Is your Mattress Killing you? The Consequences of a Bad Mattress

We genuinely do review mattresses all day long.

WhatMattress is a labour of love and, unlike other review websites, we're not some faceless corporate entity. All of our research & reviews are written as honestly & truthfully as possible – find out more about how our review process works. If you have any feedback or questions, please do get in touch.

— Carrie Taylor, Founder

Consequences of a Bad Mattress

Written & researched by:

NO comments

Have you had a bad night’s sleep recently? If you have, then you will know that there are some short-term side effects. These side effects are easy to notice as soon as you wake up, and can be anything from slight drowsiness to major headaches.

Longer-term side effects however can take longer to develop. Consistent low-quality sleep over a long period of time can lead to bigger problems such as a less effective immune system, weight problems and respiratory issues.

Your mattress plays a vital role in keeping you comfortable so not only do you fall asleep promptly, but also manage to stay asleep throughout the night. Sometimes all it can take to prevent you from getting the right quality sleep is a mattress that’s too firm, too soft, not supportive enough or simply just uncomfortable.

If you’re concerned about the role in which your mattress is playing towards your overall health, then read on as we highlight some annoying and potentially serious health side effects of a bad mattress.



It will probably come as no surprise to you that low-quality sleep will often lead to drowsiness. If your mattress prevents you from falling asleep in the first place, then this could make you less alert for the entire next day.

While it is common and somewhat normal to begin to feel drowsy during the afternoon and more so in the evening, it’s not normal to suffer from extreme drowsiness or drowsiness early in the morning. If you’re having trouble falling asleep on your mattress, then it could be the reason why you are struggling to make it through the day.


Back Pain

How does your back feel? There are several things that can cause back pain, such as sports injuries or joint issues. However, a low-quality mattress can also force you to sleep in an unnatural position that puts strain on your back.

If you tend to twist awkwardly in bed to try and get comfortable, then this could eventually lead to you injuring your back. What you need is a soft but supportive mattress that will allow you to sleep comfortably on your back or side. This will keep your back straight and prevent you from developing injuries. Be sure to see our best mattresses for back pain.



Believe it or not, but people who don’t get sufficient sleep, or wake up often during the night have a higher risk of becoming obese. This is because there are strong links between drowsiness, sleep deprivation and overeating.

If you’ve been feeling hungrier throughout the day without increasing your levels of physical activity, then a bad mattress could be the reason. You should be able to fall asleep within 30 minutes of lying on your mattress. If not, then consider replacing your mattress as well as adjusting your lifestyle. If you weigh more than average, then consider these mattresses for heavier people.


Lung and Throat Irritation

Mattresses get dusty over time. Therefore, the older your mattress is, the higher the likelihood of it contain nasties such as dust mites. Although these exist in every mattress to some degree, older mattresses can become a haven for them.

These dust mites can eventually lead to several skin and respiratory conditions such as a sore throat, eczema or even asthma. How old are your mattress and pillows? If you’ve had them for more than 8 years, then it’s probably time to think about replacing them.


Weak Immune System

Did you know that you’re more likely to get ill if you don’t get enough sleep? Frequent late nights and low quality sleep can wear down your immune system and make you much more likely to become ill.

From common colds to more serious fevers, a weaker immune system will mean that you’re more likely to catch a number of different illnesses. So to protect yourself from illness with a mattress that can give you the comfort and support for a good night’s sleep.


Heart Conditions

If you get less than 8 hours of sleep per night, then this could eventually take its toll on your cardiovascular health. A poor mattress will greatly affect the amount of sleep that you’re able to get – regardless of how tired you are when you go to bed.

Shorter periods of sleep is also associated with higher risks of stroke, as well as high blood pressure. Replacing your mattress or spending an extra hour or two in bed could help you to avoid some serious health complications. It literally could be a case of life and death.


Memory Issues

Everyone knows that their memory isn’t quite as good if they haven’t had enough sleep the night before. But the long-term effects of sleep deprivation on your memory are just as worrying.

You may not know this but your sleep plays a fundamental role in how your brain creates memories. If you’re deprived of sleep from a sub-par mattress, not only will you fail to recall memories, but you’ll also be less likely to form memories in the first place.


Premature Ageing

Have you ever noticed those bags under your eyes after a bad night’s sleep? If your mattress is affecting the quality of sleep that you’re getting, then it could affect your skin in both the long term as well as the short term.

People who sleep the soundest tend to have younger looking skin. On the other hand, people who fail to get a good night’s sleep are more likely to show signs of ageing.


Joint Soreness

Is your mattress too firm? Firm mattresses are often marketed as being brilliant for your posture. However, the reality is that a firm mattress is more likely to contribute towards to joint pain than a softer, more supportive mattress.

There is nothing particularly bad about a firm mattress if it is able to offer you the right level of support. If your mattress is overly firm or stiff, then that places extra pressure on your lower back, shoulders and arms which could lead to joint soreness in the long term.


Reduced Libido

Research has shown that the less you sleep, the lower your sex drive is likely to be. A lack of sleep has a serious negative effect on the sex drive and can lead to lower-than-normal levels of testosterone in men.

There is a link between low-quality sleep and a reduced sex drive in both men and women, although men seem to suffer more from the side effects. In addition to a lower sex drive, lack of sleep has also been linked to erectile dysfunction and reduced sperm count.


If your mattress is old and simply no longer doing its job, then it could be making a greater impact on your health than you realise. Adults should spend around 8 hours a day sleeping, which is approximately a third of our lives. This is a long time, so its important to make sure that the mattress we sleep on is not only comfortable, but also supportive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a firm mattress bad for my back?

While some people prefer a firm mattress, it’s important to get a mattress that is supportive as well. A firm, unsupportive mattress could lead to a whole host of unwanted health problems.

Is my mattress causing my hip pain?

If your mattress is not supportive enough, then it could be placing extra strain on your joints while you sleep. This applies whether your mattress is soft or firm.

What should I do if my mattress is uncomfortable?

Having a comfortable mattress is vital for a good night’s sleep and for your health. If you can’t fall aslpee within about 30 minutes of going to bed, then you’re getting less sleep than you probably need.

Rate this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *