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How often should you replace your mattress?

When to replace your mattress: mattress on a base in the middle of a room
(Image credit: DreamCloud)

No mattress lasts forever. Experts differ on exactly how often you should replace your mattress - and everyone's situation is different - but if you're wondering whether it's time to change yours, there are some clear signs to look for.

If your mattress is affecting your sleep, it's time to change it. A good night’s sleep is key to feeling fresh and in control, and maintaining a healthy body and mind - but achieving this is an ongoing quest that many of us find ourselves on. Adults aged between 18 and 64 need seven to nine hours sleep per night and around 35% of US adults report sleeping for fewer than seven hours.

If this rings true for you - and you’ve tried cutting your caffeine, dabbled in evening mediation, placed lavender beneath your pillow and left your mobile phone in the kitchen - then it’s probably time to change your mattress (you'll find plenty of alternatives for all budgets in our best mattress guide). 

Here, we'll walk you through the signs to look for, to help you know when it’s time to bid your mattress goodnight for the last time.

So how often should you replace your mattress?

The Better Sleep Council recommends changing your mattress every seven years. You'll find slightly different advice from expert to expert, but most agree on a window between six-ten years, depending on how often the mattress is used and what level of quality it is. 

However, as the specialists at the Better Sleep Council point out, your body changes over time, and your need for comfort and support increases as you age. "Your body may be ready for a new mattress before the seven-year mark," they say, "so listen to what it’s telling you."

The good news is that if you do need to invest in a new mattress, most of the leading brands run sales throughout the year. We've rounded up today's best mattress deals elsewhere on the site - plus, each company will be launching its Memorial Day mattress sale in the next few weeks. 

So is it time to change your mattress? If any of the issues below sound familiar, then yes, it probably is...

1. "My mattress is six to eight years old"

mattress

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There are a variety of factors involved in determining how often you should change your mattress. Cheaper mattress are usually made with less robust materials that simply won’t stand the test of time for as long as their more expensive counterparts. Lower quality innerspring and all-foam mattresses tend to submit to body impressions and can begin to sag more quickly than other types. Latex is the most durable - these mattresses can even last in excess of eight years.

Your weight can also play a part. If you are a larger build - or you co-sleep with someone who is - this can also impact on the lifespan of the mattress. 

Similarly, the care and attention you pay to your sleep station can determine its lifespan. Using a mattress protector and rotating your mattress (if recommended by the manufacturer) both contribute towards a longer life.

2. "My mattress is lumpy or saggy"

If there’s a dent in your mattress that’s not going away, it's a sure sign that it’s time for a refresh. All mattress types can break down over time: springs can wear, and foam can break down and sag. This can happen both in the area where you sleep, as well as around the edges of the mattress. But an uneven mattress will cause aches and pains, and is a clear signal that it's time to replace your mattress.

3. "I wake up stiff and uncomfortable"

mattress aches and pains

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Similarly, if you're waking up feeling like you’ve just had a workout rather than a restorative slumber, this could be the result of using a tired mattress. That's particularly the case if you wake up stiff or sore, and then the discomfort alleviates after some stretching and into the morning.

When seeking out a new mattress, be aware that firm models aren't always the solution to uncomfortable limbs or back pain - sometimes a medium-firm can be a better option. Sleep testing different mattresses is highly recommended to find the best for your specific requirements, and many companies now offer this service. 

4. "My back feels misaligned in bed"

It’s important to consider how you sleep – are you out for the count on your back, splayed out on your stomach or curled on your side? Whichever angle best lulls you off to sleep, it’s vital that your mattress is supportive to your body.

When sleeping on your back or front, the natural ‘s’ curve of your back should be evident, if it’s flattened out this will put pressure on your back and shows that your mattress isn’t receptive enough to your body.

If you lay on your side, your spine should maintain a straight line all the way from neck to bottom. If you can fit your hand between your body and the mattress, again this shows that the mattress is not sufficiently supportive and that it’s time for a more reliable mattress.

Most of the leading mattress brands are designed to accommodate all sleeping positions. However, Helix is particularly good for side sleepers - its main range is designed specifically for people who sleep on their sides. The company also does another line designed for back and front sleepers.

5. "I lost or gained weight (or added a sleeping partner)"

When to change your mattress: couple sleeping in a bed facing different directions

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

A mattress needs be attuned to your body for optimal sleep. Heavier bodies cause deeper wear and tear on a mattress, so if you've gained weight, or a new co-sleeper, then it's essential to consider a mattress that can accommodate you both. 

Similarly, if you have lost weight, your mattress may no longer be able to support your body as it used to. Upgrading at this point will help to promote good sleep. 

6. "My allergies or asthma are getting worse"

Mattresses can be a haven for dust mites. On average, we shed around a pound of dead skin cells each year and your mattress takes the brunt of a significant proportion of this. This creates an optimal environment for bacteria to grow and for dust mites to thrive. If you notice an increase in your asthma or allergies, this could be a result of accumulated dust in the mattress, or worse still - the proteins in dust mite feces.

You can of course take steps to mitigate this issue, including hoovering your mattress regularly as well as flipping or rotating it (we've covered how to clean a mattress extensively before - including how to deal with dust mites). But if this doesn’t help, a new mattress will be just what the doctor ordered.

Time to change your mattress?

If you recognize any of these signs, it's probably time for a new mattress. Before investing, take some time to find exactly the right one: think about size, firmness, comfort and breathability. 

Memory foam is a good option for anyone who needs tailored pressure relief and support, but the hugging sensation can cause hot sleepers to sweat at night. If you tend to overheat at night, you may be better off with an innerspring, hybrid or latex option. You'll find plenty of pro buying advice in our best mattress guide - in the meantime, here's a brief rundown of our favorite models: 

The Saatva Classic: from $849 at Saatva
A  luxurious, hotel-quality innerspring mattress with a choice of three firmness levels and two different heights. Read more: Saatva Classic mattress reviewView Deal

Nectar Memory Foam mattress: from $798 $499 + $399 of free gifts at Nectar
The best-value mattress out there, providing premium comfort and support for a lot less than its mid-range rivals - a great option for most people. Read more: Nectar Memory Foam mattress reviewView Deal

DreamCloud mattress: from $1,198 $699 + $399 of free gifts at DreamCloud
A luxury, hybrid alternative to the all-foam Nectar mattress that comes with $399-worth of free gifts - it's a particularly good choice for hot sleepers.View Deal

The Helix Midnight: from $599 at Helix
This popular hybrid mattress is designed specifically for side sleepers and comes highly rated - both by us and other users. Read more: Helix Midnight mattress reviewView Deal

Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam mattress (10-inch): from $177 at Amazon
This no-frills budget mattress comes with no bells and whistles, but it's a decent mattress for the price - just don't expect it to last as long a higher quality option. Read more: Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam mattress reviewView Deal

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