7 Obvious Signs and Symptoms of a Bad Mattress

August 27, 2021 | Casper Editorial Team

If you’re not resting well at night, you might think your noisy neighbors or snoring spouse are to blame, or maybe that afternoon cup of coffee or glass of wine with dinner. While that could all be true, the real sleep-depriving culprit might be right under your nose—or your back, in this case. 

Not sure if your mattress is putting strain on your shut-eye, or if it really is your snoring partner? There are a number of signs—some more obvious than others—that you should pay attention to, some visible just by looking at your mattress and some that you can only feel. 

Read on to find out more about the cautionary signs of a bad mattress. If you’re experiencing one or many of them, it may be time to upgrade to a new mattress to set you up for sleeping success. 

Made with your comfort and proper support in mind, our selection of mattresses has something for everyone and is sure to leave you feeling well rested after a night’s sleep.

#1 You’re Waking Up Tired

Even after you’ve gotten a full eight hours of sleep, you wake up feeling as if you haven’t slept a wink. Sound familiar? It’s an all-too-common phenomenon and certainly not the way any of us would like to greet the morning ahead. 

It doesn’t seem to matter whether you’ve slept eight hours or eighteen. If you’re sleeping on a bad bed, your body might not be reaching the restful sleep state it needs to in order to wake up energized and ready to go. Naturally, there are plenty of other potential sleep disturbances that could be causing your less-than-ideal sleep quality, so run through this bad sleep hygiene list before blaming your mattress once and for all:1

  • Diet – Certain foods—usually rich, greasy, heavy, or spicy—can lead to upset stomachs, excess gas, and digestive issues, all of which could affect your nighttime sleep. 
  • Exercise – Exercise, and a lack thereof, plays a role in your sleep cycle. Moderate daily exercise helps your nighttime rest while an intensive workout right before bed may overstimulate you and do the opposite.
  • Pre-bedtime behaviors – Beyond exercise, there are plenty of overly stimulating activities to avoid before bed: excess blue light exposure, caffeine too late in the day, alcohol in the evening, and more.

There are also several sleep disorders that result in poor sleep quality and shouldn’t be overlooked, either. However, if none of these seem to be the problem, it may be time to look at your mattress. Tossing, turning, and shifting all through the night may be indications that your body is looking for a comfortable sleeping position—with no success. If there are no cozy, supportive corners to be found, you’re likely due for a change of mattress.

#2 You Can’t Seem to Fall Asleep 

You’ve tried all the sleep soundtracks and have even committed to minimizing screen time an hour before your head hits the pillow. But despite your best efforts, falling asleep feels more challenging than it should. No matter how many breathing techniques you master, if your mattress isn’t supporting your spinal alignment or providing your body with the degree of firmness it needs, dozing off might become a seemingly impossible feat. 

The average person falls asleep in about 10 or 20 minutes at night.2 If you find yourself constantly in need of an hour or more to do so, you may want to take a closer look at your bed and try some sleep hacks on how to fall asleep.

#3 You’ve Got the Sniffles

If you’re constantly sneezing, blowing your nose, or irritated by itchy eyes, it might not be a result of an airborne allergen like pollen. Instead, it could be caused by an allergen you’re going to bed with every night: dust mites. 

These microscopic creatures love burrowing themselves into warm, humid places like sofas and mattresses, and they can cause skin rashes, a scratchy throat, and postnasal drip. 

You can take preventative action against dust mites by topping your standard mattress with Casper’s Breathable Mattress Protector to fend off all kinds of unwanted critters and irritants. This will protect you from dust mites while keeping you cool and comfortable all the while. 

#4 You’ve Been Sleeping on the Same Mattress for Over 10 Years

Some mattresses are more durable than others, but how long does a mattress last? The ones at Casper are designed to last you at least 10 years, but others may start to deteriorate in quality around the seven-year mark. Using mattress protectors is an effective way to increase your bed’s longevity, but if it’s been decades since you’ve upgraded it might be time for you to swap it out for one that’s more supportive. 

Want to make sure your mattress withstands the test of time? Take these precautions:

#5 You’re Experiencing Aches and Pains

Can a mattress cause body aches? You bet! If you’re waking up every morning to nagging neck and back pain, you might not be showing signs of age but your mattress could be. After years of consistent use, your mattress may gradually lose its structure, firmness, and supportive qualities that grant you the good night’s sleep you deserve.

