4 Signs You Need a New Mattress

person's hand flat on a mattress

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This article is part of our series, Sleep Week: The Ultimate Guide to Getting Your Best Sleep Ever. Sleep Week is your destination for whole sleep happiness, curating our very best tips and product recommendations to help you create your coziest, most comfortable sleep environment yet.

If you find yourself tossing and turning more often than not when you turn in for the night, it might not be your state of mind. It could be your mattress. You don’t have to have visible lumps and bumps in the mattress to raise the flag for replacement. Instead, it is more of a formula or feeling you should keep an eye on. 

We talked to the experts to find out what to look out for when it might be time for a new mattress.

Meet the Expert

  • Melissa Homer is the chief cleaning officer for MaidPro
  • Brandon Pleshek is a professional janitor and content creator.

Eyes Wide Open

Still, exhausted when you wake in the morning? If you can’t link sleeplessness or anything else like your bedroom temperature being uncomfortable or excess noise or worries keeping you awake, turn your attention to the bed itself.

If you roll into the middle of the bed when you lie down or leave a person-size dent when you get up, it’s time to go shopping for a new mattress. Even if you think you are sleeping well enough, a mattress that is misshapen or lumpy is not going to give you the best sleep you can get. “While different mattress types have different lifespans, even the most durable mattress eventually degrades and stops providing the support you need,” says Melissa Homer, chief cleaning officer for MaidPro

Homer cautions against judging a mattress by appearance alone. “Your mattress can stop being properly supportive well before it shows on the surface,” she says. “If you’re waking up sore regularly and constantly tossing and turning unless you’ve started a new gym routine, your mattress is a likely culprit!”

Time’s Up

A mattress can be a pretty significant investment, so it only makes sense that we would want to get as much life out of it as possible. That said, nothing lasts forever. A generally accepted time frame for the life of a mattress is six to eight years. However, Homer says that it all depends on what kind of mattress you have. Homer says the range is more like eight to 15 years.

“Classic innerspring mattresses are the shortest lived, lasting usually around eight [years],” she says. “Foam mattresses, be they gel, latex, or memory, can usually last 10-12 years, especially if properly rotated. Waterbeds are the surprising winner in this race, with a 12- to 15-year lifespan so long as they avoid a fatal puncture, thanks to their lack of internal components that can compress and sag.” That being said, if you have a little one and they have issues in the bed or something like a lot of sweat, that can shorten the life of your mattress.

Body Shifts

Many of us go through various changes in our bodies as we age. Mattresses don’t fit every shape and size. What felt great and left you waking refreshed in your 20s and 30s can be downright uncomfortable in your 40s, so it's ideal to pick a mattress that makes your body comfortable.

What’s That Smell?

A dirty mattress, believe it or not, can be cleaned, says Brandon Pleshek, janitor and self-proclaimed 'clean freak'. “Hydrogen peroxide works really well just because it can clean and disinfect,” he says. “A lot of times with mattress spots, you will find a lot of yellowing. Add a spray nozzle to the brown bottle and mist any spots you see with warm water. Then dab it with a towel.”

Pleshek says, for really old stains, try rubbing alcohol. But do realize cleaning isn’t always going to cut it. “If I can't clean it anymore and it's past the recommended dates to replace, it’s time for a new one,” Pleshek says.

Prepare Your New Mattress

When you bring your new mattress home, there are a few things you can do to make it as comfortable as possible. “I would start by looking over the mattress,” says Pleshek. “I would check all the cracks and crevices of the piece itself. Vacuum clean and hydro flush it out really well. If there is an odor, you could leave it out in the sun for a few hours. Clean it outside and leave it to dry. It’s a good way to use the sun as a disinfectant.”

A good, quality mattress can carry a pretty big price tag. So once you have made your purchase, you will want to be sure you are able to keep it in good condition for the longest time possible. Homer has tips to help you do just that.

  • Invest in a high-quality waterproof mattress encasement, as it will stop dust mites and stains before they start. 
  • Make sure you get the right type of box spring or foundation for your mattress, as a strong foundation keeps your mattress from sagging for the maximum time possible. 
  • Box springs unfortunately also happen to be bed bugs’ favorite hideaway once they infiltrate a home, so be sure to get a box spring encasement for them, too. 
  • Wash your sheets frequently, two to four times a month depending on whether you let pets or snacks into your bed.
  • Vacuum and rotate/flip your mattress at least twice a year. Even one-sided, pillow-top mattresses benefit from the break a semi-annual rotation provides.