05 
May

Is your mattress damaging your health?

The Sleep Council recommends replacing your mattress every seven years, depending on how comfortable or supportive it feels. There are a variety of factors that can affect how you’re your mattress needs to be replaced: including, how you sleep on it, how well you take care of it, and how often it’s rotated.

A good rule of thumb is that if you’d be ashamed to let your friends or neighbours see your mattress – if it’s stained, sagging or otherwise looks worn out – it’s probably time to replace it. But it’s far more accurate to listen to your body. Ask yourself the following questions: if you ask mainly yes, it could be time to go mattress shopping.

  • Did you have your best recent night’s sleep in a bed other than your own?
  • Do you frequently wake up with aches and pains, and generally feeling unrefreshed?
  • Are you and your partner disturbed by each other changing positions or getting up in the night?
  • Can you feel lumps on your mattress as you lie on it?
  • Is it sagging – do you and your partner roll towards one another in the night?

Why do I need to replace my mattress?

We all know it’s far more relaxing to sleep on a new, supportive and comfortable mattress than an older, worn out model. However, if the promise of a better night’s sleep isn’t enough to tempt you into buying a new mattress, there are heath implications if you’re consistently sleeping on a mattress that’s too old.

Sagging springs and foam

The most obvious sign your mattress is past its best is when it begins to look and feel saggy. You might think this only happens to sprung mattresses, but the truth of the matter is, foam mattresses will also become misshapen over time, causing them to sag in some places, and feel lumpy in others.

If your mattress is uneven in this way, it won’t support your body correctly, meaning you don’t get the refreshing night’s sleep you need – but also potentially causing persistent neck, back and joint pain – that may need medical attention if not addressed.

Bugs and dust mites

Many dust mites and small spiders feed on the dead skin cells we all shed as we sleep, making old mattresses an attractive home for them.

Although insects are natural, and there’s nothing inherently harmful about them, it’s not very nice to think about! Some of us may be allergic to these bugs without realising it, resulting in painful and itchy bites if we sleep on a mattress that’s too old.

Bed bugs are also often found in old mattresses. They cause itchy red bites, and can often be seen congregating on the mattress seam – so if you think you might have them, it’s crucial to replace your mattress as soon as possible, since this is the only way to get rid of them – and they spread quickly, to other mattresses in your home – but also potentially to any other bed you sleep in.

Mould and bacteria

If your bedroom is damp, your mattress could be full of mould. Although most strains are harmless, they can trigger allergic reactions in an unlucky few. If you often find yourself waking up coughing or wheezing, with watery, itchy eyes, or itchy dry skin, you could be experiencing a reaction to mould – and it’s probably time to replace your mattress.

Something slightly less harmless that could be living inside your old mattress is bacteria and fungi. An old mattress is the ideal breeding ground for bacteria: dark, warm and humid. Studies have shown that some older, poorly looked after mattresses can contain strains such as norovirus and even MRSA – which can be extremely harmful to our heath.

Keeping your mattress new for longer

Once you’ve replaced your mattress with a supportive, bug and bacteria free model, you’ll want to keep it that way as long as possible. Here are a few tips to maximise the life of your mattress:

  • Invest in a mattress topper or extra slats for your bedframe (or opt for a divan base for extra support). This, along with regular turning, will prevent your mattress from sagging, as the pressure isn’t always concentrated in one place.
  • Opt for a hypoallergenic mattress, and if you’re really concerned about mould and other allergens, spray your mattress down with anti-bacterial spray whenever you change the sheets.
  • Regularly air out and vacuum your mattress. This reduces the chances of bugs, mould or bacteria making their home there.
  • Get a dehumidifier for your bedroom – if the air in the room is dry, there’s less chance of damp getting into your mattress.

Published Date: 5th May 2017
Category: General

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