7 signs that you need a new mattress

Clara V.
Clara V.Published on

A good night’s sleep is vital for a healthy, happy body. One of the most important factors in catching some better Zs is a comfortable, supportive mattress, which is why you should ensure that the one you use is in tip-top shape, and that you replace it if it isn’t.

Mattresses are no small expense, but a good night’s sleep is priceless. If your mattress is starting to show signs of age, then a new one may be a worthwhile investment.

A young man sitting on a pillow top mattress in a mattress store.

How often should you change your mattress?

The average lifespan of a mattress is usually around 7 to 8 years. Of course, it may last shorter or longer depending on the type and quality of your mattress and how you maintain it. However, as a general rule of thumb, you should consider replacing a mattress if you’ve had it for longer than 8 years.

Not replacing your mattress when it’s reached the end of its life can have adverse effects on your health and hygiene and can decrease the quality of your sleep.

The signs that you need a new mattress

Your mattress is lumpy, sagging, or asymmetrical

This is probably the biggest telltale sign that you need a new mattress, and there’s nothing you can really do to fix a mattress that’s in this state of disrepair. When your mattress loses its shape, it doesn’t support the natural curvature of your spine.

This is what that can look like:

  • Your mattress sags in the middle or on the edges.
  • Body impressions appear more frequently and last longer - a firm mattress should be able to go back to its original form after you’ve slept on it.
  • Your mattress is lumpy or has an uneven surface.
  • You can feel coils through the fabric of the mattress.

Note that if your bed frame doesn’t have a centre support, then this can cause even a new mattress to sag.

If your mattress is two-sided, then it could also benefit from being flipped every 6 months. If the other side is also sagging, then you might need to get a new one.

Your mattress smells

We know, gross. Mattresses can start to smell over time as mildew, mould, and bodily fluids like sweat build up in the mattress - this can happen more quickly if you live in a humid climate.

If you’re worried about this, look for a mattress with good ratings for sweat repellency, always use a mattress protector, and wash your bedding regularly.

You wake up with pain or soreness

If you wake up in the morning with muscle or joint pain, soreness, or stiffness, then this could indicate that your mattress isn’t as supportive as it was when you first bought it. Neck, shoulder, back or hip pain could be caused by the inability of your mattres to relieve pressure on these areas.

Pain or soreness could also be your sleeping position or your pillow. It might be a good idea to first try using another pillow to check whether that’s what’s causing you problems.

Your mattress is noisy

If your mattress squeaks or produces a screechy metal noise, then this could be a sign that you’re better off buying a new one.

However, there are some checks you should go through before rushing to the mattress store.

To check whether or not the noise is coming from the mattress, take it off your bed frame and place it on the floor. Lay on it and move around to test for noise. If it’s making noise, then you’ll likely need to replace it.

If the noise doesn’t seem to be coming from the mattress, then tighten the joints of your bed frame. If this doesn’t work, lubricating the metal bolts or screws or adding cushioning between the frame and mattress (such as with a piece of thin fabric) should help.

You’re suffering from allergies

Dust mites thrive in mattresses and bedding. If you find that your allergies are flaring up at night or first thing when you wake up, then it may be the allergens in your mattress causing your stuffy nose and watery eyes.

Those who suffer from allergies may want to consider getting a hypoallergenic mattress made of materials that help prevent allergen buildup, such as natural latex and wool.

Frequently washing your bedding and using a dust-mite resistant mattress protector can help extend the life of a mattress. If you already do this and you’re still getting dust allergies, then you may need to say goodbye to your mattress.

Someone lifting a mattress off a fabric bed base.

You find it difficult to get comfortable

Tossing and turning shouldn’t be a nightly occurrence, so if you have trouble getting or staying comfortable while you sleep, then this might also be a sign that your mattress has lost its support.

However, there may be other reasons why you’re less comfortable in your sleep, such as a change in sleeping style, moving to a home or room that’s hotter or colder, or a new sleeping partner. You should also rule out conditions like insomnia and anxiety.

Sometimes this discomfort is temporary while you get used to your new situation, but if it persists, then a new mattress might have to be on the cards.

Another indication that your mattress could be on the way out is that you sleep better in hotel beds or at your friend’s homes. We're typically the most comfortable in our own bed, because that’s what we’re used to.

Your sleeping situation has changed

Sometimes your mattress is in perfect condition, but a change in your sleeping arrangements or health may just mean that what you need out of a mattress has changed.

This can include:

  • Significant weight loss or weight gain, including pregnancy.
  • Gaining a sleeping partner. This might call for a new mattress that isolates motion for minimal partner disturbance.
  • Diagnosis of a health condition, such as arthritis or fibromyalgia. This may require you to get a mattress with improved pressure relief.

The bottom line

We spend a third of our life in bed, so investing in a good mattress and ensuring that you maintain it well is important to live a healthier life.

While there’s no exact blueprint of when to change your mattress, at the end of the day, you should replace your mattress if it’s no longer letting you get a restful sleep.

If you’re in need of a new mattress, you can read our Mattress Buying Guide and read reviews of the top-rated mattresses listed on our site.

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