The Seven Year Hitch

Have you got the Seven Year Hitch?

If you really want to get the best possible night’s sleep so you look and feel at your best, The National Bed Federation recommends you start to think about replacing your bed after seven years.

“A mattress that looks OK, may not actually be OK, that’s the hitch.”

Even after seven years, your bed may look okay but it may not be giving you the support or comfort you need for a healthy, refreshing night’s sleep.

Here’s just some of the reasons why:

  • A study by The Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA) showed that beds as little as six years old could offer significantly less support and comfort than a new one, thanks to wear and tear not just from body weight and movement but also sweat and debris such as skin, scales, hair etc. (Investigating the life of a mattress, a study devised and conducted by FIRA International for the National Bed Federation, 2011).

  • Research by leading sleep expert Dr Chris Idzikowski, which measured the amount and quality of sleep people were getting on a new bed compared to their old one, found that, when replacing an uncomfortable bed, a new bed was associated with an increase of 42 minutes sleep. Dr Idzikowski commented that “research on Over The Counter (OTC) sleep aids has never shown a better improvement than 5-10 minutes extra sleep. (New Bed Old Bed Study by Dr Chris Idzikowski, commissioned by The Sleep Council 1998.)

  • A recent French clinical study to compare sleep on a new bed versus an old bed showed that both young and old experience not necessarily more sleep but better quality – that is, less disturbed and more recuperative sleep – with three times fewer physical movements and two times fewer micro-awakenings being recorded. (Etude clinique initiée par l’Association pour la Promotion de la Literie, en collaboration avec le Professeur Damien Léger et l’European Sleep Center, 2010.)

  • The UK has one of the largest number of asthma sufferers in Europe – five million plus and growing. Over 2000 fatalities a year are attributed to asthma. Dust mites are a major trigger for asthma. We lose up to half a pint (284ml) or more of fluid each night – which our beds have to absorb and we shed around 1.3oz (10gm) of skin per week – that’s over 1lb (520g) in a year – much of into our beds. This combination of a warm and moist environment, coupled with a ready food source (those skin scales) makes our beds an ideal habitat for dust mites. According to the Medical Entomology Centre, Cambridge, just two micrograms per gram (mcg/g) of dust mite allergen can cause hypersensitivity in asthma sufferers, while 10 mcg/g can pose a serious health risk. Around one in five aged mattresses can contain between two and 10mcg/g of the dust mite allergen and one in 20 has above 10mcg/g.

  • Four out of every five adults (80%) will experience back pain at some stage in their life. A US study comparing sleep experience on a new mattress compared with mattresses five years and older found that participants with high back pain reported 63 percent improvement in back discomfort[i] . (Subjective Rating of Perceived Back Pain, Stiffness and Sleep Quality Following Introduction of Medium-Firm Bedding Systems,” researchers Bert Jacobson, EdD, Tia Wallace, MS, and Hugh Gemmell, DC, EdD of Oklahoma State University, (2007).) 82% of experts who treat back pain feel that the right bed can help prevent back pain. (Survey of over 900 back pain sufferers and nearly 500 back pain experts jointly conducted by BackCare, the charity for healthier backs and The Sleep Council (2001)