You will spend one-third of your life in bed. That means, of the 78 years of an average person’s lifespan, about 26 years will be spent laying in bed.
It may sound unbelievable, but our bodies need that sleep to function. An old bed can lead to less restful sleep, so if you notice the quality of your sleep worsening, it may be time to buy a new mattress. (After all, if you’re going to spend 26 years sleeping, you’d better make the most of it!)
If you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep and your bed is around the eight-year-old mark, it’s probably time to replace your mattress.
Much like in a relationship, you probably don’t want to go running out for a replacement at the slightest negative sign.
After all, buying a new bed can be a strain on your time and finances. Plus, choosing a new place to lay your head for the next decade is a significant decision.
So when should you replace your mattress? Here are a few signs that it might be time for a mattress replacement.
Like a canary in a coal mine, sore muscles and back pain in the morning are a sign that something is wrong. Your mattress may not be as supportive or comfortable as it once was. If you begin to wake up with pain more frequently, it may be time to start shopping around for a new bed.
If you have a foam or hybrid mattress, you’ll know it’s time to replace yours when you can see a physical indentation in the foam.
If you own an innerspring mattress, especially an older model, you may start hearing more creaks and squeaks as the coils wear down after years of use. A noisy innerspring mattress can be annoying for you, your partner, and your downstairs neighbor. So do everyone a favor and invest in something new.
If you find yourself dreading the thought of sleeping in your bed, then you’ve answered your own question. Hotel mattresses are pretty comfortable, but you should still want to spend the night on the bed you call home.
You’ll want to be careful with this one, as natural allergies like pollen can cause you to wake up feeling stuffy or with watery eyes. However, if you’re waking up with allergic reactions in the middle of a New England Winter, then it’s not pollen. An old bed can trap allergens and dust mites, leading to sore throats, itchy eyes, and stuffy noses.
Remember when you first slept on that brand-new bed? How soft it was, how new it smelt, how you couldn’t feel your partner move on the other side. If those things have since gone away, and your mattress isn’t at all like you remember it, it’s probably time for a new one. On the bright side, you’ll get to relive all those fond new-mattress memories.
A mattress, on average, should last you between 7-10 years. However, that number can be higher or lower depending on the type and quality of materials used in construction.
Here’s how long, on average, you can expect each mattress type to last:
A high-quality innerspring can hit the 10-year mark and go beyond if it’s well maintained and, in some cases, flippable. However, a low-quality innerspring will start to deteriorate, becoming noisy and uncomfortable, after the first few years.
Many modern beds use memory foam comfort layers in one way or another, but the quality of the foam determines its longevity. A high-quality all-foam mattress should last between 7-10 years. This is due to top-grade materials and high-density foam used in construction.
While gel-infused foams don’t directly impact a mattress’s lifespan, they can indirectly affect the overall quality. Gel infusions are meant to draw heat away from your body. Overheating can wear down materials faster.
However, gel-infused mattresses are only as good as the foam itself, so it should last as long as a quality foam one—7-10 years.
For a latex mattress to last beyond 10 years, even upwards of 15 years, it’s essential to buy natural latex over synthetic latex. Synthetic latex is cut with petroleum-based fillers to cut the cost of production. However, this also cuts down on durability.
While hybrids are one of the most popular choices, they tend to be the least durable. There are so many different factors in materials and construction that some hybrids may only last 6 years while others can make it the full 10. Look for high-quality foams and low-gauge coils when shopping for a long-lasting hybrid mattress.
Adjustable airbeds, like the Sleep Number, tend to be expensive, so you’ll want to get your best bang for your buck. You can expect a well-maintained airbed to last about eight years. Just keep your eye out for mechanical failures, and make sure the bed has a reasonable warranty. With so many moving pieces involved, adjustable airbeds can wear out or break.
Other than materials, there are a handful of other factors that can negatively affect your bed’s lifespan.
As any parent will tell you, kids are notorious for causing damage to practically everything they touch—that includes their mattress. Older sleepers may also cause more damage to a mattress as difficulty getting in and out of bed may cause wear and tear along the sides.
In addition to age, body weight and the shape of your body might also factor into your bed’s lifespan. Gaining weight can cause your mattress to sag faster, and heavier sleepers may see indentations in their mattress sooner than lighter sleepers.
On the subject of weight, the added pounds of an extra person (or pet) will also degrade your bed sooner, especially if it wasn’t meant for two people.
Like anything else you’ll ever buy, a mattress’s lifespan can increase if it’s properly taken care of. If you conduct routine cleaning and maintenance, you’ll likely be able to make your mattress last longer. (We’ll discuss this more later on.)
If you think that you’re saving money by buying a cheaper mattress, think again. Higher quality materials tend to be more durable and long-lasting. While you will likely pay a higher price upfront for better materials, opting for a more expensive mattress may save you more in the long run.
Paying a bit more could also mean the difference between waking up feeling groggy or feeling rested and ready to start your day.
Still hoping to get a few more years out of your mattress? If it’s not too far gone, you can still adopt a regular maintenance routine to prolong your mattress’s lifespan.
Rotating your mattress 180 degrees every three months will allow for even distribution on each end, leading to a longer lifespan. Most of your body weight and pressure points are above your hips, so that’s where the wear and tear will occur first. However, some mattresses aren’t meant to be rotated if they offer so-called “zone support” or targeted support in certain areas.
While it may give you fond memories of your college dorm days, you should not, for any reason, place your mattress directly on the floor. Bed frames and box springs are meant to absorb weight and tension. A mattress on the floor is also open season for insects, dirt, and dust.
You won’t want to take soap and water to your bed, but sanitary sprays and deodorizers can increase the longevity of your mattress. You can also use a spritz of white vinegar and a dusting of baking soda to absorb stubborn stains. (Just make sure to vacuum it up before settling in for bed!) As a bonus, a fresh-smelling bedroom is also part of a good sleep hygiene routine.
Looking to avoid stains and spills? You can’t run a mattress through the washing machine, but you can fit a mattress protector in there. While certain liquid stains will cause irreversible damage, a mattress protector can be easily cleaned. That way, you can prevent messes before they happen.
If you’ve been taking proper care of your mattress, you shouldn’t be thinking of a new one any time before the six-year mark. If you notice the tell-tale signs of a bed-gone-bad, then it’s time to start shopping around.
Just remember, spending a little more for a high-quality mattress and spending some time on regular mattress maintenance will save you from sending your mattress to early retirement.