How to Break in a New Mattress

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It’s not uncommon for a brand new mattress to feel a little uncomfortable. It takes time for your body to adjust to the new sleep surface and mattress materials need time to settle, which is why many mattress manufacturers ask customers to wait at least 30 days before initiating a return.

That said, spending a month or more of tossing and turning on your new expensive mattress isn’t ideal either. Fortunately, there are a few tricks that could help you break in a new mattress for more comfortable sleep faster.

How Do You Break in a New Mattress Quickly?

The best way to break in a new mattress quickly is to sleep on it regularly. Spend time on the bed lounging and reading, and make a point of rotating the mattress (not flipping) every three weeks or so until it’s broken in. Jumping or even walking across the mattress surface can also help soften it.

Why Does a New Mattress Need a Break-In Period?

Sleeping on a mattress softens the materials for a more comfortable feel. New mattresses, which haven’t yet been slept on, have new materials that are as firm as they’re ever going to feel. Materials such as high-density foams are stiff to ensure they’ll properly support the spine, and it takes time and pressure to break them in. Firmer, more supportive mattresses will also take longer to break in, and mattress construction plays a role as well.

Keep in mind that off-gassing is also common with new mattresses. This happens when you remove the packaging for the first time, and it’s most common in foam bed-in-a-box mattresses that have been compressed, rolled and shipped to your door. Vacuum sealing the mattress traps these chemical byproducts from the mattress materials until you open the packaging.

Off-gassing is considered harmless, but the odor can be unpleasant and problematic if you’re sensitive to scents or have respiratory issues. Giving a mattress plenty of time to air out with an open window, a ceiling fan or an air purifier is a good way to help the odor dissipate.

How Long Does it Take to Break in a New Mattress?

The break-in period of a mattress is based on a few things: the mattress itself, the body type and weight of the sleeper, and individual sleeping habits. Innerspring mattresses with Euro and pillow-tops can break in quickly in just a few weeks, thanks to the uppermost layer of softer materials. Hybrid mattresses, which combine comfort and support layers, often take around a month and a half, and premium memory foam mattresses can take a few months. If your mattress came in a box, it also needs sufficient time to fully decompress before you sleep on it.

Lightweight sleepers may find it takes longer for a new mattress to break in, because there’s less pressure being applied night after night. Individual sleeping habits also have an impact. Those who spend more time in bed are likely to find their mattress breaks in more quickly. It takes time for your body to adjust to the feel of the new mattress, which is going to feel firmer and more supportive than your old one.

7 Tips to Break in a New Mattress

Breaking in a new mattress can take some time, but there are a few things that can help speed up the process.

Sleep On It Regularly

While you may be tempted to sleep in a guest room if you find your new mattress just too firm, it’s important to give your body time to acclimate. It’s like a new pair of shoes—the more you wear them, the more they comfortably form to your feet. Sleeping on your new mattress is also the best way to help the materials break in.

Hang Out In Bed

Experts routinely recommend reserving the bedroom for sleep and sex to create an association that cultivates better sleep. But in the interest of breaking in your new mattress, this rule goes out the window for a few weeks. Extra pressure and weight on the mattress will speed up the breaking-in process, so spend some time relaxing, watching television, reading or just lounging in bed in the first three weeks or so. 

If you share your bed with a partner, don’t overlook the middle of the mattress. Napping or lounging in the middle can help ensure it’s evenly broken in.

Make Sure You Have A Supportive Foundation

Double check that you have the right foundation for your new mattress. An old box spring could be saggy or cracked and should be replaced to ensure your mattress is properly supported—and you are, too. An insufficient base could lead to premature sagging and may even void the mattress warranty.

You might also want to consider using an adjustable base. Since these are designed to raise and lower the top and bottom of the mattress, it’s an easy way to flex the mattress and break in the foams and other materials. Keep in mind, though, that this type of base won’t work for an innerspring mattress.

Keep Your Bedroom Warm

Mattresses made with memory foam in particular respond to pressure and heat, and a warmer bedroom can help your mattress feel softer and more flexible. Turning up the heat slightly a few hours before bed can help the foams form to your curves when you climb into bed.

Rotate The Mattress Regularly

While rotating your mattress every six months is standard, doing so more frequently in the beginning can be a smart strategy. Upper bodies tend to hold more weight, so turning the mattress 180 degrees every few weeks can help ensure it receives equal pressure on both the top and the bottom. Just don’t flip the mattress unless it’s specifically designed for that.

Jump or Walk On The Mattress

Recruit the kids for some supervised jumping, or climb up there yourself. It’s a quick way to loosen up the foams and coils. Walking evenly across the surface of the mattress is another option, and you can even try lying down and rolling from side to side and top to bottom.

Practice Patience

Remember that this process takes time, but trust your instincts. If you’re not getting comfortable on your new mattress after a month or so, it might be worth contacting the company to initiate a return.

When to Consider Returning Your Mattress

If you’re still tossing and turning on your new mattress after a few months, it’s probably time to throw in the towel. There could be many reasons a mattress isn’t suitable, from the construction to the materials to the firmness. Good sleep is important for your health as a whole, and it’s reasonable to return a mattress if you’ve given yourself sufficient time to adjust and still don’t find it comfortable. A customer service representative may also be able to steer you toward a more suitable mattress for your body type and sleep style.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do new mattresses get softer? 

New mattresses will soften as the materials adapt to the pressure and temperature of your body, though timelines vary depending on the quality and construction of the mattress. All mattresses soften, sometimes significantly, given enough time, which is why support can become a concern in mattresses that are more than eight years old.

How long should you leave a new mattress before sleeping on it? 

It depends on the mattress. If it was compressed, rolled and shipped to your doorstep in a box, it will need anywhere from 12 to 48 hours to decompress and rise to its full height before you can sleep on it. 

Can you damage a memory foam mattress by sleeping on it too soon?

You could damage a memory foam mattress by sleeping on it too soon, because the pressure and heat from your body can prevent it from reaching its full height. That can compromise the integrity of the mattress by creating uncomfortable indentations or lumps.

Jessica Timmons