When Should I Replace My Old Mattress?

Sagging mattress bad for back

Are you asking the question "When should I replace my mattress"? A good mattress can serve you for quite a few years, but eventually, even the best mattresses need replacing. When you do this depends on different circumstances. How to tell when you need a new mattress? Here are 6 compelling reasons I considered when I asked myself "When should I replace my mattress?" 


1. Are You Sinking Into Your Mattress?

In the first years in a mattress’ life, the support is usually awesome.

The internal structures of the mattress are new and stable, and they’re still able to resist your weight well.

Over time, however, repeated stress gradually wears those structures down, and they’re no longer able to support you the way they should. And there is the answer to your question "When should I replace my mattress?"

When your mattress sags, it does not provide important support for your body.      Image Source

That lack of support can lead to muscle tension and soreness, joint issues and poorer quality of sleep that can affect just about every area of your health.

Most commonly, mattresses that are losing their pep start to sag in the middle. Ifyou are looking for the first sign of when to buy a new mattress, sagging is it,  A simple trick that can help you see just how much your mattress is sagging is to stretch a long piece of string from one edge of the mattress to the other and to look at the space between the mattress and the string.

measure the sag

How bad in the sag in your mattress? Image Source

When I started to sink into our mattress, I thought to myself "How often should a mattress be replaced?" However, we could not afford to upgrade our mattress to a new one at the time, so I hunted around for ways to make our mattress more comfortable in the short term. I hope you find these suggestions useful. 

  • ​Buy a gel memory foam mattress topper and place it on top of your sagging mattress. This has the same effect as plugging a hole in your wall with a filler.
  • Buy a mattress helper (see video below) or bed helper and place under your mattress at the point where it's sagging. Depending on how saggy your mattress is, this will help lift up your mattress but it won't bring it back to 100%.
  • If you only have one or two lumps, consider putting a mattress pad under those lumps.

These solutions will help your sagging mattress but they won't fix it. Consider these solutions as help in the short term. I reached a point where I said "You know what, there are just too many lumps and bumps to fix. Now is the time when I should replace my old mattress!"

2. Are You Wheezing, Itching Or Worse?


Most people wash their bedding regularly, but unfortunately, dust, dander and other potential allergens can get right into the mattress, too.

Very few people actually take the time to vacuum their mattresses, so these allergens just keep collecting the older the mattress gets.

Every time you get in bed, you disrupt some of them. This could result in itching, wheezing or more severe breathing challenges.


Bedbugs and other pests are incredibly common. They are also disgustingly hard to get rid of.

Bed bugs. Image Source

Experts usually recommend that you wash your bedding in extremely hot water to kill the critters. You can't wash your mattress!  

It’s very hard to tell how deep an infestation goes, and to make matters worse, even if you are able to find something to the kill adult bugs, it likely won’t kill the eggs. Those can take up to two weeks to hatch.

The insecticide you use also might be hazardous to your own health. Most people don't like the idea about sleeping on a chemically-treated mattress.

Your best bet at this stage? Get rid of your old mattress, use an air mattress until you’re sure you’ve eradicated the bugs at all life stages, and then pick out a new mattress.

The bed bug infestation shown in the video below is quite extreme. This situation arose because the sleepers did not control the situation. I couldn't watch the video until the end. It made me squirm!

3. Your health has changed

Sometimes health conditions can force you to change your sleeping arrangements.

If you’ve just had spinal fusion surgery, for example, you might want to get a firmer mattress so that the fused area of your spine is well supported and under less stress.

Maybe you now have issues with your hips, neck, shoulder??? Your doctor can tell you what type of mattress is best for you based on your specific condition.

These really important developments in your health should trigger a "now" response to that question "When should I replace my mattress?"

4. Your Mattress Starts to Smell

No,it's not the dog's fault!!!

dog on bed

Don't blame the dog for the bed smelling! Image Source

Over time, oil, sweat and other bodily fluids can seep into your mattress through your sheets. It sounds gross but bacteria love nothing better than to feast on these fluids.

As the bacteria multiplies, they can cause your mattress to smell.

A smelly mattress. Image Source

It’s essentially no different than what happens to your workout clothes after you have been to the gym. The answer to the question "When should I replace my mattress?" is when makes you crinkle your nose every time you use it.

5. Your Mattress Reminds You Of Better Times

Mattresses are at the heart of intimate relationships. They offer a comfortable, warm and inviting location for lovemaking.

intimate couple

Is your mattress a reminder of better times? Image Source

If your relationship with your partner has gone south and ended, no matter how comfortable that mattress is, it may remind you of the relationship and the pain and hurt you suffered when it ended.

That lingering emotional connection can make you restless at night. And if you don't sleep well, you won't be ready to take on the day and the other things life will throw at you. 

After a painful breakup, may I suggest doing a spring clean of your bedroom? Change it up too - rearrange the furniture, replace the curtains or blinds, buy a new healthy sheet set or paint the walls. If it's time for a new mattress, replace the old one.

fresh new bedroom

Fresh and new. Image Source

Start anew. Welcome new love into your life with a fresh bedroom. 

Replace My Old Mattress - Please!

Walk into any mattress store and ask the questio "How often should I replace my mattress?" and you will generally get "Memory Foam every 5-8 years, depending on the quality; Innerspring every 8-10 years: blah blah."

The better question is how to tell when you need a new mattress. You are the best person to know this. I've shared 6 signs to help you know what to look for. . If you describe your mattress with any of these words - lumpy, saggy, smelly, itchy - it's time to replace your old mattress.

What to do next? Start with writing down what you liked/didn't like about your old mattress. What are your preferences - firm, soft? What about the mattres being filled wit natural materials? Remember you spend over a third of your life sleeping so you want to be sure that you limit the amount of toxns and chemicals you breathe in through your mattress.

This site has a range of Savvy Shopper Guides to help you make the right choices for mattresses and bedding that are good for yor health:

Guide to Buying Natural Mattresses

​Guide to Buying Organic Mattresses

Guide to Buying Bamboo Mattresses

Guide to Buying Eco-Friendly Mattresses

May the zzzz's be with you!



Sagging mattress bad for back