After tossing and turning on an old, lumpy mattress for months, you’ve decided to buy a new one. Finally, it arrives, and you’re so excited that you want to try it out right away. But then you find a label that says you shouldn’t use it in the first 24 hours, and your excitement turns into disappointment. One more night on the old mattress is certainly not what you hoped for.
But is there any reason not to sleep on a new mattress right away? And if there is, what is it? If these questions are running through your mind, you’re in the right place. You’ll find everything you need to know about new mattresses right here!
What Is the 24-Hours Warning About?
Like most people nowadays, you probably ordered your mattress online. After all, it’s much less of a hassle to get it delivered to your doorstep than go out and scour the shops for a perfect one. All you need to do is select a comfortable one from your chosen website and wait.
When it arrives, your mattress will be sealed and rolled up in a box for easy delivery. But as you might have noticed, mattresses are a little too big to fit the box as they are. Because of that, they have to go through an air-removing roller that compresses them, after which they are sealed with heat. Finally, they are stuffed into a small package to ensure that they don’t expand.
When you take your new mattress out of the box, air will start entering the foam once again. As a result, the mattress will expand to its original shape — but this process can take around six hours. That’s partly why you should avoid lying down on it as soon as you get it.
But as you just read, expansion takes six hours — not a whole day. So why would the warning say 24 hours? Well, because that’s roughly how long it takes for the mattress to off-gas.
Off-Gassing the Mattress
Memory foam mattresses are typically made of synthetic foams that contain certain unstable chemicals. These chemicals, otherwise known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), break down when you open your new mattress. As they do, they often form gases, which are then released into the air. This process is precisely what off-gassing is.
Now, some people may believe that off-gassing is dangerous, but that’s actually not the case. The gases aren’t toxic or carcinogenic — just unpleasant. That being said, if you use the mattress right away, the smell can cause headaches, nausea, and difficulty breathing. Of course, not everyone experiences these side-effects — but why risk it when you can easily avoid them?
Usually, off-gassing lasts much longer than a single day. At the very least, it takes 72 hours for the mattress to air out fully, and often the smell will linger for a whole month. However, the worst of it should disappear in the first 24 hours, so it’s best to use it only once that period ends.
How to Speed Up the Off-Gassing Process
No matter how comfortable your new mattress is, you probably don’t feel like sleeping in unpleasant fumes for a month. Thus, you must be wondering if there’s a way to speed up this off-gassing process so that you can finally get a good night’s sleep. As it happens, there isn’t just one, but four simple ways to do that!
Buy CertiPUR-US Certified Memory Foam
CertiPUR-US sets forth strict guidelines on making memory foam mattresses. Usually, brands with its seal of approval use fewer VOCs, which ultimately means that the off-gassing period is shorter too. Thus, it’s a good idea to check if the brand you’ve chosen is CertiPUR-US certified.
Of course, searching for a mattress with this certificate can take time, and perhaps you can’t afford to waste it right now. So instead, here are a few CertiPUR-US-certified mattresses you can choose from:
- Molblly 12-inch gel memory foam mattress
- Avenco memory foam mattress
- S Secretland 12-inch gel memory foam mattress
According to experts, applying heat to your mattress helps it in two ways. First, the heat speeds up the release of VOCs, ensuring that off-gassing ends quickly. At the same time, it allows the mattress to expand fully, meaning that you can start using it as soon as possible.
So make sure to leave your mattress in a room without air conditioning, or if it’s cold, crank up your heaters. Your mattress will be aired out and ready to use in no time!
Buy Filters for VOCs
There are all kinds of filters for all sorts of purposes out there — so naturally, you can find ones for VOCs too. These filters will trap the fumes from your mattress and remove them so that you don’t have to breathe them in. If you suffer from asthma or frequent respiratory infections, a VOC filter is practically a must-have!
Sprinkle Baking Soda
Everyone has baking soda in their house, right? Well, you’d be surprised to learn that it’s a perfect weapon against the unpleasant smell of VOCs. Sprinkle some of it on your mattress as it’s airing out, and the smell will be gone in no time. And don’t worry if there’s some baking soda remaining after you dust it off — it’s perfectly safe and won’t cause any side-effects if you sleep on it.
How to Break in Your New Mattress
When you buy a new mattress, usually you expect it to be soft and comfortable as soon as you lie on it. Unfortunately, that often proves incorrect. Your new mattress might seem rigid and unpleasant at first, so much so that you start wondering if you didn’t make a mistake.
Let us reassure you — the mattress you bought is probably perfectly normal. However, it needs time to soften and adjust to your body — much like a pair of new shoes. That can take up to three months, so don’t raise the alarm if you’ve been sleeping on it for a few days and it hasn’t improved. For more information about how long does it take to get used to a new mattress, check this article.
Still, this adjustment period can be quite frustrating. So, here are a few tips on how to speed up the whole process of breaking in the mattress!
Let It Breathe
As you’ve already seen, air circulation is incredibly important for a new mattress. Air helps it expand, brings some oxygen to the foam, and eliminates VOCs and unpleasant smells.
So don’t immediately cover the mattress with sheets — leave it in a room with plenty of space and open the windows. You can even do that for a few hours every day, at least in the first week after the purchase. That way, your mattress will be fresh and comfortable to sleep on in no time!
Put on Some Pressure
If you feel that your mattress is too hard to sleep on, the solution is fairly simple. Just apply some pressure! Walk or roll around on it and knead it with your hands and knees. That should help soften and loosen up the foam, which will then slowly start adjusting to your body shape.
Don’t go overboard, though! If you apply too much pressure — for instance, by jumping — you can damage the mattress and make it lumpy. So remember; moderation is key.
Consider the Bed Frame
A memory foam mattress won’t only adjust to your body shape, but also to the bedframe you put it in. If it’s old and worn out, your mattress could reflect its imperfections and affect your sleep negatively. The worst part is that the longer it stays in the old bed frame, the harder it will be to change its shape later. So make sure to buy a new frame when the old one deteriorates!
Ultimately, the surest way to break in your new mattress is to sleep on it every night. Of course, it won’t be too comfortable at first, but as time passes, the foam will stretch and loosen up. Don’t avoid lying on it — even if you try all other breaking-in methods, you won’t get far without actually using the mattress. So exercise patience — the wait is always worth it in the end!
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Give Your Mattress Some TIme
So can you sleep on a new mattress straight away? Technically, yes — you’re not likely to experience any severe consequences. But should you do it? Well, probably not. The mattress needs time to air out and expand, and you lying on it certainly won’t help. In fact, it will only hinder the process.
On top of that, sleeping on a mattress that you just took out of the box is likely to be unpleasant. The new mattress smell combined with the lack of oxygen circulating through the material won’t provide you with a well-deserved rest. Not to mention, if you lie on it too fast, you can damage the memory foam. All in all, it’s better to wait at least a few hours before trying it out!