Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Sometimes I get a question so hard that I have to sleep on it:



Dear Mordechai,

How often do I need to change my mattress?

Saggy Nahor


Dear Saggy,

Experts recommend that you change it every 5-10 years. And experts are not just trying to move mattresses, as it turns out. Some of them are not salespeople. They’re mattress experts.

That sounds like an awesome job. Mattress expert. What does their day look like?

But what the experts are saying is that if you sleep on an old mattress, you can actually hurt your back. I did.

Well, it depends on whom you ask.

I asked a chiropractor. I’d started seeing a chiropractor because my back kept seizing up. You don’t realize how much you use your back until it suddenly stops working and you find yourself trying to keep your top half upright using only your stomach muscles. I have a big stomach, but not a lot of it is muscles. It’s food. And not even solid food. Mostly sponge cake.

Most of the time, I was still able to get around. I would brace myself on one piece of furniture and propel myself to the next. I have a lot of furniture placed strategically around the house, apparently. It’s like playing, “The Floor is Lava – Old Man Edition.”

But if there was no furniture, I was in trouble. For example, one day I collapsed in my upstairs hallway on the way to the bathroom. I couldn’t find a non-painful way to grab a wall, so I made a calculated decision to fall down. I then spent an hour on the floor, unable to get up. And I still had to go to the bathroom. I could commando crawl in there, but what then? What would be the next step, exactly?

So I dragged myself to a chiropractor (oy), who couldn’t figure out how I’d hurt myself. He kept asking if there was some kind of “event” that triggered it (like a wedding, I guess) and I kept telling him, “No. I just woke up, got out of bed, and there it was.”

So eventually, after a few days of this, he’s like, “Wait. You got out of bed and there it was?”

And I’m like, “Yeah.”

And he’s like, “Maybe you need a new mattress.”

My wife and I haven’t gotten new mattresses since we got married, about 13 years ago. We’d bought them off a truck, which isn’t as shady as it sounds. There’s actually a frum lady who sells them that way. We basically lay down on a bunch of mattresses in her driveway until we found some we liked.

And we do take care of them. But apparently, they have a lifespan. You can flip them and rotate them and turn them inside out, but that middle section is still where it is. And that’s where it sags.

The doctor said, “Make sure to get a really expensive one. You spend a third of your life in bed.”

I said, “I wish. By that logic, I spend half my life eating. Should I get a good chair?”

I should. Maybe something reinforced. My dining room chair has a caning back, or it used to when I got it. Then it developed a small hole that all the kids felt the need to point out, with their fingers, every time they passed by, for several years now, and now I have no caning left. It’s an armchair with basically no back. And every time we want to fix it, something comes up.

Point is, I thought my mattress was still pretty comfortable. It’s kind of like me – a little bulky, sags in the middle, doesn’t flip over as much as it should, and probably smells a little bit. Do I need to be replaced?


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