When Should I Replace My Mattress?

A few folks have written wondering how to know when its time to change your mattress. So here are a few things to consider.

1. Crater Lake – If there is a giant hole in your mattress or two valleys on either side of a ridge in the middle, it may be time to change. Innerspring mattresses are notorious for developing body impressions where you sleep. If it is still under warranty (1.5″ for most manufacturers/10 years) measure from the natural mattress surface into the deepest valley. If it is greater than 1.5″ and still under warranty, file a claim. This may get you a new mattress set for very minimal cost.

If it is not under warranty, or does not meet the required depth, you may want to replace the mattress. It will only get worse. And if you are already experiencing pain or discomfort, it will not improve as the depression deepens.

Always buy a mattress as firm as you can and still be comfortable and aligned properly, without any pressure points. Consider Tempur-Pedic to avoid the Crater Lake problem.

2. Back Pain – If you consistently wake up with lower back pain, there is a good chance that you are not aligned properly while you sleep. What is happening is the muscles in your back are working all night while you are attempting to sleep. This can happen both on a bed that is too hard AND too soft. The key is proper alignment. Even a very small body impression can change your alignment and cause discomfort.

If you are a side sleeper, check your alignment AND make sure there is no pain or pressure in your shoulder or hip area on your side. If it is too hard, you will toss and turn and not get the deep, recuperative sleep your body needs.

One final thought on back pain. Added weight in the belly (pot belly) can also cause lower back pain. I have experienced this myself. A sudden weight gain in the belly area can pull it forward and cause some back discomfort. When this happens, do like I do and get back on the treadmill or racquetball court.

3. Allergies – If you experience increased allergy problems at night – runny or stuffy nose, watery or itchy eyes, asthma etc, you may be reacting to a mattress that is filled with dust mites, bacteria and other allergens. This is especially true with mattresses that are over 5 years old that have not been protected properly.

If you purchase a new mattress, get a waterproof, breathable and washable mattress protector. Do not use a traditional mattress pad – the mattress should provide all the comfort you need. Wash all your linens often and change your pillows periodically if they cannot be cleaned. This should prolong the mattress life as well.

4. Neck Pain – Discomfort in the neck and upper back is usually related to poor pillow support. This problem may be solved by changing pillows. The pillow should keep the neck aligned with the spine while on the mattress. If pain is isolated in the neck region, I would try testing different pillows before buying a new mattress. If you do get a new mattress, you may need new pillows as well. These need to work together and if your body position changes on the new mattress, the old pillow may not be the correct solution.

5. Not Comfortable – If the mattress is simply not comfortable, change it. Sleep is far too important to mess around on a mattress that does not fit your body. Find a Good Mattress Salesperson and have them fit you with the right mattress. Find a store that allows at least 30 days to test a mattress and exchange it if it does not work. You need at least 30 nights to test a mattress and make sure it is the correct one for your body.

Life is too short to be stuck with a crappy mattress. Get a good one and be comfortable. Good sleep will increase your energy, help you stay young, feel happier and keep you healthy.

Sleep Well!

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