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How Long Does A Mattress Last?

Not sure if it's time for an upgrade? Here's how long a mattress tends to last.

Wondering what the average mattress life span is and how to make the most of yours? According to the National Bed Federation, on average, you should consider replacing your mattress after 8 years. However, since mattresses vary so much, that's less of a rule and more of a guideline.

So, we've put together this handy guide to help you get a better idea of how long your mattress will last. And how to spot the signs you might need a new one.

A hand testing a mattress.

How do you know when you need a new mattress?

The most common sign that you need a bed upgrade is when you wake up feeling older than your age. If you consistently feel like you're getting poor quality sleep or sleep better in a hotel, it could be due to your ageing mattress.

Mild side sagging is a sign that you need to consider replacing your mattress. However, if it feels misshapen, lumpy or has obvious body indentations, it's time for an upgrade. Sleeping on a bed that isn't offering the essential spinal support you need can lead to stiff joints and uncomfortable back pain.

It's also important to regularly check your children's mattresses for signs of wear and tear. Having proper spinal support is key to the healthy formation of their bones.

What affects a mattress's lifespan?

Most mattresses should last between seven and ten years. However, many variables can influence a mattress’ lifespan. The original build quality of the mattress, the materials used, and even the weight and sleeping style of the user can all influence a bed's longevity.

The type of material a mattress is made from can significantly influence how long it lasts and how long it remains comfortable to sleep on.

Both memory foam and spring mattresses should last for about the same length of time. However, how they are cared for will directly influence how long they stay feeling supportive for you. Memory foam doesn’t have as much ‘bounce-back’ as steel springs. But, springs tend to sag more over time and become lumpy and uneven. Memory foam may develop dips if it’s not turned regularly, and spring mattresses can suffer from side sagging.

The better the quality of the mattress, the longer it will last. But it's also down to the owner to take care of their mattress.

Keeping your mattress clean and well-aired will prolong its life. But the biggest thing that can help is to ensure it’s rotated or flipped regularly. This should be done at least every six months. If you're larger or heavier, you may need to flip or rotate the mattress more often. This will allow the springs or memory foam to recover its original shape and regain its bounce-back.

Does compression & settlement mean my mattress needs replacing?

It's important to understand the difference between a mattress 'sagging' and it 'moulding' to your body - which it's meant to do. Just like wearing in a new pair of shoes, mattresses of any filling will learn to contour to your unique body shape and optimally support you by gently relaxing in key areas.

Your mattress learns how to support you after a few weeks of you sleeping on it, which is especially evident with memory foam mattresses, which may form a 'body impression'. Read our informative guide on how to soften memory foam mattresses faster if you want this bespoke feeling sooner.

Some fillings don't 'recover' (spring back to their original state) as quickly as others, for example, luxury natural materials or mattresses that use multiple layers of synthetic materials. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing - as mentioned, this compression is due to the materials reacting to your body's needs. Mattresses will naturally 'settle' due to pressure from your body in order to best support and comfort you.

The extent of this compression is dependent on a variety of factors, such as weight, sleeping position, and sleeping duration. Heavier people who sleep for longer hours will find their mattress moulds to their body faster than those of a lighter build.

As long as you're following the care instructions of your mattress, for example rotating or flipping it as required, compression and natural settlement is not a cause for concern. It's actually a good thing!

You might think a good quality mattress should keep the same feeling months or years later as it did when you first bought it, but the truth is the exact opposite. A good mattress will mould to your natural curvature for maximum support and comfort.

Of course, if you feel your mattress is compressing beyond just moulding to your body, then it's a good idea to check with the manufacturer to ensure there's nothing else at play, or causing a lack of support.

How to take care of your mattress and make it last longer:

While mattresses typically need replacing every seven years, certain things can make them deteriorate faster. If you want to extend how long yours will last, try and follow these key care tips:

1. Protection is better than prevention

Using a mattress protector from the beginning with help to preserve the inner materials. Water damage might not be at the front of our minds. But doesn't just occur from bed-wetting and spilt morning coffees. We all sweat during the night, but it's not a noticeable amount. Over time, that small amount of liquid per night racks up and can cause the materials to age and even rust.

2. Use a secure base

A bed frame that has seen better days can affect the mattress's life span. Beds deteriorate too and can bring a new mattress down with them. If a divan base has started to bow or bed slats have begun breaking and falling through, it can start to affect the mattress structure. A good quality bed frame typically lasts longer than a mattress. So, there's no need to replace the frame every time you need a new mattress. Nevertheless, it's important to check what kind of shape your current bed frame is in before putting a new mattress on top.

3. No jumping on the bed!

This one might be quite obvious, but our parents were right when they told us not to jump on the bed. Mattresses are designed to evenly distribute weight, and putting lots of weight on one spot is an easy way to break it. If you want to take extra steps to improve the life span of your mattress, avoid sitting on the edge of the bed. The springs at the edge are often the weakest since they're not surrounded by more supporting springs. Over time, sitting on the edge will wear down the springs on that side and cause it to sag.

4. Rotate or flip?

Completely flipping mattresses over is becoming a thing of the past. Many modern mattresses are one-sided and do not require flipping to keep the structure. However, many brands recommend rotating the mattress 180 degrees every so often to ensure even wear all over. Before flipping or rotating a mattress, be sure to check the instructions provided with your particular style to avoid damage. You can also check out our guide on how often you should flip or rotate your mattress for our top tips.

5. Take care when cleaning

Regular cleaning can help extend your mattress life span. It will help to reduce a build-up of skin cells which entices unwanted bed bugs to move in. Before giving your mattress a freshen-up, make sure to tailor your cleaning methods to that particular style. Pocket-sprung mattresses benefit from being vacuumed every three to six months. Whereas if you have a foam mattress, avoid vacuuming where possible and use a brush to clean instead. Vacuuming foam can cause it to become misshapen and even tear.

