Your mattress is an essential part of your everyday life, and you put a lot of thought into selecting just the right one for you. So it can be easy—and tempting—to believe that you and your mattress will be together forever. Unfortunately, no matter how amazing your mattress may be, this is one relationship that must come to an end.
You can expect a good 7-10 years out of a premium mattress, but eventually it will succumb to the wear and tear of supporting your body every night. At that point, it stops providing you with proper support, leading to aches, pains, less-than-stellar sleep—and the need to find a replacement.
But how do you know for sure when you need a new mattress? Here are 10 telltale signs:
1. Obvious sagging
The most visible indication that a mattress needs to be replaced, sagging may as well be an “It’s Time to Replace Your Mattress” sign. It’s also a symptom that applies to all mattress types, as springs break down over time, memory foam gets softer, and the fibers in other materials compress—all of which lead to sagging. Don’t wait for a crater to form in the middle of your bed. Even minor sags of 1-2 inches shouldn’t be ignored, as they can mean a lack of support for the most vulnerable parts of your body.
2. Quite the impression
This one applies specifically to memory foam mattresses and can be a bit tricky to decipher. See, memory foam is supposed to “remember” your body and sleeping position (hence the name)—but only to a certain degree. After you get out of bed, the foam should mostly return to its original position. However, over time the cellular structure of memory foam breaks down, becoming softer and losing its ability to bounce back, aka to support you. If your memory foam mattress has a body impression that stays long after you’ve gotten up, or if the impression is deeper than two inches, it’s time to replace it.
3. The Goldilocks effect
Memory foam mattress owners should also take note if their mattress becomes too hard or too soft. Because of memory foam’s sensitivity to temperature (the reason that many people “sleep hot” on memory foam mattresses), it will become hard over time when kept in a small room, or soft over time when kept in a warm room. This change in firmness can wreak havoc on your comfort.
4. One lump or two?
When the padding within the mattress shifts around over time, you may see lumps in your mattress. This uneven density can mean you’re not supported where you’re supposed to be. It can also cause uncomfortable pressure points. Though lumps are more common with lower-quality mattresses, it can also happen with higher-end mattresses that have run their course.
5. Age is just a number…unless you’re a mattress
Even if your mattress is showing none of the above signs, if it’s more than seven years old, you should apply some scrutiny to it. Most mattresses will need to be replaced after 7-10 years. Even if you think you’re sleeping fine, there’s a chance that you’ve just become slowly accustomed to a less-than-excellent sleeping experience.
6. What a pain
Sleep is a time for your body to recover from the stresses it experienced during the day, whether that’s an intense gym session or too much sitting at your desk. So if you wake up with more aches and pains than you had when you went to bed, your mattress is likely the culprit. Because of the gradual degradation and softening of a mattress’s materials, it loses its ability to provide crucial support for vulnerable areas like your neck, low back, and hips. On top of that, as cushioning gets worn down, it can create painful pressure points. When your back is sagging and springs are jabbing your hips, then waking up with aches and pains is inevitable.
So if you wake up feeling beat up rather than refreshed, chances are your mattress needs to go (this is even more likely to be the case if you wake up with pain and it gets better throughout the day).
7. Up all night
If you can’t fall asleep, or frequently wake up during the night and adjust positions, it could be time to replace your mattress. Of course, other things like stress or poor sleep hygiene can keep you up at night, too. But if you’re tossing and turning into the wee hours, chances are your mattress no longer provides you with the proper comfort and you need a new one. If you seem to sleep through the night but still wake up tired, the same may very well be true.
8. Sleeping for two
One of the more exciting reasons for getting a new mattress is becoming pregnant. Because your body is undergoing so many changes during and after pregnancy, a customizable mattress and adjustable bed is a great choice that will provide support during every stage of the journey. Custom support for side-sleeping will help support your belly and prevent back pain during pregnancy, and can be easily changed back to your usual sleep preference afterward. Plus, an adjustable bed makes getting out bed easier when you’re pregnant. It also makes nursing more comfortable and can help protect abdominal muscles after a C-section.
9. Active allergies
Over time, most types of mattresses can accumulate allergens like mold, mildew, and dust mites. If you’re allergic to these irritants, that means that your mattress will trigger an allergic reaction. So if you notice yourself sneezing when you get close to the bed or a stuffed up in the morning, it’s probably time to evaluate your mattress situation. When choosing a new mattress, consider hypoallergenic materials like wool or latex.
10. It’s not you, it’s me
Sometimes everything is still perfectly fine with your mattress, but circumstances in your own life necessitate that you get a new one. This could be the case if you sustained an injury, lost or gained a significant amount of weight, or have a new bed partner. If your mattress is still in the prime of its life but you’re not getting the support you need anymore, don’t feel guilty about letting it go—just find a mattress donation location near you.
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