How Long Do Mattresses Last?
written by sleep expert Lauren Hall
When it comes to a good night’s sleep, one of the most important part of our bedtime rituals is the mattress that we sleep on. Take a second to think about the mattress that you’re sleeping on right now. Is it firm, soft and comfortable? Do you find yourself getting quality sleep on it? Or do you find yourself waking up sore and unrested?
Unfortunately, people often neglect their mattresses and see buying a proper one to be a chore. It isn’t surprising considering that mattresses are quite costly and are a hassle to transport into your rooms and get rid of. However, considering that you spend around a third of your life sleeping, it wouldn’t hurt to spend a little more on a quality mattress.
Why Is Your Mattress Important?
A good mattress is essential to getting a good night’s sleep. Sleep has been scientifically proven to have a significant impact on health. In today’s modern era where a lifestyle of work is prioritized over sleep, constant and consistent sleep deprivation can, among other things, lead to weight, increase risk of diseases, weaken your immune system and decrease your focus and overall ability to function.
There are even specific health risks that come with sleeping on a mattress. If you are sleeping the recommended 7 to 9 hours every night, that means you’re spending a lot of time with your skin coming into contact with your mattress. As a result, mattresses collect a significant amount of dead skin and body oils, which can lead to dust mites.
According to experts at Ohio State University, a typically used mattress can house up to 10 million microscopic bugs. While usually harmless, these dust mites can cause severe discomfort to those with allergies and exacerbate respiratory problems like asthma.
Mattresses also need to provide good spinal support in order to prevent causing bad back pain. This might be caused by wear and tear, leading the middle of the mattress to sag and leave your back curved in an uncomfortable position throughout the night. Chronic back pain becomes this vicious circle where the pain makes it hard to sleep, and not getting enough sleep causes your body to feel more pain. Another study also shows that a better, more firm mattress can lead to a better sleep and a decrease in levels of stress.
All in all, anyone who’s ever woken up sluggish and reached for that cup of coffee to start their day, knows how elusive a good night’s sleep can be. Having a good mattress that you can sleep well on, is just the first step to ensure you finally get the proper rest you deserve.
How Long Do Mattresses Last?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, a mattress should be regularly replaced at least every 10 years, regardless of whatever lifetime warranty your mattress retailers guarantee. While that’s good practice, each mattress is different and its lifespan is affected by a number of different factors. You can probably use your mattresses for longer as long as you maintain proper use and care. Below is a list of factors that can affect your mattress’ lifespan.
Type of Mattress
- The type of mattress you use, from its material to use of springs, can vary its lifespan.
- Air mattresses, for example, aren’t very long lasting as they develop leaks and become less effective at retaining air pressure. Even though the pumps are built-in they can become faulty and lead to premature replacement, lasting around 5 years.
- Innerspring mattresses are bouncy and first, but due to weight pressures tend to sag and lose it’s spring support over time. They will need to be replaced within 7-8 years.
- Memory foam mattresses don’t sag as much as innerspring ones but are only good for about 10 years when properly cared for.
- Latex mattresses are top of the list when it comes to quality and longevity. They are made of natural, hypoallergenic and anti-microbial material that is also durable and can last up to 15 years.
How often and thoroughly you clean your mattress also has an effect on its lifespan. This is to prevent unseen bacteria, mold and mildew from settling into the material and gradual eat away at it. Cleaning a mattress is definitely no easy task which is why people tend to overlook it. There’s a Youtube video by Clean My Space that shows you how to do it.
Regularly flipping or rotating your mattress also helps keep it firm as you’re exerting your distributing your body pressure on both sides. If you can afford it, you can even hire a professional cleaning service that can get the job done properly. You can also help keep your bed stay clean by not using it more than necessary — that means no working and snacking in bed!
Sometimes resorting to household methods of cleaning means turning to conventional chemical products which can reduce the lifespan of your mattress. In the case of nasty, hard-to-get-rid-of stains such as bloodstains, using a heavy-duty stain remover like hydrogen peroxide, can damage the material of your mattress.
Try avoid using harsh chemicals unless absolutely necessary. Start by blotting out stains with a damp cloth and see if you can’t get it out with some thorough brushing. But make sure to dry your mattress afterwards as a damp mattress can cause mold to form.
When Should I Replace My Mattress?
