How to tell if your mattress and pillows are ruining your sleep

Your bed could be the reason you're always tired. Here's how to fix that.

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You toss and turn all night, sleep through your alarm and wake up every morning feeling exhausted, sore and stuffed up. Sound familiar? Your bed could be the culprit of your sleep issues. 

We are obsessed with tracking our sleep to feel more rested. We've been blaming technology, blue light, room temperature and naps for sabotaging our sleep. But if you stopped bringing your phone to bed, turn down the thermostat each night and avoid taking naps, and you still feel like you're not getting enough sleep, turn your attention to your mattress and pillows.

If you suffer from sleep issues, or always wake up feeling exhausted, you should first rule out sleep apnea or another serious medical condition. But if you're in the clear, it's time to blame your bed. A mattress or pillow that's too old, or not providing you with the right support, can ruin your sleep. Here's how to fix that.

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How to tell if you need a new pillow

The wrong kind of pillow, or one that's too old, could be preventing you from getting a good night's rest. Even if you don't think it's time to toss your current pillow, you should look for these three signs you should get a new one.

Sometimes, the dust and grime that builds up in your pillows (gross, I know) can trigger allergies while you sleep, causing you to wake up with congestion or make it hard to breathe at night. In that case, washing your pillow can help revive it. But if your pillow is too old -- more than two years -- you're better off buying a new one. Check out these tips on how to pick the perfect pillow for the way you sleep.

Read more: How your Amazon Echo can help you sleep better or let your Google Home speaker lull you to sleep 

Could your mattress be the reason you can't sleep?

A new pillow can go a long way to helping you sleep better, but if your mattress isn't right, that's going to have a much bigger impact on your sleep.

Before you start shopping for a new mattress, there are a few ways to fix issues with your current one. Was your mattress once firm, but has become softer and softer over the years? That lack of support can mess with the alignment of your spine and could cause aches and pains. There are a few ways to make a soft mattress more firm that are cheaper than buying a new mattress. Mattress toppers and using the right foundation for your bed can help.

Read more: Find the best mattress in 2021


What if you ended up buying a new mattress that turned out to be too firm, and you're past the trial period that most online mattress companies offer? A firm mattress can put too much pressure on your body, causing pain and stiffness. You can use a few tactics to make your firm mattress feel softer.

Read more: The best weighted blankets to help you sleep better

What if you mattress feels just right, but you wake up feeling congested night after night? Just like with your pillow, if your mattress is more than a few years old, it's likely collected a lot of dust, dust mites and debris that can trigger allergies. You can easily deep clean your mattress to help it feel new again.

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Lastly, if you have an older spring mattress, flipping it might help. However, because of how they are designed, you cannot flip newer foam mattresses. So if your foam mattress is lacking all of the support it once had, it's time to toss it.

If none of those fixes are helping you sleep better, then it's time to buy a new mattress. Most mattresses are designed to last 10 years, so if yours is older than that, look for these nine signs that it's time to replace it.

Ready to shop for a new one? First, ask yourself these seven questions to find the right mattress. Then, check out our guide to buying a mattress online and our list of the best mattresses you can get in a box shipped to your front door.

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.