Bed Basics

Should You Flip Your Mattress?

A close up of a mattresses texture.
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Your grandparents probably flipped their mattresses, but a lot has changed in mattress technology. So does that mean you should also flip your modern mattress? While many things from our grandparents’ era are worth keeping around (hello, best apple pie recipe ever) the notion that we have to flip our mattresses in order to keep them comfortable and extend their lifespan probably doesn’t apply to your current mattress.

Instead of flipping your mattress, the Sleep Experts™ now recommend that you rotate your mattress to prolong lifespan and get the most out of your bed. To help us dispel the myths about flipping a mattress, Mattress Firm Sleep Expert™ Bradley Campbell gives us the lowdown on what you should know about flipping your mattress versus rotating your mattress.


Why You Should Not Flip Your Mattress

Your weekend might involve flipping pancakes, flipping burgers on the barbecue or flipping out over a new season of your favorite show dropping, but should it involve flipping your mattress? Probably not, and here’s why.

In the past, mattresses were made with one layer of coils wrapped in a fabric cover. The mattress was identical, regardless of which side was touching the box spring and which was the sleeping surface. This meant you got the same support and sleep (or lack thereof), no matter how you flung your mattress onto the box spring. Thankfully, mattress construction has seen plenty of advancement since the days of creaky, pokey coils.

Most of today’s mattresses (including all mattresses sold at Mattress Firm) have one dedicated side that's meant to be slept on. That side is constructed with several layers of support. These layers are designed to form a supportive core with at least one comfort layer above this. Flipping a modern mattress would then result in your sleeping on a base, not the layer designed to optimize sleep for your needs and sleep position.

Take, for example, one of our best-selling luxury mattresses, the Beautyrest PressureSmart Lux Pillow Top Mattress (pictured above). The sophisticated design has five layers of support, four of those being foam that sit above pocketed coils. Flip that over and now the coils are the top layer with four layers of foam sitting closest to the mattress foundation.

“Most modern mattresses start off softer on top and get firmer as you go down,” Campbell says. “Those top layers absorb that energy so less and less energy actually makes its way to the coil or dense foam. The fact that we don’t flip them anymore actually opens the door to having mattresses that are built to be so much more comfortable and so much more supportive but also last longer.”

Campbell mentions that anyone concerned that not flipping a mattress means it’ll wear unevenly can rest soundly. Simply sleeping on it puts pressure on both the surface of the mattress and the bottom.

He does point out that while flipping your mattress isn’t the best, it’s likely you can flip a mattress topper. So long as the foam is one layer thick, you’ll get the same sleeping experience on both sides.

Should You Flip a Foam Mattress?

Even all-foam mattresses like the Tuft & Needle Original mattress are constructed with a correct side to sleep on. The top comfort layer is made with the company’s own foam, Tuft & Needle Adaptive foam, which has a body-contouring feel. It’s also infused with graphite and cooling gel to help sleep at a comfortable temperature. The lower layer is a denser foam designed for core support. Flip that over and you’d lose the cooling and cushioned feel.

How and Why You Should Rotate Your Mattress

Now that we know flipping a modern mattress is a bad idea, what can be done to prolong the life of your bed? Simply rotating it 180 degrees will do the trick.

“The bulk of our weight is carried in our midsection,” Campbell says. “Most humans are built that way so the most amount of pressure on the mattress is always going to fall in the upper third or the lower third of the mattress, depending on you rotating it.”

Rotating a mattress will help with using the entire surface on the mattress, rather than just a few spots.

While rotating your mattress, Campbell also recommends putting on socks and gently walking around on the ends of the mattress. Since those areas don’t support much weight, it can be helpful to add some pressure so the mattress breaks in evenly on all sections.

If you have a king-size bed, which is 76”x80”, you can even rotate your bed 90 degrees (or a quarter-turn). If done evenly, the long side will only hang off by two inches on either side, which is a small enough overhang that it won't be noticeable for you sleeping on it, and won't diminish the support layers within the mattress itself.

How Often Should You Rotate Your Mattress?

For the first few years of ownership, Campbell says rotating it once per quarter will make the most out of the layers of comfort and support. After that you can switch to rotating it twice per year.

What to Do When Nothing Feels Comfortable

Rotating your mattress can help keep it comfortable and supportive, but all mattresses have a lifespan. The average mattress lasts from 7 to 10 years, so if you’re approaching those years, it could be time to break up with your current mattress. If it’s noticeably sagging, no longer comfortable, or doesn’t feel like it used to, it could be time for an upgrade.

The Sleep Experts™ at Mattress Firm are always available to find the right mattress for your sleeping style, whether you prefer to shop online in your pajamas or in store.

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