Many sleepers like memory foam mattresses for their cushioning qualities. They like the way memory foam hugs their curves, comforting them throughout the night. However, memory foam mattresses have their drawbacks. Unfortunately, memory foam mattresses don’t have the longevity of other models. In general, memory foam mattresses only maintain their firmness and support for about 6 to 8 years.
If you’re in the market for a new mattress, don’t overlook lifespan as a deciding factor between options. There are many entry-level memory foam mattresses available for affordable prices, but they may need replacing sooner than you think. If it lasts longer, it’s worth it to invest in a higher-quality bed made with more durable materials.
What Is Memory Foam Made Of?
Memory foam was hailed as a revolutionary mattress material back in the 70's. At that time, coil spring mattresses were all the rage, and along came a soft memory foam mattress that offered low motion transfer and more comfort than coil spring.
However, memory foam is no longer state-of-the-art technology. It has noticeable shortcomings, mainly its tendency to trap heat and sag over time. While many mattress brands try to offset these issues with cooling additives and reinforced structure, these adaptations don’t get to the root of the problem: viscoelastic chemicals.
All memory foam—also known as viscoelastic polyurethane foam—contains viscoelastic chemicals. These chemicals are what give memory foam flexibility and “memory.” However, they have the unfortunate side effects of trapping heat within the foam, making the firmness fluctuate with temperature, and degrading the mattress faster. It’s one of the reasons memory foam mattresses don’t last as long as viscoelastic chemical-free alternatives.
How Often Should You Get a New Mattress?
How often you should replace your mattress depends on its make and quality. If you own a budget mattress, it may need replacing after just a few years. On the other hand, a high-quality mattress made with durable materials could last 10 to 20 years. At that point, the main concern would be hygiene, not the integrity of the mattress.
So, how can you tell when you need a new bed? If you notice one or more of the following, it may be time to replace your mattress or buttress its support with a mattress topper.
- Sagging and Indentations– Your mattress seems to have lost its firmness or has developed a slope or “sinkhole” effect.
- Lumps– The mattress isn’t smooth as it once was, causing aches and pains.
Impressions– The mattress keeps the shape of your body for too long, not retracting as you move around the mattress.
- Pain or Discomfort– If you wake up with soreness (especially around your back, shoulders, or hips), your mattress may have lost its support and pressure relief.
- Allergies– If your allergies are worse than usual, it could be due to the accumulation of dust, dead skin cells, pet hair, and dust mites in the mattress.
How Long Do Memory Foam Mattresses Last?
Countless brands make memory foam mattresses, and they run the gamut in quality and pricing. So, it's hard to say how long you can expect yours to last. That said, most memory foam mattresses last around 6 to 8 years. A high-quality model may last up to 10 years but isn't the norm for memory foam mattresses. Be sure to check the brand's warranty offering before purchasing.
Does Memory Foam Wear Out?
Yes, memory foam wears out over time. Eventually, memory foam softens, loses its responsiveness, and begins to sag. It can also form impressions of your body, not bouncing back as it did when it was new. Of course, all mattresses degrade over time—but memory foam is known to lose its support sooner than latex foam and many viscoelastic chemical-free polyfoams.
Memory Foam Mattress Alternatives with a Longer Lifespan
If you like the feel of an all-foam mattress but want something that will last longer than memory foam, we recommend two options: a viscoelastic chemical-free polyfoam or latex foam mattress.
1. AirFoam™ Mattresses
All Nolah mattresses are free from viscoelastic chemicals. In fact, we designed our proprietary polyfoam, Nolah AirFoam™, as a more advanced version of memory foam without the drawbacks. We offer two premium all-foam models made with AirFoam™, the Nolah Original and Nolah Signature.
AirFoam™ offers cushioning, gentle contouring, and premium pressure relief but doesn’t include harsh, heat-trapping chemicals. It sleeps coolers and lasts longer than even high-end memory foam. Testing shows that our high-resilience AirFoam™ is 300 percent more durable.
2. Latex Mattresses
Talalay latex is one of nature’s most comfortable and durable sleep materials. Thanks to the material’s natural bounce and resilience, you can expect an all-natural latex mattress to last anywhere from 10 to 20 years. While strong, Talalay latex is also comfortable and contouring, providing cushioning and support for every sleep position. The Nolah Natural features 3 inches of ultra-durable Talalay latex plus pocketed support coils underneath.
Tips to Increase the Longevity of Your Mattress
Regardless of the type of mattress you own, you can take practical steps to make it last longer. To increase your bed’s lifespan, try these maintenance tips:
- Invest in a waterproof mattress protector. An extra layer will keep your mattress safe, clean, and in tip-top shape. Bamboo mattress protectors are especially effective because of the material’s natural durability and antimicrobial properties.
- Rotate your mattress every six months. This ensures you use every inch of the bed and spreads out the natural wear and tear that comes with regular use.
- Use a proper mattress foundation, base, or bed frame. This helps ventilate your mattress, keeps dust mites away, and adds necessary support and structure.
If you purchase a quality mattress and follow these tips, your mattress will last for years, promoting healthy and restorative sleep!