A mattress is only as good as the material its made with. Most mattresses still use a steel coil innerspring for support and add foam for cushioning. Some use foam in place of the steel coil innerspring like memory foam or latex, but even these beds still contain a significant amount of polyurethane foam. For instance, Tempurpedic, the leading selling specialty mattress is made from 1/3 memory foam (aka tempur foam) and the rest of the mattress is petroleum based polyurethane foam.
The reason that mattresses wear out way to soon can be traced back to the foam used for cushioning especially the polyurethane foam. Industry testing shows that this type of foam will change 49% during the effective life of the bed. That means that the poly foam will lost its ability to rebound and create significant body impressions and harden making the mattress unfit to sleep on. Other foams like memory and latex change 17-24% during this same period so the bed you bought is changing a little bit every time you sleep on it. After a couple of years its changed significantly and starts to become a problem since it is a completely different sleep experience. The proven wear data means that a mattress using foam for cushioning will have a productive sleep life of between 3 to 8 years depending upon which type and quality of foam is used.
Watch the Fine Print in your Warranty
Most mattresses come with some kind of warranty and the more expensive ones will have a 20 years warranty. How can this happen if they use materials that will only last 8 years at best? These are limited warranties. The fine print in the warranty defines normal wear as a body indention of 1 1/2 inches. So what happens when you can’t sleep on the mattress and report it as defective? Eventually, the manufacturer will send someone to your house to inspect the problem. The first thing they do is inspect the mattress for any sign of moisture or staining.
This automatically voids your warranty coverage. If you pass that test then they take a ruler and measure the depth of the indention (body impression) with no one in the bed. If its less than 1 1/2 inches it falls under normal wear. Finally you must be the original purchaser of the mattress and have the original receipt. So mattress companies get away with using materials that wear out with use similar to the tires on your car by offering warranties that provide almost no real protection to the consumer.
What can I do if my mattress has worn out way before its time?
The old saying “once fooled, twice shy” comes to mind. You can buy a new mattress, but find one that uses materials that will wear and function properly throughout the warranty period. One such material used for cushioning in place of foam is Intelli-gel, a modern co-polymer gel that will last 30 years without showing significant wear.
Another option is to give your current bed a mattress make over. After all, the steel coil innerspring in the bed and the box springs are probably still good since they wear much longer than the foams used for cushioning. You can replace the cushioning layer with a layer of the intelli-gel material and extend the life of your bed by another 5-10 years. For an investment way less than the cost of buying a whole new bed you can have a top of the line mattress that will wear far longer than the original did. The intelli-gel material is available exclusively by intelliBED and can be purchased at our store.