We often spend very little time thinking about our mattresses. At least when we have the comfort we need to sleep well. However, while we sleep, our mattresses are working hard to keep our spines in the correct alignment, cushion our joints, and distribute our weight to provide pressure point relief.
Over time, your mattress will get worn out and you will no longer sleep as comfortably. Most mattresses will last between seven and ten years. However, some will last longer, while others can wear out sooner, depending on the type of the mattress. Because buying a new mattress is a considerable investment, we have written this article to help you recognise when it is time to get a new one.
How Do You Know When You Need a New Mattress?
There are several signs that can tell you it is time to get a new mattress, including aches, smells, and allergies. Let’s take a closer look at the different signs.
You Cannot Get Comfortable
There can be several reasons that prevent you from falling asleep such as worries weighing on your mind. However, if you cannot find a comfortable position to fall asleep in, the reason is could be an old mattress.
A good mattress will help you fall asleep faster as it contours your body and relieves tension in any high-pressure areas. It is worth noting that the discomfort may also be caused by a mattress that is either too soft or firm. If your mattress is not old, the cause is more likely the wrong level of firmness, but you can address this by getting a firmer or softer mattress topper.
Waking Up With Aches and Pains
If you regularly wake up feeling achy, in pain, or stiff, it may be a sign that your mattress is no longer supporting you properly. As mattresses age, they lose their ability to keep your spine in the correct alignment and relieve pressure. This can lead to tension in your joints and back from your spine curving unnaturally while you sleep.
Of course, there may be other reasons for your discomfort. If your mattress is still new or fairly new, it could be the wrong fit for you. However, if you feel comfortable in bed, you have no trouble falling asleep, and you are not waking up several times in the night, you might like to see your doctor to discuss potential causes for your discomfort.
You Sleep Better in Other Beds
If you have stayed with a friend or in a hotel and found yourself sleeping far better than you do at home, that can be a sign your mattress needs changing. Think of the qualities of the mattress that helped you sleep better. Was it firmer or softer than the mattress you have at home? Use that information to help you choose your new mattress.
You Have Had the Same Mattress for Several Years
Mattresses have different lifespans and some mattresses, such as natural latex and hybrid mattresses can last over a decade. The average lifespan of innerspring and most foam mattresses is between seven and ten years. If your mattress has reached the end of its expected lifespan, it is time to replace it.
Your Mattress is Sagging
When your mattress starts to sag or feels like sleeping in a hammock, it is a clear sign you need a new mattress. With foam mattresses, the foam will soften and with innerspring mattresses, the springs are likely to lose their tension in years of regular use. A sagging mattress will no longer support your spine, causing it to curve unnaturally, which will lead to soreness and pain.
Your Mattress Has Indentations and Lumps
A good mattress will provide you with a flat and even surface. It will distribute your weight evenly and prevent pressure points. Older mattresses can develop lumps, indentations, and impressions, which stop you from finding a comfortable position.
These are particularly likely in budget memory foam mattresses. Over time the foam will wear out and lose its elasticity. As a result, it will no longer regain its shape when the pressure is removed. With innerspring mattresses, indentations can be caused by broken or worn-out springs.
This sign applies to innerspring and hybrid mattresses. When the coils used in the core of these mattresses wear out, they may start to squeak. Springs that have lost their strength and tension rub together under pressure. If you wake up to squeaking springs every time you change position, it is time to get a new mattress.
You Get Hot During the Night
While some people often sleep hot, for others, getting hot during the night can be a sign that the mattress needs replacing. If you have suddenly started to get hotter while you sleep, your mattress might be part of the reason. Other reasons include medical conditions and hormonal changes or the temperature being too high in your bedroom.
If you sleep hot and it is time to replace your mattress, consider getting one with cooling technologies. These will have better airflow and keep you cooler during the night. Alternatively, consider getting cooling sheets to help regulate your body temperature.
Your Mattress No Longer Isolates Motion
While innerspring mattresses, with the exception of pocket coil mattresses, are not the best at isolating motion in the first place, foam mattresses are. However, over time a mattress can become less effective in motion isolation. If your mattress used to isolate movement well but no longer does and you keep waking up every time your partner moves, it is a sign that you would benefit from a new mattress.
Stains and Discoloration
Mattresses are likely to get some stains and discoloration over time. While some stains are harmless, others are not. They could be a sign of a bigger problem such as mildew or mould. To help your mattress stay fresh and prevent stains and discoloration, you can use a mattress protector.
