How Does a New Mattress Break In?

Breaking in a new mattress?

There are a couple different points of view concerning this question and both make very good cases for whether or not there is a break in period or not for a mattress. The mattress industry says the mattress is conforming to your body’s shape and mattress buyers disagree saying that comfort layers are failing causing severe discomfort and sagging.


Does a mattress really break in?

The mattress industry says yes, in the same way a brand new pair of new shoes has to break in the same is true for a new mattress. The mattress industry generally says it will conform to each person’s specific body shape “over time” as we use it. Since most of us sleep in the basically the same location in our mattress each night, a little bit of compression from the materials used to built the mattress will occur in a comfort system.

Is the breaking in of a mattress really sagging?

Many consumers agree a certain level of compression is going to take place but where most people disagree with the mattress industry’s position is how quickly and how significantly these so called “comfort layers” compress.

Mattress buyers often complain that the body compressions, body indentations, or body impressions are an all out failure caused by cheap materials such as polyester fiber and multiple layers of low grade polyurethane foam. These unsatisfied mattress buyers say the “breaking in” is not creating comfort; rather the opposite affect is happening causing severe discomfort. The discomfort comes from sleeping in a mattress that has ridges, holes, peaks, valleys and just all out sagging going on. Not to mention they look horrible.

What do I think about mattresses breaking in?

I think customers are correct. Mattresses are failing too quickly. It is my feeling mattresses don’t simply break in with use rather they wear out to quickly from cheap materials. Polyurethane foam, coil springs, or both can and do fatigue and fail, though in my opinion coil springs are not the issue.

So what can I do about a sagging mattress?

If you are having problems with your mattress sagging discuss with the retailer or the manufacturer from where you purchased your bed. If you don’t, the issues of sagging failing mattresses will never be resolved. Push the issue and push for replacement of your mattress if it is failing prematurely. Then and only then with enough negative complaints will the industry be forced to respond by building mattresses with better longer lasting comfort layers.


Doug Belleville and his father Dave own and run STLBeds - a specialty sleep store located in Arnold, MO. The staff at STLBeds is highly educated about sleep, comfort and their special sleep products. STLBeds only carries high quality mattresses and bed-related products. You won't find the brand names here - just call and ask us why!

6 Comments Leave your comment »

I purchased a brand new Serta I-series Perfect Day King Mattress. From the first night, it has been very uncomfortable to sleep on. I contacted the store where I purchased it and they tell me there is a “break-in period”. I have never heard of having to break in a new mattress. It continues to be uncomfortable. I have had to put a foam pad on the top of it to even have some comfort and even that is not handling the hardness I am experiencing. I am told to sleep on it for another 3 weeks and if I still don’t like it, contact the store again. We will see!

Comment by Deb Schrock — May 8, 2013 @ 1:51 pm

My hubby and I got a new mattress and box spring and it arrived Saturday. First off it didn’t feel as comfortable as in the store but we went back and it’s the exact same mattress and we were told it takes time for it to ‘Break In’ and it would feel the same as the store one in a few days. I am skeptical on that one! The first night I woke up in the middle of the night and my lower back hurt and the second the same thing but to the point of it hurting even as I type this! I was told to give it a few weeks and see and if not better we can do one exchange to another mattress. I don’t know if I will last a few weeks as I sleep the worst I have ever. I wish I had not had them take our old bed away cause i would have rather slept on that one than the new one which causes me pain! I am worried that going back to exchange wont’ fix the problem because shouldn’t the bed you try out in the store be the same feel as the one that is delivered to you? I don’t get how it will be different and it’s very misleading. We were very excited to buy the bed as it was so comfy at the store but it feels firmer the one we received!
This is stressing me out as I need my sleep. Any help and advice welcomed as I just don’t know what to do! We have considered going to the same store but in a different location ( this is a chain store) and trying out the same bed and see if it’s the same feel as the one in the other store. Also getting another opinion in different stores. Jeez I hope this is fixed soon as I am uncomfortable!

Comment by Katherine — May 13, 2013 @ 12:09 pm

I’ve bee through the same thing twice. Yes, the WILL take your matress back, but do not wait to long. There is a period that you need to keep it during the “wait until it breaks in”, but don’t go past the return date (which are very close at some stores)

1. DO NOT get any stains or any kind of wear on the mattress as they will not take it back. And they inspect this very carefully when they come to bring you the exchange mattress.
2. DO NOT take no for an answer, they will try hard not to exchange your mattress, so be firm with them (punn intended)

In our situation, we are on our second mattress/break in period. you would think when you are paying over 2k, you would get what you pay for. I have to sleep on the couch some nights my back pain is so bad.

Good luck, all

Comment by TM — May 20, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

Mattress retailers that offer comfort guarantees should have written policies that talk about all of specific guidelines of compliance. Not sure if this is the case of TM or not. An important lesson well stated by TM is to to read it and understand it before you buy. I would only add spending more time test resting beds and going through a narrowing down process according to support and feel can nearly eliminate the need for comfort guarantee for the majority of mattress shoppers. Act as if the company didn’t have such a policy and it will force you to spend your shopping time wisely focusing on the important task at hand. Well said TM.

Comment by Douglas Belleville — May 20, 2013 @ 3:13 pm

I had been sleeping in a recliner, on my back of course, for the past 6 months, with no back problems what so ever. But, figured it was time to get a new mattress, so bought a moderately firm one. Now, I have been waking up with lower back aches every morning, for the past week and a half. Something I never experienced while sleeping in the recliner. Is it my body, trying to adjust to sleeping on my side again, that is causing me discomfort? Or, as you say, the breaking in of a new mattress? Or, do you think it is unhealthy, spinal wise, for one to sleep in a recliner for a long period of time?

Comment by LX Skye — February 22, 2014 @ 12:58 am

LX Unfortunately I am only a mattress salesman not a physician. While it saved my parents thousands of dollars in college expenses, you probably don’t want me or any other unqualified person to speak to the any of the health aspects of sleeping on a recliner. Honestly this is a question that would be better put before your chiropractor or doctor. While there may be a few isolated cases, I cannot say in my 25 plus years that I have heard of any physician specifically recommending recliners over mattresses for overnight sleep. What I could guess is that transition from one mattress to another would seem like a much smoother and easier change than the multi-positioned recliner. One last thought perhaps an adjustable bed with the ability to adjust head and foot elevation may be a better fit. Hope this helps. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — February 22, 2014 @ 12:52 pm

Leave a comment