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Signs you need to replace your old mattress

woman sitting on new mattress feeling it with hands - signs you need to replace your mattress

A worn-out mattress can wreak havoc on your body and sleep quality. Here’s how to spot when it’s time for a new one

Tossing and turning over night, struggling to get a good night’s sleep? Nocturnal creaking, visible sagging, alongside waking up with aches and pains, could all be signs that your current mattress needs replacing. And while we understand that mattresses are expensive and, arguably, not the most exciting items on which to spend large sums of money, they do deteriorate over time, and sleeping on one that’s past its use-by could lead to problems both in the short and long term.

Thankfully, the tell-tale signs of a mattress that’s ready for replacement are easy to spot. And determining that’s the case sooner rather than later could save you from restless nights, discomfort and even potential back problems into the future.

Below, we delve into some of the most common questions about worn-out mattresses, and offer expert advice on when it might be time to dig into your pockets for a new one. And if you’re at that point, then we’ve also included some of our tried-and-tested top picks of the best mattresses on the market right now.

Is it bad to sleep on a worn-out mattress?

It certainly isn’t a good idea. Not only will it prove uncomfortable, but according to the National Bed Federation and Bed Advice UK’s executive director, Tristine Hargreaves, it could lead to even more serious problems.

“Sleeping on a worn-out mattress puts you at risk of developing problems such as a bad back, neck pain, sore hips and shoulders,” Hargreaves explains. “If you often wake up wondering why you don’t feel as good as you should, getting a new bed or mattress could be the answer.”

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What does a worn out mattress feel like?

The way your mattress feels when you lie on it is a dead giveaway when determining whether it’s past its best. It will feel uncomfortable, possibly lumpy and you might even feel springs digging into your back.

old mattress in bedroom - signs you need to replace your mattress

“You could find that you’re struggling to get to sleep because you can’t get comfortable,” says Hargreaves. “You might be waking up with aches and pains; or you might notice that you’re sleeping much better at a friend or family member’s house, or when away on business or holiday.”

This could all indicate that it’s time for a new mattress.

What are the signs that my mattress is worn out?

Aside from the way the mattress feels, there are a number of other cues to look for that could confirm that it’s time to buy a new mattress.

“There might be some visible signs that your mattress is dipping or sagging,” says Hargreaves. “Also, you might notice worn-out covering material or unsightly stains.” In addition, there could also be audible clues, such as squeaking or crunching noises when you move in bed (assuming they’re coming from your body).

“A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t remember how long you’ve had your mattress, then it’s probably time to get a new one,” says Hargreaves.

According to the Sleep Foundation, it’s a good idea to replace your mattress at least every six to eight years.

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How to maintain a new mattress

Prevention is better than cure, and treating your mattress with care will help to prolong its lifespan. Many mattresses need regular flipping and/or rotating. This helps to distribute the wear evenly and reduce sagging in specific areas.

If your mattress has ‘zoned’ support, or is designed only to be used one way up, it may not benefit from flipping or rotating. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions to see if your mattress needs it, and if so, how often to do it.

There are a number of other simple things you can do to make sure you’re taking good care of your mattress, including regularly washing your sheets and bedding, using a mattress protector and having a proper bed base for it – whether that be a divan or a sprung slatted frame.

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