Is Your Mattress Hurting Your Health?


Our beds are a place of refuge. It’s where we unwind and restore our energy supply at the end of a long, difficult day. It’s also a place that can do a significant amount of damage to our bodies while we sleep. Is your mattress the cause of your underlying health problems?

How Old Is Your Mattress?

The average life expectancy of a mattress is between seven and ten years. It’s durability is dependent on numerous factors, including quality and level of care. Years of use, spills, and haphazardly flopping into bed can cause accelerated wear and tear.

As it deteriorates, it can have a detrimental effect on your weary bones and joints. A survey revealed that 95% of orthopedic surgeons believe your mattress plays a key part in lower-back pain management. Learn more about what type of mattress is best for back pain before purchasing a new bed.

While you sleep, your muscles are functioning at a bare minimum. As gravity pulls one’s body downward, it can cause pressure and damage to soft tissues in the body. The lumps, bumps, and lack of support from an old mattress can contribute to further damage as time goes by. If yours is getting up there in years, it may be time to consider purchasing a replacement. Here are some key components you’ll want to look for when purchasing a new one:

  • Firmness – for proper weight distribution and support, a firm mattress is the way to go.
  • Lumbar support – find a bed that promotes premium lumbar support. Consider a latex mattress or six chamber air mattress to create a balance between comfort and support.

Accumulation and Absorbency

Nothing is quite as disturbing as considering the things that accumulate in your mattress. Oil and sweat from your sleeping body, dead skin cells, and dust are just a few things it catches over the years. Furthermore, since you can’t just throw it in the laundry once a week, it stays there.

These bodily castoffs attract dust mites. Aside from being disgusting conceptually, dust mites can intensify the effects of asthma and create discomfort for those with dust mite allergies. Sinus pressure, watery eyes, coughing, and sneezing are common side effects experienced by those with dust mite allergies.

Since you can’t wash your mattress, here are a few steps you can take to reduce the dust mite population in your bedroom:

  • Wash your blankets weekly, preferably in hot water.
  • Purchase allergen-proof pillowcases and sheets to prevent absorption.
  • Vacuum and dust your bedroom regularly.
  • Put a mattress protector between your sheets and mattress.

Sleep Deprivation and Stress

Sleep deprivation negatively impacts our mental clarity, hormonal response, and contributes to the development of numerous diseases. A poor mattress can also contribute to your stress levels, which has similar effects on the body.

A recent study asked participants to evaluate their overall stress levels after sleeping on their old mattress for a month then sleeping on a new one for a month. Overall, there was a significant difference in stress levels between the time spent on the old one and new one. This study indicates that mattress quality plays an important part in sleep quality and stress management. This study furthers the research on increased cortisol–the stress hormone– found in insomnia sufferers.

To determine whether your mattress may be the cause of your excess stress, try the following activities:

  • Use a sleep tracker app to evaluate your sleep patterns.
  • Use a journal to identify stressors.
  • Do a full body scan in the morning before getting up. Do you feel refreshed? Were there any external factors contributing to sleep disruption?

Sleep plays a huge role in your overall health and wellness. Don’t lose sleep over something as easily repaired as a bad mattress. Replace your mattress at least every ten years, rotate it regularly, and take care of it over time. Your mind and your body will thank you.

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