Changing your mattress might not be the top of your priority list – but are you among the one in 10 who wait until their old mattress smells before even considering a replacement?
Research carried out earlier this year by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) and Sealy beds found that almost one in 10 (7%) would wait until their mattress began to smell before replacing it, a figure that almost doubles to 13 per cent among 16-24 year olds.
More than half of us (55%) wait until their bed loses all firmness before changing it, but an astonishing 16 per cent wait until we experience aches and pains before doing so.
Although experts recommended replacing your mattress every seven years*, the survey of over 2,000 adults found that more than one in ten (11%) adults have never replaced their mattress at all and the same number would only do so if they slept better on a different bed.
Anecdotally, one respondent would go as far as waiting until their mattress was falling apart before replacing it. Deciding factors when choosing a new mattress included the price tag, grabbing whatever was left in stock or, quite simply, ‘the wife’.**
BCA Chiropractor, Tim Hutchful commented: “We know that an unsuitable mattress is a huge contributor to back and neck pain. I’m amazed that some people take such a blasé approach when it comes to changing and choosing the right mattress.”
As part of National Bed Month the BCA and Sealy beds are urging people to think about their neck and back health at bedtime (and to follow their noses): “As soon as a mattress stops supporting your back it’s vital you get a new one” says Hutchful.
Neil Robinson, Marketing Director of Sealy UK added: “I’m not totally surprised by these figures as they match some of the anecdotal evidence we get back from our stockists. We always advocate people to change their mattress regularly and choose one that supports their body properly and encourages them to be deeper sleepers. Everyone should try before they buy to ensure they get the correct one, such as a Posturepedic, and most certainly take advice from an expert such as a chiropractor if they suffer from back or neck problems.”
The BCA’s five steps to a better night’s sleep:
1. Recognise the warning signs that it’s time to change your mattress; you wake up feeling stiff or aching, your mattress is misshapen or sagging or you can feel individual springs.
2. Wake your body up slowly: Don’t leap out of bed first thing in the morning as this can damage the back. Instead, gently get out of bed and avoid bending or doing anything sudden or strenuous until your back wakes up.
3. Adopt a good sleeping position: Lie on your side rather than lying on your front with your neck twisted to one side.
4. Try before you buy: If you are lying on your side, your spine should be parallel to the mattress and your spine should not sag (bed too soft) or bow (bed too hard). The longer you can spend lying on a mattress before you buy it, the more accurate this feeling will be. If you are sharing a bed then take your partner with you.
5. Banish tech in bed: Looking down at screens in bed means your neck will not be supported and the weight of your head leaning forward will put pressure on your back, which may cause back or neck pain. If you’re desperate to stay switched on make sure your back is supported with a pillow and the device is propped up so it’s at eye level.
For more help on choosing a new bed or mattress click here.
*Taken from the Sleep Council
**open response answers taken from the BCA and Sealy beds 2015 research