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Flip or rotate? How and when to turn a mattress

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How and when you turn the mattress depends on the type you buy and the manufacturer’s recommendations. As a general guide, you should turn your mattress once a week for the first three months of use then once a month thereafter.

When you invest time and money into a new mattress, you want it to last. With correct care, you can extend the life of your mattress significantly. One way to achieve this is by turning your mattress regularly. This allows the fillings to settle more evenly and helps extend the mattress’s life. How and when you turn the mattress depends on the type you buy and the manufacturer’s recommendations. As a general guide, you should turn your mattress once a week for the first three months of use then once a month thereafter.

Double-sided mattresses have fillings on both sides, which you can sleep on. They can be flipped over and rotated to allow even wear across both sleeping surfaces.  Whereas single-sided mattresses (non-turn) only allow you to sleep on one side. You can only rotate these mattresses, making them easier to turn. But all the wear and tear occurs on one side, so they may not last as long as double-sided mattresses.

woman placing mattress on bed base

Mattress settlement

After a few weeks of sleeping on your new mattress, you may start to see dips and indentations on the sleeping surface. These body impressions are perfectly normal and are no cause for concern.

The overall settlement can vary depending on the body weight of the sleeper. This is evident with sleeping partners of differing body weights, where indentations may be more noticeable on the heavier partner’s sleeping side. Another factor is the type and amount of filling in the mattress. Synthetic fillings are not as resilient as natural fillings and tend not to recover as well.

Settlement is more prominent in the middle of the mattress, where most of the body weight is concentrated.

Should you notice evidence of settlement during the first few weeks of use, turning your mattress will allow the fillings to settle more evenly.

Check the manufacturer’s care advice

The best way to ensure that your mattress is being turned correctly is to check the manufacturer’s care advice. Manufacturers usually provide care instructions with your new mattress. This will include information about how and when it needs turning. You can also visit the manufacturer’s website or contact your local store for further guidance.

Following the correct advice will ensure the mattress fillings settle evenly. Failure to follow the manufacturer’s guidance may invalidate your mattress guarantee.

Clear the space beforehand  

Moving a mattress requires a lot of physical effort, and you could easily lose your grip or balance, which may result in items getting damaged. So, before turning your mattress, make sure you have plenty of space to work with.

  • Remove any fragile items like lamps, pictures, cups, plates and bedroom accessories.
  • Reposition bedside tables and other furniture items that may be in the way.
  • Strip your bed so that your sheets don’t get tangled or catch on your bed.

Turning your mattress

Mattress turning should be carried out by two people where possible. If the mattress has handles, use these to help rotate and position the mattress on your bed base. Do not use excessive force on the handles, as this may cause them to rip or tear.

Slide your mattress away from the headboard and down towards the foot of the bed where possible before lifting. Lift slowly and keep your back straight whilst maintaining the correct posture.

Do not fold or bend your mattress as this can damage the mattress’s components. Do not allow the mattress to bang against the bed base or other items.

Turning a double-sided mattress

With double-sided mattresses, you should alternate turning between flipping the mattress over so that you’re sleeping on the opposite side and rotating it from top to tail. This should be done on a regular basis. When flipping, lower the mattress gently onto its bed base.

Turning dual tension mattresses

When you rotate a dual tension or combination mattress (soft and medium split support or medium and firm split support), you will need to swap sleeping sides with your partner. If you have a preferred sleeping side, you would have to flip and rotate the mattress to remain on your side of the bed.

Turning a zip and link mattress

With zip and link mattresses, the zips should be unfastened before turning or rotating. Once turned, ensure that the mattresses can be re-zipped.

Turning seasonal-turn mattresses

Seasonal turn mattresses (which have a warm winter side and cool summer side) require seasonal turning twice a year, once for the summer months and once for the winter months. A good way to remember is to turn your mattress over when the clocks change in spring and autumn. You should also rotate the mattress regularly in-between.

The mattress label usually indicates which side is the summer side and which is the winter side.

Can you turn a no-turn mattress?

With a no-turn mattress, you can only sleep on the top side. The underside of the mattress isn’t suitable for sleeping on and will not provide sufficient comfort or support.

Although this makes them easier to turn as there is no heavy lifting involved, it is still recommended to rotate the mattress top to tail regularly. This also applies to hybrid mattresses with memory foam or latex. Although these materials have good recovery properties, it is still beneficial to occasionally rotate.

How to remember to turn your mattress

It’s easy to forget to turn your new mattress, especially when it’s something that doesn’t need to be done regularly. But there are a few easy ways to help you remember.

One of the best ways is to set a calendar reminder. This should be done by following the manufacturer’s turning recommendations and not simply by setting a monthly reminder.

Another popular method is to turn your mattress every time you change your bedsheets. But this may not be necessary if you’re changing your sheets regularly.

Some people like to create to-do lists that include mattress turning with other tasks. You could also attach handwritten labels to your mattress using safety pins or write on post-it notes and place them around the bedroom.

Some manufacturers even provide turning instructions on the mattress label to remind you which month to sleep on which side.

Final thoughts

Getting the perfect night’s sleep doesn’t end when choosing a new mattress. Your new purchase deserves special care through correct turning to ensure many years of comfort.

Picture of About the author

About the author

Tony Brown is the founder and creator of The Bed Consultant. His career in the bed industry began in 2002. After graduating from university with a degree in Business Administration, Tony joined one of the largest independent furniture retailers in the UK as a bed consultant. Tony has helped thousands of customers find the perfect mattress.

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