How long does a mattress last? Plus signs it's time for a replacement

Experts weigh in on when you should be replacing your mattress, and the signs to look for that it's time to look for a new one

 Making space to hang pieces of art was a top priority when Luq Adejumo bought a run-down Victorian terrace to renovate and extend
(Image credit: Juliet Murphy)

It's true that we spend a lot of time in our mattresses, a third of our lives in fact. The years may even seem to fly by, and if you can't recall the last time you bought a mattress, or your mattress is no longer providing you with the great sleep it once did, it may be time to upgrade to a new one. 

The general rule of thumb, according to medical experts and retail professionals is that a mattress should be replaced every 7-10 years.  However, that time frame isn't always so black and white. Not only does it depend on the mattress type, but a number of factors come into play as to how long your mattress will last such as weight, sleeping in the same position every night, even jumping on the bed.  Build quality and materials that are outside of your control are part of it too. 

For instance, innerspring models last for around 6-7 years; hybrids, around 8 years, foam mattress around 10 years, and if it's good quality latex, it could last up to 15 years. 

It's easy to get in the routine, the familiarity of your mattress, but if your mattress isn't working for you, it's time to recognize the signs and kick it to the curb (after it's properly wrapped and disposed of safely of course). This decision will be better for your health and wellbeing. We promise.

Below we share the signs that it may be time to replace your mattress. From there, head over to our best mattress guide to educate yourself on the top mattresses as well as tips for choosing a new mattress. 

Woman can't sleep

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Signs you should replace a mattress

  • It's sagging, softening, and might even creak: A mattress that has lost its shape means it is no longer supports your body. For instance, innerspring mattresses may cause discomfort and create noises as indications of deterioration due to sagging and poking coils. Both memory foam and latex mattresses exhibit softening, sagging, and loss of support as a sign of their decline, according to April Mayer, a sleep
    expert at Amerisleep. "When you feel like you're trapped when at a particular part of the bed, those dips may mean that your bed is losing support. Meanwhile, Victoria Wildhorn, sleep health content specialist for Mattress Clarity advises looking for noticeable body impressions (especially for heavier people) and to see if the mattress regains its shape after getting up.
  • You're waking up with aches and pains: Stiff neck, sore muscles, yes your mattress could be too blame, especially if you don't feel like it's supporting you, whether from getting old or being too soft or firm for your sleep position.  The right mattress will allow for your body to relax more completely during the night which allows your body to recover and for you to sleep better. "When your mattress starts losing support it becomes harder to stay comfortable for long periods of time as the body is having to
    rely on muscles and joints to properly provide support," says Dr. Alex Tauberg, a Pittsburgh-based chiropractor. "When this starts to happen, waking up with pain or stiffness is common."
  • You can't find a comfortable sleep position: Over time, a mattress composition changes with wear and tear. If you find yourself tossing and turning in discomfort, the physical sign that your mattress could be too blame, or perhaps you don't have the best mattress that suits your sleep positions or even your body build. Lighter people will typically enjoy a softer mattress, while heavier people get the most support with firm mattresses.  "What many sleepers don’t realize is mattresses are not one size fits all --- and a mattress that isn’t built for your specific body type will break down at a faster rate – resulting in the unsupportive 'mattress sag,'" said Jeff Brown, president of Big Fig Mattress. A temporary fix could be updating with a mattress topper, but if it's nearing or past its recommended lifespan, we think it may just be more sensible to look into replacing it now, than down the line.
  • You're having allergies: Mildew and dust mites can get trapped in your mattress, making you wake up with watery eyes, runny nose and headaches, said Wildhorn, who suggested looking for mattresses made of materials like latex and wool. The number of dust mites, dead skin, and allergens that collect into a mattress over time and even causes it to gain weight? Astounding! Combat this by using an easily replaceable and washable mattress protector, and look for mattresses labeled as hypoallergenic, like latex ones. 

how to get rid of bed bugs - a vacuum cleaner in a bedroom - Getty

(Image credit: Getty)

Should I replace my mattress if I have a bed bug infestation?

A telltale sign of bed bugs is black-looking ink marks on the mattress and waking up itchy, perhaps bites on your skin. Once a bed bug infestation is discovered, the natural thought may be to dispose of it immediately. However, this is not recommended and could lead to further outbreaks in your building or neighbors. Instead, you must get rid of the bed bugs first. 

Once your home is wiped clean of bed bugs, what you do with your belongings is up to you. 

This leads to the trauma or the memory of the bed bugs, according to Diana Ludwiczak, an NYC-certified bed bug specialist and CEO of Doctor Sniffs Bed Bug Dogs. "People who cannot handle seeing or sleeping on the black stains will throw the bed away. Bed bugs often cause psychological trauma and many people get triggered each year during mosquito season. This is because the mosquitoes leave itchy marks and a person might be unsure if the bite is from a mosquito or abed bug," she says.

A new mattress is not necessary if you have a bed bug issue, but it might definitely give you some peace of mind once everything is taken care of. And if you do choose to dispose of your mattress in the incident of bedbugs, make sure it's well wrapped. 

Moving soon?

Moving soon? It may not be worth it to actually transport your mattress to a new locale.  Whether you're doing it on your own, or hiring movers, between the struggle and the cost of labor, it might just be worth it to Tom Trainer, a moving professional and founder of Relocation Concierge. 

What about mattress warranties?

While most mattress companies offer warranties that expand as long as 10 to 25 years, oftentimes they require certain structural factors to be met, and sometimes, it's almost all too easy to have your warranty voided by not putting it on the right foundation, owning it secondhand and stains.  Different policies about repairing, replacing, or refund based on how long you've had the existing mattress. 

So, technically yes, if part of your mattress problems stems from structural issues (like sagging more than 1-inch, you may be able to take advantage of the warranty. 

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Jaclyn Turner
Jaclyn Turner

Jaclyn is an eCommerce editor at Future Home Interest, and scouts out the best of the best for buying guides to help you fill your home with housewares you will love. She joined the team in January 2021. She has previously worked with sites like Apartment Therapy, The Kitchn, The Spruce, The Spruce Eats, and MyDomaine, but got her start at the trade mag Home Furnishings News, which fueled her excitement for innovation in the home category and seeing the newest launches.  When Jaclyn's not working, she loves long strolls through HomeGoods, unwinding with a chilled glass of Rosé, and entertaining her Cavapoo puppy, Reese. 

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