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9 Signs Your Mattress Is Way Too Old

An old mattress is a recipe for back pain and other issues. Here are the signs that it's time for a new bed.

Amanda Capritto
4 min read

Waking up with back pain? Yeah, it's time. 

Melissa Kruse/Avocado Green

Every mattress has a different life span, depending on the material, manufacturer and usage. But in general, the life span of a mattress is about 7-10 years. Of course, there's nothing stopping you from sleeping on a mattress longer than that (and many people do, because mattresses are pretty expensive), but sleeping on a worn-out mattress can have real consequences on your sleep quality and overall health. 

If you find yourself wondering why you can't fall asleep or why your back hurts so much when you wake up, it's probably time for a new bed. Continue on below to learn when to replace your mattress. 

You're sleeping on a saggy mattress

OK, this one's a given for when to get a new mattress. If your bed has visible signs of disrepair, it's time for a mattress replacement. This includes any of the following signs:

  • Sagging in the middle or at the corners
  • Imprints of your body (e.g., you know exactly where your left knee is every night)
  • Lumps throughout, big or small
  • Asymmetry (one side is lower, higher, softer, harder, smoother, or lumpier than the other)

You wake up with back pain

Unless you can definitively attribute muscle soreness to exercise or pain to injury, your mattress might be causing you to wake up achy. Keep an eye out for signs that your mattress is to blame: A stiff neck, sore lower back and a "pinching" pain in your joints, especially your neck and shoulders. 

Also, consider whether the pain subsides as the day goes on. If you wake up with pain or soreness, but it's gone by midmorning or afternoon, it may be time for a new mattress. You should also make sure you're using the right kind of pillow to avoid neck and shoulder stiffness.

Your bed makes noises

Does your mattress creak, groan or pop? That's a sign you need a mattress replacement. It shouldn't, even when you're tossing and turning. Mattresses with springs and coils tend to get noisy after years of use, as the springs lose their springiness and the inner workings of the mattress get wacky. If you use a wooden or metal bed frame, rule that out first, and then consider investing in a new mattress.

You see physical signs its worn out

Worn or frayed edges aren't the end of the world -- they don't necessarily affect the area of the mattress you sleep on. But, mattresses are built to last, and worn edges are a clear sign that your mattress is well past the average lifespan of 10 years. So even if you don't notice any sagging or asymmetry, take a look at the edges to check whether it might be time for a new mattress.

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It feels much different than when you purchased

If you've had your mattress for several years, you may not be able to tell if you need a new mattress on feel alone -- a changing mattress is one of those things that sneaks up on you over time. But you can still try to evaluate your mattress this way. 

Think about how you felt getting into bed for the first year you had your mattress. Were you excited, happy, comfortable? Now think about the last few nights. Feel kind of "bleh," not particularly excited? That's a good sign you might benefit from a new mattress. 

If your mattress is less than a couple years old and you already notice that it feels different, look into the manufacturer's or retailer's warranty. You might be able to get a partial refund or points toward purchasing a new mattress. 

You aren't comfortable for sleep 

It should only take 10 to 20 minutes to fall asleep. If you find yourself lying awake at night, it may be time for a new mattress. Of course, you should first rule out conditions such as insomnia and anxiety, and you should also make certain that you aren't just battling your own internal clock.

If you determine that you're healthy and on a regular sleep cycle, yet you still can't doze off for hours, it's time to consider getting a new mattress. 


Don't fret if you need a new mattress. Buying one isn't as hard as it used to be, thanks to all of the bed-in-a-box online retailers.

Avocado Green

You wake up stuffy and watery-eyed 

If you're experiencing allergy-like symptoms in the morning, a likely culprit is your old mattress. Over time, some mattresses develop build-ups of dust mites and other allergens, which may introduce new allergy symptoms or worsen pre-existing allergy symptoms. 

You often wake up throughout the night

Do you feel like you wake up every couple of hours, or even more frequently, throughout the night? Persistent awakenings can seriously ruin a good night's sleep, but the remedy could be as simple as getting a new mattress.

Again, you'll want to rule out medical conditions that cause sleeplessness before blaming your mattress. Make sure it's not sleep apnea, anxiety, depression, insomnia, indigestion or another condition that can cause nighttime wakefulness.

You get better sleep somewhere else 

Do you find yourself getting better shut-eye in hotels and guest rooms? If yes, you probably need to replace your mattress (but first make sure this one thing isn't sabotaging your sleep). You should get the best quality sleep in your own home, on your own mattress, since that's where you spend the vast majority of your sleeping hours. 

If you're struggling to get the sleep you need, try these 6 natural sleep aids for insomnia or learn how to make a memory foam mattress sleep cooler.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.