A good night's sleep is dependent on many things - like how annoying any bed partners are and how cool, dark and quiet your bedroom is - but it's also dependent on how good your mattress is. If you've figured out how to buy the best mattress for you, now it's time to understand how long it's likely to be in your life.
How long should a mattress last
Some 'facts' have slipped into everyday usage, like dogs can't look up (they can) and every year you swallow multiple spiders as you sleep (shudder). One of these 'facts' is that mattresses should last between 7 and 10 years. But is it actually true?
The short answer: as a general guideline, yes.
The long answer: but really it depends on a range of factors. We'll go into further details of what impacts on a mattress' lifespan later, but quality and type of mattress plays a big part. For now, let's look at how long you can expect each type of mattress to last.
Memory foam mattresses
Memory foam mattresses, and foam mattresses in general, should typically last around 6 to 7 years. They're somewhat durable and resistant to sagging. They're less resistant to softening and developing body impressions.
Overall, foam mattresses are good at lasting.
You can expect a hybrid mattress to last you around 6.5 to 7.5 years. This is slightly longer than the expected lifespan of a foam mattress. Like foam mattresses, hybrid mattresses are somewhat durable and resistant to sagging. Unlike foam mattresses, they're more resistant to softening and developing body impressions.
Overall, hybrid mattresses are good at lasting.
The longest lifespan of all mattresses goes to the latex mattress - 7.5 to 8.5 years. (Not surprising as they're one of the most expensive mattress types.) They're known for their durability and their resistance to sagging. They're about as good as a hybrid mattress when it comes to being resistant to softening and they resist developing body impressions well (but not as good as a hybrid).
Overall, latex mattresses are very good at lasting.
On the other end of the scale is the innerspring mattress with the shortest expected lifespan - around 5.5. to 6.5 years. Which also isn't surprising as innerspring mattresses tend to be the most affordable type. Innerspring mattresses aren't known to be particularly durable. Although they're good at resisting softening and developing body impressions, they're not so good at resisting sagging (same, tbh).
Overall, innerspring mattresses are ok at lasting.
What impacts a mattress' lifespan?
Your mattress is a hard worker, providing you a comfortable night's rest every. Single. Night. It's not that surprising that your mattress won't last you a lifetime.
As well as the mattress type, here are the other factors that impact how long your mattress will last.
Quality material = a longer-lasting mattress. Latex and high quality foam last longer than low density foams. Pay attention to what's inside your mattress. It's good to understand that more affordable mattresses will (probably) use less high quality materials. You'll need to do a trade-off between buying something more expensive that'll last or something more affordable that you'll need to replace.
Closely tied to material type is quality. If you buy a more affordable, entry-level mattress, it'll last less time than a high-end mattress. Sometimes spending more doesn't get you more, other than a brand name. But when it comes to mattresses, the more expensive ones usually have higher quality construction and materials and a longer warranty.
Sleep position and your weight
Side sleepers, this one's for you: your mattress might sag quicker, especially around the hips and shoulders. Heavier sleepers (115kg+) might find that their mattresses sag quicker too.
Cleaning (or lack of)
Here's some life advice for you: you need to clean your mattress (check your favourite search engine to discover just how many dead skin cells end up in your mattress every night and how many dust mites you share your mattress with). Let's just say the better you take care of your mattress, the longer it'll last.
The mattress manufacturer will provide care guidelines which we strongly advise you follow. We've got more tips about prolonging the life of your mattress coming up.
How often you use it
A master bedroom mattress will get used more often than a guest bedroom mattress. But there's also a difference between a mattress that's used 7-8 hours a day and one that's used 10+ hours a day. A mattress that's used more will last less time.
How to prolong your mattress' life
You've invested in a mattress, and you know what causes it to wear out quicker. Now learn some easy things you can do to extend the life of your mattress:
- Always use a mattress protector to guard against spills and dust.
- Rotate the mattress every 3 to 6 months, or as per the manufacturer's guidelines. This can help ensure even wear.
- Clean your mattress.
- Use a supportive base - the floor isn't supportive enough; mattresses should ideally be on bases.
- Open your bedroom windows regularly. This will help promote better ventilation and reduce dust and moisture build-up.
- Remove all bedlinen, including your mattress protector, regularly so your mattress can get some fresh air.
- Try to keep pets off your mattress so you won't have any claws or chewing accidents. (Or just always supervise a pet when they're on the bed.)
- Avoid letting children jump on the bed. It damages coils and other mattress parts.
Do I need to flip my mattress?
These days, most mattresses are 1-sided - think pillow-top and memory foam mattresses. They're intended to be 1 way up only. But if you've got an older 2-sided mattress, flipping them every 6 or 12 months can help them stay comfortable for longer as you're spreading the wear over both sides.
How to know when to replace a mattress
Although a mattress topper can help breathe new life into an older mattress, you'll know it's time to go mattress shopping when your mattress:
- Is showing signs of wear and tear. As well as sagging (see below), your mattress might develop lumps or stains or smells that you can't remove. You might also start to feel coils through the fabric.
- Sags. A sagging mattress feels a bit like a hammock, and you'll often see an imprint in the shape of your body. Sagging means the materials in your mattress, like foam or springs, are breaking down and can't provide the support your body needs, especially for your spine.
- Squeaks. If you've got springs, noisy ones let you know that the coils are worn.
- Causes asthma or allergies to kick in. Mattresses are a smorgasbord for bacteria and dust mites. Over time these can build up and cause people with sensitivities to dust mites (like people with asthma or allergies) to experience attacks more often. If washing your bed sheets and mattress protector doesn't stop them, it's time to buy a new mattress.
- Has mould. Things you'll find in a mattress include bacteria, dust mites and possibly (ew) mould. Black spots on your mattress are a sure sign of an unhealthy, mouldy mattress.
- Makes you ache and feel stiff when you wake up. Sure, that's also a sign of age but if you wake up every single day sore and stiff it could be time for a change.
- Lets you feel your partner moving. As a mattress ages, its ability to reduce partner disturbance gets less.