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How long should a mattress last? Depends. The Better Sleep Council (BSC) recommends changing your mattress every seven years. Of course this recommendation is an average. When to get a new mattress usually depends on the mattress’ age, but low quality mattresses might last just one year, while high quality latex mattresses have been known to last for as long as 20 years.
The BSC recommends evaluating the quality of your mattress twice each year when you change the clocks, to ensure you won’t be compromising good sleep – and your health – by sleeping on a mattress that’s deteriorating.
Because different construction and materials will lead to different mattress lifespans, we put together the following guide to how long a mattress is good for. It will also help you detect the specific signs that tell you your mattress may be in need of replacement.
How long is a mattress good for?
It depends on the mattress type
“How long should a mattress last?” isn’t a straightforward question to answer. The answer depends on a number of factors, including the construction of the mattress, the quality of the materials used, how the mattress is used, and the type of mattress. In general latex mattresses last longest, while innerspring needs to be replaced soonest. See the chart below for the average lifespan of different mattress types.
|Mattress type||How long it lasts on average (years)|
|Innerspring||5 – 7|
|Memory Foam||6 – 7|
|Hybrid||6 – 7|
|Pillow Top||5 – 7|
|Waterbed||7 – 9|
When should I change my mattress?
Because we all spend thousands of hours on our mattresses, it is not uncommon to wonder about how often you should get a new mattress. Unfortunately, there is not a one-size-fits-all answer. Instead, how long a mattress lasts depends on its type, the quality of its materials and its use.
Hybrid mattresses have an innerspring system as well as a gel or memory foam top layer. The coils in the main body of the mattress should last six years. The top layer should last just as long. However, over time, those materials tend to get less comfortable. Because there is a coil construction in these mattresses, the weight from consistent use could cause them to sag over time.
Innerspring mattresses first entered the consumer marketplace in the 1800s. Depending on how often you sleep on it and the quality of its construction, an innerspring mattress should last approximately five and a half years. If you purchase a high-quality innerspring mattress, the thick coils are less likely to deteriorate quickly. If the coils must absorb a significant amount of weight, this could shorten the lifespan of the mattress.
Memory foam mattress
In the 1970s, NASA invented the foam used in memory foam mattresses. The lifespan of memory foam mattresses depends on factors like the weight of the people sleeping on it and the foam’s density. If you choose a low-density memory foam mattress, that money-saving option could result in it being more prone to sagging. On average, the answer to how long does a memory foam mattress last is up to seven years. If the material stops bouncing back and no longer conforms to your body, it may be time for a replacement.
Latex mattresses are made using a variety of manufacturing processes, as well as many different materials. For example, some latex mattresses feature all-natural materials, while others are constructed using synthetic latex. In general, you can expect a synthetic latex mattress to last up to eight and a half years, while a natural latex mattress can last for 15 years or longer.
Pillow-top mattresses feature a top layer material that resembles a standard pillow. That means, just like a standard pillow, it breaks down and becomes lumpy over time. These mattresses are a type of innerspring mattress, except they feature a comfort layer. On average, a pillow-top mattress lasts approximately six and a half years.
Waterbed mattresses require maintenance. Caring for your waterbed ensures it lasts between seven and nine years. You must use a treatment called a waterbed conditioner to maintain the water in the bed. Otherwise, there is the potential for microbes and minerals to break down the vinyl of the mattress. There might also be occasional leaks that you must patch. If your mattress develops several leaks, then it is time for a replacement.
If you have an air mattress the question of when to get a new mattress may not be as difficult. It is time to replace your air mattress when it no longer remains inflated all night, as this is indicative of leaks in the mattress. If they are obvious leaks you might be able to patch them, but in some cases the leaks are due to failing seals. In general air mattresses used by guests will last for eight years or more, but an air mattress as your main mattress might succumb sooner to the stress of heavy use.
High-quality organic mattresses made from all-natural materials are known to have a longer lifespan when compared with mattresses made from chemical components. These mattresses are typically made from natural latex, which is extremely durable and can easily last 15 years or longer. In fact, many of the organic mattresses made from natural latex will have warranties of 20 or 25 years or longer.
