How Often Should You Replace Your Mattress?
(And The 9 Signs To Look For)
If you are thinking about replacing your mattress, then there’s a good chance you are experiencing a diminished quality of sleep.
Perhaps you’re developing aches, pains, or stiffness that you never used to, or your bed just doesn’t seem as comfortable as it once was.
All mattresses have an expected lifespan that varies by type.
Still, there are factors that will affect the lifespan such as the amount of use the mattress gets, the weight of the person(s) sleeping on it, whether it’s used for just sleeping or “other activities,” whether or not you rotate or flip it, and the environment it is in.
So, what are the warning signs that it’s time to trade up to a new mattress? And how long should you expect a new mattress to last realistically?
The Average Life Expectancy of Different Mattress Types
The industry standard for the life expectancy of a mattress is 8 to 10 years. However, this is just an average for all beds, and the actual lifespan of a mattress depends on what type it is.
The construction and materials used in a mattress will be the main determinants of how long it will last, and “8 to 10 years” should not be considered a hard and fast rule.
Other external factors will affect how long a mattress lasts, too. In this section, we’ll look at how long you should expect a mattress to last based on its type, and give you the warning signs to look out for that will tell you it’s probably time to start looking for a new mattress to sleep on.
Innerspring Mattresses — 7 to 10 Years
Traditional innerspring or coil spring, mattresses are built around a single frame containing interconnected coils that support the bed surface. These differ from pocket spring mattresses, in which the spring layer is made up of individually-wrapped springs that move independently from one another.
The expected innerspring mattress lifespan can vary greatly, but the average tends to be 7 to 10 years. The quality of the construction and the steel used in an innerspring mattress is the single biggest determinant of lifespan.
The more robust the spring layer’s supportiveness is, the longer it will last. Loss of support that results in permanent sagging is the most common issue in older spring mattresses, and the weight of the sleeper plays a big part in how quickly this will happen.
Most spring mattresses are double-sided, meaning they can be flipped periodically, extending its expected life somewhat but bear in mind that innerspring mattresses traditionally have the shortest life expectancy.
→ Expect a lifespan of: 7 to 10 years
Memory Foam Mattresses — 8 to 10 Years
Memory foam mattresses are typically made of polyurethane foam that has added chemicals to increase its viscosity and density, giving it the conforming properties it is known for.
Memory foam mattresses traditionally have a longer lifespan than spring mattresses — they are made of dense synthetic material and don’t have coils that can wear out over time.
Due to typically having a layered construction, memory foam mattresses are usually not flippable but can be rotated head to foot to prevent wear in one concentrated spot. The main issue with memory foam mattresses is permanent depressions and sagging.
The life expectancy of memory foam mattresses can vary greatly — a good one may last 10 to 15 years, sometimes longer.
The quality of foam is generally measured by its density, and denser foams typically last longer. Don’t expect that as a rule, but do expect a slightly longer life than a spring mattress.
→ Expect a lifespan of: 8 to 10 years
Latex Mattresses — 10 to 15 Years
Latex is a long-lasting and durable material, both in its natural and synthetic form (though natural is more elastic and generally longer lasting than synthetic), so expect to get a long life out of a mattress made from it.
Commonly, latex will be used in conjunction with other foams, so the denser these foams, the longer lasting the mattress will be, and you could reasonably expect a lifespan of up to 15 years.
→ Expect a lifespan of: 10 to 15 years
Hybrid Mattresses — 8 to 10 Years
Hybrid mattresses are designed for levels of comfort that has mass appeal, with the best of both worlds — a combination of foam layers and springs. They usually consist of layers of comfort foam (typically memory foam, sometimes with latex as well) on top of a spring layer.
Unlike traditional innerspring mattresses, modern hybrids are usually constructed using individually wrapped coils as opposed to interconnected coils within a frame. Hence, they can offer targeted support and pressure relief, reduce motion transfer, and do not wear out as quickly.
Most hybrids are made with high-quality foams, resilient steel coils, and are usually covered by a more generous warranty than foam mattresses, so expect a good amount of use if you own a hybrid.
→ Expect a lifespan of: 8 to 10 years
Signs That It May Be Time to Change Your Mattress
There are some telltale signs that your mattress may be nearing the end of its useful life.
While some changes may be almost invisible over time, there will come a day when you will start to notice one or more of the following things happening:
1. It’s Over 7 Years Old
If we’re talking about the mattress you sleep on every night and not the one in your spare room that rarely gets used, then it’s a good idea to take stock and give it a really good assessment at around the seven-year mark.
While your mattress may have several good years of service left, especially if it’s a foam or hybrid mattress, 7 to 10 years is the average industry standard expected lifespan for mattresses. Hence, it is at this point you should start inspecting it for signs of deterioration.
2. Wear and Tear
All mattresses are going to suffer some level of general wear and tear. After all, you’re going to be spending roughly a third of each day on it — for years.
Aside from the cover’s appearance and state, there are different signs of wear depending on the type of mattress you own, but things to look out for are: lumps and unevenness, creaking springs, softening, and permanent impressions.
