How often should you flip your mattress?

Most mattresses need to be flipped to maintain their quality. [Photo: Getty]
Most mattresses need to be flipped to maintain their quality. [Photo: Getty]

With the average Brit getting one to two less hours sleep a night compared to 60 years ago, most of us have a vested interest in upping our snooze time with everything from natural remedies to weekend lie-ins.

But, do you remember the last time you turned over your mattress?

While we’re all faintly aware of the practice, a quick straw poll among the Yahoo UK team found few of us think to do it regularly – if at all.

Responses ranged from “I’ve never done that” and “My mattress is one that doesn’t need flipping” to a blank-faced “huh?”.

So, should we – or shouldn’t we – be giving it a go?

To flip or not to flip?

If you’ve never turned your mattress over, fear not – it might be the correct approach.

For those who have jumped on the memory foam mattress bandwagon, not flipping is actually right, explains Neil Robinson, chief sleep officer at Sealy UK.

If you have this type of mattress – which has a comfort layer and more supportive base – the general rule is that flipping them is a big no-no.

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“If you were to flip this mattress, it would mean the features that are designed specifically to support your body during the night end up face down at the bottom of the bed – meaning a less comfortable night’s sleep.”

Robinson explains this is also true of pillow top mattresses, a type which has additional surface padding stitched to the top of it.

“If a mattress has a pillow top, this should be rotated rather than flipped, otherwise the pillow top would no longer be the sleeping surface.”

So who should flip their mattress?

Not everyone’s off the hook. With most other types of mattress – including the most common innerspring or coil varieties – you should be flipping it regularly in order to maintain its quality and hygiene, stresses Robinson.

“Flipping your mattress is to help ensure an even sleeping surface and increase its longevity. Through doing this, the smoothness of the surface is retained, instead of having all of your body pressure placed in one concentrated location over a long period of time.”

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OK, we’re sold. But how regular is regular?

“As a general rule of thumb, mattresses should be either flipped or rotated every three to six months on average, to avoid sagging or settlement and to increase their lifespan,” says Robinson.

Specialised mattresses (pillow top and memory foam) should be rotated, but not flipped, with the same regularity.

Are there any other reasons for flipping your mattress?

Although maintaining the quality of your mattress is the main reason for moving it around, it can also be a good opportunity to keep dust mites in check.

Some 20% of us are sensitive to dust mites in the UK, and in extreme cases they can cause asthma, rhinitis and eczema.

“While flipping your mattress alone might not be sufficient to remove dust mites or allergens from your mattress, it can definitely help, as some have suggested it removes dust mites from their energy sources within the mattress,” says Robinson.

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You can also use the flipping process as an excuse to hoover both sides of your mattress in order to get rid of dust mites and other allergens.

What’s the best way to flip your mattress?

Now for the hard part: actually getting the huge, heavy mattress to move.

Robinson recommends enlisting someone else to help you – “it’s a two person job” – and then following these three steps.

  1. Rotate the mattress 90 degrees, so that it is hanging over the sides of the bed.

  2. Raise the mattress on its long edge so that it is turned up towards the headboard, and then lower the mattress back down, so that the bottom of the mattress is now face up.

  3. Rotate the mattress another 90 degrees so that it is back in its correct position.

This way, you can ensure the mattress is not only flipped over on to a new side, but that the head and foot of the mattress is also swapped over.

Just rotating your mattress? “First rotate it so that the mattress is diagonal across the bed frame, then so that it is at a right angle to the bed frame, and then the rest of the way so that it is now in place, with the foot of the mattress now against the headboard.”

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