This Is How Often You Need To Replace Your Mattress (Because You Know You Want To)

Photo: Stocksy / Alexey Kuzma
No mattress is as comfortable as your own mattress. At least, isn’t that how you should feel? Unfortunately, like many things used daily (or nightly, in this case), your mattress won’t last forever. So, how do you know when it’s time to replace your mattress?

“Over time, any mattress can lose its shape and begin to sag, creating dips and lumps—and an uncomfortable mattress can interfere with your ability to get a good night’s sleep,” says Bridget Chapman, certified sleep coach at Sleepopolis. Indeed, even the best bed-in-the-box mattresses or traditional varieties degrade in quality as the years wear on.

Experts In This Article

When and how often should you replace your mattress?

The average lifespan of a mattress is seven to 10 years, and manufacturers will typically recommend replacing it within this time period. For Chapman and Rebecca Fair, certified sleep coach at Mattress Nerd, the answer isn’t so straightforward.

Various factors influence the longevity of a mattress, the first of which is mattress type. Not all mattresses are created equal, and some options may last longer than others. Among the most popular mattress types available, Fair and Chapman agree that those made from latex are the longest-lasting variety. Another factor that may affect mattress lifespan is a person’s sleep position. According to Chapman: “When you sleep in the same position and in the same spot on your mattress every night, your mattress is more prone to sag and wear prematurely from the constant pressure of your body.” Also, Fair adds that if a person has a larger build or they share a bed with a partner, it can accelerate a mattress’s decline.

All that is to say, there is no one answer to the question of how often or when to replace a mattress because mattresses, bodies, and sleeping habits are all different. However, if you aren’t sleeping as well as you should, your bed might need replacing. This is especially true if you notice any of the following issues with your mattress.

5 signs that it’s time to replace your mattress

1. It’s uncomfortable

If your mattress is leaving you more restless than well-rested, it might be time to replace it. “Over time, the structural integrity of the support and comfort materials in any type of mattress will degrade, resulting in a gradual decline in how the mattress sleeps,” says Chapman. Also, she adds: “If you’re waking up with pain that you didn’t fall asleep with, then it’s time to consider changing your mattress.”

2. It’s visibly damaged or worn

Is your mattress sagging or lumpy? Does it have permanent imprints in spots you routinely sleep on? Are there coils or springs poking out from underneath the surface? If you’ve said yes to one or all of the above, “these are definite signs it’s time to change your mattress,” says Chapman. “The degrading materials will almost certainly impact your quality of sleep at night.”

3. It’s noisy

If you hear creaking, popping, or squeaking each time you lay down or shift in bed, these might point to a decline in a mattress’s structural integrity—which, as mentioned, can have a major impact on sleep quality. According to Fair, this is particularly evident in hybrid or innerspring mattresses with coils or springs, which tend to make unwanted noise as they weaken over time.

4. It’s making you sick

“An older bed that’s had time to collect dust, bacteria, dead skin cells, allergens, and more can cause people to feel under the weather more often than usual,” says Fair. If you find that you wake up stuffy or with scratchy eyes, even though you frequently clean and deodorize your mattress, you might want to consider investing in a new one.

5. It’s more than seven years old

While not all mattresses need to be replaced after seven years, it’s a good indication of when you may need to think about buying a new one. As Alexandra Duma, DC, DACBSP, a New York-based sports chiropractor, previously told Well+Good: “No matter how great your mattress is, over time it will degrade in the quality of support it provides for your body.”

How to replace your mattress

When your mattress is near the end of its lifespan or it becomes a pain to sleep on, you’ll definitely need to replace it. “Replacing an old mattress is so important for avoiding aches, pain, loss of sleep, poor sleep quality, and the possibility of becoming sick.” says Fair, adding that, “an unsupportive mattress is a recipe for developing body sores or feeling generally uncomfortable on a daily basis.”

That said, buying a new mattress will often cost you a pretty penny. Fortunately, you don’t have to pay full price to get a quality mattress. Besides yearly President’s Day sales, the best time to buy a mattress at discounted prices are during holidays like Memorial Day and Labor Day. Retailers also typically slash prices on mattresses on Prime Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, but buyers have to act fast as stock is usually limited and deals are often short-lived.

As you shop for a new mattress, you’ll ideally want to try it before you buy it. It can be hard to know whether you’ll like how it sleeps or if the mattress’s firmness level works best for you without having tried it in person. When buying a mattress online, it’s also important to look for one with a trial period and, better yet, a generous return policy if for any reason it doesn’t work out for you.

If buying a new mattress isn’t in the budget? A mattress topper can serve as a solution, albeit a temporary one. “Think of a mattress topper as a ‘bandaid’ in this situation,” says Fair, “they can hold you over by maintaining a supportive surface to sleep on until you have the time or money to get a new bed.” If you’re considering buying a mattress topper, she recommends one that’s durable and supportive, such as latex models. Keep in mind that “even with help from the best-quality mattress topper, an old, uncomfortable mattress is likely to still cause you backaches or sleeplessness,” says Chapman.

How to maximize the lifespan of your mattress

Indeed everyone will have to replace their mattresses at one point or another, but there are a few things that you can do to maximize the lifespan of the mattress you already own. The first and arguably most important thing you can do is rotate your mattress at least every few months. “For latex and foam mattresses, you can do this every six months or so, and for innerspring or hybrid beds, every two to five years,” says Fair. “Doing so prevents sagging or indentation from being localized to one area over years of use—in turn, helping to maintain the feel of your bed’s surface for longer.” Chapman adds: “This also helps minimize the risk of pain or discomfort when you sleep.”

Second, make sure your mattress itself receives proper support. According to Chapman: “It’s a good idea to make sure there is a solid platform under your mattress to ensure it wears evenly and the way it is intended to.” You might also want to consider investing in a mattress protector. “Using a mattress protector can help keep your bed clean and stain free,” says Fair. In addition, it safeguards your bed from regular wear and tear, thereby, helping extend its lifespan.

Frequently asked questions

How do I know when I need a new mattress?

“When you realize your bed is either on the decline, or completely unsupportive, I would recommend replacing it as soon as possible to avoid the development of aches, pains, or loss of sleep in general,” says Fair. Sagging or lumpiness are often signs that you need to replace your mattress, and so are permanent body impressions. If you wake up tired and achy in the mornings, it could also mean that it’s time to think about investing in a new bed.

How long should a decent mattress last?

On average, a mattress’s lifespan is anywhere from seven years or longer. While there’s no firm answer on how long a decent mattress should last, you’ll likely want it to last you for as long as possible. More often than not, a mattress made from quality materials will last longer than its counterparts—and among the most common mattress types available, latex mattresses have the longest lifespan.

Can a mattress last for 20 years?

It’s possible that a mattress can last 20 years, though it may be unlikely. The average mattress can last up to 10 years before its quality starts to decline. However, you can maximize its lifespan by implementing a few regular maintenance practices. Experts recommend rotating the bed once every few months and ensuring it is supported by a sturdy platform. Plus, investing in a mattress protector can keep it clean and helps safeguard against premature wear and tear.

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