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Q&A: How often should I buy a new mattress?

Consumer Reports News: December 17, 2007 12:47 PM

My mattress is getting on in years. In fact, Bill Clinton was in his first term as president when I last bought a new one. Is it time for me to replace my mattress?

You’ve probably logged more than 30,000 hours in your bed, and your mattress has likely  become less comfortable and less supportive. But there’s no set formula for determining when you need to replace a mattress. It might be time to buy one if:
You regularly wake up tired or achy—you make Oscar the Grouch seem as cheerful as Mr. Rogers.
You tend to sleep better away from home, than in your own bed. Are you planning unnecessary business trips or looking for any reason to go on a weekend getaway?
Your mattress looks or feels saggy or lumpy—it needs go on the Abs Diet.
You’re over age 40 and your mattress is five to seven years old. Remember, your body tolerates less pressure as it ages. As if getting older weren’t tough enough . . .

A mattress can be an expensive investment—we’ve tested models that cost in excess of $4,000—but if you treat your new one properly, it could easily last 10 years. Our advice:
Don’t let your kids use your bed as a trampoline.
Rotate your mattress. If you have a single-sided mattress (you sleep on only one side), rotate the mattress from end to end—that is, move the mattress 180 degrees. The foot of the mattress is now at the head, and vice versa.
    If you have a double-sided mattress, rotate it as above, then turn it over so the bottom is now on top.
    Perform these steps every two weeks for the first three months you have your new mattress, then once every two months thereafter. You’ll find illustrated instructions on a number of different Web sites.
• Use a bed frame that has a center support.

Essential information: See “How to buy a mattress without losing sleep” for detailed advice on finding the perfect bed. And watch our video buying guide.

   

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