Senior couple in white dressing downs holding hands and jumping on a bed.

How long should a memory foam mattress last?

Typically, a memory foam mattress lasts as long as any other style - roughly seven or eight years. However, premium memory foam styles have been known to last between eight to ten years which is slightly above average. However, it's important to use this time frame as a guideline and you should replace the mattress when it starts seeing signs of wear and tear. Investing in your mattress from the start by choosing a high-quality style, using a protector and regularly cleaning it can extend the mattress's life span by a few years.

How long does a latex mattress last?

Because latex is a naturally found material, it will break down over time. But don't worry, it's not going to start crumbling before your eyes after a few years. Natural latex mattresses typically have a longer life span than other styles. They can last anywhere between ten and twelve years depending on the quality of the materials and the care taken to preserve them. Latex styles are the most environmentally friendly out of all the mattresses, so when they do eventually need replacing, they won't leave behind a nasty carbon footprint.

How long does a spring mattress last?

Pocket-sprung mattresses tend to last longer than traditional spring styles. Traditional springs, also known as open coil, fall at the lower end of the average mattress life span of around seven years. Whereas pocket-sprung styles can last between eight and ten on average. When deciding between a pocket sprung or a standard sprung, take your budget into account. While a standard coil might be cheaper initially, it will need replacing sooner than a pocket spring style.

What type of mattress lasts the longest?

Latex foam mattresses have the longest average life span of around ten to twelve years, with some premium styles being known to last a whopping twenty. Although, it is extremely rare for a mattress to last for that long and should certainly be taken with a pinch of salt.

If longevity is what you're looking for, you need to invest in your mattress from the start. Cheaper styles are made with less durable materials. The low price doesn't necessarily mean they will feel uncomfortable, however they're not designed to withstand the test of time. If you opt for an averagely priced mattress, you can expect it to last the average amount of time which is around seven years. More expensive styles tend to be made from premium materials and hold up better in the long run.

If replacing an inexpensive style more regularly works out better for your budget, that's perfectly fine and there are plenty of affordable options available. But if you would prefer to splash out more initially, then a luxury mattress will be more likely to last longer than average.

How do you know when you need a new mattress? What to look out for

There are a few indicators to look out for that will tell you it’s time to trade in your old mattress for a new one.

  1. Are you constantly waking up feeling tired? This could be a red flag to tell you it’s time to get rid of your old mattress. Aches and pains in the morning are warning signs that your spine isn’t aligned and that you’re uncomfortable during the night.
  2. The hotel mattress feels better. If you stay overnight in a hotel and you get a great night’s sleep, which could be a signal that your mattress back home is past its best-before date.
  3. Your sides a sagging (we don't mean personally!). If you put your weight on the side of the mattress when getting into or out of bed and the sides immediately sag, that’s a sign that the springs have lost their bounce.
  4. It smells musty. Regular airing and cleaning are essential to keep your mattress in good condition. If it's still starting to smell musty, or you find that your asthma or allergies are getting worse at night, it may be time for a new mattress.
  5. Lumps and bumps. If you rotate or flip your mattress every few months, you should be able to prevent too many lumps, bumps and dips from appearing. If, however, you’re still suffering from a lumpy bed, it may have reached the end of its lifespan. A misshapen mattress can cause problems, making you uncomfortable and ruining a good night’s sleep.
  6. Don't forget the kids. It's vitally important to regularly check your kids' beds over. As they grow, they need the proper level of spinal support to ensure their bones develop properly. A lumpy, saggy or uncomfortable mattress can seriously impact the healthy development of young kids.
Woman smoothing out bed sheets after making the bed.

How long does a cot mattress last?

Babies & toddlers tend to use a cot or cot bed mattress for a maximum of five years. Because of this, cot mattresses are only designed to last that long. However, to meet desirable price points, cot mattresses nowadays tend not to last the full five years. The short mattress life span only becomes a real problem when cot mattresses are re-used for multiple babies. Once it has begun to dip and sag, it's no longer providing the correct support which is especially important for babies and young children. If you are planning to re-use a used cot mattress, thoroughly check it for signs of wear and tear.

How long do mattress protectors last?

By simply using a mattress protector you can extend your mattress life span by a few years. Protectors prevent a build-up of skin cells, fluid and oil from entering the mattress. Over time, these things can seriously affect the structure and cause it to deteriorate much faster. When using a protector, it's important to wash it once every two months to avoid nasty bacteria growing.

Running the mattress protector through the wash will gradually start to break down the fibres. Normally this is pretty easy to spot, and you'll likely notice signs of bobbling and thinning of the material. Generally, mattress protectors last between one to two years but you should replace them sooner if you notice any wear and tear. Over washing, using a tumble dryer to dry and sleeping directly on the protector without a sheet will cause them to wear down faster.

How long do pillows last?

A good quality pillow should last up to two years. However, some lower-quality pillows can need replacing every few months depending on the fillings used. You'll know it's time to replace your pillows when they stop feeling comfortable and supporting your head and neck properly.

Feathered pillows tend to last longer than hollowfibre styles but can feel less supportive since they tend to dip in the centre. You should choose your pillow based on your comfort preferences. For more information on finding your perfect pillow, check out our helpful pillow buying guide.

For more information about buying a new bed, read our guide to How Often You Should Change Your Mattress. If you've decided you need a new one, our guide to Choosing A New Mattress will help, or you can use our simple MattressFinder™ quiz to pair you up with some perfect picks.

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