Or, perhaps, you’ve mismatched your sleep habits and mattress firmness from the start. If you’re sleeping on a mattress that’s too firm, too plush, or lacking support by zone (hips, waist, lower back, upper back) it might be time to find a more ergonomic design that fosters better quality sleep from the foundation up. The first step to deciding whether a plush vs. firm mattress is most suitable is to determine what your unique sleep needs are. From there, you’ll want to find a mattress that has zoned support.

#6 Your Mattress Looks and Feels Uneven

If your mattress looks more like a platter of lumpy mashed potatoes than an evenly cushioned platform, this is a glaring sign that it’s time for an upgrade. If this type of mattress isn’t apparent to the naked eye, you’ll certainly feel it upon laying down. You might find yourself sinking deep into the center of your bed or navigating through a sea of mattress swells just to find a corner that’s level enough to rest your back on. 

This might just be the mother of all bad mattress symptoms and could have serious long-term effects on your sleep and overall health. 

#7 You’re Hearing Creaks and Squeaks

If you can’t see or feel any obvious signs of a bad mattress, you might be able to hear them instead. Squeaks, creaks, and whines coming from your mattress could be an indication of a problem with your bed frame or with bed springs that have lost their tension. 

This is more than just an annoying sound that keeps you up at night. As one of the most noticeable bad mattress signs, it’s an audible indication that your bed isn’t supporting your spine. Consider opting for a durable foam mattress or a hybrid mattress made of both foam and springs that will support you as you sleep and won’t be as susceptible to mattress sagging and squeaking over time. 

Effects of Sleep Deprivation 

REM sleep is an integral part of our overall health and wellbeing. Whether you’re not getting enough of it or the hours that you do sleep aren’t as restful as they should be, small impediments could compound over time, forming much larger problems.

So, what happens if your mattress isn’t exactly shuttling you to cloud nine comfort? 

A bad mattress can lead to unruly nights of tossing and turning due to sleep deprivation. In which case, there might be more consequences than just the occasional ache, pain, or stuffy nose. Here are a few long-term effects to be aware of when it comes to sleep deprivation:3

Heart Health

If your uneven, noisy mattress is disrupting your nightly slumber, it could be costing you more than just the extra cup of coffee you’ll need to get through your day. A 2011 European Heart Review journal showed that your chances of developing coronary heart disease could be 48 percent higher for someone with a consistent sleep shortage than someone who gets an adequate amount of sleep every night. Hypertension and coronary artery disease have been linked to sleep deprivation as well.4

Low Libido

If you’ve noticed that your sex drive isn’t what it used to be, lack of quality sleep might be at the root of this issue, too. Men, in particular, may be more likely to experience reduced libido if their mattress is getting in between them and a good night’s sleep. 

Memory Loss

Whether you’re having a harder time remembering details from your day-to-day life or recalling information from the past, a bad mattress may be taking a toll on your short- and long-term memory. Sleep is instrumental in helping your brain process and solidify information to recall later on. If your mattress is cutting into your quality rest, it may be affecting more than just your mental sharpness the next day.

Other potential long-term effects of sleep deprivation:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Weight gain
  • Higher risk of diabetes
  • Weak immune system
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Reduced coordination and balance
  • Chronic lung illness

There’s nothing better for your body and mind after a long day than a restorative REM sleep cycle. It’s worth protecting that time and the long-term benefits it has on your health by investing in a high-quality, supportive mattress. 

For that, you can count on Casper. 

Upgrade to a New Mattress with Proper Support 

After years of less-than-stellar sleep, have you just accepted that perpetual grogginess and unrelenting aches are a fact of life? Well, we’ve got news: they’re not—or, at least, they don’t have to be. They’re most likely your body’s way of letting you know that it’s time for a new mattress. 

At Casper, our mattresses are designed with industry-leading technology to provide you with zoned support, unparalleled comfort, and an excuse to spend a guilt-free day (or days) cozied up under the covers. We’re also doing our part to contribute to a low-waste world by crafting each one of our mattresses with recycled polyester and upcycled cotton. 

Is it time to say “good night” to your bad mattress? If so, swap it out for a new one and join the thousands of sleepers who sleep better with Casper.


  1. Medical News Today. Causes and treatment options for waking up tired. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/waking-up-tired
  2. Healthline. How Long Does It Typically Take to Fall Asleep? https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sleep/how-long-does-it-take-to-fall-asleep#takeaway
  3. Healthline. The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your Bodyhttps://www.healthline.com/health/sleep-deprivation/effects-on-body
  4. WebMD. How Your Sleep Affects Your Heart. https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/how-sleep-affects-your-heart#1