If you have noticed that your mattress has developed an unpleasant odour, it is time to replace it. Bad smells coming from your mattress can be a sign of mould or mildew buildup. Cleaning and disinfecting your mattress regularly can prevent the buildup of mildew and mould and keep it smelling fresher.
Your Allergies Are Getting Worse
If you have allergies, an old mattress can make them worse. This can be because of a buildup of mould, mildew, or dust mites in the mattress. If you find your allergies are worse during the night or in the mornings, consider getting a new mattress. Regular cleaning will keep your mattress fresh for longer and prevent the buildup but it is still likely to occur over time.
Other Reasons You May Need a New Mattress
While the age of your mattress is often the main reason for needing to replace it, there are some other reasons why you may need a change. For example, if you used to have the mattress to yourself but now share it with a partner, you might need a bigger bed. While double mattresses can accommodate two sleepers, many couples find them too small so you might like to upgrade to a queen or king-size mattress.
Another reason may be that your physique has changed. For example, if you have lost or gained a lot of weight or you have developed health conditions such as sciatica or osteoporosis, your current mattress may no longer support you adequately.
You may need to get a mattress that is softer and contours more if you have joint pain, while weight gain may mean you need a firmer mattress. People who have limited mobility may need a mattress with more edge support to make moving in and out of bed easier.
Getting the Most Out of Your Mattress
Even the best mattresses will eventually age and need replacing. However, with proper mattress maintenance, you can extend the lifespan of your mattress so you get the most out of your investment.
One of the best ways to improve the lifespan of your mattress is to get a mattress protector. Using a protector will slow down the damage from everyday wear and keep them clean from dust mites, bed bugs, and other allergens. In addition, waterproof protectors will also stop spills, sweat, oils, and moisture from getting to your mattress.
You also need to clean your mattress and rotate or flip it regularly. For many mattresses, this should be done every six months. However, mattresses vary so it is best to follow the instructions from the mattress manufacturer to ensure it is done properly and at the right intervals. Cleaning will prevent the buildup of allergens and flipping or rotating will even out the surface of the mattress and prevent lumps and impressions from forming.
You also need to support your mattress properly. Without a proper foundation, your mattress is likely to start sagging sooner. What the best foundation will be depends on the type of mattress you have. Innerspring mattresses are best paired with box springs, while hybrid and foam mattresses need a solid, flat base.
Have a no jumping rule. Kids often enjoy jumping on the bed but it can damage the mattress and reduce its lifespan. Jumping can break down the foam more quickly or weaken the coils in an innerspring mattress.
Keep your pets out of your bed. While it may be nice to have your dog or cat sleeping in your bed, they can bring some uninvited guests with them. Pollen, dirt, and bugs could be transferred from your pets to the mattress.
Avoid eating and drinking in bed. Breakfast in bed is a lovely thought but food and drink spills can stain your mattress and any crumbs could be an invitation to bugs. You should also protect your mattress when you are moving. Wrap it up in plastic if you are moving house to protect it from picking up dirt, pollen, dust, and bed bugs.
There are several reasons why you may need a new mattress. Sometimes it is because the mattress is old and has developed lumps and indentations, smells or stains. It may be causing you pain and aches or trigger allergic reactions.
You may also need a new mattress if your circumstances have changed. For example, if you are now sharing your bed with a partner or your physique or physical abilities have changed considerably.
Consistent poor sleep can lead you to develop physical or mental health conditions or make existing conditions worse. Therefore, investing in a mattress that helps you sleep well is always a worthwhile investment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Getting a mattress topper might help in some cases but it will not help you fix an unsupportive, old mattress. However, you can use them to change the feel of your mattress if it is too soft or firm for your preferences.
There are several symptoms that can be linked to sleeping on a mattress that does not suit your body type or sleeping position. You might have restless or poor sleep, waking up several times in the night because you cannot get comfortable. It can also prevent you from falling asleep.
Sleeping on an unsuitable mattress for the long term can develop health issues or make existing conditions such as joint or back pain worse. Old mattresses that have a buildup of allergens can also cause flare-ups of allergies or trigger asthma.
While you may temporarily improve your sleeping experience by adding a firmer base or a mattress topper to a sagging mattress, it will not address the main cause. If your foam mattress is no longer returning to its original shape or your innerspring mattress has indentations from broken or worn-out springs, it will be better to get a new mattress.