A bed is a big investment. Considering you spend a third of the day sleeping, you want to get something that's going to fit your needs. Before spending all that money, you may wonder, how long does a mattress last? While there is an industry standard, there are some factors that can alter this timeline.
MATTRESS TEST REVIEWS: HOW LONG DOES A MATTRESS LAST?
When it comes to getting the best sleep possible, choosing a bed has become a critical and often expensive experience. With so many choices at all different kinds of prices points, it's easy to become confused and overwhelmed. Is an all-foam bed the way to go? What about a good old-fashioned coil mattress? Is a pillow top too soft? These are all questions only you and a professional can help answer.
With the sticker shock you may have, you may also be wondering, how long does a mattress last? If you're going to spend several hundred or even over a thousand dollars, can you keep it long enough to justify the price? We've taken a look at the research and suggestions on how often you should consider replacing your mattress, along with the different types of mattresses available now.
THE POWER OF SLEEP
The past few years have seen a surge in new mattress purchases. That's because manufacturers have been producing some pretty serious technology aimed at helping you get the best night's sleep. Why is sleep so important? You have gotten by with the bare minimum for one reason or another over the years, so why is that such a bad thing?
For starters, sleep plays a vital role in your body's overall physical and mental health. When you sleep, your body heals vital organ systems and functions. For example, sleep is essential to heart health, due to the fact that when you sleep, your blood vessels and heart actually repair themselves. Those who don't get a proper night's sleep don't allow this to happen. Catching just a few more Zzzzs is vital to your heart health.
Another system that is affected by sleep is memory. While you sleep your body catalogs all the things you did that day, from reading to that big meeting. The better your sleep and the more consistently, the better your brain is at storing your memories from the day. This results in better recall further down the line. Sleep is a definite ally when it comes to all things mental and mood related.
A few other important systems affected by sleep are:
Understanding how vital a good night's sleep is can help you justify spending a little more money on a quality product. While more money doesn’t always equal more sleep, it can get you a product that will aid in your quality of sleep. At the end of the day, it's up to you to turn off the screens and get to bed at a reasonable time. Mattress companies can only provide you with a comfortable place to do so.
THE DEBATE OVER FOAM AND COILS
You may have heard that with new technology comes improvement; however, like all things that have been around for a while, there is controversy when it gets replaced. There has been an increase in all-foam mattresses over the last decade, which has sent some coil lovers running for cover. It comes down to a matter of preference and comfort.
Before you go shopping and get even more confused by the different bedding technology, we've put together a short list of the benefits and drawbacks of the three main systems you'll find.
The good: Coil beds have been around since the early 1900s. They provide a moderate amount of support and allow for free movement over the bed. They are good for allowing air to flow through and offer a fair amount of bounce. The amount of support and the feeling of a coil mattress rely heavily on the number and type of coils. These beds provide support by pushing up anywhere pressure is applied downward. This translates into having the least amount of "give" at the heaviest parts of the body, typically the hips, chest and head.
The bad: Some people, depending on sleep position, find the support system uncomfortable. Those with back problems especially report an increase in back pain. Coil beds tend to wear out quicker than any other type of mattress and long-term use results in ruts and sags in the spot you sleep in. If you sleep with a partner who moves around a lot, you will feel it due to the bounce.
The price: You can find a bed at any price point, and since they've been around the longest, there is a wide selection of coil mattresses.
The good: Foam beds are pressure positive and purport to lift you up as the pressure from your body pushes down. This means they help you maintain proper spinal alignment and circulation throughout the night. They are body conforming and are known for springing right back once you leave the bed. There are no dips once you get out of bed. They come in many different comfort levels and include features such as heating and cooling. Zero motion transfer also means you won't feel your partner's movements at night.
The bad: Foam beds tend to heat up over the course of the night. This is because your body heat is absorbed into the mattress and sometimes held there. There is technology to combat this; however, it will cost more. Foam beds are often heavier and not as easy to transport as coil mattresses.
The price: Like coil beds, you can find a foam bed at almost any price point.
The good: Hybrids are the best of foam and coil. They allow some movement like a coil mattress but provide the support of memory foam. They come in all comfort levels. The coils allow airflow from underneath the foam, and as such, people don't tend to get as hot while they sleep.
The bad: Hybrids are still pretty new, and as such, the balance between support and movement is still a work in progress. There is some motion transfer, and the coils will break down at some point.
The price: The cost range is moderate to high. There is no end low-end price point.
KNOWING WHEN TO REPLACE YOUR MATTRESS
Now that you have a basic overview of the types of beds, we can now talk about the frequency of replacement. You don't want to wait until you are sleeping in an uncomfortable rut before replacing your mattress. The industry standard is replacement every 7 to 10 years. However, there are some factors that can increase or decrease the life of your mattress.
1. Protect Your Bed
One of the leading causes of replacement is skin cell shedding. On average the typical mattress will double in weight every eight years. This is all due to the number of skin cells gathered in the mattress over the course of that time. Aside from your skin cells, allergens and dust will also settle into your mattress. If you think about it, that's fairly gross. What can you do to stop that from happening?
The best thing you can do for your mattress and your health is to buy a quality mattress protector. By quality, we mean one that is breathable yet creates a solid barrier against fluids, skin cells and another nasty bedtime inhabitant: bed bugs. If you have an all-cotton mattress pad on your bed right now, you aren't doing anything to protect your mattress. When you buy your bed, ask for a protector right away. It will keep your bed from staining, which is unsightly, and it will extend the life of your mattress.
2. Coils and Foam Standards
As stated above, coils tend to wear out quicker. This is because the springs eventually start to break and you get that poking feeling in the areas of the bed you typically sleep on. Ruts and valleys form, and you don't sleep nearly as well. If you are still set on a coiled system, then look at the type of metal used in the coils. The titanium and higher-quality braided metal will last longer than the others. Of course, you get what you pay for, so expect to pay more. If it lasts you an extra five years or so, then it's worth it.
Foam beds will have the same life expectancy as coil, depending on the quality of foam used. The high-end memory foam beds can last decades if you take care of them. On the flipside, low-quality, low-density foam won't last past five years even if you do take care of it.
Hybrids have the same longevity as coil beds. Even though the metal isn't close to the surface as in a traditional coil system, they are still going to wear out with use. Again, quality is the key to longevity with hybrid systems.
FIND THE BEST BED FOR YOUR SLEEPING NEEDS
At the end of the day, you want a bed that will give you the best possible sleep environment. If you want a mattress that you won't have to worry about breaking down over the course of a few years, spend more on high-quality materials. Invest in a mattress protector that is going to allow adequate airflow, but will be a barrier against all the things that can degrade your mattress. Spending more money up front will pay off in the long run when you are still sleeping in a comfortable bed years past the suggested expiration.