It can sometimes seem like a mattress is a permanent part of a house.
You’ll change the sheets every couple weeks, sure.
Maybe you’ll invest in new toppers, new pillows.
If you really know what you’re doing, maybe you’ll even flip your mattress every three months or so, the way you’re supposed to.
But actually replacing a mattress?
That’s not something we often have to think about.
Buying a mattress is a fairly big investment, and the signs of needing a new one tend to creep up on us slowly.
Still, we all know somewhere deep down that that mattress just isn’t going to last forever.
Here are a couple of the clearest signs it’s time to put your old mattress aside and invest in a new one.
Your Mattress Is 7-10 Years Old
Most mattresses come with 5-, 10-, or 20-year warranties, and it’s a common misconception that these are meant to indicate how long you should be able to go before buying a new mattress.
This is not true.
Most high-end mattresses actually have a life expectancy of between 7 and 10 years, although specifics vary based on the material.
Latex mattresses, for instance, can last for up to 15 years with proper care.
Futons, on the other hand, have a life expectancy of just five years.
The typical mattress fails because of regular wear and tear—something not covered by most mattress warranties, which usually only account for manufacturing issues.
And no matter how much your mattress cost, there’s no way it’s going to last you to the end of its 20-year warranty.
Write This Down!
Because of mattresses’ life expectancies, it’s good practice have your purchase dates written down somewhere in your records.
This will make it easier to remember when it’s time to start looking for a replacement.
If you’re bad at keeping records for that long, you can also sharpie the purchase date onto your mattress’s tag when you buy it—or, if you’re tech savvy, even set up a reminder on your computer to tell you when you’ve hit the seven-year mark.
Your Body Is Complaining
A good mattress means a happy body.
Ideally, if you’re sleeping on the right material and getting the right amount of sleep, you should wake up every morning feeling well-rested and refreshed.
There shouldn’t be any aches or pains, and you shouldn’t be left tossing and turning every night in order to get to sleep.
If you’ve got a bad mattress, though, odds are that’s just not going to happen.
Bad mattresses don’t give us the kind of support we need.
They make our bodies work overtime during the night and as we’re falling asleep.
We want to get into a comfortable position, but that’s not actually possible on a bad mattress.
Often, as the comfort layers of a mattress give out, your midsection will be left sagging.
This puts too much pressure on your neck, shoulders, and back, which can result in pain and soreness.
If you’re consistently waking up with a morning neck pain that gets better throughout the day, it’s time to get a new mattress.
And if your body is making an impression of 1.5 inches or deeper, chances are good that you’re either experiencing sleep pain now or you’re about to at some point in the near future.
You’re Not Sleeping Like You Used To
In addition to pain, bad mattresses have been empirically linked to poor sleep conditions.
You’re taking far too long to get to sleep.
You don’t have sleep apnea, but you find yourself waking up multiple times throughout the night.
These symptoms can sometimes lead people to seek the help of sleeping pills and medications, when what they really need is a new mattress.
Also, you should be able to sleep through your partner rolling over or getting up in the middle of the night.
That sort of motion isolation is important, and it goes down the older your mattress is.
Your Mattress Just Doesn’t Look/Feel Right
A lot of the time, it’s actually not that difficult to tell when a mattress is in need of replacement.
Sometimes you can notice it on sight.
A mattress’s fibers tend to compress over time, and its springs tend to lose their springiness.
Old mattresses sag.
Their middles or sides are often slightly dented in, and parts may feel uneven.
When you lie on it, the mattress might be harder or softer than it used to be, depending on the material.
Maybe you can feel some of the springs beneath your back.
Maybe you can feel yourself sinking in.
In addition to this, a lot of lower-quality mattresses will get start to develop lumps as they age.
This is terrible for support.
Lumps mean that your weight won’t be evenly distributed across your whole back, which can lead to discomfort and pain during and after sleep.
Sometimes It’s Just Obvious
There are also some other, more obvious signs that it’s time to turn a mattress in.
Maybe there are tears or holes.
Maybe a spring is sticking out.
Come on—you don’t need an article to tell you something’s not right about that.
Make the investment.
You know it’s time.
Read This If You Have Memory Foam
If your mattress is made with memory foam, it can sometimes be a little more difficult to tell if there’s a problem (or at least, it’s easier to tell yourself there isn’t!).
Memory foam is, after all, meant to conform to your body, so it’s not unusual for you to see indents or feel yourself sinking.
The thing with memory foam, though, is it tends to get softer over time.
If you notice yourself sinking deeper than two inches into the foam, or if you notice the impression left by your body lasting long after you’ve gotten up, then you should know it’s time to move on to a better mattress.
Your Frame and Springs Might Be Faulty
Sometimes, though, it’s not actually time to spring for a new mattress at all—instead, there’s something else wrong with your bed.
If you find yourself sinking when you lie down but your mattress seems to be in good working order, check out the spring box (also known as the foundation), along with the bed frame.
Worn out springs and frames can cause mattresses to sag towards the center, leading to many of the same problems you’d experience with a bad mattress.
This is bad for your mattress and bad for your sleep—so while you don’t need to replace your mattress right now, you do need to get this problem fixed straight away!
Your Body Has Changed
Even if there’s nothing wrong with your mattress or bed, there are a number of reasons why you still might need to invest in a new one.
For one, body shapes change over time.
If you’ve recently gained or lost a substantial amount of weight, the mattress that used to feel like floating on air can suddenly be far too hard or soft.
This is especially common during and after pregnancies.
You might also want to consider a new mattress if you’ve recently had an accident or undergone surgery, and also if you’ve developed chronic symptoms like back pain or arthritis.
The right mattress can go a long way to soothing our joints and muscles, so it’s important to recognize when it’s time to make the change.
Additionally, if you’re over 40, the best mattress for your body can actually change every seven to eight years.
Your Allergies Are Getting Worse
Studies have shown that many mattresses serve as havens for dust mites and other allergens.
It’s just a side effect of the material most mattresses are made from—allergens tend to build up in them over time, and when you lie down to sleep on an old mattress, you’re might be essentially sinking yourself into a pool of everything you’re allergic to.
If you find your allergies or asthma are worst either after you’ve lain down to sleep or as soon as you wake up in the morning, it might be time to consider swapping out your mattress for a newer model.
You’re Getting Better Sleep on Other Beds
Most people tend to have some trouble falling asleep on couches or beds different from their own.
If you’re visiting a hotel and you find that it’s actually easier to fall asleep on their mattress than your own, this might be a sign your mattress back home is a little bit past its prime.
You’re Buying a Ton of New Pillows and Toppers
When people start to realize their mattress is giving way, sometimes they’ll try to get out of buying a new one by treating the symptoms instead of the cause.
They’ll get new toppers or new pillows to try to account for poor support and muscle pain, and pretty much try to do everything they can to save themselves the cost and hassle of going out and getting a new mattress.
While this is understandable, it’s not really sustainable.
There’s only so much you can do to make up for a failing mattress.
No mattress can last forever, and while toppers can certainly be a good tool while you search for a replacement, there’s no substitute for a quality mattress.
So, do yourself a favor.
Know what the signs above mean, and know when it’s time to get a new mattress.
Give yourself the gift of a good night’s sleep.
Understand your own mattress, and recognize when it’s time to move on.
If you aren’t sure about what you can get, have a look at our selection of mattresses for every budget!
Updated at November 6, 2020