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You shouldn't flip your mattress -- here's why

Unlike the beds of the past, it's recommended you shouldn't flip your mattress. Learn why that's the case and how often you should rotate your mattress.

Sarah Mitroff Managing Editor
Sarah Mitroff is a Managing Editor for CNET, overseeing our health, fitness and wellness section. Throughout her career, she's written about mobile tech, consumer tech, business and startups for Wired, MacWorld, PCWorld, and VentureBeat.
Expertise Tech | Health | Lifestyle
Sarah Mitroff
3 min read
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How often should you flip your mattress? Long before foam mattresses, flipping your innerspring bed was the norm. By flipping and rotating your mattress, you could extend the life of it and help it wear down evenly over time. 

However, that wisdom doesn't really work with today's mattresses that come rolled up in a box to your front door, unless it's one of the handful of mattresses that are designed to be flippable like the Layla mattress. Many of these new beds have strategically placed layers of foam on only one side, so that side must always remain up.

But what are you supposed to do when your bed starts to sag, or wear down in the spot where you sleep? Keep reading.

Flipping an innerspring mattress


Most innerspring mattresses have identical padding on both sides.


I'll bet your first "big kid" bed used an innerspring mattress -- they have been the most popular choice of mattress for decades. Because they generally have identical padding and support on both sides of the mattress (with some exceptions), you are supposed to rotate and flip them a few times per year. Doing that ensure the mattress wears evenly on both sides so that you can get more life out of it. 

Read more: The 10 best pillows in 2019, according to the internet | Find the best mattress in 2019: 11 top brands compared

This was a regular practice for me with the two innerspring mattresses I've owned, and I always felt like my bed felt more comfortable and more supportive once I flipped it.

But today's innerspring mattresses from some of the top brands -- like Serta, Sealy, Beautyrest and Spring Air -- aren't designed to be flipped. They are constructed of several layers of padding on top of a base of coils, and so they should always stay right-side up.

Wait, so why can't I flip a foam mattress?


Nectar's mattress has several layers of foam stacked on one side.


Mattresses from Leesa, Purple, Casper, Nectar and more all have layers of padding that start at the top of the mattress and go down. It's not that you can't actually flip these kinds of beds, but you might end up damaging the mattress by doing so.

They also won't feel as comfortable if you flip them. In most of these beds, the top layers of foam are soft and less dense to promote airflow and cradle your body. If you flip the mattress, you'll likely be sleeping on a denser layer of foam that could feel warmer when you sleep. 

Rotate, don't flip


How often should you rotate your mattress? Most foam mattress companies will tell you to rotate your mattress 180 degrees every 3 to 6 months. That's especially important if you sleep alone and tend to stay to one side of the bed, so that you aren't wearing out on side faster than the other. 

Also make sure that your foam mattress is on the right kind of foundation -- if you use a box spring or bed frame that's not supportive enough, your mattress can sag -- and you might even damage the foam.

Comfort issues

One of the most common reasons people flip or rotate their mattresses is when they start to notice that their bed isn't feeling as comfortable as it once was. 

If, after several years of using your mattress, you notice the foam has broken down and rotating it doesn't fix any comfort issues you're having, there are a few more things you can try. Mattress toppers are a great way to change up the feel or firmness of your mattress. However, if you've had your bed around a decade and it's not getting any more comfortable, it might be time for a new mattress

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.