How Often Should You Replace a Mattress?

Comfort Is the Main Consideration

Woman sleeping in bed
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While conventional wisdom (and the mattress manufacturing industry) says that a bed mattress should be replaced at least every 8 to 10 years, the decision is not nearly so simple. There are simply no hard-and-fast guidelines for when a mattress should be replaced since there are many variables that contribute to a mattress's wear-and-tear. A mattress that was of high quality when purchased may last longer than an economy mattress, and a mattress that rests on a box spring or has good center support may also last longer. The weight of those sleeping on a mattress can also have a major impact.

Different mattress types also have different expectations when it comes to effective lifespan, but opinions vary, depending on who is providing the rating. Predictably, organizations serving the mattress industry suggest replacing mattresses rather often, while other studies show that some good quality mattresses can last 15 years or even more. 

Innerspring Mattresses

Innerspring mattresses are those constructed with steel coil springs inside, often with topper layers made of various foams and fibers. There are several variations of innerspring mattresses, defined according to what kind of topper materials are used, such as pillow top, memory foam, ventilated foam encasements, and temperature-regulating gels. 

Innerspring mattresses generally last for at least 7 to 10 years, but they sometimes last longer. As expected, the quality of the mattress and the spring construction is the single biggest deciding factor determining innerspring mattress's longevity.  Better-quality mattresses are made from better (and more expensive) materials and carry longer consumer warranties. The coils are more resilient and the padding is denser when compared to lesser-quality mattresses. Many innerspring mattresses are two-sided, which means you can flip them over to distribute the wear and tear. If you do that regularly, you can make your mattress last longer.

Innerspring mattresses, more than other types, are influenced by the weight of those sleeping on them—heavy users wear out their mattresses sooner. 

Memory Foam Mattresses

Memory foam mattresses use polyurethane foam that shapes itself to conform to a person's body, then returns to its uncompressed state when a sleeper rises. The advantage of such a mattress is that it will conform to anyone's body, allowing side-by-side sleepers to each have their own comfort experience. 

As with innerspring mattresses, there are different types of foams and combinations within the memory foam classification. There are no absolute rules when it comes to longevity of the mattresses, although generally, they last longer than traditional innerspring mattresses. A good memory foam mattress might last anywhere from 10 to 15 years, but the very best ones might last even longer. 

Memory foam mattresses do not need to be flipped, but you might need to turn it around on the bed from time to time, head to foot, to reduce the chances of depressions from body weight. 

Gel Memory Foam

Gel foam mattresses are a memory foam variation in which gel beads or swirls are integrated into the memory foam material. The creates a mattress that redistributes heat better and is thus cooler to sleep on than memory foam. Like memory foam, gel foam mattresses may last from 10 to 15 years, or perhaps even longer if the mattress is of the very best quality. These mattresses, too, will benefit from rotating them on the bed frame periodically, head to foot. 

Latex

Latex mattresses are made from natural or synthetic latex foam, and are regarded as one of the more durable mattresses, especially when made from natural latex with a very dense foam construction. Lifespans of 15 years are common for these mattresses. Some users, however, find latex mattresses too hard to be comfortable. 

Hybrid Mattresses

A typical hybrid mattress uses layers of memory foam placed over a series of innerspring coils, and the combination forms a mattress that many users find to be the most comfortable of all. While most hybrids use standard memory foam, some types include gel, which makes the mattress cooler to sleep on. 

There is not a lot of data on the longevity of hybrid mattresses, but many manufacturers offer warranties of up to 10 years. A good quality hybrid mattress may provide good service for even longer.

Signs of Wear and Tear

In the final measure, mattress ratings or warranties don't dictate a mattress's lifespan nearly as effectively as your own subjective experience of sleeping on it. A mattress is an investment in your health, and there are several signs that your mattress is ready to be replaced:

  • You are uncomfortable when you lie down and wake up tired and achy.
  • You see visible signs of wear and tear in your mattress. There is sagging or you notice lumps. You can hear the bed springs when you lie down.
  • You've tried rotating it or flipping it but to no avail. It still doesn't feel more comfortable.
  • You suffer from allergies and have had the mattress for a long time. If you have not been using protective, allergy-reducing covers, dust mites could pose a problem. Even the cleanest of beds can have dust mites. There are other ways of addressing the dust mite problem, but it helps to start with a clean, mite-free mattress.
  • You are older than 40 and have been sleeping on the same sleep surface for around 10 years. The human body becomes more sensitive to pressure points with age. Pressure points can lead to tossing and turning and disturbed sleep, which can be bad for your overall health.

Buying a quality mattress—one that carries a good warranty from a well-known manufacturer—is a very good investment. Not only will it last a good long while, but it will improve the quality of your sleep and your health. Great online options are available.