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How Often Should You Change Your Mattress?

Daniella

Written by Daniella

Last Updated: 5th January, 2022
Contents

Replacing our mattress is not often top of our priority list - most likely due to the expense involved, or perhaps just something we never think about. It is, however, or should be, something we think about more often than many of us tend to.

How to choose a mattress will depend on your specific needs and preferences and will therefore differ between people. Similarly, when to replace your mattress will depend on several factors. The average mattress is said to last between six and ten years. How did they come up with this figure, you may wonder? Good question. We were also curious! 

It may be due to the results of a 2009 study✓ published in The Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. Participants reported an increase in sleep quality when given a new “bedding system” (foam-encased spring mattress with dense pad and soft foam) compared to their usual mattress (commercially made spring mattress). The average age of the participants’ mattresses was shown to be 9.5 years. Although this can be viewed as a limitation to the study, this number is essentially just an average. Most would agree that several factors will determine how often you should change your mattress.

A Note On Sleep

While ongoing research explores the physiology of sleep✓, and there are different theories about the exact purpose of sleep, it is not disputed that sleep is an essential function✓ . Sleep allows our body and mind to reset, and lack of sleep and poor quality sleep✓ can result in an increased risk of disorders such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

A Note On Sleep

Did you know?
Sleep has been described as a “biological mystery✓” and the true evolutionary purpose remains unknown.

The amount of sleep we need✓ changes as we age. Adults between the ages of 18-60 years need 7 or more hours per night, and adults between the ages of 61-64 years and 65 years and older need 7-9 hours and 7-8 hours, respectively. One of the biggest factors contributing to the quality and quantity of our sleep is the comfort of our mattress. It is, therefore, important to invest in the best mattress and replace your mattress when necessary. 

How Do You Know Your Mattress’s Time Is Up?

Essentially, it’s time to get a new mattress when your mattress no longer allows you to have a good restful sleep. If any of the following apply, it could be a sign you need to start looking for a replacement mattress:

How Do You Know Your Mattress’s Time Is Up?
  • It’s negatively affecting your sleep
  • It takes you a long time to fall asleep (be sure to rule out conditions like insomnia and anxiety - if you are unsure best to check with your doctor)
  • You feel an obvious change from when you bought the mattress (it is much softer/harder)
  • It’s 8+ years old
  • The mattress is visibly sagging, lumpy, asymmetrical or damaged
  • It’s noisy (if you have a metal or wooden bed frame be sure those are in order first)
  • You find you sleep better away from home
  • You wake up regularly with aches and pains
  • You have increased symptoms of asthma or allergies (over time our mattress can develop a build-up of certain allergens like dust mites)

Fun fact!
 Most healthy adults should take 10-20 minutes to fall asleep at night - in sleep research, this time is known as “sleep latency✓”.

Factors Influencing Mattress Lifespan

Several factors can influence the longevity of a mattress. A well-cared-for mattress made with higher quality materials will most likely last longer than one made with cheaper materials and used by a family of four and a dog. The factors listed below may impact how often a mattress needs to be replaced.

Factors Influencing Mattress Lifespan
  • Mattress material: the durability of a mattress is largely dependent on the materials used to construct it. Lower-quality spring mattresses and foam mattresses tend to have the shortest lifespans - spring mattresses tend to lose tier bounciness, and foam tends to form permanent dents. However, spring mattresses with thicker coils and foam mattresses with a higher foam density will most likely last a little longer. Hybrid mattresses are generally next in line, and latex mattresses are the most durable.
  • Maintenance and care: as with all other bedding, a mattress will last longer if cared for properly. Using a mattress protector and cleaning, as per instructions, and rotating the mattress (unless recommended otherwise by the manufacturer) will help.
  • If it can be flipped: flipping a mattress regularly will ensure wear and tear are evenly spread across the mattress - increasing its lifespan.
  • Sleeper size and weight: heavier people may find that mattresses sag quicker, whereas lighter people may not notice this as much or at all. Similarly, if two people share the bed, it is more likely that the mattress will deteriorate quicker than one sleeper. Therefore, it is sometimes suggested that a heavier person invests in a firmer mattress to maximise longevity.
  • Usage: even the best quality mattresses are not indestructible. Children jumping on a mattress or having pets on and off can decrease longevity and increase the likelihood of stains and damage. Also, be aware of how your mattress is being treated - even sitting on the edge of your mattress may quicken deterioration.
  • Infestations: no one wants dust mites, bed bugs or scabies taking up residence in their mattress; however, this can occur. These infestations can be eliminated in different ways - depending on the bug. However, it is not uncommon that mattresses cannot be saved and need to be replaced, regardless of how old.

You can get a good idea of the quality by looking at the mattress's warranty. Most mattress manufacturers offer a warranty on their mattresses and will be a good indication of how long they believe their product will last.

Is A New Mattress Worth The Cost?

Buying a new mattress is not a small purchase, and you wouldn't be alone if you're wondering if an upgrade is really necessary or worth it. Below are a few benefits of a new mattress that are well worth considering.

Is A New Mattress Worth The Cost?
  • Improved sleep quality and/or quantity (which in turn boosts many mental and physical functions)
  • Reduced allergies or asthma
  • Reduced aches and pains
  • Reduced motion transfer from one of the mattress to the other (helps couples sleep better next to eachother)

How To Increase The Lifespan Of Your Mattress

There are, of course, ways which can extend the life of our mattress - hopefully minimising the frequency that we have to invest in a new one. Here are a few tips that may be worth bearing in mind:

How To Increase The Lifespan Of Your Mattress
  1. Use a base/bed - the floor or incorrect base can lead to dust and dirt accumulating and structural damage, respectively.
  2. Use a mattress protector - this could potentially be your mattress's best chance at a long life.
  3. Flip the mattress - as discussed, this can evenly spread out the wear and tear.
  4. Clean and maintain the mattress - as per manufacturer instructions.
  5. Don’t allow pets, food or drink, or jumping on the mattress .
  6. Check the mattress every six months for tears, stains, or other damage.

Conclusion

The average mattress should last roughly six to ten years; however, this is dependent on many different factors, and it is ultimately up to us to decide if it’s time to say goodbye. If you feel obvious discomfort or the mattress has visibly deteriorated, it’s more than likely time to buy a new one. Given that we spend one-third of our lives sleeping, it’s a good investment. After purchasing a new mattress, it’s advisable to look after your mattress as best you can by using the correct base and covering it with a mattress protector, amongst other things, to maximise its longevity.

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