If you wake up with watery eyes, a runny nose, and a headache frequently, the allergens in your mattress might be the cause.

There are some materials (such as natural latex and wool) that can help prevent the buildup of allergens, so allergy sufferers may want to look for these particular materials when purchasing a new mattress. Also, make sure to read our piece on how to prevent dust mites.

5. You Wake Up In Pain

If you wake up in the morning with serious pain, this could be a sign that your mattress is not as comfortable or supportive as it used to be.

You might experience pain on your neck, shoulders, or hips because your mattress is not relieving pressure on those areas. You could also feel lower back pain because you’re not being supported properly.

Waking up with pain is not something to just get used to and it can lead to further issues if you ignore your pain. It’s particularly important to pay attention if this is an issue and start looking for a new mattress.

6. You Can’t Get Comfortable

Having trouble getting comfortable or staying comfortable while you sleep can be another sign that you need a new mattress is finished.

If you’re tossing and turning, that may mean your mattress has lost its comfort and support. If you find yourself waking up often throughout the night, it is possible your old mattress is to blame.

7. You Sleep Better On A Different Mattress

You might want to replace your mattress if you notice that you sleep much better on a different mattress. If you often wake up with a stuffed-up nose or joint pain, and then they sleep in a hotel and wake up with none of those problems, this could be a sign that your mattress is causing your sleep troubles.

If you think your mattress might be reaching the end of its lifespan, you should try sleeping on a newer mattress and compare your experience.

8. Your Sleeping Situation Has Changed

Even if your mattress is still in tip-top shape, it still might be time to get a new mattress. Life can change in an instant, and a mattress just might not fit your new needs.

Pregnancy, weight loss, weight gain, and/or gaining a new sleeping partner could all warrant the purchase of a new mattress. If you discover you have a health condition like arthritis, sciatica, or fibromyalgia, that may also be a cause to find a new mattress with better pressure relief.

How Can You Make Your Mattress Last Longer?

We’ve talked about the signs that you should get rid of your mattress, but there are also some steps you can take to ensure your mattress lasts as long as possible in the first place. You should keep these tips in mind if you want to get the most life out of your mattress investment.

  • Use a mattress protector. Placing a mattress protector over your mattress can be a quick way to guard against dust, mold, and mildew. Many mattress companies will void your mattress warranty if you do not use a protector. Either way, using a mattress protector is an easy way to add life to your mattress.
  • Support your mattress properly. If your mattress does not have the proper foundation beneath it, it could start to sag. If you have a heavier mattress, it could require an extra supportive foundation. Also, some mattresses are meant to go with a box spring. You can consult the website for your specific mattress brand to find the right foundation or bed. You can also read our guide to figure out if you need a box spring.
  • Don’t hop on your bed. While it can be fun to let the kids jump on the bed, this can damage a mattress and cut into its lifespan. Foam can start to break down more quickly and coils can also weaken with excessive force. In the end, remember this is a mattress and not a trampoline.
  • Keep animals out of bed. It’s nice to spend the morning in bed with that favorite pup, but Fido can bring some not-so-cuddly friends along with him. Bugs, dirt, pollen – they can all hitch a ride on your pet and eventually reduce the lifespan of the mattress. It’s not easy, but you might have to choose between sleeping with your pet and a having a longer-lasting mattress.
  • Don’t eat in your bed. If you like to snack in bed, it might be time to change your ways. Food can stain your mattress, and the crumbs can invite bugs to move into your mattress. Bed bugs are the worst; they can ruin a mattress and can also be a logistical nightmare. Keeping your living space clean and free of food items can go a long way in keeping these nasty critters out of the bed.
  • Clean and vacuum your mattress. If you make a mess, you should clean it immediately. Spot-clean any mattress stains using a white cloth and a simple mix of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and dish soap. Also aim to vacuum your mattress a few times a year; this can help prevent a buildup of dirt.
  • Rotate and flip your mattress regularly. This doesn’t necessarily apply to mattresses with a zoned construction or layered hybrid construction. However, some standard spring mattresses should be flipped or rotated a few times a year; this can prevent your body from creating a deep impression in one spot.
  • Wrap your mattress in plastic when you move it. If you need to move your mattress, make sure to wrap your mattress in plastic. If unprotected, your mattress can pick up dirt, pollen, and those nasty bed bugs on these jaunts. But, a thin sheet of plastic should protect your mattress from picking up any unwanted guests.

What Should You Look For In A New Mattress?

Once it’s clear that you need to replace your mattress, you’re probably wondering what to consider when purchasing a new mattress. How can you make sure you get a high-quality mattress that will last a long time?

First, if you are looking for a mattress that contains foam, you should find a mattress with a higher-density foam. Ideally, a 4- to 5-lb density is what you should be looking for. Three- to 3.5-lb foams may break down more quickly, but higher-density foams are more durable and should make for a longer-lasting mattress.

Second, consider a mattress with coils – these mattresses are durable and can make for longer lasting mattresses. Mattress coils can help fight sagging and ensure that shoppers are making a wise investment.

Besides finding durable materials, you also want to make sure the mattress is a good fit for your sleeping preferences. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Back sleepers will want a mattress with a balance of comfort and support. You want support in this position, but you also want your hips to sink in somewhat.
  • Side sleepers should find a softer mattress; you want a soft comfort layer to relieve pressure on your shoulders and hips.
  • Stomach sleepers should opt for a firmer mattress; your hips need enough support to ensure they don’t sink in when you’re stomach sleeping.

You should also think about your sleeping temperature. If you sleep hot, a hybrid mattress could be a good choice, as the coils allow for airflow. If you want an all-foam mattress, you should make sure your mattress has some cooling features to keep you from overheating while you sleep.

Finally, you should take your size into account. If you are lighter, you might not need the support that a heavier person does. If you are heavier, you could need a thicker comfort layer so you don’t bottom out.

Overall

It should be easy to tell if a mattress is ready to be replaced. Keep an eye out for sagging, noise, discomfort, and so on, and if you aren’t sure, you should try sleeping on a different mattress for a few nights to compare how you feel.

Prior to replacing a mattress and after purchasing a new one, make sure to take steps to get as many years out of the mattress as possible.

Featured image: MAD_production/Shutterstock

Gravatar for Marten Carlson

Marten Carlson

Marten is Senior Editor at Mattress Clarity. He covers the mattress industry as well as sleep science news. He is specifically interested in the connection between sleep and overall health. Marten has written for media publications like Consequence of Sound and received a master’s degree in Film Studies from Emory University. He comes from Franklin, Indiana, and spends all the time he can writing, directing, and acting in films. He has directed genre short films and features. His newest film, Starlets, recently premiered at the River Town Film Festival in Clinton, NJ. He also stars in the upcoming thriller, Sour Bear. His next film, At The Hop, is a hot rod actioner with a horror twist.