- How can you tell when you need a new mattress?
- 1. It looks tired and out of shape
- 2. You can't get comfy
- 3. Back pain
- 4. Annoying noises
- 5. Physical changes
- 6. Drooping edges
- 7. Suffering from allergies
- 8. Rolling in the night
- 9. You’re getting too hot
- What to do when it’s time to change your mattress
As a high-ticket item, people want to get the most out of their mattress. And while we’re all about getting the most bang for your buck, it’s still important to know how often you should change a mattress.
For years, Ideal Home has helped readers find the best mattress to suit their sleeping style and requirements. But it’s no secret that even the most expensive mattresses on the market will eventually need to be swapped out for a newer, less lumpy model. But when is that? And how can you tell when it’s time to retire your mattress for good or try one of the best mattress toppers instead?
Below, we’ve outlined everything you could possibly need to know when it comes to how often you should change a mattress, including the 9 tell-tale signs of an old mattress and what to do when you realise that it’s time to say goodbye. Of course, the first rule is to make sure you’re making the most of the best mattress deals…
How often should you change your mattress?
'We should change our mattresses around every eight years; this is for hygiene purposes mainly. Within that eight years, you will have applied the equivalent of a bathtub full of sweat and the weight of a dachshund in dead skin cells to the mattress,' says Hannah Shore, Sleep Knowledge and Research Manager at Silentnight.
With that lovely image in mind, you may also decide it's time to update your bedding and invest in the best duvet. Hannah Shore says spring mattresses are the best if you want something longlasting, whereas mattresses with a foam core supportive layer soften and may not provide you with the same amount of support at the end of the mattress’s life compared to day one.
How can you tell when you need a new mattress?
Sleep expert Martin Seeley from MattressNextDay says your old mattress will usually give you plenty of warnings, from lumps and bumps to saggy sides. Your body might also be telling you your mattress is no longer doing its job so if you're consistently waking up with a stiff back, shoulders or neck, listen to your body and consider changing mattress, and potentially getting some of the best pillows, too.
1. It looks tired and out of shape
Visible signs like springs poking out or close to popping out are a fairly clear sign it's time for a new one. Holes, tears and stains indicate the mattress is on its last legs. Keep it going for a little longer by learning how to clean a mattress properly. Some regular TLC will also extend the life of your new one.
2. You can't get comfy
If you can feel the springs when sleeping, that's a sure sign it's on its way out, as is waking up with numbness around your hips and shoulders. 'A good mattress should gently support the whole body and provide postural alignment by keeping the spine in a neutral position,' says Adam Black, Co-founder of Button & Sprung.
3. Back pain
It's hard to pinpoint the root cause of new back pain if you spend a lot of time sitting down at work or on your phone, or if you're under a lot of stress, but if it persists, it could be that your mattress is to blame. Molly Freshwater from Secret Linen Store says, 'developing back pain when sleeping on an older mattress could be an indication of your mattress losing its supporting features.'
4. Annoying noises
'Once a mattress starts to get old (and especially if it’s a traditional sprung mattress), you’ll find you start to get annoying creaks and squeaks that could disturb your sleep,' says Martin Seeley.
5. Physical changes
'Another reason you may need to change your mattress is your change in body shape or size,' says Hannah Shore at Silentnight. 'Our bodies change over a period of time, a lot can happen in eight years. The mattress you bought back then may have suited your shape, size, preferences and, let’s face it, budget! But all these things may have changed eight years later.'
6. Drooping edges
The best mattresses have edge-to-edge support which stops you feeling like you might fall off when sleeping on the edge of the bed. Sagging sides won't be conducive to a good night's sleep.
7. Suffering from allergies
Noticed your asthma or rhinitis getting worse recently? This could indicate that your hypoallergenic mattress is no longer doing its job, and that dust mites and other allergens have moved in, warns Martin Seeley from MattressNextDay.
8. Rolling in the night
As mattresses get older, general wear and tear and ageing aren’t always visible. But if you start to find that you and your partner are both rolling into the middle of the bed during the night or you’re being thrown around every time your partner tosses and turns, it’s probably time for a new mattress. In fact, it may be that the springs are broken or the surfaces have deflated.
9. You’re getting too hot
During the summer months, it’s not uncommon to find yourself getting too hot in the night. But if you constantly wake up sweating all year round, it’s a sign that you should change your mattress.
Memory foam mattresses are notorious for running hot, so if you’re struggling to maintain your body temperature, it’s probably best to change your mattress to a spring or hybrid option. Alternatively, you could try one of the best cooling mattress toppers first.
What to do when it’s time to change your mattress
When you’ve spotted one, some, or all of the signs above and you’re ready to change your mattress, there are two things you need to think about - buying a new mattress and disposing of your old one.
When buying a new mattress, it’s important to understand your needs and requirements. For example, it may be that you should be looking for the best mattress for back pain, and you might need to weigh up memory foam vs hybrid mattresses.
Ultimately, you should always do your research before buying a new mattress - and ideally, you should try one out in-store to ensure that your body gels well with the firmness and comfortability of the mattress.
You also need to consider how you’re going to dispose of your old mattress if you don’t want to keep it. There are so many ways to get rid of a mattress, but with so many mattresses ending up in landfill every year, it’s best to opt for eco-friendly options. That’s why knowing how to recycle a mattress is key.
What is the average life of a mattress?
This depends on what type of mattress you have, as the quality and type of the mattress, as well as how you sleep can influence how long it lasts, says Molly Freshwater. 'On average a standard mattress can last between 7 – 10 years, but other types such as latex mattresses are considered to be one of the most long-lasting at around 10 – 15 years, whereas the most commonly used – an innerspring mattress – could last for less time.'
Molly Freshwater says mattress hygiene is something that often gets forgotten about when cleaning other areas of your bed, with many people still using over a decade-old mattress that hasn’t been cleaned for many years. Invest in a high-quality mattress and look after it, using a mattress toppers and giving it an occasional clean to help it last longer.
What are the signs you need a new mattress?
These signs can be both visible and invisible. For the most part, it’s clear to see that you need a new mattress when you can visibly see that the mattress is lumpy and saggy. This may be due to broken springs or the breakdown of the foam, but in all cases, it means that the general makeup of the mattress has been compromised.
However, you can also notice these signs in yourself as you’re trying to sleep. Perhaps you struggle to get comfortable in the night, maybe you wake up with aches and pains, or you could just be able to feel the springs poking into your back.
It’s important to take note of how you feel as soon as you wake up. If you feel that something isn’t quite right, it might be time to give your mattress a closer inspection.
Can a mattress last 20 years?
Unfortunately, a mattress won’t last 20 years - unless it’s a spare mattress that you only use on the odd occasion. It’s generally considered that a mattress that’s used on a daily basis will only last around seven years before you need to replace it with a new one.
Of course, this does depend on the quality of the mattress you buy in the first place and how well you take care of it. If you turn the mattress frequently and use a mattress protector and topper, there’s a high chance that your mattress will last longer.
A mattress should last a long time, but don't compromise your sleep by pushing it to the limit.
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Millie Hurst was Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home from 2020-2022, and is now Section Editor at Homes & Gardens. Before stepping into the world of interiors, she worked as a Senior SEO Editor for News UK in both London and New York. You can usually find her looking up trending terms and finding real-life budget makeovers our readers love. Millie came up with the website's daily dupes article which gives readers ways to curate a stylish home for less.
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