We’ll start this post with a fact you’ve probably heard before: the average person spends roughly one-third of their life sleeping. If you’re more of a numbers person, here’s the math for that average sleeper: assuming you sleep eight hours a night over your life span, we’re talking about 229,961 hours in bed (!).
Obviously, that’s a lot. And since your mattress is one of the most important aspects of sleep, it’s important to make sure you’ve got one that fits your specific needs. While we say this over and over and again, it’s true: each sleeper is unique and has different sleep needs. In the case of your mattress and bed, this includes firmness, temperature, and material.
If you’re asking yourself, “Do I need a new mattress?” there’s probably a reason. So one starting point for answering that question is figuring out what’s disrupting your sleep. So today we’ll help you determine when you need a new mattress, how to choose a new mattress or sleep system, and provide some potential hacks for keeping your existing sleep set-up.
To ultimately answer the “Do I need a new mattress?” question, you’ll need to ask some additional questions along the way—and luckily we have the answers.
First, How Long Does My Mattress Last?
If you’re wondering how often to replace your mattress, the standard answer is every seven to ten years. However, keep in mind that this lifespan is quoted for higher-end mattresses. You’ll typically find that foam and latex mattresses last longer than others. Of course, this always comes back to how good it is—if your foam mattress or topper is of poor quality, it can become depressed and lose its strength sooner than established brands do.
Really, this also comes down to the eye test. While there are obvious signs like tears or holes in your mattress, if you see a big sag, it’s an issue. If you’re a fan of memory foam, it can be harder to tell if it’s time to replace a mattress or topper since it subtly conforms to your body. But if you’re sinking too deep, or your impression remains, your memory foam isn’t “remembering” anymore, and it has lived out its lifespan.
What’s Disrupting My Sleep?
Your environment—specifically, your mattress—definitely has the potential to disrupt your sleep patterns. This starts with comfort. This “7 Signs It’s Time to Buy a New Mattress” article has some great overall tips on this topic, but one of our favorite ones is around whether or not your body is “complaining.”
If you’re struggling to fall asleep, tossing and turning often, waking up achy or in pain, that’s a surefire sign that your mattress is not providing the support you need. It could be sagging in the middle, which can lead to pain and soreness in your neck, shoulders and back. Sleep is a time of restoration, so if your body is having to work during those eight hours of shut-eye to keep you comfortable, you’re not even giving yourself a chance for a good night’s sleep—and it’s probably time to invest in a new mattress.
What Else Can Disrupt My Sleep?
The bad news: there are other mattress-related issues that can disrupt sleep. The good news: The two main ones have solutions that don’t involve purchasing an entirely new mattress.
For many people, allergies are a common problem. Why? Because mattresses hold dust mites and additional allergens that can make for a rough night’s sleep, or feeling unrested in the morning. As long as your mattress isn’t too old, you can buy covers for your mattresses (and pillows), which has the potential to help you if you’re an allergy sufferer.
But what if you’re waking up in the middle of the night due to being overheated? This is different, and there are other solutions. First off, if you sleep hot, a memory foam mattress can make that worse. Even ones with “cooling gel” will still heat up more than a mattress with natural materials. While many people buy “cooling” mattresses and sheets, these only offer passive cooling. They move sweat away from your body or add gel that will cool for four hours. If the support of the memory foam is important to you, then consider temperature-regulating sleep systems. These will work no matter what kind of mattress you have. If you are waking up in the middle of the night, it might only be temperature and not your mattress at all.
How Can I Avoid Buying a New Mattress Right Now?
If your mattress is sagging, yes. You can place something beneath the sagging section—like a piece of foam (like a mattress topper, cut it to the size and shape of your depression)—to prop it up. While this probably won’t be effective over the long haul, it can serve as a solid temporary fix.
If you’re happy with all of the other aspects of your mattress, this can help you alleviate those sleep disruptions associated with soreness and pain—and buy you some time before having to make a bigger investment.
So What Are Your Tips for Buying a New Mattress?
The most important aspect of buying a new mattress is based on personal preference. Since pressure comes into play when you are in pain, you’ll want to determine the firmness that is most comfortable for you. When you’re shopping, don’t be afraid to sit or
lie down on the bed. Ultimately, you want something with your desired amount of support, but also something that doesn’t break down too soon. If you like foam, make sure it’s of high quality.
While online mattress purchases have become more popular—and there are plenty of good brands out there—make sure they offer free and easy returns. This applies to traditional brick-and-mortar purchases, too. Make sure they have a reasonable return policy in case you get home, sleep for a few nights, and realize you need to reassess.
Buying a new mattress, or any sleep-related solution, is typically a cost we’re not expecting. However, if you return to the fact we started this post with, it’s much easier to justify the expense, and not let cost deter you from making a choice that has a significant impact on your health and well-being. Because if the thought of needing a new mattress has crossed your mind, there’s probably a reason, so it’s at least worth exploring the idea further.
That starts with monitoring your sleep, and identifying what’s disrupting it. That way, if it’s discomfort, overheating, or something else, you can make the best—and most cost-effective—decision to rectify the issue. And, whether you need an entirely new mattress or a temperature-regulating topper, it’s certainly a worthy investment since you’ll be spending a good chunk of those 229,961 hours on it.
Do you have any other mattress hacks or buying tips? We’d love for you to share them.