Though everyhas a different lifespan depending on the material, manufacturer and usage, the average lifespan of a mattress is about 10 years. Of course, you can continue sleeping on a mattress much 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 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 mattress.
Your mattress is sagging, asymmetrical or lumpy
OK, this one's a given. If your mattress has visible signs of disrepair, it's time for a new one. 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)
Your mattress is noisy
Does your mattress creak, groan or pop? 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.
Your mattress has worn or frayed edges
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.
It feels harder or softer than when you bought it
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.
It takes you forever to fall asleep
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.
You wake up with pain or soreness
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.
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.
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.