The short answer is probably not. If your mattress is less than 10 years old (and hopefully it is), it is probably designed for one-sided use, so it doesn’t need to be flipped, nor should it be.
The longer answer has to do with mattress construction in the past twenty years. Simmons introduced the first single-sided mattress in 2000 in response to consumers’ desire for comfort without the need to flip and a new federal flammability standard that made two-sided mattresses too expensive. The new style quickly became the industry standard.
Now, most modern mattresses consist of layered components that are strategically stacked from bottom to top to provide comfort, support, and durability. A comfort layer of memory foam on the top surface relieves pressure points as you lay on it. The rest of the mattress consists of support layers or innerspring coils and maybe a cooling layer. Flipping these mattresses and sleeping on the support layer or the innersprings would completely undermine the comfort strategy of the mattress construction resulting in a very uncomfortable sleep surface.
You can still find two-sided mattresses, even ones that have pillow tops on both sides. These double-sided mattresses can be:
- Harder to find, because most consumers want a mattress they don’t have to flip
- Heavier, because they use more material
- More expensive, because both sides have to be treated with flame retardant and then tested for flammability
The upside is that they often last longer because they have two sleeping surfaces.
If your mattress is less than 10 years old, it is probably designed for one-sided use.
So, how do you know for sure if you need to flip your mattress?
The best way to prolong the life of your mattress and preserve your warranty is to follow the manufacturers’ instructions.
If you are shopping for a one-sided mattress that you don’t have to flip, look for mattress construction that builds layers from the bottom to the top in an asymmetrical pattern.
Flipping vs. rotating your mattress
Flipping your mattress is very different from rotating your mattress, and that difference matters.
Flipping your mattress means turning your mattress over so that the side you were sleeping on is now resting on your foundation or box spring.
Rotating your mattress means spinning your mattress 180 degrees, so your head will be resting where your feet once were.
While most newer mattresses should not be flipped, almost all mattresses should be rotated unless otherwise directed by the manufacturer. For instance, air mattresses that are designed with different zones should not be rotated or flipped.
While most newer mattresses should not be flipped, almost all mattresses should be rotated.
Why should you switch your sleep surface?
Night after night, you sleep for eight hours or so in the same spot. All those hours sleeping in one place on the same side of the bed can create a body impression on the surface that can:
- Shorten the life of your mattress
- Force you to roll into the depression or fight to maintain your position all night long
- Make it hard to move around
- Cause headaches as well as pain in your back, neck, joints from a misaligned spine
And all this discomfort will disrupt your sleep. Rotating your mattress (or flipping when recommended) allows it to recover its original shape and help to restore its ability to support your spine and maintain a neutral alignment.
When to flip or rotate your mattress
Most mattress manufacturers recommend switching your sleep surface by flipping and/or rotating your mattress every three to six months. Choosing a quarterly holiday can help you to remember this important mattress maintenance task.
Mark your calendar to flip and/or rotate your mattress on:
- New Year’s Day
- April Fools’ Day
- Fourth of July
- Columbus Day (second Monday in October)
Most mattress manufacturers recommend switching your sleep surface every three to six months.
Regular maintenance keeps your mattress happy and healthy
While you have your bedroom cleared of obstructions, and your mattress stripped for rotating or flipping, take the opportunity to vacuum the mattress and foundation to remove dust, debris, dried skin and the dust mites that feast on them.
And if your mattress rests on an actual box spring – made of wood frame and metal coils – don’t forget to flip that, too. Flipping it will extend the life of the box spring by allowing the coils to recover from nightly compression. Foundations that do not have metal coils or springs should not be flipped and do not need to be rotated.
Flipping and/or rotating your mattress are not the only ways to keep your mattress in tip-top shape. Regular mattress maintenance will extend its life and allow you to sleep more comfortably.
Don’t forget to:
- Clean your sheets weekly (You might be surprised by how many people don’t…)
- Keep your mattress dry with a mattress protector
- Remove stains as soon as possible
- Vacuum your mattress and foundation regularly
Remember: you spend about one-third of your life sleeping. Make sure that time is spent in a clean and healthy environment and one that supports you for restorative nights and pain-free days.
Still not sure if you need to flip your mattress? Drop us a line and we’ll do our best to answer your questions.