Most things that need change will be noticeable at some point of time. You will know that your garden needs trimming because it looks bad. You know your shirt needs washing if its dirty. The light bulbs need change if its not working and your mobile needs to be charged if its dead! How do you know if your mattress needs changing? Most people continue using their mattress a long after its due time. Like most products, mattresses too age after a period of time and require replacement. Unfortunately, it’s hard to notice the problems straight away by looking at a mattress. Some mattresses look good and even feel new, but after you lay down on it for a few minutes, you know its pretty old. Some mattresses will not show signs of aging unless you sleep on it for a week! But when the mattress needs to be changed, it needs to be done , fast.
Using a mattress which is worn out for an extended period of time comes with a range of health issues. Think of every single health issue you could come up with related to poor sleep. Starting from nodding off at a car wheel to hallucination chances are , you are going to face some of them sooner or later. Sleep deprivation is a problem in 6 of 10 people in the United states. Poor sleep causes road accidents, lost jobs and problems related to stress and anxiety among a long list of others. Apart from sleep related health issues, you could face other problems too like asthma or breathing problems, chronic back pain, spinal problems, Shoulder and neck pain. A change of mattress could rid of all these problems.
If you face one or more of the below issues, consider ditching the mattress specially if its older than 4-5 years
- Back and Neck Pain
Back pain and neck pain are common results of a poor mattress. This is usually caused by deformation in your mattress. Over time your mattress indents to your body shape, creating a dent where the weight is more. The Torso area of a person is often heavier than the leg and the head area. The lower back is often the heaviest part of our body. For side sleepers , you will see a prominent dent where your shoulder rests.
After a while, the mattress will not recover from its shape and there is a deformation. Your spine alignment will be affected and you will be sleeping in a position which will cause pain. Mattress sagging can often be countered by flipping the mattress (if the mattress supports being flipped) or rotating the mattress to change the head area to the foot. You could also shift places with your partner to slow down sagging. Ultimately, the mattress will sag and you will need to change your mattress. If you are facing Neck or back pain , Consider changing a mattress to a medium firm one now.
- Asthma & Breathing problems
Asthma is a common problem with people allergic to dusts. Mattresses often absorb dust and create a habitable area for dust mites and bed bugs. These insects feed on dead skin and blood from the body of the person who sleeps on it. The results are often rashes and itching but for those who have breathing problems and asthma, the bed bugs and dust mites are a trigger.
If you have ever gone to bed tired and woke up a few minutes later sneezing like crazy, you know how it feels. You cant go to sleep because you cant stop sneezing. Allergy symptoms vary from rashes, itches, sneezing , red itchy eye, sore throat etc. While some mattresses cause allergies due to the chemicals in it, a lot of the old mattresses cause allergies due to the dust and other foreign particles accumulated in it. IF your mattress is left out in the dust for a longer period of time, unused, the chances are high that they will cause allergies. For mattresses which are used regularly, you don’t see the sudden allergic reaction because you are immune to the allergy itself. These symptoms often show after a significant period of time and its often too late.
- Joint Soreness
Sleep is supposed to be restful and relieve you of all body aches and pains the next morning. IF you wake up with Knee pain, back pain or a really sore joint, its not a good sign and indicates that you were not sleeping well and surely not in the right position. We often feel sore when we change beds for whatever reason. If you happen to sleep on a couch or the back of a truck one day, you would have a similar feel . Its ok if that’s only for a day but if that is what you have to endure for a good week, chances are you are not going to be in good health for long. Sleep deprivation is not a good thing in general.
