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Signs and Effects of a Bad Mattress: How to Improve Your Sleep Quality

Medically reviewed by:
 Dr. Jordan Burns DC, MS

Dr. Jordan Burns DC, MS

Dr. Jordan Burns is a chiropractor and owner of ProWellness Chiropractic in Fishers, Indiana. He is an Indiana University-Bloomington graduate, where he received his first Bachelor’s of Science degree in Kinesiology while being a member of the men’s track and field team. Dr. Burns then attended Logan University-College of Chiropractic where he graduated with three […]

By: Christina Davies
Updated on: April 05, 2024

Getting enough good sleep is super important for your body and mind to stay healthy. It helps your body recover from the day, and your brain sort out memories. But having a comfy mattress is a big deal when it comes to getting good sleep. If your mattress isn’t doing its job, it can mess up your sleep, and that’s not good for your health. This article will dive into the signs and effects of a bad mattress and its potential effects on the body. We will also provide tips on how bad mattress symptoms improve your sleep quality.

How to Tell if You Have a Bad Mattress

A bad mattress cannot offer adequate support and comfort, leading to discomfort and unrested sleep. While you may feel that your mattress is no longer supportive when you fall asleep, other signs indicate the need for a replacement.

Signs From the Mattress

There are several indicators that your mattress is in disrepair:

  • Sagging or Squeaking: When your mattress starts to sag, it can no longer provide even support or proper spinal alignment. Similarly, a squeaking innerspring mattress indicates worn-out springs and inadequate support. Sleeping on a mattress that sinks or makes noise can cause discomfort and pain due to increased pressure.
  • Improper Support: If your mattress doesn’t feel supportive, it might be because some of its layers aren’t giving you enough support. Most modern mattresses have multiple layers designed to support and comfort you while you sleep. Waking up feeling sore may indicate that the mattress structure is worn out.
  • Dust Mites or Mold: Over time, mattresses accumulate dust, dust mites, and allergens. Allergens like mold and mildew thrive in old mattresses with poor airflow. The accumulation of irritants can lead to poor sleep quality and exacerbate allergy symptoms.
  • Age and Lifespan: The average lifespan of a mattress is between 7 and 10 years. While proper care and maintenance can extend its lifespan, every mattress eventually needs to be replaced.

Effects on Your Body

Waking Up With Aches and Pains

Frequent awakening with aches and discomfort could indicate an insufficiently supportive mattress. Your mattress’s comfort layers should conform to your body and keep your spine aligned while you sleep. Without proper support, you may experience stiff and achy joints upon waking.

Frequent Sleep Disruptions

If you struggle to discover a comfortable posture on your mattress, you may find yourself tossing and turning frequently during the night. This can prevent you from getting adequate sleep. Additionally, a sagging mattress can lead to excessive heat retention, causing you to overheat and wake up throughout the night.

Allergy Irritations

Dust mites, mold, and various allergens can gather on aging mattresses. If you notice your allergy symptoms worsening, it may be a sign that your mattress is harboring irritants. Using a mattress protector and regularly cleaning your mattress can help prevent allergen buildup.

Sleeping Better on Other Beds

If you feel more refreshed after sleeping on other beds, such as in a guest bed or during a hotel stay, it clearly indicates that your mattress is not providing adequate comfort and support.

Can Your Mattress Cause Health Problems?

A bad mattress can affect both your physical and mental health. Poor sleep and poor quality sleep hinder the body’s recovery from illness and injury. It can also lead to various health problems:

  • High Blood Pressure: Studies have shown a link between poor sleep quality and high blood pressure. Consistently sleeping on a bad mattress can contribute to increased blood pressure levels.
  • Heart Disease: Poor sleep quality and inadequate rest can contribute to the development of heart disease. Long-term sleep deficiency can elevate the risk of developing cardiovascular-related conditions.
  • Diabetes: Insufficient, poor-quality sleep has been linked to a heightened likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. Sleep deprivation affects insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism.
  • Chronic Pain: Sleeping on a bad mattress can exacerbate chronic pain conditions. A supportive mattress helps alleviate pressure points and promotes proper spinal alignment.
  • Mental Fatigue: Lack of quality sleep can lead to mental fatigue, making it harder to concentrate and retain memories. It can also contribute to the development of anxiety and depression.

Investing in a quality mattress that provides adequate support and comfort to promote restorative sleep and overall well-being is crucial to a better night’s sleep.

How Long Does a Mattress Last?

