The Naturally Nestled guide to deciding whether it’s time for a new mattress
The link between sleep and overall health and well-being is clear. And it’s seldom clearer than after a terrible night’s sleep. If you find yourself tossing and turning due to discomfort or you’re feeling sore or unrested each morning, it might be time to rethink your bedding situation.
In fact, a 2009 study found that subjects reported reduced pain and stress along with greater comfort levels after replacing their mattresses. Of course, mattress quality and frequency of use are also factors to consider. A guest room mattress, for example, might last longer than one that is used every day.
Here are some guidelines and things to look for to help you decide whether it’s time to buy a new mattress.
The type of mattress you buy can determine how long it will last
The Better Sleep Council says that seven years is a good rule of thumb for determining the average mattress lifespan. However, mattresses are made from a variety of materials, and not all of them have the same staying power. Also, the quality of mattress construction can vary greatly. That being said, here are some of the most common mattress types and their general longevity.
Also called coil mattresses, this is the typical traditional mattress type that’s familiar to most people. Innerspring mattresses are made with a padded cover surrounding a system of springs that offer “bounce” and support. There are two general types of coils found in innerspring mattresses: coils that are tied together with helical wire and independent coil systems, which are made up of pocketed coils that can move independently. Independent coil systems tend to offer greater comfort and last longer. Innerspring mattress quality can vary greatly, but they tend to not last as long as other mattress types, and the springs can become noisy as they age.
Made from petrochemicals, memory foam is a dense and heavy mattress material that requires body heat to activate it in order to conform to the body. Over time, memory foam mattresses tend to leave indentations where you normally sleep on them. This is often an indicator that the quality of the foam is deteriorating.
Due to the high quality of both natural and organic latex, mattresses made from this material are considered the longest lasting. However, mattresses made from synthetic latex won’t have the same quality or longevity. Check labeling carefully and look for certifications that a mattress is made from either 100% natural or organic latex.
Depending on the quality of the materials, hybrids combine two good types of mattresses to make an even better one. A hybrid mattress, as its name implies, is a combination of two mattress types. The first type is an innerspring with either memory foam or latex on top. Because natural and organic latex made without fillers has greater staying power than either memory foam or synthetic latex, hybrid beds with latex on top tend to last longer, especially if they’re made with independent pocketed coils.
Other factors to consider when mattress shopping
Note that there are also hybrid mattresses that combine different elements of the types listed above. These also vary in terms of quality of construction and materials.
The physical condition of a mattress can offer clues about whether it’s time to replace it
If you remove the linens and pillows from your mattress and give it a good look, you may find some clues about the condition of your mattress.
- Are any areas sagging, lumpy, or otherwise misshapen?
- Are there any stains, tears, or springs poking through your mattress cover?
- Are there any permanent indentations in your memory foam mattress?
- Do all four sides appear even in height?
If your mattress shows any of these indicators and generally looks out of shape, chances are it’s time for a replacement.
The current comfort level of your mattress is an important factor in deciding whether to buy a new one
It’s also a good idea to consider how your mattress feels when you’re lying on it, and also how you feel after sleeping on it each night.
If you’re spending half your night sniffling or sneezing or waking up with puffy or watery eyes, it could be your mattress. Many mattresses made from innerspring or memory foam can hold dust mites and other allergens. This can grow worse as these allergens build up through the years.
Stiffness, pain, or numbness upon waking
If you wake up feeling sore, stiff, or numb in any area of your body, your mattress could be the culprit. If you feel better rested sleeping elsewhere, this could be another clue that it’s time to shop for a new mattress.
Tossing and turning or frequently waking up – including from a partner’s movements
There are many potential causes for tossing and turning or waking throughout the night. These might include sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, heartburn, pain, insomnia, or other conditions, including simply being a light sleeper. However, frequent waking in the night, or being awakened by a partner’s movements might mean that the type of mattress you currently have isn’t meeting your needs for deep sleep.
Your mattress simply doesn’t feel comfortable
Despite shopping wisely for a mattress that seems perfect for your needs, sometimes a mattress simply doesn’t feel good. This can happen either in the short term or over a few years. It happens, and sometimes this means finding a mattress that better suits your specific desires.
Also, changes that occur throughout our lives such as injuries, chronic health issues, pregnancies, weight gain or loss, menopause, and aging, can impact how we feel physically. These health issues or life changes may mean that a certain type of mattress that once felt ideal may not work anymore and it may be time to shop for a new type of mattress in terms of materials and/or quality.
Whatever you decide, whether that’s to keep your mattress for a few years but add a mattress topper as an upgrade or to buy something brand new, look for quality materials and construction, responsive customer service, and a good warranty.