It’s that time of year when things can go bump in the night – but let’s make sure it’s not your bed!

Regularly replacing your mattress – ideally around every seven years – will make a huge difference to how well you sleep – and ultimately how you feel, which can be a real gamechanger for many people.  A bed may have deteriorated by as much as 70% from its ‘as new’ state after 10 years* but because the process is gradual, people are often not aware of just how uncomfortable or unsupportive it has become.

It’s not just the bed’s ability to provide proper support that declines with age – a build-up of moisture (we lose a half pint or more of fluid each night) and skin scales (we lose a pound of skin or more a year) makes beds a favourite breeding ground for the common dust mite. That’s bad news for the nation’s 2-3 million asthma sufferers; and a grim thought for those sleeping on second-hand beds and other peoples’ sweat and skin scales!

In fact, our latest consumer research** indicates that 28% of new beds acquired in the UK are replacing beds that are worn out or damaged. Imagine how much the sleep surface has deteriorated before it reaches that stage! Just over a quarter (27%) replace their mattress to improve comfort, 11% change for a better-quality mattress and 9% swap for a bigger size.

The same research also showed that a third of us are replacing our beds every six to 10 years – an average statistic, while 38% are replacing after just one to five years, which could indicate why people are swapping for a better quality mattress!

However, your mattress doesn’t have to be ‘bumpy’ to affect your sleep. If you experience any of the following, it could be time to end the nightmare of poor sleep and invest in a new bed.

  • Is it more than seven years old?
  • Do you ever wake up with neck or back ache?
  • Can you feel springs or ridges beneath the surface?
  • Or hear creaks and crunches?
  • Do you and your partner roll towards each other unintentionally?
  • Or is it simply too small to give an undisturbed night’s sleep?

All of these are pointers to a bed no longer offering the comfort and support it once did, so assessing the health of your bed should be on the cards this Autumn.

Would a mattress topper prolong the life of my mattress?

Overlays and toppers are mostly used to soften the feel of a mattress, by adding extra layers of cushioning. Generally non-sprung, they may be made of a variety of materials – polyester fibre, latex, visco-elastic or other foams or even feathers. The choice is entirely subjective. Toppers are not a substitute for correct support – you’ll need a mattress of the right tension.  Nor are they a substitute for replacing an old, worn out bed – any impression of improved comfort will probably be short lived.

Some modern mattresses styles include a fixed topper – often on styles which have been designed to eliminate the need for turning.

*A bed may have deteriorated by as much as 70% from its ‘as new’ state after 10 years. It also showed that beds as little as six years old could offer significantly less support and comfort than a new one, thanks to wear and tear not just from body weight and movement but also sweat and debris such as skin, scales, hair etc. (Research by the Furniture Industry Research Association, 2011)

** Findings of the 10th consumer report, carried out by DJS Research on behalf of the NBF.

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