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Sleep is one of the pillars of human health.
And to harvest all of its beneficial effects, your bed should be the most comfortable spot in the entire house.
It means that you have to replace your mattress from time to time. Because no mattress can endure several decades of use without losing its supportive properties.
So, let’s find out when it’s time to look for a new bed and how to choose a durable mattress, which will not only improve your health but also will save you money in the long run.
Factors That Can Impact Your Mattress Lifespan
How long your mattress can offer you proper support depends on many things, such as:
- Price. Comfortable inexpensive mattresses are made of materials of lower quality compared to high-end brands. These materials have a shorter overall lifespan, and you might need to replace your mattress more frequently if you choose low-cost beds.
- Thickness. The thicker the mattress, the more durable it usually is. The human body can only sink 2-3 inches into the mattress layers at most, and thicker mattresses can maintain an even surface and offer good contouring for a longer time.
- Firmness. Generally, all mattresses soften over time because of the structural changes in their materials. So, if you’re a fan of softer beds, you might find out that they wear out more quickly compared to firmer beds, which can hold larger weights without sagging.
- Climate. Humidity and temperature in the region you live in can also impact how often you will change your mattress. High humidity makes mattress materials more susceptible to mold growth and corrosion, whereas high summer temperatures make you overheat during sleep, and hence, the mattress can absorb the sweat and develop odors.
- Active use. The mechanical impact can also decrease the lifespan of your mattress and even result in tears and holes. This can be if you allow your kids or pets to share a bed with you, or if you’re an active sleeper.
- Spills and stains. Spilled liquid can easily reach into deep layers of the mattress and trigger mold or bacteria growth. This can result in foam degradation and odors and will significantly reduce the lifespan of your mattress.
Signs that It’s About Time to Change Your Mattress
Now, your mattress won’t become unusable overnight.
And you will notice that something’s wrong long before it becomes visible, such as lumpy surface or holes in the fabric.
Here’s how to spot the subtle signs that your mattress starts to fail in delivering you comfortable sleep:
- You spend hours tossing and turning. When the mattress starts to sag, you might not notice it visually, but your body will know the difference. Generally, we need from 10 to 20 minutes to fall asleep (1)— this includes adopting a comfortable position. But if your mattress isn’t snuggly enough, you may spend hours tossing and turning to find that sweet spot and drift away.
- You experience morning pain. Sleeping in an uncomfortable position will negatively affect your body. You might wake up with a sore back or neck or experience numbness in your hands or legs during sleep. In most cases, these unpleasant sensations dissipate after you do a morning stretch or get some movements, which means that their cause is an uncomfortable mattress.
- You wake up with watery eyes and a runny nose. Dust buildup in mattress layers can trigger hypersensitivities and allergies, as well as troubled breathing, sleep apnea, or asthma. Plus, little fibers from mattress fabric can irritate your skin or eyes and cause skin rashes.
- You sleep hot. Mattress comfort layers are made of foam, which tends to become softer with use. When this happens, the foam can start retaining more heat and cause overheating during sleep. Plus, you will sink deeper into the mattress, which will limit natural heat loss that happens during sleep and make your shut-eye more shallow.
Finally, how you differentiate these signs from underlying health conditions that might trouble you?
You just have to sleep somewhere else — at the friend’s house or a hotel — and see if these symptoms persist. If you wake up feeling refreshed and vigorous, the problem is hidden inside your bed.
How Often Should You Change Your Mattress?
To answer this question, you simply need to look at your mattress type. Different mattress types are composed of different materials and this, along with how you use and maintain your mattress, will have a direct impact on its longevity.
Here are the general recommendations on how often should you replace your mattress, based on its type:
- Memory foam. For a memory foam bed, the definitive factor that impacts its lifespan would be the foam density. Denser foams will make the mattress heavier but help maintain its shape better. Depending on the density and quality of the materials, memory foam mattresses can last from 8 to 10 years, or up to 12 years, if it’s a luxurious brand.
- Latex. The main difference between memory foam and natural latex is that the latter isn’t temperature sensitive and has a higher density. This makes latex beds one of the most long-lasting mattresses, and if you purchase one for your bedroom, it will last you between 12 and 15 years. Synthetic latex mattresses are a bit less durable and their lifespan is similar to a memory foam bed.
- Hybrid. Quality-made hybrid mattresses combine two different support systems, and the quality of those systems will determine how often you should change your mattress. High-quality mattresses with a reinforced coil core and dense foams will last you for 10-12 years, however, this term may fluctuate significantly based on other materials used for making a mattress.
- Innerspring. Innerspring mattresses offer a simple construction that consists of a solid coil unit and top layers on one or both sides. This construction is fairly cheap to make, but unfortunately, it won’t last you long: the standard lifespan of an innerspring mattress is 7 to 9 years. Mattresses that can be flipped and models with foam layers instead of a pillow top usually are more durable and can support you up to 10 years.
Tips That Help You Replace Your Mattress Less Frequently
There’s one more thing you need to know:
You can only expect the maximum performance from your mattress if you care for it properly.
Here’s how to do that:
- Rotate the mattress. Switching leg and foot sides of your mattress every 3 to 6 months (2) will prevent premature sagging and indentations. Also, if you’re a single sleeper, you can try sleeping on different sides of the bed to keep the surface flat and supportive for longer. And, of course, if your mattress has a double-sided design, you can flip it once in a while.
- Take care of the bed base. Mattresses that don’t sag last longer, and if you aren’t sure about your box spring or bed frame, reinforcing it could be a good idea. You can use a bunkie board for Single-sized mattresses, place a plywood sheet on your existing bed frame or purchase a new one with reinforced slats or a mesh support system.
- Add a mattress topper. A mattress topper can act as a buffer layer and protect your mattress from premature indentations. Note, though, that this can only work as a temporary solution for a year or two before the topper will lose its shape. Plus, thicker mattress toppers can alter the feel of your bed.
- Use a mattress protector. The mattress protector creates a waterproof barrier that prevents any stains or spills and keeps the mold away from the deep layers of the mattress. Ideally, you should use it from day one to prevent any accidents.
- Don’t allow your kids to jump on the bed. Jumping on a mattress creates a heavy impact even on the most durable mattress. It can result in tears or broken coils and render your bed useless pretty quickly.
- Keep pets away. Fur and debris from pets can get inside your mattress and create a comfortable environment for dust mites. Plus, pets can chew or scratch on the mattress fabric, which will negatively affect how your mattress looks and may let mold in.
Can a mattress last more than 15 years?
It’s not very likely that a mattress will last more than 15 years unless you use it occasionally: for example, in the guest bedroom. After 12-15 years, structural changes in the mattress become very noticeable and drawbacks begin to outweigh the good sides.
Mattress lifespan depends on a lot of factors, and now you know how to spot the first signs that your mattress needs replacement. If you want a mattress that will keep its supportive properties for longer, look for natural latex mattresses, dense memory foam beds, quality-made hybrids, or mattresses with a construction that can be flipped. These beds usually last longer.
However, you can make the most even from a budget mattress if you care for it: rotate and clean your mattress regularly, switch sides, and prevent leaks and spills by putting on a mattress protector.
What mattress do you have? How long have you been sleeping on it? Maybe, it’s time to switch to a new one? Share your thoughts below!
- National Sleep Foundation (n.d.) How Long Should It Take You to Fall Asleep? Retrieved from https://www.sleep.org/how-long-to-fall-asleep/
- Adrienne Santos-Longhurst (medically reviewed by Alana Biggers, M.D.) (2020, June 12). How Often Should You Replace Your Mattress? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/when-to-change-mattress#prolong-mattress-life