Many people use the warranty of bed as a guide to determine when it’s time to get a new mattress, however materials often wear out and stop providing support well before the warranty expires. Numerous factors can affect the lifespan of a bed, and there is no one size fits all guideline for replacement. But, there are a few helpful signs that can tell you when it’s time to toss a bed to the curb. If you experience one or more of the following, then it may be a sign that you need a new mattress soon.
Signs It’s Time For a New Mattress
Because an old or worn-out mattress may not always be obvious at first glance, it can be helpful to know some of the sneaky signs that may signal the need for a new mattress. If you notice any of the following apply to your mattress, take a closer look. Replacing an old bed with a new mattress could help you sleep better and feel better.
Your Mattress is Older than 8-10 Years
The age of the mattress is one of the first items to consider. Most people don’t realize the length of time they have had their current bed matters, but studies have shown that if a mattress is 8 years old or more, it should likely be replaced. Consumer Reports magazine recommends replacement every 7-10 years as well. This can be a shock to many people who have purchased beds with 10 and 20 year warranties, however the warranty is meant to cover workmanship and not comfort. Many mattress warranties are also divided into a full coverage period designed to cover estimated useful lifespan (often between 5-15 years) followed by a prorated period for the remainder.
All mattress types are not created equally when it comes to life span, however. We compared mattress durability in a previous article and found the following average life expectancies for the different types of beds, which can be more helpful than general guidelines:
- 10+ Years – Natural & Blended Latex, High Density Memory Foam, Softside & Hardside Waterbeds
- 8-9 Years – Medium Density Memory Foam, Latex/Foam Hybrids, Pocket Coils
- 6-7 Years – Continuous Coils, Offset Coils
- 5 Years or less – Bonnell Coils, Low Density Memory Foam
You Wake With Pain & Stiffness
Are you waking up stiff and sore in the morning? If so it may be time to replace the old bed with a new mattress. Old mattresses tend to gradually lose the ability to provide support and prevent pressure points. This happens as the support gradually breaks down, and the heavier portions of the body, generally the hips through the chest, sag into the mattress. This can create significant pain in the shoulders and neck as well as from pressure points in the hip area for side sleepers. Back sleepers may experience increased lower back pain as the small of the back receives little or no support. If you notice worse pain in the morning after rising compared to the rest of the day, an unsupportive mattress could be the cause.
You Don’t Feel Well-Rested
If you get a full night’s rest you should wake feeling refreshed and well-rested. If you find that you are waking up tired and feel drowsy during the day (in absence of other conditions like sleep apnea) it may be due to tossing and turning during the night while your body tries to find a comfortable sleeping position. Waking with hands or feet that have fallen asleep due to pressure can be another sign that your mattress is not effectively preventing pain.
Other Places Are More Comfortable
If you find yourself going into another bedroom to sleep or prefer the couch or chair to your bed, this is a fairly good indication that you should consider buying a new mattress. Same goes if you find that you are sleeping better on hotel mattresses or other places. Your bed should be welcoming, allowing you to lie down and fully relax in comfort. Struggling to fall asleep at night is often the result of discomfort, and studies show that simply replacing an old mattress with a new mattress can improve sleep quality and comfort.
Foundations or Box Springs Creak
The ability of your mattress to provide support can be greatly affected by what supports your mattress. If you feel like your bed is in fairly good condition but that something is off, consider checking your bed’s foundation box springs. Broken or worn out boxsprings can affect spring mattress support, and weak or inadequate foundations can also affect how foam mattresses feel.
Sags & Impressions Are Visible
If you feel pains in joints, muscles or your back, inspect your bed to see if there are signs of sagging or body impressions. Sagging can occur as springs break down and lose resiliency, and impressions occur as fiber and foams compress over time. Sagging and impressions over 1 inch deep are linked with increased pain according to surveys by SleepLikeTheDead.com. If your mattress has sagging at this level or greater, a new mattress should be a top consideration.
Hammocking is Noticeable
If either you or a partner finds yourself rolling to the middle of the bed during the night, or conversely find that you roll to the outer edges, the supporting structure of the bed is likely worn out. This is primarily an issue with spring beds, but can also be noticeable on foam beds with deep impressions. When your mattress has reached this level of wear, it can significantly affect how you sleep and how you feel all day.
You Have Worsening Dust Allergies
If you find that allergies seem worse at night or first thing in the morning it may be an indication that a new mattress is in order, especially if you are sensitive to dust or suspect mold or mildew on your mattress. Dust mites are one of the leading causes of allergens and they thrive in mattresses and bedding. Memory foam, latex and waterbeds are most resistant to dust mites as there are less permeable layers and open spaces for critters and debris to hide. Using a dust-mite resistant mattress cover and frequently washing pillows and bedding can also help alleviate dust mites and extend the life of a new bed.
You’ve Gained or Lost a Significant Amount of Weight
People often gain or lose weight during the time they have owned a mattress. In addition to weight, surgeries, pregnancies, and aging can all affect how your body reacts to a particular mattress. Even if the bed is in decent condition, what supported you 5 years ago may no longer do the trick. If firmness or pressure points are the issue, a mattress topper may be able to help you until you are ready to buy a new bed, but if the mattress is too soft or lacks support, a topper will do little to help.
Tips for Choosing a New Mattress
If you’ve determined that it might be time to get a new mattress, here are few tips for picking out the best bed to suit your needs.
- Learn about all the different mattress types to see which offers the biggest advantage for you- don’t stick to one out of familiarity.
- Ask about warranty terms and return policies. Make sure to check the “full coverage” portion of the warranty as well as what is covered, and ensure you have at least 30 days to return.
- Check mattress reviews online for options you are considering to see how other owners perceive the pros and cons of the bed, and compare ratings to other similar models.
- Comparison shop in stores and online to get a good deal. Read more about buying a mattress online versus in stores in our previous guide.
A mattress serves as the foundation for a good night’s rest, which has significant implications for health and wellness. If your bed is no longer contributing towards quality sleep or is causing you pain, it may be beyond it’s expiration date. While replacing pricey purchases isn’t a favorable task for most, being a smart and savvy shopper can help you choose a new mattress that will provide comfort for as long as possible, and getting better sleep can be well worth the trouble.