Your mattress has to deal with a lot of wear and tear, after all, you'll spend close to a third of your life on it. From dirty feet and pets to tossing and spilling your late-night snacks on the cover, your mattress will unfortunately not last forever. A bed is a big purchase and some might be tempted to squeeze every last drop of life from it, but there will always come a time when you’d be best served by a brand new mattress.
How do you know when it’s time for you to move on from an old mattress? Our guide will go over what signs to look for when determining the lifespan of your product and give you some general tips on how long they should last.
Your Bed Is 7-10 Years Old
- Memory Foam
Lower density foam beds may need to be replaced after 4-6 years. Over time the foams will break down under your weight and movement throughout the night. Higher density models could last up to 8-10 years.
Organic and natural latex materials may need to be replaced after 8-10 years. Synthetic latex beds may only last 6-8 years to perform at their best capacity. After this amount of time they may begin to sag or lose some of the bounce that makes them so popular.
These may need to be replaced by a new mattress every 3-5 years. It's always a good idea to save any warranty information just in case they wear out before their time. Independently wrapped coils may also be some of the quickest to show wear, as they tend to compress much more than interconnected coils, making for great motion isolation, but faster wear.
A high-quality hybrid could last longer than 10 years, some brands even claim to last up to 15. However, because over time your bed will absorb oils and bacteria from your body, begin sagging, and may lose some of its bounce, it is still recommended to replace your mattress every 7 – 10 years.
You can learn more about this in our guide: How long do mattresses last?
There is Sagging
When a mattress begins to sag, body impressions can begin to form as the materials take longer to reclaim their original shape. Over time, this may cause mobility issues, as sleepers will have to fight to dig themselves out of the holes left behind, or they may experience issues with even weight distribution, support & pressure relief.
Bed frames with solid surfaces or slats that are closer together should help to prevent new mattress from sagging too soon. Some companies may also recommend flipping or rotating the product so that pressure is applied evenly to different areas, reducing the likelihood of impressions and sagging.
Keep in mind that you should only flip a mattress if it is intended to be reversible. Most beds are specifically designed to have one side up to properly support your body and provide pressure relief.
You Wake to Pain or Discomfort
The point of a good mattress is to keep you asleep all night and leave you refreshed in the morning. Of course, there may always be a health or physical issue that causes some people to wake up in pain, but if you're otherwise healthy and still experience discomfort, your bed may not be doing its job.
This could happen if your mattress compresses too much and makes it difficult for you to move throughout the night, or if your bed is too firm and doesn't properly relieve your pressure points anymore.
Keep in mind that many brands offer trial periods for a reason. Sometimes adjusting can be unpleasant as the spine begins to align, but after a few weeks you should adjust and settle into your new bed. Be sure to give a new mattress some time before deciding if it's right for you.
It's Too Soft or Too Firm for your Sleeping Position
With so many firmness options available it’s easy for shoppers to get confused as to which bed is likely to suit them for a good night's sleep. Stomach sleepers, for example, will need a firm model to prevent their hips from sinking too deeply into the comfort materials. Side sleepers, on the hand, would need a pressure relieving bedding to allow compression in the hips and shoulders, but this doesn't necessarily mean the bed needs to be soft.
If you are a side sleeper and find your bed is too firm and causes shoulder and hip pain, it may be time to upgrade to a model built for your sleeping style. Similarly, stomach sleepers may experience back and neck pain if their mattress sags in the middle and doesn't properly support the stomach, keeping the spine aligned.
Many brands offer exchanges during the trial period so that shoppers can test out a variety of sleep positions and comfort levels to find the one they most prefer. Position preference may also change over time, in which case a new mattress might be needed.
Allergies or Asthma Worsen at Night
If you find yourself constantly waking up with the sniffles or skin irritation, you may be sleeping on a mattress that is triggering your allergies. Some people are sensitive to the chemicals that might be used in the manufacturing of some bed-in-a-box brands. Others are allergic to latex and might need to avoid those models.
Thankfully, there are lots of organic and hypoallergenic bed options out there that employ gentle and clean materials for better health, and an effort to relieve some of these symptoms. Many brands put an emphasis on asthma, allergy, and eczema sufferers to ensure even the most sensitive of sleepers are able to rest comfortably.
Even if you don't have any known allergies to chemicals or mattress materials, sometimes an old mattress will hold onto dust and dirt that could be causing your congestion. If changing your sheets doesn't help and you don't have a way of cleaning deep into your mattress, it's probably time for a change.
Need More Weight Support
Most sleepers’ needs change over time. Maybe you have gained or lost a little weight or have gone from sleeping alone to sharing your bed with a new partner, child, or pet. How is the support of your bed holding up to these changes?
If your new sleeping arrangement is putting too much wear and tear on your mattress, you may need to seek one with a higher weight limit or sturdier support. No one likes feeling like they're constantly rolling into the sagging center of a mattress in their sleep. The mattress market has made major strides in creating reinforced support and many brands now offer Big and Tall models to make sure shoppers of every size can find a comfortable mattress to sleep on.
How to Prolong a Mattress' Life
Most mattress brands will offer instructions for how to properly care for their models, allowing them to last longer. Some beds can be flipped or rotated to allow for even wear and compression.
Most companies also recommend a specific set-up for the mattress with suggestions on which types of bases and frames will best support your bed. While some beds will be fine with a bunk board or box spring, others need a solid or slatted base to ensure the bed can properly distribute weight and alleviate pressure points. It's important to take these recommendations seriously to ensure you get what you pay for.
Adjustment Period for a New Bed
A new mattress sleep surface is likely to be a bit of a shock to the body at first. You will need to give yourself some time to get used to a new firmness level or material. For example, transitioning from a memory foam model to a new latex bed will introduce some bounce for easier repositioning but could take some getting used to.
Most companies offer generous trial periods that will let you adjust to the new bed before officially deciding whether or not it works for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do longer warranties mean the bed will last longer?
While a longer warranty could indicate a company’s confidence in its brand, a warranty is not necessarily a guarantee that a product will outperform others in the same market. However, some companies that offer a lifetime warranty will replace the comfort layer of your bed, which is a great way to prolong the life of the mattress.
Will the right mattress help with better REM sleep?
It's definitely possible that the combination of the right mattress and comfortable sheets could help you get a better night's sleep. If you are spending too much time tossing and turning throughout the night, you could be constantly restarting your sleep cycle, which would affect how long you spend in the REM stage.
Eliminating these disruptions could provide you with a more restful experience, allowing for more deep sleep.
How often should you replace your box spring?
Box springs are not all created equal, and while one may easily last 15 years, others wear down much quicker. If you find your box spring is wobbly, missing hardware, or has any type of tears or damage from pets, water, or bugs, it's probably time to replace it.
Broken slats can also impede a box spring's ability to support your mattress and shouldn't be ignored. To be safe, we recommend replacing wooden box springs every 10 years.
After reading this guide, you may have come to the conclusion that it's time to move on and replace your mattress, or you may have realized yours has a few more years of use left in it.
Either way, we're here to help with the next step. There are many reasons to opt for a new sleep product, but the biggest factors are simply age and damage over time. However, if you just feel like it's time for a change, there's no reason so wait for a new bed, and there are plenty of ways to donate or sell a used mattress locally.
If you need some help picking out a new bed, we have a list of highest rated mattresses to help you out.
While it may be hard to say goodbye to your last bed, with the proper maintenance and a little know-how, you and your new mattress should be happy together for years to come.