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When is it Time to Replace a Mattress

It’s obvious when it’s time to replace your old tennis shoes or that worn out chair but how do you know when to replace your mattress? Even after your mattress has lost its ability to provide proper support during sleep, it can still feel somewhat comfortable. Restful sleep is critical to our ability to function, so it’s important to determine when your mattress may be past its expiration date.

mattress pile

In the last few years, advertising spots have filled consumer’s ears with “if it’s over eight, it’s time to replace.” Companies claim that the mattress doubles in weight every eight years due to dust mites, sweat and moisture. Yes, most mattresses contain dust mites. They are naturally occurring microscopic organisms that feed on dust and particles where people and pets live. Dust mites alone are not a reason to buy a new mattress every eight years. According to Consumer Reports, when to replace a mattress is up to the owner. The Better Sleep Council states, “How long a mattress will last depends on several factors, such as amount of use and the original quality, but in general, a mattress set that has been in use for seven years is no longer providing you with the best comfort and support and should be replaced.” So when should you actually buy a new mattress? There are several ways to determine when it’s time to throw out your old bed:

  • You tend to sleep better in hotel beds or away from home.
  • You wake up achy or tired almost every morning.
  • You awake with stiffness or numbness.
  • Your mattress shows visible signs of overuse (it sags, has rips or tears, holes or damage).
  • Your mattress looks or feels saggy and lumpy.

To further examine the physical signs of the mattress, remove all bedding and any cover or pad. Does it sag in the middle or where you sleep? Does it show signs of wear and tear? The ragged materials will definitely impact how you sleep. Once a mattress hits five years old, it’s recommended to start observing its condition regularly. It’s best to review your sleeping habits and the physical state of the mattress every 6-12 months. To get the most life out of your mattress, follow these suggestions:

  • Use a mattress cover or pad. This will help keep sweat and moisture from permeating the mattress.
  • Rotate your mattress every two months.
  • Use a bed frame that has a center support.

There is potential to save thousands of dollars by following these simple steps. Top rated mattresses at Mattress Firm range from $1000 to $8000 dollars. Serta’s memory foam beds average around $3000 dollars. If you replace your mattress every seven years with a high quality model, you will spend about $15,000 in 40 years. A cheaper solution would be to replace your mattress cover or pad every five years and keep your bedding clean.

The most important function of a mattress is to promote a healthy, rejuvenating sleep that properly supports healthy alignment of your spine. By simply evaluating how you feel when you wake and the physical condition of the mattress, the decision is yours on when to replace.

Kids Bedding and Safety

kids bedding

The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates there were about 700 deaths involving infants 12 months and younger between 1992 and 2010 related to pillows or cushions placed in a baby’s sleep environment. Almost half of infant crib deaths reported to CPSC every year are suffocations caused by quilts, pillows and/or overcrowding of the baby’s sleep area. There are roughly 32 infant deaths per year on pillows used to prop babies’ heads. The fact is that pillows and blankets can cause a baby to suffocate in their sleep and should not be in or around an infant’s sleeping space.

Since the use of flame retardant chemicals in mattresses and crib beds after 1948, the American SIDS death rate increased from being very uncommon to about 10,000 per year. Although many baby products have been exempted from fire safety regulations that prompted companies to add chemical retardants, some manufacturers still use them. It’s important to find out the ingredients of the material in mattresses before you buy.

kids bedding

Choking Hazards

                 An infant’s crib should be prepared with the bare minimum. No pillows, blankets, quilts, or toys. Babies can and do get their faces stuck in thick blankets and pillows and will suffocate. Children can safely start using pillows when they are 1 ½ years old; about the same age when parents move children out of the crib and into a toddler bed.

  • Use a tight-fitting, firm mattress in a crib that exceeds current mandatory safety standards.
  • Make sure all plastic wrapping is removed from the mattress.
  • Consider putting baby in full fleece sleeper to keep warm during winter instead of using blankets.
  • Children under age one should not sleep on plush materials like a waterbed or beanbag.

The American Academy of Pediatrics states that bumper pads should not be used in cribs. There is no evidence that they support against injury, but they do carry a risk of strangulation, suffocation and entrapment. Additionally, stuffed animals and other toys should not be kept in a crib with an infant as this could lead to choking.

Flame Retardants 

Flame retardants are regulated in the United States primarily by the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, which does not require studies of toxicity or long-term health effects for most industrial compounds before they are marketed. According to the Environmental Working group, scientists have found that exposure to toxic fire retardant chemicals at critical points in development can damage the reproductive system and cause deficits in motor skills, learning, memory and behavior.

