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Extending the Life of a Mattress: Part 3 – Use It Like a Mattress

With the third post in our series on getting the most value and longevity out of your mattress, you’ll see why we, as well as the doctor, say there should be no more monkeys jumping on the bed.

Previous posts:
Extending the Life of Your Mattress: Part I – Keeping Your Mattress Dry
Extending the Life of Your Mattress: Part II – Keeping Your Mattress Covered

Tip #3: Use Your Mattress as a Mattress

Treat it well, and it'll treat you well
Treat it well, and it’ll treat you well

Mattresses are made to comfortably hold and support bodies for hours a day, for years on end. The engineering that goes into creating products to do that is much different than what’s required of an impact absorbing material that we can jump and play on. With the type of materials used in mattresses, it’s easy to assume they can hold up to whatever we dish out. But the reality is, when a mattress is used in a way it wasn’t designed for, beds can be permanently damaged. Not falling into bed, not eating and drinking on it like a couch and not letting young children jump on it, especially for their own safety, are some of the easiest ways to preserve the quality of your bed.

One thing people do that can eventually wear down their mattress prematurely is using it the same way, day after day. You may be wondering, “Well, am I supposed to sleep somewhere else half the time?” Fortunately, the answer is no, as they are designed for this kind of nightly use. And depending on the design and style of your mattress, periodic flipping and rotating can help balance out the wear it receives from your nightly sleep. However, one thing not even the best mattress is made to withstand every day is use as a seat or couch.

For an example of why, take a look at the sole of your shoe. If we had flat feet, with steps that uniformly contacted the ground and distributed weight, shoes would wear evenly, with every area aging at the same rate. Instead, we all have different gaits, with pressure placed in different areas and parts of our foot touching the ground at different times than others. Looking at the sole of your shoe, provided you didn’t buy them yesterday, you’ll see areas that are worn down more than others. Using your bed as a chair can do the same thing to your mattresses.

Sitting on the edge of your bed every day while putting on your shoes or getting dressed may not seem like a big deal, but the direct pressure of your body weight in the same place every day adds up. The targeted forces generated while you sit and when you get back up stress the mattress much more than when your body’s weight is evenly distributed across the surface of the mattress. You can quickly wear down one area of your bed by doing this, turning a comfortable mattress into a lumpy, saggy or unsupportive mattress. And if you eat and drink on it, crumbs and spills can quickly lead to a compromised product, for the reasons listed in Tip #1.

If you have a television in your bedroom, your viewing habits may be damaging your mattress as well. If you are in a reclined position while watching, with your upper body slightly boosted for a better viewing  angle by pillows or a support wedge, that isn’t really an issue, as you’re lying on it and distributing your weight. But if you sit in the middle of the mattress cross-legged or on the edge like a bench, you’re concentrating your entire mass on an area much smaller than a mattress is designed to support. This kind of use can wear down your mattress and leave you with a soft spot or valley, which may be comfortable to sit in but won’t be pleasant to sleep on.

Lastly and most obviously, using your bed like a gymnasium for your whole family is the easiest way to damage a mattress. Jumping and rough-housing can break springs, tear foam and puncture waterbeds or air mattresses. Given that many beds are at least a couple feet off the floor, playing on a bed can be dangerous for children should they fall off, which is by far the best reason to keep children from playing on the bed.

This is the simplest of our five tips to enact, because all it requires is that you remember to use your mattress as a bed. Not as a playground, not as a recliner and definitely not as a trampoline. But as a bed.

For the next posts in our series, click here:
Extending the Life of Your Mattress: Part IV – Supporting Your Mattress
Extending the Life of Your Mattress: Part V – Being Gentle With Your Mattress

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