When you buy a mattress, you have it for a long time—even if not forever, it certainly feels like it. A great one lasts for several years. But ever wonder what happens to it over the course of those years? The answer is a lot, and mostly all deterioration. Even if it still feels comfortable to you, it’s light years away from what it was when you bought it.
First, the feel. Sleep on a new mattress, and it’s buoyant and bouncy. But yours is probably softened, with a dip in the middle, right? That’s due to the compression of the foam layers. Over time, your body weight naturally squishes them into its shape, and the older it is, the less a mattress bounces back. If you’re sleeping on a spring mattress, that can often cause back pains—the less padding there is, the more you feel the impact of those coils. And when there isn’t proper support, your muscles overcompensate to keep you comfortable, leaving you achy and sore.
A mattress also is known to gain weight over time. We humans shed a lot of dead skin, and produce a lot of oil. Both sink into the mattress, no matter how many layers of sheets and mattress pads you have on it. And, unfortunately, dust mites love dead skin, so they hole up in your mattress, too, meaning that a mattress can gain as much as 10% more weight annually. Don’t worry, though—even if it sounds gross, it’s natural, and dust mites aren’t parasitic and don’t bite But it does make the case for avoiding used mattresses.
Both of these make the case for replacing a mattress at the right time. The recommendation is every 7 years, but those who sleep with a partner, or who put a lot of strain on their mattress might consider every 5. The rule of thumb: If you’re uncomfortable, it’s time to upgrade.