The aver­age per­son spends a sig­nif­i­cant part of his life on a mat­tress. There­fore, we usu­al­ly approach the choice of a mat­tress thought­ful­ly, tak­ing into account the already exist­ing phys­i­o­log­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics and health sta­tus. Hav­ing bought a mat­tress, most peo­ple sigh with relief and begin to live on it — for years, with­out even think­ing about the fact that oth­er liv­ing beings set­tle in with them. Yes, and the mat­tress itself may not be such a safe thing.

What we gen­er­al­ly know about mat­tress­es and life with them, on them and inside them, Med­AboutMe under­stood.

How to determine the life of a mattress?

How to determine the life of a mattress?

Striped Sovi­et-era mat­tress­es with a moun­tain sys­tem of cot­ton balls under the spread­ing fab­ric can still be found in vil­lages, dachas, and even in urban apart­ments for the elder­ly. True, in the lat­ter case, they are more often found in the depths of the mez­za­nines — after all, it is in the 21st cen­tu­ry, when a com­fort­able beau­ti­ful mat­tress costs quite rea­son­able mon­ey. One thing is for sure: the time of wadded mat­tress­es is gone.

And how long do more mod­ern ver­sions live?

The aver­age life of a mat­tress is 8 years. The bet­ter the mate­ri­als, the longer the mat­tress retains its qual­i­ties, but the more expen­sive it is.

  • Spring mat­tress­es today have a sup­port sys­tem of spi­rals inside, help­ing to even­ly dis­trib­ute the load through­out the mat­tress. This pro­longs his life. Such mat­tress­es can last 10 years or more, and if they are dou­ble-sided, they can be turned over for even wear.
  • Polyurethane mem­o­ry foam mat­tress­es come in many vari­eties, but the aver­age life span is 10 to 15 years. They are also rec­om­mend­ed to be turned over reg­u­lar­ly.
  • The lifes­pan of latex mat­tress­es depends on whether syn­thet­ic latex or organ­ic latex is used. But in prin­ci­ple, these are gen­er­al­ly “long-play­ing” mat­tress­es, the peri­od of their use reach­es 20–25 years. Also, they are hypoal­ler­genic.
  • Hybrid mat­tress­es are a com­bi­na­tion of dif­fer­ent mod­els: spring, latex, polyurethane, etc. They will not be as durable as most oth­er types of mat­tress­es. Their life span is deter­mined by the qual­i­ty of springs and polyurethane and aver­ages 6 years.

Dur­ing this time, the mat­tress has time to “pop­u­late” a wide vari­ety of liv­ing organ­isms. We share our mat­tress­es with bac­te­ria, fun­gus, dust mites and, in the worst case, bed bugs.

Who lives in a mattress?

Who lives in a mattress?

  • dust mites

These micro­scop­ic insects live in the dust of human apart­ments. A mat­tress for them is an ide­al place to live. Dur­ing the day, we nat­u­ral­ly lose up to half a bil­lion skin cells, which become food for dust mites. If pets also live in the apart­ment, then their dan­druff brings a pleas­ant vari­ety to the diet of ticks.

The main dan­ger of these crea­tures invis­i­ble to the eye is that their waste prod­ucts are com­mon aller­gens. There­fore, it is very impor­tant for aller­gy suf­fer­ers and asth­mat­ics to treat their mat­tress­es in a time­ly man­ner in order to reduce the num­ber of dust mites.

This can be done with the help of cold (in win­ter it is enough to take the mat­tress to the bal­cony for sev­er­al hours) or ultra­vi­o­let (in sum­mer its source is the sun’s rays). How­ev­er, you can also reg­u­lar­ly quartz a room with an open mat­tress with a ger­mi­ci­dal UV lamp. It is impos­si­ble to com­plete­ly get rid of dust mites, but it is quite pos­si­ble to sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduce the num­ber.

  • Bed bugs

These unpleas­ant blood-suck­ing insects usu­al­ly enter a per­son­’s home from neigh­bor­ing apart­ments or from base­ments, climb­ing the walls. And you can also drag them with old fur­ni­ture, bought on occa­sion from hand. Bed­bugs live in the wood­en frames of old mat­tress­es, but they can­not pen­e­trate the fab­ric cov­er (if there are no holes in it). And if the mat­tress is intact, and there are no eggs or oth­er traces of insects in the seams, but the bugs still bite you at night, look for them in the sur­round­ings: the frame of the bed or sofa itself, base­boards, cracks in the walls, oth­er fur­ni­ture and even par­quet.