When to get a new mattress
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 70 million Americans are suffering from chronic sleep issues. A good night’s sleep is crucial for everyone’s health and well being. While many instances of poor sleep might have to do with medical conditions, your mattress could also be the culprit. Any of the signs below might tell you when to get a new mattress.
7 Signs to look out for
- Allergies worsening: Your mattress might be causing issues if you notice an uptick in symptoms and it is not allergy season. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America teaches us that dust mites cause significant issues for those with allergies. Specifically, those with a dust mite allergy can have trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing. If not kept properly clean, an older mattress can attract a build-up of allergy-aggravating dust mites.
- Coil problems or other damage: When you move around on your bed, does it make squeaking sounds? If so, that could mean there are coil problems or other damage. Coils in innerspring mattresses sag, squeak and poke through the top layer of the mattress as they age. If you notice this or any other visible signs of use, it might be time for a replacement.
- Muscle pain: Sleep Science reports mattresses featuring layers of foam and medium firmness could reduce muscle pain. If you wake up sore, and if the pain subsides after stretching a bit, that could mean it is time for a different mattress.
- Sagging: If you find a dent that is the same shape as your body, that is a sign that your mattress is experiencing too much wear. Sagging can occur in just about any type of mattress.
- You have started to sleep hot: If temperature regulation has never been an issue, but recently you have begun to notice you are hotter when sleeping it could be time to buy a new mattress. As the materials of the mattress age they can become softer and allow you to sink deeply into the mattress. This can restrict airflow, making you feel warmer than usual.
- Your mattress edges are weak: If you notice the edges of your mattress sinking significantly when you get out of bed it could be a first sign that it’s time to replace the mattress. This is because the edges of the mattress are particularly vulnerable to break down.
- Your mattress is seven years old: This is the average age for replacing a mattress, and while some may need replacement sooner, and others can last longer, it’s a good idea to begin considering a new mattress once your has reached this average replacement age.
How to prolong the life of a mattress
Even though each type of mattress has its general lifespan, there are things you can do to improve that lifespan. Don’t simply go by the averages in how long should a mattress last. Instead be proactive and increase the life of your mattress by following the tips below:
- Avoid jumping: Kids love jumping on beds, especially innerspring mattresses featuring bouncy coils. However, that causes unnecessary pressure and weight on the coils that could cause them to break down.
- Keep your mattress clean: Vacuum your mattress at least twice annually to prevent the build-up of allergens, dust and sweat. A good way to vacuum is to do it seasonally when rotating your mattress. It is also a good idea to spot clean as soon as you see any dirt on the mattress.
- Use mattress protection: Using waterproof mattress protection, like a zippered cover, keeps it resistant to spills and other mishaps.
- Ensure proper support: If your mattress is not on a box spring, foundation or solid platform, it is unable to wear evenly. Check with the mattress manufacturer to make sure you’re using the right type of support for your mattress type.
The bottom line
When to get a new mattress is contingent upon the type of mattress. Construction, materials, care, and other factors will all contribute. On average you can expect a mattress lifespan of seven years, unless you have an air mattress or natural latex mattress. If you see signs of your mattress becoming less supportive, or you have issues sleeping well or waking with pain there’s a good chance it’s time to replace your mattress.
Frequently asked questions
How often should you buy a new mattress?
On average it is recommended to replace your mattress every seven years, although this will vary based on the quality, materials and construction of your mattress.
Can an old mattress cause back pain?
Absolutely. As the materials break down and become softer, your back and hips receive less support which can lead to back pain.
How long does a Tempur-Pedic mattress last?
Tempur-Pedic mattresses are made from the same formula memory foam that was developed by NASA in the 1970s. While typical memory foams last just six to seven years this original memory foam is more durable and Tempur-Pedic offers a full replacement 10-year warranty on all its mattresses.
How long does a memory foam mattress last?
On average a memory foam mattress is expected to last six to seven years. The durability of memory foam is related to the weight of the sleeper, with heavier folks needing a replacement sooner than petite people.
What type of mattress lasts the longest?
Natural latex is the most durable mattress material and some high-quality mattresses made from natural latex can last for over 20 years before needing replacement.
Steven Walters contributed to this article