Is It Time For A New Mattress?

How do you know when its time to replace a mattress?

Its one of those questions that often gets asked when people learn my background. Far too often people buy a bed and continue sleeping on it well past its usable life. Like any major purchase, you really don’t want to think about it, and will often put up with poor sleep quality to avoid the trip to the mattress shop.

Even though mattresses have warranties as long as 25 years, this does NOT represent the actual expected comfort life of the mattress. It may pass the warranty test for 50 years, but if it is not comfortable, its time to change. This what I call the comfort life, and it may very well be far less than the actual life. I define comfort life as the amount of time you can comfortably sleep on the mattress – which could be as short as months, or as long as a decade. I highly doubt you can sleep comfortably on an innerspring mattress for a full decade. However, a top quality memory foam product may allow you to sleep comfortably for more than a decade.

Signs of a Bad Mattress

Pain or Pressure – If you are experiencing any pain or pressure in your shoulders or hips, or if you find yourself changing positions frequently, you need to change your mattress. Pain in those two areas indicate that you are too close to the innerspring and/or there is not enough pressure relieving material between you and the springs. You might be able to help the situation by adding a mattress topper, but ultimately, you will need to replace the mattress. It is simply too hard for your body.

Woman Mattress

Does Your Mattress Keep You Awake At Night? Its Time For A Change.

Back Pain – If you continually wake up with soreness or pain in your lower back, there is good chance that you are sleeping on a mattress that does not align your body properly. If you have a sleep partner, get in your natural sleep position and have your partner examine your body. Your spine should be relatively straight from your head to your hips. Pay special attention to the hip and lower back area. Most weight is in this area. If your hips are sinking too much, this will cause the muscles in your lower back to work harder throughout the night.

If there is an alignment issue, your only remedy is a better, more supportive mattress.

Allergies – If you have problems with breathing or allergies at night, there is a good chance that your mattress is the cause – especially an older one. Bacteria and dust mites by the millions inhabit an older mattress. If you have not used a waterproof mattress protector, and the mattress is more than 5 years old, it is full of allergens. An allergy cover may help, but ultimately a new mattress would be the best way to go.

If you do buy a new mattress, make sure you purchase a waterproof, breathable, and washable cover to keep it allergen free.

Body Impressions & Sagging – Excessive “valleys” in the mattresses are a sign of a worn out mattress. If you do not have any problems now, expect to have some soon. All innerspring mattresses will develop body impressions over time as the comfort layers settle and conform under your body. The warranty will usually not apply until you get 1.5″ deep – which is huge. Minimize this by frequently rotating your mattress (turning it head-to-toe) every couple of months.

Also, having a quality waterproof protector will keep perspiration out of the comfort layers. Keeping your comfort layers clean and dry will make them last longer.

Poor Sleep Quality – If you are waking up frequently, or if in the morning you always feel that you need more sleep, its probably time to take a closer look at your mattress – especially if its an older one. Fatigue during the day may also be an indicator that something is not right during your sleep time. There may not be anything structurally wrong with the mattress, it may actually look brand new.  The mattress may have not changed significantly, but you might have, or your particular comfort or support needs may have changed since you bought it.


Image: graur razvan ionut /

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