When purchasing a crib mattress, polyurethane foam should be avoided as it is usually treated with toxic flame retardants. Instead, look for:

  • Wool, cotton, or natural latex mattresses.
  • Certified Organic material which requires it to be processed without chemicals, pesticides, or harmful toxins.
  • Mattress pads made from wool, cotton or polyester. Wool pads are also naturally water –resistant.

The importance of child safety bedding is serious. Pillows, blankets and toys can cause a baby to choke or suffocate. A crib mattress that is not tight-fitted could allow an infant to become caught in the space between the mattress and the crib. Chemicals used in flame retardant mattress material are a less known cause of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Improper and unsafe bedding can greatly affect a child’s safety and well-being.

King, Queen, Twin – The Origin of Bed Sizes

royal bedroom

If you were to ask someone on the street today where the size of a bed originated from, they would most likely say that Kings slept on large beds and Queens slept on smaller beds…or something along those lines. Although the Romans loved their luxurious mattresses, members of the higher court did not name the size of their beds. It’s actually a pretty simple explanation, but we will get to that shortly. First, let’s take a walk down memory lane.

royal bedroom

The Egyptian pharaohs of 3500 B.C. were the first known people to sleep on pieces of elevated furniture. Before that time, beds were simply organic constructions of leaves, straw and animal skins spread on the ground. The first luxury bed originated during the Roman Empire. They were often decorated with gold or silver and featured mattresses stuffed with hay, wool or feathers. In the 15th century, some beds in Renaissance palaces could be up to 8 feet by 7 feet. It’s highly doubtful however, the Kings slept in beds that were any larger than a standard double-sized bed. This size mattress was very practical, not only because it simply held two adults, but because a single fire place usually warmed most bed chambers. The smaller the bed, the easier it is to preserve body heat.



In the 17th century, termed “the century of magnificent beds”, Louis XIV was particularly fond of staying in bed. He would often hold court in the royal bedroom and reportedly owned 413 beds. Some of them had embroideries enriched with pearls, and figures on a silver or golden ground. The great bed at Versailles had crimson velvet curtains on which “The Triumph of Venus” was embroidered. So much gold was used that the velvet scarcely showed.



In 1900, James Marshall patented the wrapped coil spring. Because each one was made manually, the labor and time involved drove the cost so high they were considered luxurious. Those aboard the Titanic ship were some of the first to enjoy a coil spring mattress. In the 1930s, innerspring mattresses and upholstered foundations became serious competitors. Foam rubber mattresses and pillows appeared on the market in the 1950s.


Simmons became the first mattress company to introduce the king and queen size mattress in 1958; years later they were featured in Life magazine and other national publications. A twin size bed is usually marketed as a pair: twin beds. They are the perfect fit for two children sharing a room. While Kings and Queens didn’t invent the names for bed sizes, they did persuade the creation of luxurious and decorative beds.




How to Prevent a Bedbug Invasion with the Proper Bedding

Bedbugs and their feces (the little black dots) on a mattress.

In the past few years, bedbug infestations have reached levels that are considered to be an epidemic in the United States. The infestation rate is anticipated to double every year! It is predicted that infestations will continue to increase through the year 2016. There are several causes of this increase: the ease of foreign travel, less homeowners taking preventative measures, and the use of second-hand furniture and clothing.

Bedbugs will travel by attaching themselves to clothes, luggage or furniture. Once they enter your home, it then becomes their home and getting rid of them is no easy task. That’s why it’s important to take preventative steps to avoid an infestation. It’s a common belief that bedbugs only live in dirty, unkempt homes, however, they can flourish in even the tidiest homes and hotels.

Bedbugs and their feces (the little black dots) on a mattress.

Bedbugs and their feces (the little black dots) on a mattress.

An exterminator will tell you that the most recommended product to prevent an infestation is a mattress cover. Encasing your bed with bug proof linens is the number one way to prevent bedbugs. With serious infestations at an all time high, anyone is at risk. A mattress cover is the initial step in preventing months of hardship and thousands of dollars. The cover should be made of bedbug proof material that they cannot escape or bite through. A zipper encased cover provides extra protection. Our premium bedbug proof mattress cover has a Velcro-lock zipper and protects from bugs, mites, mold and bacteria.

