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Mattress Body Impressions vs. Sagging Mattresses

November 1, 2023  ·  8 min read

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To the untrained eye, it can be hard to distinguish the difference between mattress body impressions and a sagging mattress — but the two could not be more opposite in the way they impact your sleep health. 

Mattress body impressions naturally occur after you have slept on your mattress for quite some time and promote healthy spinal alignment as you sleep. However, a mattress indentation or mattress dip could be a sign that your mattress is sagging which can be detrimental to your sleep quality. 

You may be wondering, how can some “dents” in a mattress be better than others? The mattress experts at Texas Mattress Makers have the answers. We’ll be discussing how a body impression in a mattress enhances your sleep and how to tell when your mattress is actually sagging, aka the bad type of dent. 

What causes dents in mattresses? 

If you’ve ever thought, “My mattress has dips where I sleep,” don’t be alarmed immediately. There are two main causes of dents in a mattress: natural compression and/or the premature breakdown of a mattress’s components. 

Natural compression, also known as mattress body impressions, can start to show up after you’ve slept on it for at least two or three nights. The mattress indentation should be small and reflect where your body lays on the mattress every night. 

Where body impressions are beneficial (more on this later), sagging happens over time and will likely create a crater somewhere in the mattress. Depending on the quality of the components used to make your mattress, a mattress’s springs can lose tension, or foam materials can become softer and less durable over time. Below is a diagram showcasing how the two types of dents can look (and will definitely feel) different.

Diagram showing body impressions versus a sagging mattress.

To put it simply, mattress body impressions are good and sagging is bad. Let’s get into the specifics of why and what you can do to prevent mattress sag.

Why do mattresses get body impressions?

Given that most people tend to sleep in the same area of the mattress every night, it’s only natural that a mattress will begin to soften as you lie on it every night, forming an impression on the surface of your mattress. Now, it’s important to note that a high-quality mattress made with top-of-the-line components will soften to accommodate your body — not break down underneath you.  

Although an impression may look like a dip in some areas, the indentation should be about two inches deep (any more can constitute a real dip).

Why are mattress body impressions important?

Body impressions are clinically proven to help support spinal alignment and provide the pressure relief needed for a great night’s sleep. The key to healthy sleep is to have proper spinal alignment and the best way to know how to align your spine in bed is to sleep on a mattress that can properly absorb shock by conforming to your body’s curves. A good body impression enables the bed to cradle your sleeping form gently to provide optimal comfort and support. 

Think of it this way: Body impressions are similar to the process of breaking in a pair of new shoes. When you wear a new pair of shoes, the soles are initially stiff and straight, which often causes discomfort. As you continue to walk in the shoes, the soles begin to conform to fit the natural curve and shape of your feet, resulting in a more comfortable fit. Similarly, a good mattress will conform to your unique body shape and create mattress body impressions.

Get a Mattress Made for Your Body

FAQ: My new mattress feels firmer than it did in the store. Will a body impression help? 

When you buy a new mattress, you may notice the new mattress feels firmer than it did in the store. The firmness is due to the fact that the components need time to “break in” to be able to conform properly to your specific body shape. How long does it take to break in a mattress? On average, most mattresses will take about 1-2 weeks to adjust to your body, soften up, and begin to create those body impressions.

Texas Mattress Makers founder Youval discusses everything you need to know about mattress body impressions.

Why you shouldn’t sleep on a sagging mattress

To put it bluntly, a sagging mattress is not good for your sleep or your body. A mattress with a dip will collapse in the center and does not provide the proper support needed for comfortable sleep. Unfortunately, nothing can be done to fix a sagging mattress (especially not flipping* it) meaning you will have to replace it. 

Some mattresses may begin to sag prematurely if you happen to purchase the wrong mattress for your body type, sleeping position, and weight. That’s why it’s so crucial to make sure that you are getting the right mattress for your exact sleeping needs so that you can be properly supported. 

*Flipping a mattress will not only cause discomfort as your body will be in contact with the bottom layer where the supportive components live, but you will also lose your body impressions which will result in bad quality sleep. 

How do I know if my mattress is sagging?

The best way to determine if the dents in your mattress are caused by natural mattress body impressions or are the telltale signs of a sagging mattress is to measure the dip. You can measure mattress sag by using any type of measuring tool. Look for the area where the dip is at the lowest point and then measure from this area up.

A mattress dip will also look more like a crater than a curved impression and it may not even be placed where you sleep on the mattress. If you wake up every morning with aches and pains, there is a high chance that your mattress is sagging and in dire need of replacement. 

It is also important to note that if you do not have a bed frame, your mattress will be at a higher risk of sagging. Learn more about this topic in our blog where we answer the question, “Do you need a bed frame?” (Hint: the answer is yes)!

How much sag is too much for a mattress? 

Any dip larger than two inches deep is considered a sagging mattress. If the dip in your mattress is less than two inches deep, you have nothing to worry about as it is likely a body impression forming. 

We also want to note that it is not normal for a new mattress to sag. But before you jump to the worst possible conclusion, you’ll want to make sure that you’re not mistaking the forming of mattress body impressions for a sagging mattress.

If you purchased your mattress from Texas Mattress Makers, you can rest assured that we do not sell any mattresses that begin sagging without extensive use. So, if you notice any dips or dents in one of our new mattresses, then they are likely mattress body impressions. If you are concerned about your mattress, feel free to contact our experts to inspect your mattress. We are more than happy to help you get the best sleep possible. 

Get Your Best Quality Sleep Possible with Texas Mattress Makers

In conclusion, there is a large difference between mattress body impressions and a sagging mattress — one helps you to get healthy sleep, and one ruins your sleep quality. The thought that body impressions are “bad” is a complete myth that we have debunked in our 40+ years in the mattress industry.

With over four decades of experience, the mattress experts at Texas Mattress Makers can help you find the perfect mattress for your body shape, sleeping position, weight, and any other unique needs that you may have. Since we hand-make all of our mattresses and only use top-of-the-line components and materials, many of our mattresses boast greater longevity than the average mattress and will provide you with healthy body impressions for quality sleep. 

Come on down to any of our mattress stores in Katy, Downtown Houston, The Woodlands, Rosenberg, Humble, and Baybrook, TX, or check out our online selection to find your perfect mattress match today.  

More Helpful Articles by Texas Mattress Makers:

Mattress 101

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