You’ve probably heard the rule of thumb that you need to replace your mattress every eight years.
We’re going to be 100% honest: That’s probably not a good guide for knowing when to replace your mattress.
First, eight years represents a statistical average. The Better Sleep Council, for example, recommends replacing your mattress every seven to ten years. That’s a pretty broad range! Three years, to be exact. Most consumer would like to pin things down more precisely.
Second, the whole eight-year replacement is something of a marketing ploy. Most mattress manufacturers would love it if you replaced your mattress like clockwork every eight years, whether it truly needs replacing or not. That’s how they can guarantee more sales.
That said, no product lasts forever, and that goes for mattresses as well. So when is it the right time to replace your mattress? How often should you change get a new mattress? How often should you simply flip the old mattress, or change the bedding?
These are all good questions, but the answers are not so simple. That’s why we’ve created this handy guide to your mattress lifespan:
What Affects the Lifespan of a Mattress?
Again, the lifespan of a mattress can vary wildly. Rather than have a specific number of years in mind, you should look for signs that your mattress needs to be replaced.
Why is there so much variation across and within mattress brands? There are three main things that affect how long your mattress lasts:
Type of Mattress.
Different kinds of mattresses are made from different materials. And while some materials might be great at providing comfort, they might not be as durable as other materials available.
Mattress researchers at sleeplikethedead.com looked into the average lifespan of various mattress types and here is what they found:
- Futons have the shortest average lifespan, lasts five years or less.
- Traditional innerspring mattresses tend to last about six years before failing.
- Hybrid mattresses and memory foam mattresses last roughy seven years on average. (Memory foams came in as a bit longer lasting, but this might simply be due to the fact that they have been around longer, so more problems have been worked out in the manufacturing process.)
- Latex mattresses and air mattresses last about eight years, on average. (Note, however, that the post makes a distinction between longevity and durability. While these beds last a long time, part of them often break or malfunction and need to be replaced, and much sooner than eight years.)
Quality of the Mattress.
A better quality will, on average, last longer. More springs, better foams, thicker covers, and better craftsmanship make for a bed that keeps its shape longer, providing a better rest.
That is why a quality mattress is often a good investment even though it costs more: The price of the mattress is spread out over more time, making your beds cost less per year. (But beware: More expensive does not necessarily mean better quality. Be sure to research the composition of the mattress!)
Maintenance of the Mattress.
If you spill food and drink on the mattress, and your kids use your bed as a trampolene, it should come as no shock that your bed will not last as long. Mattresses are made of foam, fabric and fibers that don’t like liquids or tolerate moisture well. Frequent tossing and turning can also put wear-and-tear on a mattress (yet another reason to get a mattress that is comfortable for you). So, if you experience a lot of movement in bed, you might need to change or replace your mattress more frequently.
Rotating the Mattress.
When we sleep, we don’t exert pressure on our beds in all places equally. There are “pressure points” at various places in our bed, and they differ for each individual. A mattress will tend to sag or lose its bounce more quickly at those pressure points.
If you rotate your mattress regularly, you can, in effect, change where on the bed these pressure points will occur. This can help get a little extra mileage out of your mattress. How often should you rotate your mattress? Industry best practices say you should flip or rotate every three months, especially if the mattress is new. You might even do this earlier if there are noticeable sags or “hard spots.” Rule of thumb - Rotate a new mattress every two weeks for the first three months then, every month thereafter.
How to Tell When It’s Time to Change Your Mattress: 7 Signs
If you take good care of your bed, a quality mattress should last for years. Still, nothing lasts forever. There are some telltale signs that your mattress is nearing the end of its useful life span:
- You can see it when you look carefully. Did see visibly worn spots in your mattress or bed cover? Can you see the sagging? Is the mattress stained from years of use? These are obvious clues that you need a new mattress.
- You notice it in the texture or “feel.” You might notice that there are lumps in your bed, or spots where you sink down a little too much. You might especially notice sagging at the edges, especially if you have a memory foam bed that is not high quality.
- You can hear it. A sudden squeak or groan could be an indication of bad springs. A rubbing sound might mean that your mattress is settling too much when you first lie on it. These noises could mean time for a replacement.
- You wake up sore or tired. Your bed should afford you a good night’s sleep every night. If you wake up feeling like you didn’t sleep, that’s a bad sign. If your body is stiff and sore, this is an indication that your mattress is not supporting you as it once did.
- You toss and turn often. There can be many things that make you toss and turn, but your mattress is usually the prime suspect. Again, loss of support or newer lumps can disrupt your sleep.
- You’re just as comfortable on the couch or chair. Sometimes our unconscious minds figure things out before our conscious ones do. If you find yourself falling asleep on the couch or in a recliner, this might be your brain’s way of saying “I’m finding this more comfortable than my bed.”
- Your partner is showing some of these signs. It can happen: Maybe you just are a more resilient sleeper than your partner. But if he or she tosses and turns, wakes up stiff and sore, or falls asleep on the couch, this might indicate the need for a new mattress. Do what is right for the both of you!
Squeezing the Most Out of Your Mattress
Mattresses are an investment, and so we want them to last as long as they can. To get the most life out of your mattress, we recommend:
- Using a mattress protector. You can buy them here.
- Making sure you have the right frame or support.
- Cleaning your sheets and bedding at least once a week.
- Rotating your mattress every three months (see above).
- Limiting how often pets get on your bed.
- Limiting how often you eat or drink in bed.
- Don’t let the kids jump on the bed!
- Airing out the bed periodically to remove excess moisture.
- Following the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintenance.
Starting the Search for a New Mattress
Maybe you’re there now - you know it’s time to replace your mattress. You can start shopping now, or find out more about the connection between your mattress and a good night’s sleep by downloading our eBook and receiving a coupon to use on your next purchase.