The HHA Blog

When is a Mattress Old?

Your Chief Executive recently became involved as peace-maker in an argument about mattresses.  Just how old can they be?

According to The Sleep Council, a branch of the body representing the bed manufacturing industry, we should all replace our mattresses every seven years.

But this figure does not seem to take account of:

  • The quality of the mattress in the first place
  • How often it has been used (e.g. every night or just 250 nights a year)
  • Whether the sleeper weighs 20 stones or is a lightweight

Enter the website “ask for evidence”, which asked for the scientific basis of the seven-year claim in 2016. It turns out that the research is distinctly patchy and not peer-reviewed, and there is little direct evidence that 7 years is the right milestone. Indeed, one of the studies, carried out in France, concludes unsurprisingly that a new mattress is better than one that’s 10-12 years old, for promoting a good night’s sleep. That study was also industry-led and the recommendation in France is to change the mattress every 10 years, not 7.

Patchy as it may be, the evidence tends to support the obvious in that a new mattress is better than an old one but the deadline of 7 years seems to have been chosen by the UK bed industry without much hard evidence in support.

So what is a self-caterer to do?  The answer would appear to be simple – have a good bounce on your mattresses yourself and assess their condition.  People will expect then to be in good condition and we should most probably be changing them more often than at home – after all we do not really know the people who have been sleeping on them, or if you are not too squeamish to think about this, what they have been doing in bed.

There is some evidence from the French study that older peoples’ sleep is more disrupted by an older mattress than that of youth and there are some obvious reasons why older guests may often prefer firmer mattresses, such as creaking joints or back pain. Many self-catering guests are not in the first flush of youth.

So the evidence seems to suggest that, rather than simply changing them at seven-year intervals, the best course of action is to thoroughly examine them at least once a year and look out for signs that sagging mattresses need replacing.

Our Blog

Welcome to the new blog! As from March 2018 we’ll be adding selected extracts from our monthly newsletter to this blog, but the first entry is about our change of name.

EASCO is not the first name for the Association. Once we were the British Self-Catering Federation. The decision was taken in late 2017 that we should change the name once again. There were two reasons for doing this:

  • The term “self-catering” is a little old-fashioned and may not be the term used by young people today when they are thinking of holiday cottages or flats. There are several other terms that are used. “Vacation Rentals” is the term used in American English, which translates as “Holiday Rentals” in British English, but we felt that “Holiday Home” was at the same time very easily understood and reflective of the home-from-home standard of today’s self-catering holiday home. We are not, however, proposing to represent second home owners whose main reason for owning an extra property is to use it for themselves.
  • Membership of the Holiday Home Association is to be opened up to businesses outside England that wish to join. It is not our intention to be proactive in recruiting outside England but we know that some agencies would like to take advantage of this.

The change will be implemented around the end of March 2018. It may not be possible to make all changes at the same time and a new logo may take a little time to develop.