The average lifespan of a mattress is between 7 and 10 years, although some mattresses may last longer with proper care and maintenance. Factors of poor quality mattresses, such as mattress quality, usage, and maintenance, play a role in determining their lifespan. Different mattress types also have varying lifespans:

  • Latex Mattresses: Latex mattresses typically have the longest lifespan, lasting 8 to 10 years. Higher-quality latex mattresses can last even longer.
  • Foam Mattresses: Foam mattresses generally last between 7 and 8 years. The quality and density of foam can impact its durability.
  • Hybrid Mattresses: Hybrid mattresses combine foam and innerspring coils and have an average lifespan of 7 to 8 years.
  • Innerspring Mattresses: Innerspring mattresses typically last around 6 to 7 years. The lifespan may be shorter if the springs wear out or lose support.

It is crucial to regularly assess the state of your mattress and replace it if it displays indications of deterioration or if it no longer offers sufficient support and comfort for a restful sleeping experience.

Can a Mattress Be Fixed?

While it is best to replace a bad mattress as soon as possible, there are temporary solutions for improving the sleep cycle and its comfort and support:

  • Mattress Rotation: Rotating your mattress 180 degrees can help distribute wear and tear more evenly. This can provide temporary relief by allowing you to sleep on less worn-out mattress areas.
  • Mattress Topper: Adding a mattress topper can improve the comfort and support of a bad mattress. Toppers are available in various materials and thicknesses, temporarily allowing you to customize your mattress’s feel.
  • Check the Bed Frame: Ensure that your bed frame is providing proper support for your mattress. A faulty or worn-out bed frame can contribute to mattress sagging and discomfort.

While body pain that these solutions may temporarily relieve, a bad mattress cannot be permanently fixed. Investing in a new mattress is the best long-term solution for improving sleep quality and overall well-being.

Tips for Prolonging the Lifespan of Your Mattress

Proper care and maintenance of old mattresses can help prolong the lifespan of your mattress. Here are some tips to ensure your mattress lasts as long as possible:

  • Flip or Rotate It: Regularly rotating your mattress can help distribute wear evenly. Some mattresses can also be flipped, but check the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Use a Mattress Protector: A mattress protector protects your mattress from spills, stains, and allergens. It can help prevent dust mites and other irritants from accumulating.
  • Clean Your Bedding: Regularly clean your sheets, pillowcases, and mattress protector to maintain a clean sleeping environment.
  • Limit Pet Access: Minimize your pet’s time on the bed to reduce the buildup of pet dander and allergens.
  • Use a Bed Frame or Box Spring: Properly support your mattress with a sturdy bed frame or box spring. This helps prevent sagging and extends the lifespan of your mattress.

By following these tips, you can maximize the lifespan of your mattress and ensure optimal sleep quality.

FAQs – Signs and Effects of a Bad Mattress

Can a mattress topper fix a bad mattress?

While a used mattress pad or topper can provide some temporary relief, it won’t fix the underlying issues of a bad mattress. It’s best to invest in a new mattress for long-term comfort.

How often should I replace my mattress?

Typically, mattresses should be renewed or replaced approximately every 7 to 10 years. However, signs of wear and discomfort or an uncomfortable mattress may indicate the need for a replacement sooner.

Are memory foam mattresses better for back pain?

Memory foam mattresses can offer excellent support and alleviate back pain for many people. However, the best mattress for back pain varies from person to person.

Can a bad mattress cause sleep apnea?

A bad mattress alone is unlikely to cause sleep apnea, but it can worsen symptoms of sleep if you already have this condition. Consult a healthcare professional for guidance.

What should I look for when buying a new mattress?

When buying a new mattress, consider your comfort preferences, support needs, and any specific health issues. Test the mattress in-store and research customer reviews.

How can I prolong the life of my mattress?

To extend your mattress’s lifespan, use a mattress protector, rotate it regularly, and clean it as needed. These measures can further the mattress’s lifespan and help maintain its comfort and support.


A good mattress is essential for achieving restful sleep and maintaining overall health and well-being. If you experience signs of a bad mattress, such as sagging, discomfort, or poor sleep quality, it may be time to consider investing in a new one. A bad mattress can have negative side effects of sleeping elsewhere on your body, including aches and pains, sleep disruptions, allergies, and reduced sleep quality.

It can also contribute to various health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and chronic pain. Replacing your mattress and following proper care and maintenance practices can improve sleep quality and promote better overall health. Remember, a good night’s sleep starts with a supportive and comfortable mattress.


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