It is not uncommon to see people delay replacing their mattresses for far too long. They don’t want to spend the money, they got emotionally attached to it, or they simply think that the whole thing is too much of a hassle.
While relatable, these reasons seem woefully inadequate in light of all the damage that sleeping on a mattress that is past its prime can do. We will discuss some of the harmful effects that are obvious enough to be used as warning signs, but it’s important to remember that there is also a whole range of potential issues that may go unnoticed.
Things like moodiness, higher susceptibility to stress, decreased focus and productivity, higher risk of inflammation and even reduced bone strength, have all been linked with bad sleeping habits, and should by no means be ignored.
So, how often should you replace your mattress? Here are the most common red flags that indicate that it might be time for a change.
Signs of When to Replace a Mattress
Mattress is More than 7 Years Old
There are many factors that can contribute to the dilapidation of a mattress, making it impossible to tell
how long should you keep a mattress, but when it comes to mattresses lifespan, there are some general guidelines.
While there is a whole range of variables that need to be taken into account, like the type of the mattress in question and its quality, or sleeper’s habits and weight, the general consensus seems to be that if you have had your mattress for more than 7 years, it might be time to think about replacing it with a new one.
Even if you don’t notice any of the warning signs, changing the mattress at the 7-year mark is a good idea, as it protects you from the subtler consequences of bad sleep that we’ve mentioned in the introduction.
You Wake up Feeling Stiff or Sore
In order for you to enjoy truly restful sleep, your mattress needs to provide proper support and ensure that your body can completely relax. Failing to do so is not only damaging to the quality of the sleep you are getting but can also result in chronic pain.
Waking up with aching back or shoulders is unpleasant enough on its own, even though the soreness usually dissipates during the day, however, continuing to use the mattress that doesn’t offer adequate support also has more permanent and serious consequences, even though you may not be immediately aware of them.
Your Asthma or Allergies Have Worsened
If your asthma or allergies are flaring up without any obvious cause, your mattress might be to blame.
Even with relatively meticulous maintenance, our beds are an amazingly welcoming environment for dust mites, the feces of which contain a protein known to cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks.
There are a number of strategies to offset their propagation and minimize their influence, including flipping the mattress, vacuuming it or using a hypoallergenic cover. However, all of these methods will at one point stop making a difference, signaling that a mattress replacement is sorely needed.
You are Putting More Weight on a Mattress
Finding a perfect mattress for your needs requires balancing a number of rather delicate factors. The mattress should suit your weight, your preferred sleeping position, etc. If you were to change any of these influences, you might find that you are suddenly not getting enough rest.
If you have put on or lost some pounds since buying the mattress, you shouldn’t just replace it because you don’t think it will support you properly anymore, but also because the fact that you have been drastically gaining or losing weight might indicate that the mattress has not been adequate right from the very start.
Your Bed is Dirtier than You Think
We’ve already mentioned that most beds are full of dust mites, unfortunately, they are not the only nasty things that beds can foster.
The warm and humid environment provides perfect breeding grounds for bacteria and other microorganisms, while the hours we spend sleeping in it contribute to the bed being saturated with bodily fluids, dead skin cells, and a whole range of other pollutants.
While the mattress may look clean enough to the naked eye, if you notice signs of engrained filth when steaming it or wiping it with a damp cloth, it might be time for you to think about getting a new one.
Mattress has Indentations
We’ve already discussed the importance of proper weight distribution, and while one of the ways to determine that your mattress is lacking in this regard is to keep an eye out for aches and soreness in your back, especially if you are back sleeper, there might be a more direct method.
Even the best mattress will lose elasticity in time until at one point you are actually able to see a permanent groove made by your body. Rotating or flipping your mattress every once in a while might extend its lifespan, but some wear and tear are inevitable.
If you notice that you are sinking into the mattress more than you used to, or that it retains indentations more than 1 inch deep, there may be nothing else you can do apart from replacing it.
We’ve listed a number of external factors that can have an effect on the longevity of your mattress, but it goes without saying that they won’t have the same kind of influence on different mattresses.
That’s why you should take the manufacturer’s suggestions to heart when determining if your mattress might be ready for retirement. That being said, just because a mattress comes with a 10-year warranty, that shouldn’t be interpreted as a guarantee that it will be in absolutely perfect condition for the duration, especially if you haven’t been taking particularly good care of it.
What to do if You are Not Ready for a New Mattress?
If you notice the alarming signs but are still not ready to buy a new mattress, there are some things you can do to try and get a couple of more years out of it. We’ve already mentioned flipping it and using hypoallergenic covers, but that’s not where the list of hacks ends.
For instance, if your mattress is sagging and you cannot flip it because only one of its sides is intended for sleeping, you can always try replacing the slats on your bed frame, or placing a plywood board between them and the mattress.
A similar effect can be achieved with the help of mattress pads and toppers, or by using special covers that compress the mattress into the appropriate shape. Combined with a thorough cleaning, these methods might help your mattress remain functional for another year or two, but they are still only delaying the inevitable.
While it may seem like a trivial matter, not knowing how often should you change your mattress may have serious consequences. From a number of health issues to an overall slump in mood and productivity, using a mattress for too long is by no means harmless.
If you are wondering exactly how long should you keep a mattress, the best advice is to stay vigilant and pay attention to the warning signs. From the appearance of deep and persistent indentations to allergy flare-ups and aching back, there are more than enough indicators that it might be time for a change, you just have to keep your eyes open.
And remember, while manufacturers are in the perfect position to make an educated guess regarding the longevity of their product, they can’t account for all the influences that the mattress will be subjected to in the course of its use, which is why the warranty they provide should be used more as a guideline than a guarantee.
Changes in back pain, sleep quality, and perceived stress after introduction of new bedding systems – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
Where Germs Live: Bed And Bath – https://www.cbsnews.com/
When to Buy New Mattresses and Pillows – https://www.sleepfoundation.org/