How Often Should You Flip or Rotate Your Mattress?

A new mattress is a big investment, and you want it to last you as long as possible. Therefore, it is important to follow certain maintenance guidelines to ensure minimal wear and tear. You should wash your sheets bi-weekly, use the right mattress protector, and vacuum it every 2 to 3 months to reduce the build-up of bacteria, dust mites, dirt, and mold, which can cause the mattress to deteriorate quickly.

While you shouldn’t flip and rotate all mattress types, this practice can also help extend the life of your bed. Below, we explain whether you should flip or rotate your mattress and how often you should do so.

Should Your Flip or Rotate Your Mattress?

When sleeping on a mattress, your body weight and heat will naturally cause the materials in the bed to break down. While some mattresses will break down faster than others, this is a fairly normal occurrence. Most manufacturers suggest flipping or rotating the mattress to prevent the wear and tear from being concentrated to just one spot.

However, not all mattress types should be flipped or rotated. In many cases, flipping can cause permanent damage and void your warranty coverage. Read on to find out whether you should flip or rotate your mattress.

Flipping a Mattress

Flipping a mattress involves turning it over, so the top becomes the bottom—this allows you to sleep on both sides of the bed. Most modern mattresses are not designed to be flipped. Mattress companies use specific layers in their beds to provide maximum comfort and support. The top comfort layer is usually made of foam to cushion and protect you from pressure points.

While the comfort layer can be made to feel both soft and firm, this layer typically has more give than the bottom of the mattress. The base of the bed is much firmer and is designed to support your body weight and to prevent sagging in the layers above. If you flip a mattress with this design, the soft comfort layer will not be able to support the weight of the bottom layer, leading to deterioration and sagging.

Flippable Mattresses

However, some mattresses are designed to be flipped. These beds have a support core rather than a support base. This means the firmest part of the mattress is in the middle, so no matter which side you sleep on, you will remain supported and the bed should not sag.

If the mattress is made to be flipped, it will be clearly advertised since this is often seen as a selling point.

Dual-Sided Firmness

Some manufacturers even structure their mattresses with two different comfort options. For example, one side of the mattress may have a medium-firm feel, while the other is softer. This gives sleepers the ability to try out both sides of the bed and decide which firmness they prefer.

While a mattress with a dual-sided firmness can be helpful in terms of comfort, it will not necessarily increase the mattress’s durability. If you prefer the softer side, you will not want to flip the bed to the firmer side regularly.

The Benefits of Flipping a Mattress

Flipping a double-sided mattress is beneficial because it prevents large, body-shaped impressions from forming in one area of the mattress. By flipping it, you can reduce wear and tear and prevent premature sagging and deterioration.

How Often to Flip a Mattress

If your mattress is flippable, it is best to flip it once every 6 months. The manufacturer’s website or warranty booklet should let you know how often you should flip it.

How to Flip a Mattress

In most cases, a flippable mattress should also be rotated every 6 months, so it is helpful to do both simultaneously. The steps below will help you safely flip and rotate your mattress.

  • Remove all bedding and sleep accessories, such as pillows, sheets, mattress toppers, pads, or protectors.
  • Move any nearby furniture, such as lamps and nightstands.
  • Rotate the mattress clockwise 90 degrees, so the long side sits parallel to the footboard and headboard.
  • Lift the mattress to its side and gently flip it.
  • Slowly lower the mattress down, so what was once on top is not resting against the mattress foundation or bed frame.
  • Again, rotate the mattress clockwise 90 degrees, so it is aligned with the bed frame. The part that was beneath your head should now be under your feet and vice versa.

Mattress Types That Should Not Be Flipped

You should not flip a mattress unless the manufacturer’s instructions recommend doing so. In most cases, flippable beds are labeled as “dual-sided.” Most foam mattresses, such as latex foam and memory foam beds, can be damaged if the foam topper layer is placed on the bottom of the bed. Additionally, resting on the firm support layer could lead to painful pressure points.

Hybrid beds and pillow-top innerspring mattresses are also one-sided. The coil springs in the base of the bed are meant to support the upper layers, but they are not designed to sit directly beneath the body. Flipping one of these mattresses will put too much pressure on the foam topper, causing it to break down.

