person lying on mattress with body impressions

Mattress Body Impressions vs. Sagging: Know When It’s Time to Replace Your Bed

by
/ November 5, 2021

Body impressions are the number one thing people complain about when reviewing their new mattresses. These permanent indentations tend to develop if sleepers lie in the same spot night after night. 

While the rock-hard flat mattresses popular a generation ago rarely showed impressions, people today tend to prefer softer mattresses that more easily develop body impressions, like pillow tops. 

It's hard to find good information about what, exactly, constitutes a "normal" body impression and when it's a sign of something more serious, like sagging. 

Read on for more information about mattress sagging vs. body impressions. 

What are mattress body impressions?

Mattress body impressions happen naturally on all beds over time. The downwards pressure from your body will cause a small indent in your bed where you usually fall asleep.

This is particularly common on soft foam beds, like memory foam mattresses. At first, impressions don’t have any adverse effects on your sleeping habits. However, they can start to cause back and neck pain if they get deeper and deeper, usually after a few years. 

What is mattress sagging?

When a mattress is old, low-quality, or overused, the material can start to soften over time, creating a crater in the mattress that offers virtually no support for the sleeper. 

A sagging mattress won't provide support to your back and neck and can lead to pain, soreness, and, of course, a bad night’s sleep. 

Are mattress body impressions bad?

Slight body impressions can actually make your mattress feel more comfortable. They're a sign your bed is breaking in and conforming to your body shape. However, an impression that's too deep can throw off spinal alignment and cause major back pain.

Deep body impressions can especially affect stomach sleepers, as they need extra support to keep their spine in alignment.

If you start to notice more aches and pains when you wake up, that may be a sign your body impressions are too deep and it's time for a replacement. 

Mattress body impressions: How deep is too deep?

As a general rule, impressions of 1 inch or less are normal for an innerspring mattress, and 3/4 inch or less is to be expected with a memory foam mattress. 

Impressions deeper than that may be eligible for warranty coverage, depending on the mattress manufacturer. In most cases, impressions form after two to four years of sleeping on the mattress, though it can happen sooner.

Almost every type of mattress is bound to have body impressions, with one exception: natural latex foam mattresses. Because of its natural resilience, latex "springs back" more than other materials. Overall, this means latex mattresses will have a longer lifespan and are a great long-term investment to make.

How to avoid deep body impressions and mattress sagging

The way you sleep on and care for any mattress can moderate the development of body impressions and mattress sagging. Here are some techniques to help avoid mattress sagging and too-deep body impressions:

  • Make sure your mattress is on a stable base, so it doesn't sag. A sturdy base,  like a high-quality box spring, will keep your mattress flat and help relieve the downwards pressure from your body.
  • Rotate and flip your mattress regularly. If it's flippable, alternate between flipping and rotating. This will keep your body from lying in the exact same spot night after night.
  • Although you may move around in your sleep, starting in slightly different locations can help to reduce the amount of time your body is pressing on the same surface area.
  • Use a mattress topper or mattress pad over a flat, firm mattress. A latex topper likely won't gain an impression. And whatever your topper is made of, you can replace it if it becomes uncomfortable.
  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly, plan to replace your mattress every six to eight years.

Want to avoid deep body impressions? Watch this video to see how to rotate your mattress:

Frequently asked questions

Learn more about mattress body impressions and mattress sagging to find out if it's time for you to get a new bed. 

Is it normal for a new mattress to sag?

No, new mattresses should definitely not be sagging. Sagging is generally a sign of an older bed that needs to be replaced. If you notice your brand new mattress sagging, contact the company you purchased it from and see if it's covered under warranty.  

Does your body weight affect sagging and body impressions?

Yes, your body weight can affect both body impressions and mattress sagging. For heavier people, it's generally recommended to sleep on a medium-firm to firm mattress to avoid premature sagging and body impressions. (Check out our best sleeping positions for heavy people).

How do I know if it's time to get a new bed?

You should aim to replace your mattress after six to eight years. However, different types of mattresses can have different lifespans. For example, latex mattresses can last 10+ years, while the average innerspring will only last five to seven years. Once you start to notice excessive sagging at the bottom of your bed, it's also time to look into a replacement. 

What is the best bed base to use in order to avoid mattress sagging?

A bed base with bed slats can help avoid mattress sagging. They add an extra layer of support to the bottom of the mattress and will help extend the lifespan of your mattress.

Check out Saatva's high-quality mattress selections

If you're looking to avoid a sagging mattress, you need a product made with high-quality and durable materials. Saatva has a selection of premium, handcrafted mattresses that suit every sleep style. 

To decide which one is right for you, take our online mattress quiz where we take your sleeping preferences into account. Get the best mattress for you and take advantage of our industry-leading warranty and 180-night sleep trial.

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