- Hygiene issues
One of the most common problems with an old mattress is Hygiene issues. Think of all the things which went through your mattress in the past few months or even years. Some accidents while you were having sex, The breakfast in bed which left a few crumbs on the bed, the Dog walking over your bed , god knows how many times a day and your children jumping on it because its an indoor trampoline for them! The bacteria, germs and dirt accumulates over time and the results are not something you would want to look at under the microscope. Think of Head lice and end it with Skin infection… or worse
- Sleep related problems
A normal person requires 6 to 8 hours of good sleep to function optimally. There is no right figure but a minimum of 6 hours is required. Being awake for 18 hours is equal to a blood alcohol level of 0.05% and being awake for 24 hours would be equal to 0.10% . While we may think that we have slept for 8 hours , in reality we have just spent 8 hours in bed. Not sleeping but just laying in bed. The results are often overlooked but in the long run they are catastrophic. Imagine a seconds shut eye while driving at 60 miles per hour with your kid on the back seat and your spouse on the front. You are a disaster waiting to happen with poor sleep. But even if you think that you could get away with it by not driving, sleep causes a lot of problems in the background. Its slow but disastrous. And all this could be prevented in just a few minutes by changing your mattress!
- Snoring : Snoring could often be considered an age related problem but its is the result of underlying health issues. Weight gain is a common reason for snoring. Sleeping position is also a reason for snoring. With a poor mattress sufficient support is not possible in the neck area, resulting in congestion. The person inadvertently starts snoring because the mattress or pillow is not aligned well.
- Acid Reflux : A study by Ram Dickman indicates that the lack of sleep increases the chance of acid reflux and better sleep can help reduce the same. The study published in https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1978337/ conducted a test on 48 individuals and concluded that the lack of sleep could directly influence your acid reflux problems
- Poor immunity : Lack of sleep will bring a long list of problems and it all begins with immunity. A simple cold or flu is much easier when your immunity is at its low. And your immunity will be low when you have not had a good rest and your body has not recovered from your daily wear and tear.
- Bad memory : It sounds strange but memory has a lot to do with sleep. Better sleep is always good for your mind and your brain functions better with all the rest it can get. Chances of absorbing literature is much higher early in the morning after a good nights rest. But if your rest is not as good as it should be, your brain starts to deteriorate slowly. Loss of memory is just the first step.
- Weight gain : Do you know that you lose a pound every night. You can weigh yourself before bed and weigh yourself again in the morning and you will notice that you have dropped a pound while you were sleeping. What do you think happens if you do not sleep well at night. You don’t lose the weight. The weight gain is also the side effect of poor metabolism. Disturbed sleep will add up to your sleep deprivation and weight gain will cause other problems over time.
- Heart Health : When you sleep you really rest your body. But your blood flows, your brain function slows and your heart beats, but at a real slow pace. With lack of sleep your heart will keep pounding at the normal pace and even faster for the longer you don’t get rest. This puts a strain on your heart. Imagine running a marathon. Your heart beats are high and you really don’t want to put all that pressure on your heart continuously. You need to rest. And when you fail to rest, chances are you are going to cause a lot of problems. Blocked arteries and weak heart are just round the corner.
3 Reasons you should change your mattress now
Deformation of the mattress is the most evident reason for a change. If your mattress looks deformed in any way , it’s time to get rid of the mattress. No amount of correction will help your mattress to get back in shape in some cases. A mattress which is old and has been used regularly will sink in places and looks worn out. The surface is often uneven and using a topper to cover it may be a temporary respite but not a solution at all. Get your mattress changed if you see dents, sags or uneven surfaces which look clearly beyond repair.
If your mattress has been used for more than 7 years it’s time to let it go. It has served its purpose.
People often complain about throwing their mattress away because they haven’t used it much. A mattress in the guest room may have been used sparingly but bed bugs and dust mites are comfortable with mattresses which are rarely used . If your mattress is infested with bed bugs or dust mites, there is nothing much to do but discard it . It does not matter if your mattress is only one year old or 6 years old. There is little you can do about it.
Bacteria And Mould
Bacteria and mould are problems in humid areas but can affect any mattress, especially those which are regularly used but poorly maintained. If you go to bed without a bath, think of all the dust, sweat and body oil you carry to bed. Even one nights dirt can create enough bacteria and if it adds up over a period of time, you may have a mattress which may not just look dirty but is in reality a camp of bacteria’s. Moulds are often visible in mattresses but bacteria is often not so evident. Using a protector could help the mattress. You can wash the protectors often to keep the mattress in good condition but even then, 6-8 years is a good life for your mattress before you replace it!