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You spend anywhere from a quarter to a third of your life sleeping. The quality of that sleep depends heavily on the quality of your mattress. However, even the best mattresses wear out over time. What once offered night after night of incredible sleep may eventually become the very thing that contributes to excessive daytime sleepiness and even physical aches and pains. The question is, just how long do mattresses last?
How Long Do Mattresses Last According to Mattress Type?
Regardless of their quality, mattresses don’t last forever. There isn’t a specific expiration date, though. While the average mattress lifespan is between seven and ten years, various factors can impact how long yours actually lasts. For instance, a mattress you use nightly will likely wear out faster than the one you have in a guest room that only gets used periodically. Likewise, a child’s mattress will generally last longer than an adult’s.
The type of mattress you have and its materials can also play a significant role in its longevity. Here, we’ll take a look at the different mattress types and what you can expect in terms of how long they might last:
Memory Foam Mattresses
Average memory foam mattress lifespan: eight to ten years
“Memory foam” is a polyurethane foam that mattress manufacturers add chemicals to, increasing the material’s sensitivity to body heat and pressure. The resulting product is a viscoelastic material that molds to your body when you lay on it. When you get up, it returns to its original shape.
There are a few different types of memory foam mattresses:
- Traditional: The “original” memory foam. While durable, the material tends to hold heat, which can make some people too warm while they sleep.
- Open-cell: The mattress has the same ingredients as traditional memory foam, but it features a different internal structure. Pockets or “open cells” enable ventilation to disperse heat better.
- Gel: Manufacturers infuse the viscoelastic material with gel microbeads that enable better cooling.
There are a few newer memory foam mattress options, too. Some contain copper, a conductive material that can help disperse body heat more quickly for better, cooler sleep. Other manufacturers have started creating more “eco-friendly” mattresses, which incorporate plant-based materials.
Average hybrid mattress lifespan: seven to ten years
Hybrid mattresses blend the old with the new. While every manufacturer has its own formula, these mattresses typically consist of:
- A comfort layer: Hybrid mattresses may use foam, memory foam, gel, or latex for the part of the mattress you actually sleep on.
- A support core: The thickest part of the mattress, the support core features pocket-wrapped springs and coils for better support.
- A base layer: This thin foam layer provides support, stability, and padding.
Some hybrid mattresses also have a pillow top, a one to two-inch thick material that manufacturers sew onto the top of their comfort layer for additional cushion.
In essence, hybrid mattresses offer the pressure relief of memory foam and latex and the support of springs. How long they last often depends on factors like body weights and frequency of use. The material of the cushion layer can also play a role in the mattress’ lifespan. For example, foam is likely to wear out more quickly than memory foam or latex.
Average air mattress lifespan: two to eight years
An air mattress — also called an air bed — is a unique type of mattress that you can inflate and deflate whenever you need. Generally associated with camping, air mattresses are a common option for people who want an easy-to-store solution for giving guests a place to sleep.
Most air mattresses are polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a flexible, waterproof material. Others feature materials like urethane plastic or thermoplastic polyurethane, both of which are more durable. Luxury air mattresses may also have flocked tops or memory foam toppers that can make them more comfortable.
Like other mattresses, air beds tend to wear out faster if you use them frequently, as can the material used to make them. Constantly over-inflating your mattress, even if you don’t use it very often, can also cause it to wear out sooner. Too much air puts pressure on the material and the seams, leading to degradation. Eventually, the mattress may even burst.
Average innerspring mattress lifespan: six to seven years
Innerspring mattresses are the oldest and most well-known types of mattresses on the market. The cores of these mattresses contain a series of coils that provide support. Some have coils that connect to a steel frame, while others have individually-wrapped coils. Regardless of the spring design, gauge, and number, innerspring mattresses also have a comfortable layer on top, such as foam or fiber.
Generally, connected coil innerspring mattresses wear out faster, especially if two people share the bed. That’s because the coils move as a single unit. Pocketed coils move independently, and they often have additional support from foam or padding. The gauge of the springs can also play a role in the mattress’ lifespan, with thinner ones wearing down more quickly.
Signs of Wear
There might not be a set expiration date for your mattress, but there are some signs that can tell you it’s time to replace it:
- It’s sagging, or there are obvious indentations where you sleep.
- There are visible stains or odors that you can’t remove.
- You’re achy when you get up in the morning.
- You toss and turn more often, or the slightest movement of your partner wakes you up.
- You’ve noticed an increase in allergy issues (which may be due to an accumulation of dust mites).
Ways To Extend Mattress Longevity
You can also protect your mattress and extend its life by taking good care of it. Here are a few tips that can help:
- Buy a durable mattress: Generally, memory foam and latex mattresses tend to be the most durable. Alternatively, you could choose a hybrid mattress with a memory foam topper. If you’re looking for an innerspring, choose one with higher gauge specs.
- Clean it regularly: After stripping off the bedding, vacuum it and treat any stains with a spot remover.
- Use mattress covers: Also called a mattress protector, this cover encases your mattress, protecting it against stains, water, dust mites, bedbugs, and more.
- Rotate or flip your mattress: Changing the position of your mattress helps to spread out the wear and tear that comes with sleeping in the same spot.
- Avoid eating in bed: Crumbs can attract pests, while liquids invite mold.
- Get pets their own beds: Pet dander, drool, and accidents can decrease the lifespan of your mattress.
So, how long do mattresses last? The answer is that it depends. It depends on how often you use it, the weight it supports, its materials, and numerous other factors. Fortunately, you can extend the longevity of your mattress with proper care and a few preventative measures. However, if you’re starting to notice signs of wear, it may be time to consider a replacement. The sooner you get a new, high-quality mattress, the sooner you can get back to better sleep.