Bedbugs are determined little creatures and can infest your box springs and pillows too. That’s why it’s best to encase those as well as your mattress. You’re probably wondering how that can be comfortable to sleep on but the material is usually made of micro polyester and urethane – bedbug proof yet breathable! Additionally, it is machine wash safe so the material can be cleaned just like your sheets. The complete protection set will safeguard your bed from any bedbug or mite infestation. It’s perfect for every bedroom in the house.

The solution to an infestation is to avoid it to begin with. If bedbugs get into your home, they can multiply and spread quickly going from room to room. An infestation is almost impossible to eradicate and can create months of stress and hardship. With the steady increase in bedbug attacks in homes across the country, it is extremely important that homeowners be proactive.

When Should One Stop Drinking Coffee Before Bed?



Coffee is a well known stimulant which has pros and cons. Assuming one is okay with ingesting the caffeine that coffee possesses, the big question is: how late in the day can one drink it? At what point will it affect sleep. Sure, there are people who can go to sleep soon after drinking coffee, but is it healthy? We conducted a survey (results below) and also researched general attributes of caffeine. 

What is Caffeine?

Scientifically speaking, caffeine is defined as a bitter alkaloid C8H10N4O2 found mostly  in coffee, tea, cacao, and kola nuts. It is used both medicinally, and as a stimulant and diuretic. The Coffea Arabica seed is the most common source of caffeine. Caffeine is extracted from the plant by steeping it in water. This process is known as infusion.

The Coffee Science Information Center says that caffeine serves as a drug that activates the central nervous system, which then causes temporary stimulating effects. The Center states that it is the most widely consumed pharmacologically active substance in the entire world.

Coffee & Caffeine

How much caffeine is found in coffee? A typical brewed 8 oz cup will contain between 95 – 200 mg of caffeine. Instant coffee contains a tad less, as an 8 oz cup will only have between 27 – 173 mg of caffeine. A specialty drink such as a latte will contain between 63 – 175 mg of caffeine. The CSI Center conducted a study in 2013 whih found that 63% of Americans drink coffee every day.

Coffee Effects on Sleep

The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine conducted a study which tested the effects of caffeine on sleep when ingested 0, 3, or 6 hours before going to bed. The results were conclusive: when compared with a placebo, caffeine ingested at both 0, 3 and 6 hours before bedtime caused significant effects on sleep disturbance. That is why the absolute the minimum that one should ingest caffeine before bed is 6 hours.

It should be noted that caffeine ingestion at 6 hours before bedtime was less disruptive than at 3 or 0 hours. At 6 hours, roughly 1 hour of sleep was lost. This study noted that 68.5% of people consume caffeine in the evening (between 6 pm and 12 am) which would prove to be very detrimental to these people’s nightly sleep sessions.

Other studies support the hypothesis of caffeine’s harmful effects. The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology conducted a study in 1974 which explored overall sleep disturbances from those who ingested 300 milligrams of caffeine at night. Not only did the subjects experience trouble falling asleep, but were unable to read deep sleep stages and woke often.

Caffeine: Coffee vs Tea, Soda, Energy Drinks & Medicine

Black tea 8 oz. 14-70 mg
Black tea, decaffeinated 8 oz. 0-12 mg
Green tea 8 oz. 24-45 mg
Coca Cola 12 oz. (237 mL) 23-35 mg
Pepsi 12 oz. 32-39 mg
Sprite 12 oz. 0 mg
Red Bull 8.4 oz. 75-80 mg
5 Hour Energy 2 oz. 200 mg
Excedrin Extra Strength 1 tablet 65 mg


Sleep Experts Weigh In

We asked a number of sleep experts when they think one should stop drinking coffee during the day/night. The full survey and experts’ information and websites can be seen in our published sleep experts survey.

  1. James- 6 hours
  2. Kathryn- 4 hours
  3. Bea – 6 hours
  4. Jordan – 12 hours
  5. Hannah – 5 hours
  6. Shannon – For adults, usually 6 hours, but for people who are really sensitive to caffeine, nothing after12pm.  
  7. Laura- This doesn’t apply to children,but refraining from caffeine completely is ideal.
  8. Jenn- Depends on how it affects you, but should stop drinking coffee after lunch. (~8 hrs).
  9. Angelique – 6 hours
  10. Dr Emsellem- At least 6 hours
  11. Mayah- No coffee of caffeine after lunch
  12. Niam -4 hours
  13. Debbie – Depends on the person. I would say 4 hours.