How often should you change your mattress?

We replace clothes when they are worn, food when it’s past it’s sell by date, and the oil in our cars regularly. But how often should we replace our mattress? Unlike many conventional goods the answer to this question is not often plastered on the product itself, partially because there are many factors which effect the longevity of ones’ mattress. Within, we will teach you some simple techniques to test whether your mattress is helping or hindering your ability to get a good night’s sleep.

Many people assume that the firmer the mattress the higher the quality, but we now know that everyone’s sleeping habits, and requirements, are different. If you feel that your mattress isn’t supporting you in the right places or doesn’t have enough give to allow your natural form to sink into it, then it may be time for a change.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that between 313 patients reporting back pain, those using medium-firm mattresses reported less pain when lying in bed, as well as less pain-related disability compared with those using firm mattresses.

The Sleep Foundation recommends that you change your mattress every 8 years to ensure it still provides ample support to help you rest properly. Here are a few reasons why it is recommended to change your mattress every 8 years:

What is living in your mattress?

On average we lose around 285ml of fluid per night and shed half a kilo of dead skin per year – this detritus can build up and create a nasty ecosystem of bacteria which can be harmful to your health. A mattress which is less than 1 year old, has on average 3,000,000 colony-forming bacteria, compared to 16,060,000 bacteria lurking in a 7-year-old mattress.

The range of pathogenic bacteria and fungi can cause enterococcus, staphylococcus, norovirus and even MRSA. If there is any mould present in your mattress, which can form over time, this can cause severe allergic reactions, coughing, eczema, and even pneumonia. If your mattress has mould, simply replacing the mattress may not solve the problem, you must also ensure that you ventilate and dehumidify your bedroom.

Bacteria and mould aren’t the only ecosystems lurking in your bed – parasites such as bed bugs and dust mites can also live in mattresses. Changing your mattress at least once every 8 years ensures that it stays free from pests and other unwanted biological ecosystems. Many allergen sufferers experience acute symptoms from the presence of dust mites.

A common myth is that anti-allergen mattress protectors will prevent parasites from colonising your mattress. Through extensive research, we now know that mattress protectors are only effective at reducing dust mite levels by around 20 percent – a reduction which is insignificant when it comes to allergy sufferers.

Aches and pains

Many consumers believe that more springs improve a mattress, and a mattresses quality is dictated by the number of springs present, but this couldn’t be further from the truth! There are three types of springs – open coil, continuous spring, and pocket spring. Finding the perfect mattress will depend on your preference of spring and whether you need a spring at all.

You may find that a memory foam mattress will provide you with greater support – the best advice is to try a mattress before you purchase one. In a recent peer reviewed journal, 63% of back pain suffers reported improvements after sleeping on a new mattress.

How often should you change your mattress?

Dr. Hayden, spokesman for the American Chiropractic Association, recommends evaluating your mattress if you are experiencing pain in the morning. It is worth noting that we spend a third of our lives in bed and so getting a good night’s sleep can really make a difference.

Dr. Hayden believes it is important to keep a note of where the back pain is located and when it is occurring most frequently. A common symptom of poor mattress is waking with pain which subsides as the day goes on. Whilst this is could be a symptom of an old mattress, it is important to note that any chronic pain should be discussed with your doctor.

David Coppola, a chiropractor, states “the symptoms commonly present themselves to the middle back, though of course the lower back will hurt more if there are degenerative changes to the vertebrae, such as arthritis”. If you are experience symptoms, and have an old mattress, then it may be time to consider looking for a new mattress to help support your back, particularly if you suffer from arthritis.

Keep vigilant of sagging spots in your mattress, as these will undoubtedly lead to a poor night’s sleep. A sagging mattress moves your spine out of alignment, preventing it from assuming a neutral position. Your mattress should prevent your spine from curving up or down, allowing a healthy flow of blood throughout your body to allow your relaxing muscles to heal properly.

Another common myth is that a sagging bed can be fixed by flipping the mattress – this can often do more harm than good, as the weakened springs can cause injury or bend unnaturally.

Changing your mattress every eight years

In conclusion, generally a mattress should be changed every eight years, but you should listen to your body and examine your mattress regularly. Mattresses can build up waste products which attract harmful bacteria. By replacing your mattress when the time comes, you can ensure that your sleeping space is pest-free, which is especially important if you suffer from allergies.

One of the leading causes of backpain is poor sleep, so changing your mattress should be especially considered if you suffer from aches and pains in the morning.

The importance of a high quality, clean mattress is paramount in getting a good night’s rest. Simply attempting to clean or cover your mattress will not effectively alleviate the problems associated with sagging, dirty or incorrect mattresses. If you notice your sleep quality improving when you are staying away from home, this could indicate that you need a fresh mattress.

When selecting your new mattress ensure that it conforms to your spinal column, reducing stress on your lower back. This advice should not be taken in lieu of medical advice, if you are experiencing chronic pain, ensure you consult your healthcare professional.

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