One of the questions I get a lot is how do I know when it’s time to get a new mattress or to replace my existing mattress.
I wanted to make sure I provided people with a really clear answer on this, because I also think there’s a lot of misinformation out there, some of which is being promulgated by the mattress industry in an effort to get you to buy more mattresses.
Not Good Reasons to Buy a New Mattress
But before we get into the good reasons to buy a new mattress, let’s talk about some reasons that are not good reasons to buy a new mattress, but you’ll hear a lot.
For example, replace it every eight years or replace it every ten years or every five to seven years. The reality is it doesn’t matter how many years old your mattresses is as long as it continues to provide you with the things you need from your mattress. You don’t need to replace it.
Likewise, it doesn’t matter whether your mattress is still under warranty, whether its warranty expired after ten years and now it’s been twelve. That doesn’t matter. As long as it is still meeting your requirements, you do not need to replace it.
Also never let someone scare you into the idea that your mattress doubles in weight every so often due to dust mites or other things accumulating in it. That is ridiculous. It is a ridiculous thing that has been scientifically disproved a million times over. You should never let that scare you into buying a new mattress.
So those are things that should never factor into your decision.
Good Reasons to Replace Mattress
Now I’ll talk about some things that should factor into your decision.
Really there are some very clear signs that you should be looking for to know when it’s time to replace your mattress.
The main thing is if your mattress is no longer providing you with proper back support or pressure relief. Those are the two things that everybody absolutely needs to get from their mattress.
The way you know generally if your mattress isn’t providing you with proper back support is you’ll often wake up with back pain in the morning.
The reason you wake up with back pain is because when your spine is not held in a proper neutral position during your sleep, what happens is that tiny little muscles around your spine are having to work overtime, all through the night, to try to hold your spine in a proper neutral position, since your mattress isn’t doing it for you.
They’re having to work while you’re resting and when you wake up in the morning they generally let you know how unhappy they are about that.
Pressure relief is another common thing where a mattress just loses its capabilities over time.
The way you’ll know this is most acutely if you are waking up with loss of circulation in your arm or pain in your shoulders or your hips, particularly after sleeping on your side. You might feel either the pain or you might feel the loss of circulation either in your arms or your legs.
In any of those situations, what it means is that your mattress is not providing adequate pressure relief. Circulation is being cut off, capillaries aren’t getting proper blood flow. That’s resulting in pain or loss of circulation or both.
This is a common thing as foams breakdown or other padding layers break down over time. Your mattress’s pressure relieving capabilities are reduced.
A more subtle sign of the same thing would be if you find yourself tossing and turning a lot. You may not be aware of what’s causing that, but in a lot of cases it is inadequate pressure relief. It’s actually that your body, while you’re sleeping, is starting to detect a little bit of pain or loss of circulation and as a result it’s changing positions without you even being conscious of it and you may just simply be conscious of the vague notion that you’re tossing and turning.
Another really valid reason why you might need a new mattress is if you didn’t choose the right one when you chose your current mattress.
You might realize this if you’ve always had issues with back support or pressure relief on that mattress.
Or it might just be that it doesn’t meet your preferences. You’ve always found it to be too soft or too hard or you prefer to sleep more in it or more on it or you like or dislike the amount of memory feel that it has.
Or maybe it just doesn’t meet certain needs of yours that are important to you, like for example edge support.
There’s a lot of cases where you may feel like it’s not worn out yet but it doesn’t meet my needs nonetheless. That’s still a good reason to get a new mattress.
Another good reason to get a new mattress is if you are looking to upgrade to some of the newer features that are out. Maybe you have a memory foam mattress and you love memory feel but you do feel like it sleeps a little too hot. Well they’ve come out with some new innovations in memory foam that do help memory foam sleep a little cooler.
Maybe you and your partner have very different sleep needs and you just really want a mattress where you can have what you want and need and they can have what they want and need and that’s possible now. Maybe that wasn’t something you were aware of when you were buying your current mattress.
Maybe you’ve become pretty concerned about chemicals or the use of natural materials in the products that you use. You can now get mattresses that to varying degrees either minimize the number of chemicals that they use or maximize the amount of natural materials that they use.
This to the extent that your criteria has changed or to the extent that the available set of products has changed to better meet your criteria is also a valid reason to get a new mattress.
The last category of reasons to get your new mattress is what I call the obvious bucket. It’s things like mattress is damaged, it’s got bedbugs, it smells, it making loud squeaky noises or any number of those types of things. In all these cases, you obviously need a new mattress.
Likewise you may need a different size. Obviously you can’t make a mattress bigger, so you need to change to a new mattress to get to the size that you need.
Or maybe you’re looking for a fresh start for whatever reason. New home, new marriage, new what-have-you. Those are also valid reasons that I’ve put in the obvious category of when to get a new mattress.
I hope this was helpful and that it helps you sleep well.
Alex P. Davis has a BA in Interior Design from The New York School of Interior Design and 10 years of experience expertly designing sophisticated interiors.