New Mattress? Here’s How To Break It In

Woman laying on bed smiling

Buying a new mattress is an exciting time. You’ve likely done a fair amount of research and have gone into a mattress store or two to talk to some sales associates about what kind of firmness and materials you are looking for. Finally you’ve decided, made the purchase, the delivery went smoothly, and you are so excited to have your first night’s sleep on your perfect mattress!

But… it’s not what you expected. There is a smell that is bothering you and your body is stiff and the whole thing feels a lot firmer than you remember. What do you do?

Even if your first thought is to call the store and to sort out a time to return it, we urge you to take a beat and consider spending a bit more time breaking the mattress in.

How to break in a new mattress?

A new mattress will likely help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, once it has had a chance to break in a bit, and once your body has had a little time getting used to it, too. In fact, many stores and manufacturers won’t accept returns until after 30 days because it actually does take a bit of time for a person and their mattress to get to know each other.


The first thing to do is to do nothing at all, and to give the mattress at least 6-8 hours to off-gas. That’s not really a nice-sounding term, but it describes the somewhat unpleasant smell that might emanate from the materials that make up the mattress. Some materials like high density memory foam need a few hours to release the odour that might have been trapped within during packing and shipping.

Once the mattress has been given some time to off-gas, you can start to take it for a “test drive.” This includes putting freshly laundered sheets and blankets on it, so that getting into bed is the best experience possible.

Comfort Check-In

When you wake up in the morning, do a scan to see how your body is feeling. You might notice that your body has different sensations than what you are used to. Not to worry! Your body is also learning how to sleep on this new surface. Do this check in for at least two weeks and note if your body is starting to grow accustomed to your new mattress.

If after a few weeks, you find that your body is still having a hard time adjusting and your mattress feels stiffer than you’d like, you can try to speed up the breaking in process.

Normally while you sleep, the weight from your puts pressure on the mattress, which helps loosen it up the materials and break it in. If you want to speed up the process, try rolling around on your mattress like a rolling pin or walk or crawl across the surface of it for several minutes every day for a few weeks. You might feel a little bit silly but this can help to get the materials to become a bit more flexible. 

Take Your Time

During this breaking in period, you can also make a point to spend a bit more time on the mattress – perhaps reading or watching tv in bed (only for the short-term, though… we don’t recommend that you make a habit of it!). Or if you can think of any other activities that might help break in the mattress… (wink, wink!).

It’s very normal to feel that a new mattress is too stiff or a little denser than you were hoping or than what you remember if you came into a mattress store. But that’s only because those mattresses have been broken in, and yours will get there too with just a little time and effort.

Our suggestion is that you give it a little bit of time and at least a month of sleeping on, and perhaps crawling around like a cat on, then there’s a good chance that it won’t be long before you are falling asleep quickly and enjoying a wonderful sleep each night.

If you have any questions about buying a new mattress and what to expect, come on in to WR Mattress and let us answer them all!