Even with all the extra steps you’ve taken to keep your mattress in good condition for as long as possible, it’s good to recognize when your mattress has reached its end. Don’t be so stubborn in convincing yourself that your mattresses can last forever — the sooner you can let it go, the sooner you can replace your mattress and help yourself get better sleep.
The main question you should ask yourself before replacing your mattress is: Does sleeping on this mattress make me feel comfortable? If you were once sleeping fine on the same mattress and realizing that you’re not getting the same quality of sleep, it might be a sign that mattress has lost its quality over time.
You should also check for visible signs of wear and tear. Any sagging or lumps on the surface your mattress can cause back pain and hearing the bed springs when you lie down or sit on the bed, is also a sign that the springs aren’t as strong as they used to be.
Again, the general rule of thumb is to replace your mattress every 7 to 10 years — if the person who sold it to you says it can last much longer. Prioritize your health and how you feel instead of taking someone else’s word for it. Once you stop feeling comfortable sleeping on your own bed, it might be time to get a new one.
What Should I Look For In A Mattress?
So, you’ve finally decided to get a new mattress. With so many brands and options, from “memory foam” to “innerspring” and “pillow-top,” it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the mattress buying process. And with companies aggressively marketing their mattresses as the best and most healthy ones on the market, it can be hard to discern truth from myth.
Not One Size Fits All
Even though companies then to tout their mattresses as “one size fits all,” different mattresses offer different levels of support to different people. Your body type, body weight and bone structure mean that you have unique set of needs that a unique mattress must be able to meet.
You’ll mostly want a durable mattress, especially if you carry a lot of weight. Terms like indentation force and indentation load deflection is used as a metric to measure how firm a mattress is. Taking a moment to understand these terms and see which one is suitable for you can make all the difference when buying the right mattress.
Other things to look out for are the density, the level of comfort you feel, thickness of material and spinal alignment and support. One surefire way to know if a mattress is right for you is to, of course, sleep on it. There are mattress sellers that offer a trial-basis lending system, which mean you can return the mattress after trying it out for a couple of nights if you don’t like it. If the retailers don’t have this option, keep in mind that you might be able to return it, but often that process is complicated and costly.
If you’re looking for a firm mattress that offers good support, it would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the term coil gauge. Used for innerspring mattresses, the coil gauge is a measure of how thick the spring coils within a mattress are. Keep in mind though that the higher the gauge, the thinner the coils are. A good firm mattress ranges around 14 or higher, while a softer mattress with gentler springs would be a 13 or lower. Innerspring isn’t a good idea if you’re also looking for durability, as thinner coils means the mattress is less durable and less likely to last long.
If you’re on a budget, but still want an innerspring product there are options such as the pillow top or Eurotop mattress that not only have increased durability but also have a soft comfort layer to help ease you into a firmer higher coil gauge.
If you can’t afford to fully shell out for that premium high-quality mattress, you can always add comfort to what you have with affordable supplements such as a mattress topper. You can choose and customize your bed with a variety of material options such as memory foam, gel, polyester and cotton, to top your bed with a surface that provides better support and comfort.
As you can see, taking care of mattress and replacing one can become a complicated process if you don’t understand the types of mattresses out there and what your sleeping needs are. Here’s a recap of what we’ve learned so far and how you can check to replace your mattress:
- Prolong mattress life span with proper use and care — while your mattress will probably last a long time on its own, help increase its lifespan by keeping it stain-free, not using it more than necessary and cleaning it regularly.
- Look for signs of wear and tear — keep an eye out for any visible signs of wear and tear. Sagging, lumps and creaky springs are all good signs that your mattress is in need of replacing.
- Check the quality of your sleep — prioritize your comfort and sleep needs by asking yourself if you’re getting good sleep on your mattress. Do you wake up feeling sore and unrested? Are you experiencing back pain you’ve never had before? Are you allergic to your mattress? If yes, your mattress probably needs to be replaced.
- Replace the mattress with one that is suitable for you— when looking for a replacement consider your sleeping habits and need. Do you have back pain? You’d benefit from a mattress that can offer spinal support. Do you carry a lot of weight? A firmer, innerspring might be better to support you every night. And of course, choose a bed that’s comfortable, and if possible find a company that offers a trial service.
Buying a mattress can be a costly and tedious task, but hopefully with this guide, you’ve learned how to make the most of your pricey mattress and find one that is suitable for you. Once all the work is done, you’ll be rewarded with a comfortable mattress — and a good night’s sleep!
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