How to Break in a New Mattress

Photo: New Africa, Shutterstock
Photo: New Africa, Shutterstock

It wasn’t long ago when purchasing a new mattress involved going to your local retail store and testing out every mattress in your price range until you’ve either found The One, or have tested so many they all feel the same, and then you just guess. After you picked one, the store would deliver it a few days later and haul out your old mattress. Now, it’s not uncommon to hear about a new mattress on a podcast and then order it solely based on the fact that you think that you and the host likely have similar firmness preferences — and get a 100-night trial period to make sure you like it.

But how, exactly, do we know if a mattress is going to comfortable in the long run? How long does it take to break it in? And how do you actually break in a mattress? Here’s what you need to know.

How long does it take to break in a mattress?

Although your new mattress might feel comfortable right out of the truck or box, it typically takes around 30 days to break in a new mattress, according to CNET. The length of the break-in period may also depend on the type of mattress you purchased:

  • Memory foam/hybrid: At least 60 days, but “the higher the density of the memory foam, the longer the break-in period,” CNET reports.
  • Spring: Around 30 days.
  • Latex: Between two and 14 days (these are typically high-end mattresses).

Ways to break in a mattress

If just sleeping on the mattress for a while doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, there are a few ways you can assist the breaking-in process, CNET reports. Here are a few examples:

Check the bed’s foundation

We can get so caught up in the mattress-buying process that we can forget about the foundation of the bed. For a memory foam or hybrid mattress, that can just be a sturdy bed frame. For traditional spring mattresses, this also includes a box spring. Make sure nothing is lopsided or sagging, and that the whole mattress has enough support.

Let the mattress fully expand

If you buy a mattress that comes in a box, you’re going to need to wait a bit before using it. While it takes between four and 10 hours for a mattress to decompress, some retailers recommend giving it 24 to 72 hours if that’s an option for you.

Physically break it in

This involves rolling around, crawling or walking on your mattress to put weight and pressure on it and speed up the breaking-in process. According to CNET, doing this for several minutes each day during the daytime can help the materials loosen up faster.

Don’t give up on it

Even if the mattress isn’t the most comfortable the first few nights, keep sleeping on it every night. Opting for the couch or another bed in the house (or your old mattress) isn’t going to help break the new one in.

Warm it up

If you purchased a memory foam or hybrid mattress, you should know that it responds to heat, getting firmer in the cold, and softer when it’s warm. So if you crank the heat up before going to bed, it can make it softer when you climb into it, CNET reports.

If you do end up trying these techniques and have given yourself at least 60 days, and your mattress is still uncomfortable, it might be time to consider returning it. Just make sure that you give it a fair shot instead of sending it back after the first few nights.

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