Most items that need replacing have a way of letting us know, like the sour stench of milk or the pancake-like soles of your favorite tennis shoes. From warranties to expiration dates, we can generally use clues to get a sense of a product’s lifespan. But what about your mattress? It’s something you use daily but don’t think about often, so the warning signs it’s outdated can be easily missed.
The general recommendation in the industry and by doctors is to replace your mattress every seven to eight years. While this aligns with what the National Sleep Foundation suggests, it’s widely recognized that there’s no one-size-fits-all timeline.
In fact, a constellation of factors ranging from your preferences and life stage to the mattress’ design, maintenance history, and purchase date will determine the right time for you. Read on to learn about common signs it’s time for a replacement.
Leonardo da Vinci once said, “A day well spent brings happy sleep.” According to science, however, the good night’s sleep is what keeps us energized, happy, and rejuvenated throughout the day. For this reason, your sleep quality should be a top consideration when deciding whether to replace a mattress.
Are you experiencing aches, pains, or soreness in the morning? Do you wake in the middle of the night? Are you tired, despite sleeping seven to eight hours? Do you sleep better on other beds while traveling or visiting friends?
If lifestyle factors, such as stress and injury, have been kept at bay and you’re still experiencing inadequate sleep, an outdated mattress may be to blame.
The age of your mattress is one of the most straightforward indicators of its health. Consider when you purchased the mattress if you did so directly from a manufacturer. If you bought it second hand, it’s possible the mattress may be even older.
Again, seven years is generally the recommended age for replacement, but even if your mattress is relatively new, it could need replacing if it hasn’t been appropriately maintained.
Do you rotate your mattress every three to six months? Have you been flipping your mattress every six to twelve months, if it’s reversible? Does it have stains, mold, dust mites, or a history of bed bug infestations? A mattress that’s been well-maintained will inevitably last longer than one that’s been neglected.
Regardless of how well you’ve taken care of your mattress, it will eventually show signs of wear and tear, much like other products we use on a daily basis. We recommend removing all bedding from the mattress to thoroughly evaluate its condition.
Look for sagging, especially in the middle of the bed, and any holes or stains. Noisy springs, noticeable lumps, and feeling the movements of your partner throughout the night are all indicators that the mattress is reaching the end of its lifecycle.
I’ll never forget the day I sold my Heelys, the once fashionable sneakers with wheels in the heel of each shoe. They were spotless, shiny things that went to the hands of an ecstatic fourth grader in my neighborhood. Despite the fact that they were in perfect condition, I’d simply outgrown them.
Similarly, as our preferences change with time, so should our mattresses. Perhaps you preferred a softer feel in college but now you find yourself enjoying the firmer beds in your favorite hotel chain. Maybe you’ve gained weight or gotten married and need to upgrade to a king for additional space. Perhaps you want to invest in an eco-friendly option because that’s important to you. If your current mattress isn’t meeting your unique needs, it could be time to say farewell.
Don’t wait until the end of your mattress’ warranty to evaluate this decision. It’s a little known fact that most mattress warranties cover workmanship and materials, but not the life expectancy.
With this in mind, we recommend evaluating the health of your mattress at least twice annually. One easy way to remember this is to do so when you update your clocks for seasonal changes. It shouldn’t take too much time to consider everything we’ve listed above and to have a conversation with your partner, if that’s relevant, about investing in something new.
If you’re leaning toward replacing your mattress but aren’t certain, don’t forget that shopping around to find the perfect fit can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. The sooner, the better, in most cases. If you need additional help getting started on your search, see our Mattress Buying Guide Guide for recommendations.