Rotating a Mattress

Rotating a mattress involves turning it 180 degrees, so the area where you typically rest your head is now beneath your feet and vice versa. Unlike flipping, most mattresses should be rotated. Rotating is a quick and easy way to extend your mattress’s life and ensure you are sleeping in a healthy, comfortable position every night.

The Benefits of Rotating a Mattress

With constant use, your mattress may begin to wear down in one area. While some deterioration is normal, too much could cause the hips or shoulders to sink too far into the bed, forcing the spine to bow.

If the spine is not resting in a neutral position, it could cause pressure and tension to build up, leading to muscle pain and stiffness. Regularly rotating your mattress helps prevent one area of the mattress from breaking down too quickly, so your body weight stays evenly distributed, and your spine remains neutral.

How Often to Rotate a Mattress

When purchasing a new mattress, most manufacturers will let you know how often you should rotate it. These suggestions are typically determined by the type of mattress you are buying. In general, innerspring and memory foam mattresses should be rotated every 3 months. However, latex and hybrid mattresses can be rotated every 6 months.

How to Rotate a Mattress

When you are ready to rotate your mattress, the step below will walk you through the process.

  • Move any nearby furniture, such as lamps and nightstands.
  • Lift the mattress and rotate it 180 degrees, so the head of the mattress is now at the feet.
  • When rotating your mattress, it is a good idea to clean and vacuum the area to remove any allergens that may irritate your sinus or skin.

Mattress Types That Should Not Be Rotated

In most cases, it is safe to rotate your mattress. However, if the bed has a zoned support system, the manufacturer may advise against it. For example, if the mattress layers support the head and shoulders differently than the feet and legs, you may not experience the full comfort of the mattress by rotating it. To make sure, it is best to check your warranty and instructions before doing so.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a mattress last 20 years? 

Most mattresses last 8 to 12 years, so it is unlikely that any bed would feel comfortable and supportive after 20 years of use. However, memory foam and latex mattresses last the longest. Memory foam beds last between 8 and 10 years, while latex beds can last up to 12 years. 

How can I tell if my mattress is too firm?

If you frequently wake with pain near your hip and shoulder joints, your mattress may be too firm. If you are between 130 and 230 pounds and you prefer to sleep on your side, you need a mattress that is soft enough to cradle and cushion your joints; a soft to medium mattress typically works best for side sleepers. On a mattress that is too firm, you may develop painful pressure points near the joints. 

Back sleepers tend to prefer a medium-firm mattress because it offers minimal sinking. However, if back sleepers develop pain near the hips, their mattress may be too firm. 

How often should you change your sheets? 

To keep your mattress clean and germ-free, you should wash your sheets at least once every two weeks. If you tend to sweat during the night, you may want to wash them more frequently, such as once a week. 

How do you fix a sagging pillow top mattress?

If your pillow top mattress is sagging, we suggest replacing it with something more supportive. However, if you are in a bind and can't replace it right away, you can make your bed firmer by adding a firm memory foam or latex foam topper. A firm topper may help reduce sinking and keep your spine in a neutral position throughout the night. 

Do you need a new box spring when you get a new mattress? 

When purchasing a new bed, the foundation you will need depends on the type of mattress you select. Most mattresses do not need a box spring. Traditionally, box springs were used to absorb shock and keep body weight evenly distributed when paired with an innerspring mattress. However, modern modern-day box springs only add height.

Therefore, a box spring is usually not necessary. In fact, memory foam and latex mattresses can become damaged when placed on a box spring since these beds need to rest on a flat, solid foundation to prevent sagging. 

Did We Help?

Flipping and rotating can extend the life of your mattress. However, since most modern mattresses are one-sided, rotating may be the best way to maintain even wear and tear. In addition to rotating, be sure to protect it with a waterproof protector and do your best to freshen and clean your mattress.

This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.

Michelle Zhang, Wellness Writer Michelle Zhang

Michelle Zhang is a regular contributor to our Zoma blog and is our go-to sleep researcher. In her time with Zoma, Michelle has researched and published many articles on widespread sleeping habits and troubles. In her time outside of Zoma, Michelle is an occupational therapist and long-distance runner. She believes leading a healthy lifestyle is the key to getting better sleep at night. Michelle's work has been featured on Men's Journal, The Frisky, and The Mighty.

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