When should I change my mattress and pillow?

mattressA very common question we hear from patients is ‘when should I change my mattress and pillows and how do I choose the correct type?’ These are great questions seeing as on average we spend 1/3 of our life in our bed!

From a physiotherapy point of view, we are interested in our patients having the optimal level of spinal support from their mattress and pillows– and that can be a highly individual thing. Unfortunately there is no ‘one answer’ as each of our bodies and spines may require different things from our bedding.  However here are some general rules for when to change your bedding and what to choose:

  1. Replace your mattress at least every 8 years. This is to maintain its original comfort and support. So if your mattress has been a trusty friend since the 90’s its time to make a change!
  2. Do you wake up stiff and/or sore in the morning? It could be due to your bedding not providing enough support to your spine. You may need a firmer mattress or if you can see/feel a dip in your mattress, chances are the spring system is beginning to fail.
  3. What pillow should you be using? The type of pillow you use can be quite personal. Some people prefer a flat pillow whilst others need 2-3 pillows stacked on top of each other. There is no general rule however like with mattress selection, its best to select one that has a degree of firmness so that when sleeping your spine is held in a neutral position.
  4. Choose a pillow and mattress that suits your favoured sleeping position. Quite a few retailers are now stocking bedding which are specific to a stomach vs side vs back sleeper. Similarly, think about your body size. A very petite person will not need as firm pillow compared to someone much larger and heavier.

Overall there is a tonne of information out there about how to choose the correct pillow and mattress. So if you are having trouble sleeping or waking up with aches and pains come in and have your posture assessed and we can point you in the right direction!

Sara Andriejunas, Physiotherapist