  • fun­gi and bac­te­ria

A per­son per year dur­ing a night’s sleep allo­cates some­thing about 100 liters of sweat. This pro­vides a sta­ble cozy humid­i­ty, which is so loved by bac­te­ria and fun­gi, which also nec­es­sar­i­ly live in the depths and on the sur­face of the mat­tress. And the old­er he is, the more sol­id their colonies.

In 2016, Amerisleep pub­lished the results of their study on bed bac­te­r­i­al con­t­a­m­i­na­tion. For 7 years since the pur­chase of brand new mat­tress­es, experts have watched how bac­te­ria set­tle in them. Accord­ing to the data obtained, 3 mil­lion bac­te­ria can be found in a mat­tress dur­ing the first year of its use. By the end of the sec­ond year, their num­ber grows to 9 mil­lion, after 5 years from the date of pur­chase there are already 13.5 mil­lion, and after 7 years — 16 mil­lion bac­te­ria.

The list of microor­gan­isms that live in mat­tress­es includes such dan­ger­ous bac­te­ria as Escherichia coli (Escher­i­hia coli) and Staphy­lo­coc­cus aureus (Staphy­lo­coc­cus aureus), as well as yeasts from the genus Can­di­da and molds.

What does a mattress smell like?

What does a mattress smell like?

The envi­ron­men­tal friend­li­ness of the mate­ri­als from which the mat­tress is made is one of the main con­cerns of well-known man­u­fac­tur­ers today.

How­ev­er, in 2019, Israeli sci­en­tists from the Israel Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy pub­lished a study mea­sur­ing volatile organ­ic com­pounds (VOCs) in polyurethane mat­tress­es. In large quan­ti­ties, VOCs can pose a health haz­ard — cause eye irri­ta­tion, res­pi­ra­to­ry irri­ta­tion, headaches, and even pro­voke the devel­op­ment of can­cer.

The study found that the amount of VOCs emit­ted by mat­tress­es increas­es with increas­ing tem­per­a­ture (that is, when a per­son lies on them). And although the con­cen­tra­tion of VOCs released at the same time was low­er than harm­ful val­ues, but some com­pounds (acetalde­hyde, ben­zene, formalde­hyde) can still be dan­ger­ous for young chil­dren, for whom low­er con­cen­tra­tions of harm­ful com­pounds are dan­ger­ous.

Researchers rec­om­mend ven­ti­lat­ing rooms where peo­ple sleep on polyurethane mat­tress­es as often as pos­si­ble. Sci­en­tists point out that in the air of apart­ments the con­tent of VOCs can be 10 times high­er than their con­cen­tra­tion on the street. And it is bet­ter not to use polyurethane mat­tress­es for small chil­dren, but to replace them with mat­tress­es con­tain­ing cot­ton, wool and nat­ur­al latex.

When is it time to change your mattress?

When is it time to change your mattress?

Time pass­es, the mat­tress wears out, acquires a spe­cial musty aro­ma with hints of chem­istry, and even dry clean­ing is unlike­ly to cope with all unin­vit­ed ten­ants. By what signs does it become clear: it’s time to change the mat­tress?

  • The mate­ri­als inside the mat­tress lose their shape, stains and scuffs appear on the fab­ric, sag­ging, some areas become denser, oth­ers vice ver­sa.
  • The mat­tress began to “sound” — in the case of spring mat­tress­es, this is man­i­fest­ed in a con­stant creak­ing.
  • It became dif­fi­cult to fall asleep. If you can’t fall asleep with­in 20–30 min­utes, despite being tired, it may be that the uncom­fort­able mat­tress is the rea­son.
  • At the same time, in the morn­ing there is stiff­ness “in all mem­bers”, pain and a feel­ing of numb­ness in the mus­cles. The mat­tress has ceased to be a place of good rest.
  • If you use a mat­tress with a part­ner, a char­ac­ter­is­tic sign that the mat­tress has served its pur­pose is the motion trans­fer effect — when the mat­tress part­ner changes posi­tion, you feel it in the move­ments of the mat­tress. And this should not be.
  • As soon as you sleep on a mat­tress, your aller­gies become aggra­vat­ed or asth­ma attacks become more fre­quent, although it seems to be insignif­i­cant so far.
  • The mat­tress was infest­ed with bed bugs.

Changes in back pain, sleep qual­i­ty, and per­ceived stress after intro­duc­tion of new bed­ding sys­tems. / Acob­son BH, Boolani A, Smith DB. // J Chi­ro­pr Med. - 2009

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