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 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 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, these older varieties of mattress need to be flipped to keep them in good condition!
But be aware: those days of the symmetrical-comfort mattress just might be behind us.
More and more, innovative mattress companies are designing beds 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 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 one-sided mattresses thanks to advances in material science and textiles—with more durable materials, breakdown is a slower process and flipping isn’t as much of a necessity.
With that said, some companies are finding new ways to innovate on the classic two-sided design.
Layla, for instance, is pioneering the two-sided mattress with a different firmness level on each side! (If you want to find out more, our review has all the info you need.)
Don’t Forget Rotation!
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 rotation.
Much like flipping, the goal with rotation is to get you sleeping on a different part of the bed.
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 your mattress.
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.
How Often Should You Flip (Or Rotate) Your Mattress?
If your mattress is flippable, I’d recommend flipping it about once a year.
That should be often enough to keep it in good condition, but not so often that you’re doing tons of unnecessary labor.
Almost every mattress can be rotated (there are a couple of specific models that aren’t meant to be rotated, but these are pretty rare), so even if you can’t flip, you can almost certainly rotate.
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 twice a year, although three times 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 ‘twice a year,’ because those are useful rules of thumb.
The truth is, it still depends on how durable your mattress is.
A less durable mattress needs to be moved around 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 four times a year ought to be enough for anybody.
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 parts of your bed that are usually hard to clean, it’s a great opportunity to tidy up all that accumulated dead skin and junk! One less thing to clean later, am I right?
The actual flipping and/or rotating is a pretty straightforward process, 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!
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.
There’s More to Rotate!
When you rotate your mattress, 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 they never get flipped or rotated!
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 the regular!
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 flipped before you go and flip it—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!