A little nighttime reading


If you’re feeling like your mattress has seen better days, you may be wondering how long a mattress is supposed to last. Here’s what you should know about caring for and replacing this most important sleep essential.

How do you know if your mattress needs to be replaced?
If your mattress has visible signs of ripping, sagging, staining or other damage, it’s very likely time to get a new one. Even if your mattress looks pristine, you still may need a new one if you’re waking up regularly with back pain, numbness or stiffness. If you’re not sure if it’s your mattress, try sleeping on another one (like at a hotel or friend’s place) to see if you feel a difference.

How often should you replace your mattress?
The National Sleep Foundation recommends replacing your mattress every 8-10 years. Certain materials (like latex and memory foam) will usually last longer than an innerspring mattress. However, for optimal support and comfort, many sleep specialists recommend replacing your mattress every 5-7 years -- especially if you’re over 40, since your body is more susceptible to pressure as you age. It all depends on how you sleep (or um, do other things) on it.

With all the options (including “bed-in-a-box” offerings) available today, it’s affordable to replace a mattress more often. Think about it this way; if you spend $1,000 for a new mattress, you’re investing <$13/month (or <$150/year) in more comfortable sleep over the next 7 years.

If you use a box spring, replace it at the same time as your mattress. Note, many mattresses today do not require a box spring for optimal support so consider cutting out the added expense altogether. (However, make sure to read the warranty carefully if you choose to forego a boxspring and do not have an otherwise solid foundation for your bed. Many warranties are voided if you do not use a boxspring or commensurate foundation or adjustable bed base.)

And if you need a new pillow to go along with your new mattress, check out Slumbr's Pillow Menu. Take the Pillow Quiz to find the comfiest pillow that fits your personal sleep style.

Mattress Buying Guide from Slumbr

How do I take care of my mattress?
To extend the life of your mattress, the following practices will help:

  • Rotate your mattress from head to toe every 3 months to help it wear evenly. If you’re used to flipping a mattress, note that most mattresses made in the last 10 years are one-sided and not meant to be flipped
  • Use a waterproof and breathable mattress protector to keep dirt, mildew and perspiration out. These things can break your mattress down
  • Let your mattress air out once a month; strip it of all covers and sheets to let it breathe
  • Place your mattress on a quality bed frame or a platform bed with central support
Wondering how often you should replace your pillows? Slumbr shares advice here.
And what about taking care of your bed sheets? Here’s Slumbr’s advice for your bed linens as well.

Photo credit: © Can Stock Photo / aetb