15 Signs You Need a New Mattress ASAP
Is it time for you to upgrade?
The average person spends a third of their life in bed, but those long hours logged on your mattress aren't always as restful as they should be. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three adults in the U.S. isn't getting enough sleep, and for some of those folks, a bad mattress may be to blame. If you're on the fence about upgrading your bed, read on to discover the definitive signs you need a new mattress.
Your bed has a dip in the middle.
Find yourself falling asleep on one side of your bed, but waking up in the middle, a few inches lower? If so, it's time to replace that mattress.
"If you think your mattress is losing support and there could be a 'dip' in the middle, it is highly recommended to take a yard stick and place it across the mattress," says Bill Fish, a certified sleep science coach and founder of sleep health and news site Tuck. "If you see an indentation, it is time to begin your research as you aren't getting the support necessary to get a great night of sleep."
The mattress has a chemical smell that won't go away.
"In the beginning, many mattresses have chemical smells. The solution to that problem is to let them off gas for a day or two, preferably in the sun," says Bart Wolbers, a researcher at Nature Builds Health, a company dedicated to investigating the scientific validity of natural health interventions.
"After that time, the mattress shouldn't smell like chemicals. If it does, then toxic glues, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), or polyurethane is off gassing. All these compounds add to the toxic load of your body. Toxin exposure is linked to increased cancer, diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune conditions, and brain illness risk. No mattress should strongly smell like chemicals after a week of use. … Replace—and opt for organic materials!"
You're getting skin reactions.
If you wake up itchy or with hives in the morning, your mattress could be the culprit. "Believe it or not, even organic materials used in mattresses are sprayed with pesticides," explains Wolbers. "Other compounds such as glues or polyurethane also [create] skin issues."
Additionally, "mattresses can also have poor breathability and break down over time," causing irritation, Wolbers cautions.
You're experiencing insomnia.
If you're having trouble going to sleep or staying asleep, it might not just be that triple-shot latte you had in the afternoon—it could be your mattress. "If you can't fall asleep, or frequently wake up during the night and adjust positions, it could be time to replace your mattress," says Martin Rawls-Meehan, CEO of sleep technology company Reverie. "If you're tossing and turning at night, there's a good chance that your mattress isn't providing the proper comfort your body needs."
You're sinking deeper into the bed than before.
You used to be able to sit on your bed comfortably, but now it's feeling more and more like quicksand—what gives? "If you notice that you sink deeper than two inches into the foam, or if you notice the impression left by your body lasting long after you've gotten up, then you should know it's time to move on to a better mattress," says Stacey Morgan, co-owner of Ted and Stacey's Mattress Guides & Reviews.
You have morning back pain.
That nagging pain in your lower back could be more than the result of your grueling workouts.
"Morning back pain is an indication that it may be time for a new mattress," says Dr. Thanu Jey, clinic director at Yorkville Sports Medicine Clinic in Toronto, Ontario. "When a mattress no longer provides firm support to your spine, you may begin to wake up with an achy back."
Your bed is visibly lumpy.
You keep trying to get your bed to look presentable, but those lumps and bumps under your sheets just won't let that happen—and in that case, it's time for a new mattress.
"Mattresses that are lumpy and uneven provide uneven pressure on the body that will cause you to wake up with aches and pains in the morning," says naturopath Dr. Kasey Nichols of Online Mattress Review. "The sticking-out-of-mattress springs can potentially cause injury when sleeping at night and are a sign of excessive wear of the top padding of the mattress."
You have a persistent stuffy nose.
Those cold-like symptoms that last all year could be more than just your allergies acting up. "If you are experiencing new allergy signs and symptoms, a change of your mattress may be the answer to your problems," says Nichols. "If you're not using a mattress cover, dust and other allergens can accumulate in your mattress, leading to you waking up feeling like you have a cold."
Your mattress has stains.
You get rid of your clothes when they have stains you can't get out in the wash—and you should extend the same courtesy to your mattress, too. "Excessive staining of your mattress can foster mold and microbe growth that can cause illness over time," says Nichols.
The good news? "The use of mattress protectors and the occasional flipping of certain types of mattresses can extend the life of your mattress," while preventing some of those stains in the first place, says Nichols.
Your home has mold.
That mold problem elsewhere in your home is likely extending past your walls—in fact, it might even have infiltrated your mattress. According to master mattress craftsman Tim Masters from Quality Sleep Shop and My Green Mattress, based in La Grange Highlands, Illinois, if your home has a mold problem, your mattress has one, too, and it's time to replace it.
Your bed makes noise.
If the noises in your bedroom aren't limited to the sound of your significant other snoring or the sound of you two getting it on, it may be time to get a new mattress.
"Your mattress can provide audible signals it needs replacing," says Jessica Jones, a mattress expert and reviewer from The Sleep Judge. "Squeaks and creaks aren't normal and can signal foundation issues."
You wake up exhausted.
Your bed is supposed to be where you rest and relax—but those with mattresses that need replacing might just find themselves waking up more exhausted than if they hadn't slept at all.
"If you sleep for seven to nine hours per night—which is the norm for most people—and still wake up feeling tired, the reason may be your old mattress," says John Breese, founder and CEO of sleep and mattress review company Happy Sleepy Head. "The thing is, if it's uncomfortable and unsupportive, you probably have a hard time falling and staying asleep on it. Tossing, turning, and waking up multiple times at night prevent you from reaching the deep stage of sleep, which is important for restoring energy. No wonder you wake up not feeling rested then."
You've been exposed to bed bugs.
Bed bugs are hard to treat in general, but when they make their way into the crevices of your mattress, they're virtually impossible to expel. While bed-bug-proofing mattress covers can stop these critters from taking up residence in your bed, once they're there, that's a surefire sign you should dispose of that mattress once and for all, says Masters.
Your partner sleeps badly.
Just because you're getting a good night's sleep doesn't mean everyone in your bed is.
"When it comes to your mattress, it might be good for you but not your partner, and because of that he/she may be tossing and turning or snoring and sleeping restlessly," says Mary Helen Rogers, vice president for the Better Sleep Council. "So while the mattress is in good shape and good for you, it's not good for your partner and that disrupts your sleep, so it's time to shop!"
It's more than seven years old.
The seven-year itch isn't just for relationships. "Mattresses are like cars: They're not designed or built to last a lifetime," says Matthew Ross, co-owner and COO of leading sleep and mattress review website The Slumber Yard. "Over time mattresses naturally lose their original shape and support level."
Rogers adds that it's important to remember that "your body and lifestyle changes a lot over seven years." "That's why we suggest evaluating your mattress for comfort and support every seven years," she notes. And if you want to negate the effects of that bad mattress, start with these 50 Ways to Be a Higher Energy Person Immediately.
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