How Often Do We Really Flip or Turn Our Mattresses?

UPDATED

Written by Ashley Lauretta

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At a Glance:

  • On average, U.S. adults flip or rotate their mattress every 183 days, or about every six months.
  • 29.6% of adults never flip or rotate their mattresses. 
  • 49.6% of adults flip or rotate their mattress at least once every six months, with 35.1% doing so every three months.
  • People ages 45 to 54 flip or rotate their mattresses 54.4% more often than people ages 18 to 24.
  • King mattresses are the most likely to be flipped or rotated.

Whenever JoAnn Castillo spends a few nights tossing and turning, she rotates her 2-year-old foam mattress.

The 26-year-old New Yorker shares a bed with her boyfriend and says they both notice sagging on one side of the mattress if they don’t rotate it.

“I feel the difference at first because my boyfriend is twice my size,” she says. “He says when we rotate the mattress, it feels firm again. But I don’t really notice that much.” 

A couple is flipping a mattress

Rotating or flipping your mattress, depending on the type of mattress, can help it last longer. These tasks also frequently pop up on spring-cleaning checklists in magazines and social media. But how often do we do them, if at all?

About half of U.S. adults, or 49.6%, rotate or flip their mattress every six months, according to a survey of 1,250 adults that The Sleep Doctor conducted in November 2022. On average, we turn or flip our mattresses every six months, or every 183 days. That’s also in line with guidance from some manufacturers.

Some 35.1% of us go farther and flip or turn our mattress at least every three months, with 10.7% doing it at least monthly. But 29.6% of us never flip or rotate our mattress. And that might be just fine, says David Rubin, certified sleep science coach and lead product tester for The Sleep Doctor. 

Most of the adults who don’t flip their mattress, or 51.6%, also sleep alone. Among monthly mattress-flippers, 53.7% share the bed.

“Most mattresses don’t need to be flipped and, in fact, shouldn’t be flipped,” Rubin says. “Unless a mattress is specifically made to be flippable, they won’t really do what they are supposed to if you flip them.”

So are you flipping or rotating your mattress enough? Can we learn anything from folks who are adjusting their mattresses and those who are not? Most important: Who’s sleeping the best?

Flipping vs. Rotating

“Enough” depends on the type of mattress you have. The tops and bottoms of most modern mattresses aren’t considered reversible. In other words, they’re not made to be turned over or flipped. Rubin says many newer mattresses are built to be the most comfortable on one side, the top.

Mattress construction generally includes a support layer of foam on the bottom, followed by a layer of coils, and then the comfort layers of foam on top, which can vary by brand or manufacturer. Hence memory foam or “pillow top.”  

“Even memory foam mattresses use different types of foam in their layers; it isn’t just a brick of memory foam,” Rubin says. “So flipping it wouldn’t work because you would have the wrong type of foam at the wrong place.” 

Rotating is a different story. It involves turning a mattress 180 degrees. Rubin notes that unless instructed otherwise, many types of mattresses, such as memory foam, latex, and hybrid mattresses, can be rotated once or twice a year. This is especially true if you notice indentations from heavier parts of the body like the shoulders and hips. 

“Unless a mattress is specifically made to be flippable, they won’t really do what they are supposed to if you flip them.” — David Rubin, lead product tester, The Sleep Doctor

He says rotating a mattress is most important when it is new, especially if you have purchased a mattress in a box.

“Manufacturers have different recommendations, but [most say to] let it fully expand after you take it out of the packaging,” Rubin says. “Then they will say rotate it after a few months, for example, just to make sure it is getting its chance to work optimally.” 

Of course, it helps to know what type of mattress you have. Some 16.6% of survey respondents don’t know, and 6.6% don’t know the age of their mattress.

Who Is Flipping or Rotating Their Mattress?

People with foam mattresses do the most flipping or turning, according to the survey. They flip or rotate their mattress every 5.5 months, or 166 days. On average, their mattresses are 3 years old, a bit less than the average of 3 years, 8.5 months for all respondents. Among these mattress owners, 24.1% never flip or turn them.

Meanwhile, respondents with innerspring mattresses, turn or rotate every 6.3 months, or 190 days, and 25.9% never flip or turn them. Although guidance varies by model, innerspring mattresses may have a more traditional construction than foam and may actually warrant more frequent flipping or rotating. The average age of innerspring mattresses was 4 years, 1 month in the survey.

Who Isn't Flipping Their Mattress? | How Often Do We Flip Our Mattress?

As for size, smaller twin-size mattresses may be easier to flip or rotate. But almost half (46.2%) of those who sleep on twins never flip or turn their mattresses, the most of any mattress size. Just over a quarter (26.7%) of people with queen mattresses and about a third (30.1%) with king mattresses never flip or rotate them. 

Adults with full or double mattresses go the longest time between flips or turns, at 199 days. People with king mattresses go the least, at 175.

Age is a factor, too. According to the survey, mattress flipping and rotating becomes more common the older we get. People ages 45 to 54 flip or rotate their mattresses 54.4% more often than people ages 18 to 24. Nearly half of 18- to 24-year-olds never flip or rotate their mattress.

Mattress Habits Differ by Age | How Often Do We Flip Our Mattress?

Why? Tasmiha Khan, an Illinois resident who is in her 30s, used to rotate her mattress every few years but now admits that she just doesn’t think it makes a difference. 

“Mattresses are built with newer technology that takes these things into consideration, so I feel like this is something that was more relevant before we had these advancements,” she says.

Does Flipping or Rotating Your Mattress Affect Sleep?

Based on survey results, it appears that flipping or rotating a mattress may not have a tangible impact on getting more sleep.

The 29.6% of survey respondents who never flip or rotate their mattress report getting at least 6 hours and 48 minutes of sleep per night. That’s a full 31 minutes more than the 10.7% who flip or rotate it every month and get 6 hours and 17 minutes of nightly sleep.

Most of the adults who don’t flip their mattress, or 51.6%, also sleep alone. Among monthly mattress-flippers, 53.7% share the bed. 

In turn, many of us may be like Castillo — flipping or rotating our mattress to follow best practices for care and cleaning and simply staying comfortable. 

 “When you find yourself having the kind of week where you can’t sleep and you think everything around you is spinning out of your control, rotate your mattress,” she says. “Do something to get up on the ‘right side of the bed.’”

Methodology

The survey commissioned by The Sleep Doctor was conducted on the online survey platform Pollfish on Nov. 29, 2022. Results are from 1,250 survey participants in the United States who were ages 18 and older at the time of the survey and who sleep on a mattress at their primary residence. All respondents attested to answering the survey questions truthfully and accurately.

About The Author

Ashley Lauretta

Contributing Writer


Ashley Lauretta is a freelance writer and journalist based in Central Florida. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and her work appears in WIRED, The Atlantic, SELF, Elle, Men’s Journal, Health, and more.

  • POSITION: Side sleeper
  • TEMPERATURE: Cold Sleeper
  • CHRONOTYPE: Bear

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