Why You Should Change Your Mattress Every 7 to 10 Years

What your mattress has to do with quality sleep and why you’ll need a new one every 7 to 10 years

By Andrea Pisani Babich
Couple stretching in bed

There’s one very simple reason why you need to change your mattress every 7-10 years: to get a better night’s sleep.

Buying a mattress is a pretty significant investment, so you might be a little disappointed to hear that you’ll need a new one every 7-10 years. But if you think about the amount of time you spend in your mattress and how important good sleep is to your overall well-being, making this investment every 7-10 years really isn’t bad at all.

You don’t need a Ph.D. in sleep disorders to know that you feel better when you are well rested. You are more productive, more resistant to stress, and better able to learn and retain new information. You’re (generally) an all-around nicer person when you’re not tired and cranky.

With so much at stake, doing everything in your power to ensure a good night’s sleep seems like a no-brainer. And having the right mattress that can give you support you need to have a good night’s sleep is so important.

Not convinced?

study published by the U.S. National Institutes of Health found that subjects who slept on new mattresses improved the quality of their sleep. When compared to their own personal mattresses (average mattress age 9.5 years), the new mattresses reduced back discomfort, irritability, headaches and other stress-related symptoms.

The conclusion? Replacing your mattress every 7-10 years can significantly improve your health and well-being even if you don’t think there is a problem with your current mattress. The truth is you may not even realize your mattress has lost its support. Because your mattress will degrade gradually, you likely won’t sense these changes occurring over time: less support, body impressions, the build-up of bacteria and bodily fluids.

When you’re really tired, you think you can sleep on anything — and probably have. But that doesn’t mean you have slept well or reaped the full benefit that 7-9 hours of high-quality sleep can provide. You need a clean, allergen-free mattress that provides the right support for your body.

Top four reasons to change your mattress every 7 to 10 years

1. Sagging

Believe it or not, mattresses age much the same way that people do (only at a faster rate). What was once firm, shapely, and gravity-defying eventually succumbs to the pressure of gravity and becomes saggy and limp. If you share your bed, this mushiness will make it feel like you are constantly falling toward your partner. Every move they make will jiggle your side of the bed disturbing you and disrupting your sleep.

Saggy mattresses are bad for single sleepers, too. No matter where you sleep, you will get the feeling that you are sinking. And that’s because you are. Your mushy mattress cannot support your body weight sufficiently. Throughout the night, your spine and neck will not be properly aligned causing back and neck pain and headaches. A sagging mattress needs to be replaced, stat.

2. Body Impressions

Think of your mattress like a big marshmallow. When you sleep on a fresh, new marsh…er, mattress, it springs back after you get out of bed. But after seven years, you’ve logged over 20,000 hours in your bed. Sleeping in basically the same place night after night applies pressure to the same area for all those many hours creating a permanent impression that will not bounce back. Like a stale marshmallow, your mattress will conform to the pressure points and stay that way. You will find yourself sleeping in a depression that is hard to roll out of.

3. Dust Mites

Even if you sleep alone, you’re not really alone. Unfortunately, not all bedfellows are invited and this type comes in astronomical numbers. Dust mites are microscopic arthropods related to spiders that feed on the tiny flakes of dead skin that you shed all the time. They thrive in warm, humid places, so they love your bed. Not only is the climate right, but there is an all-night diner with free food provided by you. Your bed is dust mite nirvana!

You may shed as much as 1.5 grams of skin in a 24-hour period, some of which is shed in your bed. Your daily deposit of dead skin can feed as many as one million dust mites! Imagine how many dust mites might be sharing your bed after seven years. Sounds like a good reason to change your mattress right about now.

But the numbers are not even the worst of it. Many people are allergic to dust mites, or rather their feces and body parts. Yuck! Symptoms of dust mite allergy are similar to seasonal allergies:

  • sneezing
  • runny nose
  • itchy, watery eyes
  • stuffy nose
  • postnasal drip
  • cough

And for asthma sufferers, this allergy can trigger an asthma attack. When you think about dust mites, you might be inclined to change your mattress even more often than every 7-10 years.

4. Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew can grow on and in your mattress if it becomes wet and stays wet for a period of time. Spills and even sweat can penetrate your mattress and create an environment that is perfect for hosting mold and mildew.

While some infestations can be cleaned, eventually repeated outbreaks will linger making your mattress smell musty. And that’s just the beginning. That musty odor can cause serious health problems for people who are allergic to mold, people with compromised immune systems, and people with asthma. Even healthy people often suffer from a stuffy nose, coughing and wheezing when exposed to mold. Breathing easy is just another reason to replace your mattress after seven years or so.

How you know it’s time to change your mattress

But what if you don’t notice any of these issues with your mattress? Do you still need to replace it? There’s no simple answer to this question, but the Better Sleep Council recommends you check your mattress for signs of old age issues after about seven years. Ask yourself these five questions:

  1. Do you wake up with aches and pains, stiffness or numbness?
  2. Do you notice you feel more rested when you sleep in a different bed, such as one at a friend’s house or a hotel?
  3. Are there stains, tears, impressions or other signs of damage on the mattress?
  4. Does your mattress smell musty?
  5. Are you usually tired even though you get a full night’s sleep?

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions before seven years, you may need to replace your mattress sooner. Not all mattresses wear the same and not all sleepers use their mattresses the same way. Lower quality mattresses will not last as long as premium styles. Some mattresses get used more than others, like those in the guest room. And bigger people will wear out their mattresses differently than smaller people. So, it’s a good idea to check the condition of your mattresses often.

How to make your mattress last longer

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make your mattress last longer.

  1. Protect your mattress from dampness and spills with a moisture proof or moisture resistant mattress cover. This will help to keep stains off your mattress and prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
  2. Vacuum your mattress with the upholstery attachment when you change your sheets. This will help keep your mattress from becoming the Dust Mite Diner.
  3. Rotate your mattress 180° so the top becomes the bottom. If it is a two-sided mattress, flip it over. Both steps will help to delay sagging and reduce the formation of impressions.
  4. Replace warped or broken foundations (box spring or slats) to prevent sagging. Providing a solid support for your mattress will help it retain its shape and provide better support longer.

Replacing your mattress doesn’t have to be hard or expensive

The good news is that it has never been easier to replace an old mattress. If you’re in the market (or think you will be soon), check out our guide on how to choose the best mattress or our roundup of the best rated mattresses available. And the convenience doesn’t stop with ordering your new mattress online. Most new mattresses arrive compressed and boxed, making shipping and transporting your bedroom a breeze. You’ll also have an opportunity to test out the mattress in the comfort of your own home (in most cases, with a risk-free trial period).

Here’s the bottom line: If you buy a queen mattress for $1,000 and sleep on it every night for seven years, you are actually paying only 40 cents a night for a good night’s sleep — a fraction of the cost of your daily cup of joe. That’s a small price to pay for a happier, healthier, and better you.

If you still have questions about why you need to change your mattress or if it might be time for a new one, drop us a line in the comments below.

Comments (6)

  1. I’ll look into purchasing a new mattress in the future. I’m thankful that your article mentions that it is important to replace your mattress every 7-10 years in order to deal with the depression that often occurs over time. My spouse and I are considering upscaling our bed size in the future.

  2. It is so true that sleep is incredibly important to both your mental and phyiscal health. 1/3 of your life you spend sleeping so it might as well be comfortable. Recently I found myself waking up in the middle of the night and being sore in the morning. Great article!! I knew it was time for a change got an awesome latex mattress and find myself more productive and alert during the day. thanks for sharing!!

  3. After almost 15 years with my current mattress, I finally broke down and bought a new mattress after reading this. All it took was one night on my new mattress to realize just how bad my old one had gotten! I think a lot of people (myself included) put off buying a new mattress longer then they should because buying a good mattress has traditionally been expensive and a hassle (scheduling deliveries, pickups, etc). I was definitely skeptical about buying a mattress online but the buying process couldn’t have gone any easier and I love my new mattress!

    • Brittany – we’re so happy that you love your new mattress! And we hear you – the thought of buying a new mattress can be daunting. Glad we were able to give you the extra motivation you needed to kick your old mattress to the curb. 😉 Sweet dreams!

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