Replacing your Mattress: A Quick Guide
Would you describe your mattress as lumpy or saggy? Do you wake up achy in the morning? Does getting in bed feel like getting into a hammock? Those are clues you may need a new mattress.
Buying a new mattress can represent a big investment – but given that most people will spend a third of their life sleeping, it is an investment to consider carefully. Is it time to ditch your mattress? Here are some of the signs you may need to go shopping:
Your Mattress is Old
Most mattresses will last between 7 to 10 years. While some companies will offer longer warranties, mattress warranties do not refer to the life expectancy of your purchase. The warranty covers workmanship and materials. However, just like many products used with extreme regularity, you’ll notice wear and tear before you reach the end of the warranty. While flipping your mattress regularly may extend its life, if your mattress is over 8 years old and you start feeling uncomfortable, it may be time to change it.
You Wake up Groggy or Achy
If you toss and turn all night to avoid pressure point pain from a hard bed, you probably aren’t getting a very restful night sleep. On the other hand, if your spine is improperly supported during your sleep due to a soft bed, you will wake up with joint pain. Those aches and pains tend to go away as you start moving during the day, but can start causing issues that last longer and longer.
Old mattresses tend to gradually lose the ability to provide proper support and once the comfort zone has matted down, you will get pressure points by sleeping directly on the springs. As the comfort layers lose their shape and bounciness, your midsection, which is the heavier part of your body, will sag into the mattress. Eight hours spent on a saggy bed will leave you achy and tired.
You Start Preferring Other Beds
While staying at a hotel, or at a friend’s house, you may notice that you sleep better. Since sleeping away from home, in a new environment, should typically be more difficult, this is a strong indicator that you are due for a mattress update. Even more telling is if you start preferring the living room couch to your bed.
Your Allergies are Getting Worse.
If you find that allergies seem worse at night or first thing in the morning it may be an indication that it’s time for a new bed. Dust mites are one of the most prevalent allergens and they thrive in mattresses and bedding. Memory foam and latex are most resistant to dust mites. Dust mites love to hibernate and multiply in the cotton felt layer that is found in most spring mattresses. Using a dust mite resistant mattress cover and frequently washing pillows and bedding can also help alleviate dust mites and extend the life of a new mattress.
Your Mattress has a Noticeable Sag
Inspect your bed to see if there are signs of sagging or body impressions. Sagging can occur as springs break down and lose resiliency and impressions occur as the various materials compress over a short period of time. Sagging and impressions as little as 2 cm in depth are linked to increased pain. You can measure those impressions or sags with a string and a measuring tape:
- Remove all bedding from your bed and smooth away wrinkles in the fabric of your mattress.
- Tape a string to one side of your mattress, and lay it across the width of your bed.
- Pull it taut and tape it on the opposite side. While most of the string rests on top of the surface of your mattress, it does not make contact where it crosses over the sagging portion.
- Using a measuring tape, place the end of it so it touches the bottom of the sagging portion of your mattress alongside the string. Hold it perpendicular to the bed. Read the measurement on your tape where it intersects the string.
If your pillow-top mattress is showing a sag 2 cm or greater, you should strongly consider replacing it.
Your Mattress May Not Be to Blame
If your bed isn’t that old, doesn’t sag, and you wake up achy no matter where you sleep, the culprit may be something else.
Additionally, having a bad pillow, or one that doesn’t suit you, can sometimes make it feel like you have a bad bed. Make sure you check your pillow first if you wake up with neck pain, shoulder pain, or headaches. Your chiropractor can help guide you in the purchase of a pillow better suited to your needs.
Furthermore, talk to your chiropractor about the position in which you sleep. The sleeper may be to blame, not the bed.