If you're having trouble getting to sleep or aren't waking up refreshed, you're not alone: More than one-fourth, 28%, of Americans have reported experiencing more trouble falling and staying asleep since the pandemic, according to a Consumer Reports survey.
A new mattress could help you get more restful sleep, especially if the one you're using is worn out.
Here's how long you should wait before replacing your mattress, and answers to other frequently asked questions.
Consumer Reports tests mattresses by moving a 308-pound roller over a mattress 1,000 times, says Haniya Rae, home and appliances reporter for Consumer Reports. Some mattresses hold up to this stress test better than others, but generally, a mattress's lifespan doesn't exceed 10 years.
"Consumers should expect a mattress to last 8 to 10 years," she says. "If you've been sleeping on yours for longer than that, it might be time to replace it."
You can also tell when your mattress is ready to be replaced by noticing certain signs, says Lexie Sachs, textiles director at the Good Housekeeping Institute.
"If you wake up in pain, then your mattress is probably not working well for you," she says. "If it feels lumpy or if you see indents," that's an indication as well. An indent refers to a visible dip in the bed where you ordinarily sleep. If two people are sleeping in the bed, there might be two indents with a ridge in the middle. "Usually around the one-year mark is when a not-great mattress will show little indents," she says.
It's more important, Sachs says, to focus on those signals instead of a concrete number of years.
And while both foam and spring mattresses can sag, the quality of those materials might affect how long your mattress lasts. "A denser foam should last longer," she says. "For innersprings, a higher coil gauge, meaning it's thicker, should last longer."
In her experience, a mattress's lifespan is between 5 and 10 years.
If you're not ready to buy a new mattress, there are some affordable updates that can tide you over until you are.
A mattress topper, for example, could help. This is a pad that lays atop a mattress but under the fitted sheet and adds an extra layer of cushion.
"If you feel like you're waking up with pain and need more pressure release, you can get a foam topper or latex topper," Sachs says. "Good ones are probably a couple hundred dollars."
A mattress topper is not the same thing as a mattress pad or mattress protector. A mattress protector is a thinner sheet that lays atop or encases a mattress and works to protect it from stains and protect the sleeper from allergens, but it does not provide extra cushion. A mattress pad is somewhere between a mattress topper and a mattress protector. It provides a thin layer of cushion and can either lay atop or encase a mattress.
If you're looking to buy a mattress soon, you're in luck. There are only a couple of times a year that mattresses are actually deeply discounted, says Rae of Consumer Reports, and one is coming up.
"The best time to shop is Presidents Day in February," she says. "Almost every manufacturer and retailer will have sales. If you miss out, you'll likely have to wait until Memorial Day until the deals are as good."
Remember, super-high prices don't always mean more comfort. A quality mattress should cost between $1,000 and $2,000, Sachs says. You could find a decent one for an even lower price, she adds: "I would recommend the Allswell Luxe Hybrid that's $645 for a queen."
But a mattress that costs more than $2,000 usually doesn't feel all that different from its more affordable peers. "I would say $1,000 or so is a sweet spot," she says.
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