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Breaking in a new mattress

What to expect, how long it takes, and tips for breaking in a new mattress faster.

Last update: March 27, 2018


  • Breaking in a new mattress takes time and patience
  • With regular use, the new materials in your mattress will begin to soften, flex, and feel as it was designed to
  • There are several things you can do to help break-in a mattress quicker
  • Different mattress types have different break-in periods, but it’s generally recommended to give a new mattress at least 30 days
  • If after the break-in period the mattress still doesn’t feel comfortable, you might need a different firmness or firmness adjustment

It takes time

Breaking in a new mattress requires time and patience. While some new mattress owners may not experience a noticeable break-in period, it’s common for others to take over a month before feeling fully comfortable on their new bed. The comfort and quality of your rest can affect your day to day life, so it’s not only important to make sure that you have found the right mattress, but that you’ve given it enough time to be properly broken in.

Why does a new mattress need to be broken in?

Woman waking up in bed happy. Breaking in your new mattress can be uncomfortable at first, but you'll have years of comfort afterwards.

A brand new mattress requires a break in period because the materials have not had time to soften and conform to your body. The old mattress you’ve been sleeping on for years has adjusted to your body size, shape, and sleeping positions. After years of repeated use “breaking in” turns into “breaking down” as your mattress materials compress and no longer support your weight properly. The indentation left by your body may actually create sagging and permanent indentations near the end of the mattress’ life.

The materials in a new mattress are flexible, but strong and rigid. Like buying a new pair of shoes, they might feel uncomfortable at first because the materials have not become flexible and moldable with repeated use. The same principle applies to a bed; it may not feel completely comfortable until the materials have stretched and softened.

The break in period allows time for your mattress to adjust to you, but also for your body to adjust to it. If your old sleeping surface was beginning to break down, your body may have overcompensated to make you feel comfortable. A new sleeping surface means your body may have to readjust to the support of your new mattress. If your new mattress is made with different materials than your old one, certain sensations with these materials may feel jarring at first. For example, the switch from memory foam to an innerspring mattress will increase the transfer of your sleeping partner’s movements, whereas the switch from innerspring to memory foam can initially make you feel warmer than you're used to while you sleep.

Breaking in a new mattress is essential to ensuring complete comfort on a new bed. Initial discomfort is not unusual, but after the break-in process, it’s likely that you will feel different about your new mattress. This adjustment period may be inconvenient when you want to enjoy sleeping on a new mattress right away, but it is also necessary to make sure you don’t judge a mattress by a few night’s sleep, as the feel can improve significantly during the break-in period.

How long does it take to break in a new mattress?

Ideally, a mattress should be tested for at least one month after purchase. Some types of mattresses can be broken in more quickly, depending on the design and the material used. For example, high density memory foam can take much longer to break in than the “comfort layer” of a traditional innerspring mattress. While innerspring mattresses can take as little as a few weeks to break in, high quality memory foam mattresses may need to be slept on for up to eight weeks before they are fully broken in. Here are a few guidelines to help you determine the break-in periods of a few specific mattress types, and how long you can expect to break them in.

Traditional Innerspring Mattresses

Springs inside an innerspring mattress. Springs tend to wear down rapidly resulting in a quicker break-in period, but also a shorter lifespan.

These mattresses are designed with metal coils and springs surrounded by soft material. The break in period may feel shorter with spring mattresses because they are typically sold with pillow-top cushioning. However, the spring support of these mattresses often wears down significantly in the first year of use. For best usage and break in, these mattresses should be flipped and rotated every three months to prevent sagging in the area you sleep. This will distribute the weight of your body across the coils, and allow all parts of your new bed to be broken in properly, while also preventing premature breakdown. Breaking in an innerspring mattress can take up to four weeks.


Latex foam layer with airflow channels. Latex tends to have a shorter, less noticeable break-in period. Latex mattresses won't change drastically in feel during and after the break-in period.

Latex foam mattresses are made from natural, synthetic, or blended materials. These mattresses have an elastic feel, but still provide excellent support. Latex mattresses are sold in varying levels of firmness, and are sometimes offered as “hybrid” mattresses made from a blend of latex foam, memory foam, and spring support. Because these mattresses are soft, but also supportive, they typically have a shorter break in period. A break in period for these types of mattresses can take a few days, up to a couple weeks, depending on the composition of the mattress. The feel of a latex mattress will not change drastically from the first night to when the mattress is broken-in. It’s also worth noting that because more air is able to sit in latex foam synthetics, these mattress material can break down more quickly.

Memory Foam

Memory foam with handprint. High density memory foam often requires a longer break-in period because of the density of material per cubic foot.

Memory foam mattresses are made from layers of foam stacked strategically to support your weight and conform to your body. They are known for their low-bounce and a “hugging” feel. The foam relieves pressure points while remaining durable over time. These mattresses typically take longer than latex and innerspring mattresses to break in because of the foam’s density.

Density refers to the material per cubic foot. The more material per cubic foot, the more time required for the foam cells to open up and for the mattress material to loosen and stretch to its full contouring potential. Mattresses that use high density memory foam may take up to 60 days to break in. Given the quality and durability of the materials with long term usage, the majority of owners consider memory foam mattresses worth the wait.

How can I speed up the process of breaking in a new mattress?

After purchasing a mattress, you want to experience comfort and all the other benefits of a great night of sleep right away. Although breaking in a mattress can take time, there are a few ways to accelerate the process. To break in your new mattress more quickly, you can try some of the following tips.

Let it Breathe

After your mattress has been delivered and placed in your room, allow it to breathe for a few hours before putting bedding on it or using it. This is especially important for latex mattresses, which may be rolled up for shipping. Allowing the materials to breathe will introduce oxygen into the materials, softening them more quickly before your first night of use.

Put in the time

Sleep in your new bed every night, even if you aren’t used to it yet. This will ensure that the mattress material is given enough use to soften and flex.

Spend as much time on your new bed as possible, even when you aren’t sleeping. Read, watch television, or bring some work to bed to maximize the time you spend on your new mattress.

Spend as much time on your new bed as possible, even when you aren’t sleeping. Read, watch television, or bring some work to bed to maximize the time you spend on your new mattress.

Add some weight

Walk gently on your new bed for a few minutes each day. Memory foam can be walked on with your feet. For an innerspring mattress, it is recommended to move across it with your hands and feet to avoid shifting or damaging the springs. You can also place heavy items on your bed such as books or boxes, and shift them around periodically to distribute their weight across the top of the mattress. This will increase the flexibility of the materials in your new bed more quickly.

Warm it up

Adjust the temperature in your room—particularly if you have purchased a memory foam bed. The layers in a memory foam mattress can be firmer, even with only a few degrees difference in room temperature. By slightly increasing the temperature in your room during your break in period, your memory foam mattress will feel softer.

Breaking in a new mattress is worth the wait

Breaking in a new mattress takes time and patience. Different mattress types have varying lifespans, but given they usually last years, the initial break-in period is relatively short in comparison. The natural compression from your body weight will stretch and soften your bed over time until the materials begin to perform they way they were designed. The good news is that once you’ve made it through this initial breaking in period, you should be enjoying consistent comfort for the life of your mattress.

Being well-informed about the break-in period can make this process easier and quicker. It’s important to be aware of the break-in period before you purchase, so make sure to ask your retailer questions before you buy. Inquire about options for firmness adjustment, required maintenance (such as flipping or rotating), and return policies in case you’re still not sleeping comfortably once the break-in period has ended. Most of all, try to have patience and remember that just like a new pair of shoes, your new mattress needs some time to break-in before providing you with years of great sleep.

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