Here at Ted & Stacey’s Mattress Guides, we recommend replacing your mattress every 8-10 years.
To folks who are overdue for a new sleeping slab, that may not sound like a very long time.
But to your trusty mattress, that’s a whole lifetime!
It’s a funny truth about human beings that we like to sleep in the exact same spot of their mattress every night.
There’s not a single thing wrong with this behavior—hey, it’s just how we’re wired—but it has the unfortunate side effect of wearing down some parts of our mattresses more than others.
Over time, that means your special cozy mattress spot might turn into more of a special cozy dent or even a whole valley!
To prevent this not-quite-comfy sagging, common wisdom holds that you ought to flip your mattress on a regular basis.
But is that true?
Is Mattress Flipping Still a Thing?
Well… is it?
The answer is, it depends.
Traditional innerspring mattresses are built on such a simple design that you could sleep on either side with no loss of comfort.
In fact, an older type of mattress needs to be flipped to keep it in good condition!
But be aware: those days of the symmetrical-comfort mattress just might be behind us.
More and more, innovative bed companies are designing mattresses with elaborate multi-layer sleep systems in order to find every customer’s perfect blend of softness and pressure relief.
Thanks to these new designs, many new mattresses only have only one side that you’re meant to sleep on.
For a great example of the modern, one-sided mattress, check out our review of the Amerisleep AS3 Memory Foam mattress.
They’re able to make a one-sided memory foam mattress thanks to advances in material science and textiles—with more durable materials, the breakdown is a slower process, and flipping isn’t as much of a necessity. What is more, memory foam mattresses perfectly adjust to your body, providing you with an amazing comfort level.
Also, keep in mind that flipping the mattress is not really an option when you’re dealing with a pillow top model. This product, similar to the one made with memory foam, is meant to be used on one side only due to its specific structure. Namely, such mattresses have an additional layer of padding sewn at the top to make them more plushy and comfortable under your head. Therefore, if you flip it, you will be deprived of this special feature, which might have been the very reason why you decided to buy this mattress after all.
It is worth knowing that some companies are finding new ways to innovate on the classic two-sided design that will be adjusted for mattress flips.
Layla, for instance, is pioneering the two-sided mattress with a different firmness level on each side that you actually can flip! (If you want to find out more, our review has all the info you need.). How often should you flip your mattress in this case? Whenever you feel you need to make your bed softer or firmer!
Don’t Forget to Rotate Your Mattress!
So what do you do if flipping isn’t an option?
Fortunately, it’s not the only way to extend a mattress’s lifespan and prevent insufferable sagging.
There’s another method, and it might even be easier.
That’s right—I’m talking about rotating a mattress 180 degrees.
Much like flipping, the goal of rotating is to get you sleeping on a different part of the mattress.
By sleeping in a different spot, you distribute your weight more evenly, preventing the mattress from breaking down excessively in one place.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: couldn’t I just leave the mattress where it is, and sleep—say—a little more to the left?
And you’re absolutely right! Shifting your sleeping position every now and again would do wonders to extend the life of mattresses.
The trouble is, for most of us, it’s not quite that easy.
Humans are creatures of habit. Even unconsciously—even in our sleep—we tend to drift toward the familiar, the comfortable, the known.
The mental effort it would take to deliberately sleep in a slightly different spot every night is, honestly, too much trouble, no matter how much wear and tear it saves.
That’s why rotating (or flipping) a mattress is so important: the mattress can move, so you don’t have to.
However, bear in mind that you shouldn’t rotate the already mentioned pillow top mattress because the padding that should be under your head will land under your feet.
How Often Should You Flip (or Rotate) Your Mattress?
If there is such a possibility, I’d say mattresses need to be flipped about once a year.
That should be often enough to keep it in good condition, but not so frequently that you’re doing tons of unnecessary labor.
Almost every mattress is suitable for rotating (apart from some specific models), so you can probably rotate even if you can’t flip it.
It’s also easier to rotate than to flip, so I highly recommend it.
The only downside is that rotating doesn’t provide as big a change in the pressure distribution, so it needs to happen a bit more often.
My advice is to rotate your mattress every six months, although more often, like three times a year, would be even better.
If you’re able to both flip and rotate your mattress, go ahead and take care of both at the same time!
Now, I say ‘once a year’ and ‘every six months’ because those are useful rules of thumb for flipping or rotating a mattress.
The truth is, it still depends on how durable your type of mattress is.
Less durable mattresses need to be flipped or rotated more often.
So, if you know that your mattress is inclined to have a shorter lifespan, you might want to plan on flipping or rotating it more regularly—up to every three months ought to be enough for anybody.
Mattress Flipping Tips
While you’re going through the trouble of flipping or rotating your mattress, why not go ahead and get a duster in all those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies?
Since you’re exposing the parts of your bed that are usually hard to clean, it’s a great opportunity to tidy up all that dead skin and junk accumulated under your mattress! One less thing to clean later, am I right?
The actual process of rotating and/or flipping the mattress is pretty straightforward, but it’s best to be careful.
To make sure you don’t injure yourself or break your favorite reading lamp, get somebody to help you out!
Bring a Friend to Help You with Your Mattress!
Remember, it’s not about weight as much as it’s about bulk—no matter how strong you are, a mattress is unwieldy for one person alone.
I don’t care how much you bench, bro—nobody is impressed by the way you single-handedly toppled your nightstand while trying to rotate your mattress or flip it.
There’s More to Rotate Mattresses!
When you rotate your mattress 180 degrees, don’t forget to rotate your mattress topper and box spring too!
Mattress toppers and box springs can suffer from the same issues as mattresses if you never flip or rotate them!
Pretty much everything I’ve already said here about mattresses applies to toppers and box springs. So, make sure to flip or rotate them on a regular basis as well!
Flipping and/or rotating your mattress may not be much fun, but it’s a crucial part of keeping your sleep system in tip-top shape.
Just make sure it’s the kind of mattress that can be moved this way before you go and flip or rotate it—you wouldn’t want to waste all that hard work!
And, when you do go to flip, you’ll want to do that once a year, or—if you’re rotating instead—once every six months.
So get flipping, get rotating, and get sleeping!
To find more real-life tips, look at our mattress lifespan tips!