Last updated on September 17th, 2017

For most of its history, mattresses were stuffed with whatever materials were on hand. Beds from the Neolithic period were packed with leaves, grass, and straw. The Ancient Persians used water, while the Egyptians slept on piles of palm boughs.

Of the ancient civilizations, the Romans were clearly the most serious about slumber. They stuffed their mattresses with wool, feathers, and hay, which would remain popular materials for centuries.

 The innerspring mattress: a revolution in comfort

The single greatest advance in the history of sleep was the innerspring mattress. It was invented in the late 19th century, but did not become popular until the 1930s. As the name suggests, these mattresses contain steel coil springs that help support the sleeper’s body. The average mattress has hundreds of springs or “coils” that are connected by wires, which helps the bed maintain its shape.

Because it is a major investment and one of the most important pieces of furniture in the home, users must properly care for their mattresses if they want them to last. This requires basic maintenance on a regular basis.


 

Mattress maintenance

Although they are resilient and tough, the steel coil springs inside your bed will wear out if you sleep in the same spot for an extended period of time. A sagging mattress, as most sleepers call it, is one that has been worn down through prolonged use. The springs on the inside have lost their resilience and can no longer return to their original shape.

Can springs be fixed?

Perhaps. But it might cost more to replace the springs than the bed is worth. However, the problem can be addressed with simple, regular maintenance.

Why rotate?

If you sleep alone and on the same side of your mattress every night, you should rotate your bed at regular intervals. Simply spin your mattress end for end so that the end that was at the headboard is now at the footboard. It really is that easy. Then when you sleep you will be putting pressure on a different set of springs. This will not only save your mattress from sagging, it will provide more support where you need it most.

How often should it be done?

Some folks rotate their mattress once a month, but that may be a bit excessive. At the very least, you should turn your bed at least twice a year. It is important to note that not all mattresses require spinning. Some beds are designed for extended use and actually become more comfortable the more you sleep in them.

Why should I flip?

When most people buy a new mattress, the salesman tells them that they must be flipped at least once a year. Unfortunately, most bed owners ignore this advice and sleep on the same side of their mattresses for years on end. Then they wonder why their beds wear out sooner than they expected.

According mattress makers, flipping a bed at least once a year can make it last 5-7 years longer. This simple chore will also prevent sagging and depressions in the bed. The number of times you should flip your mattress depends on how many people are using it and the size of those people.

Size matters…

Yes, we’re sorry, we had to go there. Weight is an issue when it comes to mattresses. The heavier you are the more pressure you will put on the steel coil springs, which may affect their resilience. If you are a heavy person and you sleep on the same side of the bed every night, you should rotate and flip your mattress at least twice a year.

Mattress flipping is especially important if you share your bed with someone, no matter how much you weigh. The extra pressure will inevitably lead to irregular wear. Some mattress professionals recommend that couples flip their mattresses at least once a month!

What happens if you don’t flip?

A lot of couples like to cuddle and snuggle at night. This activity invariably brings them to the center of the mattress and puts most of the weight in the middle, where their bodies meet. It is no wonder that most beds start to sink and sag in the middle. Large depressions can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. When springs start to loosen and lose their resilience, especially in the middle, the mattress must be replaced.

Flipping your bed will not make it last indefinitely, but it will extend its lifespan by several years.

About the author

Brandon Kamins is a professional freelance writer with over five years of experience on the keyboard. He specializes in articles about science, technology, business, nutrition, and world cuisine. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, cooking, and working out.

Photo by mikecogh

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