When you shop in a store or online for a mattress, one of the things you may worry about is how long it will be before the mattress begins to sag. They aren’t generally designed to last forever, after all. Over time, most mattresses do, in fact, begin to break down, and lose their form.
An organic mattress produced from 100% natural latex foam, however, is different. It is able to retain its shape and form for 20 years or more, depending on the construction of the mattress. In fact, the longevity of a latex mattress is just one of the many benefits of a 100% natural latex mattress that sets them apart from traditional innerspring mattresses.
What is the Sag Factor in Latex and Other Mattresses?
The days where you walk into a mattress retailer, and take the salesperson's word for it that the mattress will last a certain number of years is over.
The Sag Factor is an essential consideration to make if you want a guarantee a certain mattress model will maintain a uniformed surface, without buckling under your body weight. The mattress's Sag Factor is the ability of the mattress being able to return to its initial shape after being exposed to pressure.
Fortunately, each type of mattress comes with a certain Sag Factor, which is the most updated way of measuring the level of durability of a mattress through the quality of its component foam. There's a factor range of 1 through 5, where 5 is the least chances of sagging.
Typically, any mattress that has a factor of 3 or more could be an ideal choice. And, while memory foam mattress's Sag Factor typically ranges from 2 to 3, you receive a Sag Factor of 4 to 5 with organic latex.
So, your best bet is to look for a natural latex mattress that has a Sag Factor of 5, to reduce the likelihood of suffering sags and dips.
The sag factor is the ability of a mattress to return to its original form after exposure to a pressure or a load. Thanks to ISO 2439, there is now a standard of measurement to help determine the sag factor of foam mattresses, such as latex foam, urethane foam, and open-cell PVC foam. Polyurethane foam, for instance, has a sag factor of two, while highly resilient foams have a sag factor of three. Natural latex mattresses often have sag factors as high as four or five. Generally speaking, sag factors greater than three provide for exceptional comfort for sleep.
Other Considerations that Impact the Sag Factor of a Mattress
It’s more than the materials used in the mattress that impact the sag factor. There are plenty of advantages latex brings to a mattress, but without the proper construction method and other mitigating factors, the mattresses wouldn’t be nearly as resilient over time as they continue to be.
Construction – Latex mattresses are made by two construction processes – Talalay and Dunlop. The Talalay process involves an additional step where the mold is flash frozen before it is baked. For this reason, mattresses made with the Dunlop construction process often provide greater sag resistance than Talalay over time. However, both construction methods are much more sag-resistant than almost any other mattress on the market today.
Quality of Foam – There are four main latex mattress types on the market. One hundred percent natural latex foam is the highest quality foam available. It comes with a premium price tag as well. However, for the extra money, you enjoy even more life from your mattress. Blended latex foam is often referred to as natural foam. But it does include synthetic ingredients that help reduce costs while also sacrificing some of the quality you expect from 100 percent natural foam. Hybrids are a combination of latex foam and another type of mattress material, such as polyurethane foam, or even an air mattress. They tend to have lower costs and shorter shelf lives. The least expensive latex foam (and often the easiest to compact or sag) is the completely synthetic latex mattress.
Ultimately, it’s worth taking a little time to explore things like mattress warranties, guarantees, and what the warranties cover, in order to be certain you’re getting the greatest possible value for your mattress investment. Dollar for dollar, it’s hard to go wrong with all natural latex mattresses that are designed to last 20 years or longer.
How Does Mattress Sagging Impact Sleep Quality?
Minor sagging might only affect sleep duration and quality to a minimal extent. But, if there's substantial sagging, it could have the following adverse effects:
- More Pressure and Pain
An uneven sleeping surface creates sensitive spots under body areas that don't receive the same amount of support like others. As time goes on, this could result in added pressure points and aches and pains in the:
- Lower back
- Higher Noise Potential
You're more likely to hear squeaking and creaking with deteriorating springs when you bear weight. Wear and tear doesn't impact the noise possibility of all-latex mattresses or all-foam mattresses as much because these beds are made to be fairly silent.
- Hot Sleeping
With hybrids and innersprings, sagging comfort foams could restrict air passage through coil layers. This could result in the mattress sleeping hotter.
- Poorer for Falling and Staying Asleep
A sagging mattress has more serious consequences, too. As the surface starts becoming more uneven with time, it could lead to issues with falling asleep, and staying asleep. A lot of individuals develop symptoms of insomnia as a result. Individuals might also have sleep apnea, which is a type of sleep disorder marked by temporary loss of breath while you sleep, if the sagging impacts how their shoulders and neck are positioned. Excessive neck and head elevation could cause airway blockage, a top cause of symptoms of apnea.
Indentations and sagging that measure a minimum of 1-inch deep could cause poorer sleep quality, and more sleeper discomfort. Many manufacturers will repair or replace beds with substantial sagging through their warranty.
Aside from these sleep disadvantages, a mattress with valleys and peaks could cause awkward motions, and discomfort during sex, according to some couples.
What Causes a Mattress to Sag?
Sagging is usually due to normal mattress wear and tear. The foam materials in the mattress tend to start softening over time as they're exposed to substantial pressure each night from your body. Over time, this slow foam softening can lead to a sagging feeling, and less even support.
