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Got a Modern Mattress? Here’s How to Rotate It

A mattress on a platform bed with a white down comforter.
New Africa/Shutterstock

Unless you’re in need of a new one, you probably rarely give much thought to your mattress. However, a little mattress maintenance can go a long way—here’s what you need to know.

Depending on the type of mattress you have, you should be rotating it (or flipping and rotating it) on a regular schedule. This simple maintenance step allows the natural wear and tear to be evenly distributed, so it stays comfortable longer. If you skip this step, your mattress will develop saggy spots, creating an uneven (and unpleasant) sleeping surface. All mattresses eventually wear out, but with a proper rotation schedule yours will wear out slower, saving you money (and from aches and pains) in the process.

The start of a new year is a good reminder for infrequent maintenance tasks like this, so January is a great time to rotate or flip, as needed. But should you rotate, flip, or both?

If you have a traditional innerspring mattress, you’ll want to rotate and flip it. Traditional innerspring designs are the same on both sides of the mattress with matching tufting and so on. Without referencing the label location, you’d really have no idea which side was up or down.

If you have a more modern hybrid innerspring mattress—which features a combination of traditional coils paired with memory foam layers—you should just rotate it as flipping it upside down would have you sleeping on the bottom of the springs and not on the memory foam top you paid extra for. If you’re not sure what kind of innerspring mattress you have it’s easy to check. Just feel the top and the bottom. If the top has a plush pillow or foam layer and the bottom doesn’t, don’t flip it. If both sides feel identical, you can flip it to further extend the life of the mattress.

When it comes to memory foam mattresses, however, things are a bit trickier because the difference between the layers isn’t always obvious. While some memory foam mattresses are a single foam material throughout the entire body of the mattress, many are not and include multiple layers of different density foam.

If your memory foam or latex mattress is one single material type throughout, you can flip it to get more wear and tear out of it. If it is made up of different layers of foam, however, such as a 10″ base foam with a 3″ topper, flipping the mattress isn’t an option because you run into the same issue you do with turning a pillow-top innerspring mattress upside down—you’re putting the comfy layer against the foundation and sleeping on the less comfy layer, not an ideal situation.

  • Memory foam or latex? Rotate 1-2 times per year.
  • Innerspring or hybrid? Rotate 2-5 times per year.
  • Never flip mattresses with varied layer composition or built-in toppers.

Whether you should flip the mattress or not out of the way, one thing is clear. Everyone should be rotating their mattress. According to the experts at SleepFoundation.org, it’s best to rotate memory foam, latex, and newer innerspring mattresses once or twice each year. Innerspring mattresses can be rotated two to five times per year (once each season, for example).

The manufacturer will typically recommend the best maintenance for your mattress. But if you don’t have access to that information, you can follow the guidelines above.

If you haven’t rotated your mattress recently, add this small task to your January to-do list so you can sleep more comfortably all year!

Elyse Hauser Elyse Hauser
Elyse Hauser is a freelance and creative writer from the Pacific Northwest, and an MFA student at the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop. She specializes in lifestyle writing and creative nonfiction. Read Full Bio »
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