3. It’s Just Not as Comfortable as It Used to Be
Some might see this as just a sign of getting older, but if you are just not feeling like you’re getting the sleep that’s as good as when your mattress was new, you may be experiencing a deterioration of the comfort layers of your bed.
Some signs of this will be that you toss and turn more, it’s harder to find a comfortable position or remain in one position for long.
You may also notice lumps or inconsistency of firmness, feel not as much pushback and support as you used to, or notice the build-up of pressure points. This is a problem and can result in the following sign.
4. You Wake Up With Pain and Stiffness
Again, this might not be just because you’re getting older, but because your mattress is no longer providing the level of support, comfort, and pressure relief that it did when new.
Studies have shown improvements in quality of sleep and comfort, as well as in back pain and overall stress levels among people who were asked to rate their sleep after sleeping on a new mattress when compared to their own personal mattress.
So, if you’re feeling pain and stiffness after waking up, it may well be that your mattress is getting too old, not you.
5. Worsening Allergies or Asthma
You might think of yourself as a very clean person who also keeps their home environment clean — including the bed. But, despite your best efforts, if your mattress is getting on in years, chances are it’s a hotbed of allergens.
If you suffer from asthma or allergies and have found them worsening, your mattress may be to blame — you might not know it, but it may be infested with dust mites.
Dust mite symptoms include runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes. People with Asthma may have it worse — dust mites can trigger chronic symptoms, potentially leading to an asthma attack.
Other nasties like mold and mildew can also be hiding in your mattress, unseen. Also, don’t forget about your pillows — they too need replacing periodically, and they can also be a source of dust mite and other allergen build-ups.
6. Sagging or Permanent Indentations
This is a particular problem for foam mattresses. Lower quality, less-dense foams, and even high-quality foams that have reached the end of their useful life, can develop permanent body indentations and sags from years of supporting your body in the same spot.
Innerspring mattresses can suffer the same fate as the coil unit begins to deteriorate and lose its strength and shape.
Sagging and indentations will likely mean your mattress is not offering the level of support and spine alignment that it should, and that can lead to aches and pains. So, if you have begun to find you’re sleeping in a depression, it’s time to trade up to a new, flat-surfaced mattress.
7. Your Weight Has Changed
If you are significantly heavier or lighter than you were when you first got your mattress, it may no longer be the right match for you.
If you have gained weight, then obviously you are putting more stress on your mattress, and signs of wear and tear are likely to show up sooner, and you may be at risk of developing indentations or sagging.
You also may not be getting the same support you once were if you now sink deeper into the mattress and ‘bottom out’ on the denser transition or support foam layers.
If you have lost a lot of weight, your mattress may begin to feel firmer, and may not be as conforming to your body — you may feel you’re sleeping more ‘on top’ of the bed and not feel as much pressure relief or support anymore.
Whether it’s gone up or down, any significant change in body weight should be a sign you need to re-evaluate your mattress.
8. You’ve Added/Lost a Co-sleeper
If you slept alone when you first got your mattress and now sleep with a partner, or the other way around, it might be time to evaluate whether your bed is still the right fit.
Obviously, adding a second person to a mattress will increase the amount of wear and tear it suffers, and it will likely start showing signs sooner.
If your bed was purchased with only your preferences in mind, or as a balance between the preferences of you and a partner, you may need to re-evaluate the mattress if your circumstances have changed. A change in relationship status can be a perfect time also to change mattresses.
9. You’re Getting Older
Once most people reach the age of around 40, their needs start to change. Bodies begin to become stiffer, aches and pains that never used to be there start showing up; recovery can take longer, and it can all get a bit depressing if you think about it too much!
But, if you are getting older, and especially if you’ve been on the same mattress for several years, it might be a good time to think about getting a new bed that will serve you well as you get older.
Look for one that will keep your spine in alignment, has excellent pressure relief, and offers support and comfort that will aid you physically and give you a restful night’s sleep. You can also check our sleeping guide for seniors for more healthy sleep tips.
Why You Should Replace Your Mattress
The quality of your sleep is highly affected by your mattress. And, It’s been proven that a lack of good quality sleep comes with potential health problems.
Sleep is crucial for rest, recovery, and regeneration, and if we’re not getting adequate sleep for our needs, it can result in several health problems, including:
- Weight gain
- Heart disease
- Mood disorders
- Reduced immune function
- Reduced mental performance
- Higher likelihood of accidents and consequential mistakes in risky situations and environments (diminished judgment, alertness, and performance)
- Increased likelihood of alcohol dependence.
- Shortened life expectancy
Mattresses are often something that we just take for granted and don’t pay much attention to. But if it is becoming apparent that your old mattress is not quite what it used to be and your quality of sleep is suffering, then don’t hesitate to replace it.
Sure, a new mattress can be a big expense. But it is an investment in your overall health and wellbeing. Sleep is so vital for us all, and we spend so much time doing it that you really should have a mattress that meets your needs.
For more advice about choosing a new mattress, be sure to read the rest of our Ultimate Guide. By the time you’ve finished, you’ll be a mattress expert compared to the average person and well-armed to make a definitive mattress purchasing decision.