Generally, a mattress sinks in the middle, often in a couple or few spots. This is typically due to several things.
- Partners who often sleep on "their" sides of the bed
- Partners who sleep in a "spooning" position
- Pets (particularly large dogs) sleeping on your bed
Sagging is also common in hybrid and innerspring mattresses. There tends to be tension loss in the metal coils of these beds over time while the comfort layers soften. This leads to less rigid support in problematic areas.
Sagging typically occurs in areas where the most pressure is exposed. Usually, this will include areas that support your shoulders and hips.
Sagging mattresses provide uneven support, and this could substantially decrease sleep quality and comfort.
How Long Does a Natural Latex Mattress Last in Comparison to Other Mattress Types?
You'll want to check the warranty for your latex mattress. Ideally it should be a minimum of 25 years.
Latex lasts longer than various other types of mattresses. But the mattress longevity will depend on various factors, including the manufacturing process. Even standard mattresses have various foam layers and coils, and the quality and construction impact the lifespan. Generally, you can expect the following lifespans from these different mattress types:
- Memory foam mattress (seven to 10 years)
- Latex mattress (10 - 20 years)
- Hybrid mattress (seven to 15 years)
- Innerspring mattress (seven to 10 years)
- Gel-infused foam mattress (eight to 12 years)
A quality 100% natural latex mattress, however, can last around 20 to 25 years without skimping on support, meaning the mattress continues holding its shape without forming indentations and sagging. And, it will even provide you with the same springiness and bounce you experience on your very first night you sleep on it.
Plus, natural latex is 100% recyclable. Each item going into a latex mattress can be broken down safely, so these mattresses don't need to wind up in the landfills. This helps save the environment.
Do Latex Mattresses Break Down?
Natural latex mattresses are made to break down as time goes on, which means the natural latex core inside the mattress oxidizes after various years of use, rather than off-gassing toxic chemicals in landfills like memory foam or polyurethane.
Don't be concerned, however. Your natural latex mattress won't start breaking down before your eyes after a couple years of using it. They're designed to last 10 to 20 years, which is a lot longer than standard mattresses. And, it won't leave behind a nasty carbon footprint.
Will Latex Mattress Soften Over Time?
All brand new mattresses, including latex mattresses, go through a break-in period generally during the first few weeks, and upwards of two months. This includes the cover stretching, and the foam softening. It occurs as the materials of the latex mattress adjust to your individual body weight, as well as your dominant sleeping position.
So, will your latex mattress soften over time? The short answer is yes. The long answer is that initially, your latex mattress may feel firm, but will soften during the first couple of months, feeling softer and more comfortable overall. However, after these initial weeks, the softening slows, so your latex mattress remains comfortable for many years.
This is why at PlushBeds, we require you to sleep on your mattress for 30 days at a minimum to allow this break-in period to occur, and enable your body to adjust to the feel of a new latex mattress. If after this 30 day period, you decide that the PlushBeds mattress doesn’t suit you, you can return it (along with bonus items) for a full refund, minus a nominal $149 return transportation fee.
What to Do If My Mattress is Sagging?
Things you can do if your mattress is sagging are:
- Rotate the Mattress
It's a great idea to rotate your mattress regularly whether or not it's sagging. Just turn your mattress 180 degrees, which will make the area that was previously serving as the head of your bed now the foot of your bed. Doing this will help the mattress get its overall shape back, particularly in sagging areas where your heaviest areas typically rest.
Rotate your mattress every six months. Ask for help if your mattress weighs over 90 lbs. Don't flip mattresses onto its inverse side, unless it's an actual flippable design that has dual comfort layers.
- Purchase a New Foundation
Foundations are usually part of the blame for a sagging mattress. An inadequate number of legs could lead to sagging, especially for a Queen or bigger sizes. Most warranties will require you to have a foundation that supports these sizes, which means it should have a minimum of six legs, and include a center support leg to add reinforcement.
Slats with gaps that measure 3-inches or wider could also lead to the mattress sagging in these areas. And, foundations, like mattresses, also deteriorate with time, and must be replaced; therefore, very old foundations could lead to sagging as well.
- Use a Mattress Topper
A mattress topper is a separate layer of cushioning that's put on top of the mattress for adjusting the firmness. A thick topper might also fill in sagging gaps, creating a more even sleeping surface. Toppers typically measure between 2-inches to 5-inches thick. Thicker models do a better job covering sagging more efficiently than thinner models.
Common materials for toppers include:
- Memory foam
Some toppers also offer additional cooling for hot sleepers.
- Use Pillows for Supporting Sagging Spots
A foam mattress could be particularly susceptible to disintegration and sagging. A quick fix would be to place one or more pillows of the proper size on the depressed spot of the mattress. Use a tight fitted sheet to cover it, so it feels seamless when you're lying on top of it.
- File a Warranty Claim
If the solutions above don't seem to help with the sagging problem, then you could file a warranty claim. You would just contact the mattress manufacturer to get the claim started.
Or, you can simply purchase a new latex mattress, which isn't prone to sagging for many years.
For instance, PlushBeds mattresses come with a 25-year limited warranty!
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