How to Break In Your New Latex Mattress in 3 Steps

If you’ve just bought a new latex mattress then you may be surprised to find that it feels firmer than expected.

So you might be wondering if latex mattresses have a break-in period to allow for greater comfort potential – or if you’re going to be stuck with a mattress that you don’t like.

Latex mattresses have a break in period that can last up to 30-60 nights – where the cover may stretch and the latex foam becomes noticeably softer as the materials of the mattress adjust to your individual body weight, body type, and dominant sleeping position to yield the final level of comfort.

However, if you’re finding your new latex mattress to be uncomfortable, there are a few things that you can do to speed up the break-in process.

I’ve listed these strategies in the rest of the article and provided some solutions if you’re still uncomfortable in your new latex mattress after the 30-60 night break-in period has passed.

3 Ways to Break In a New Latex Mattress

Latex foam mattresses can be made from natural latex derived from the Hevea brasiliensis tree [1], synthetic styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR), or a mixture of the two.

The latex is turned into foam using either the Dunlop or Talalay vulcanization manufacturing process where the liquid latex is hardened into a solid substance that makes it suitable for sleeping on in the form of a mattress or mattress topper.

Mattresses made from natural latex using the Dunlop process tend to make for some of the most durable and long-lasting sleep products on the market.

This means that brand new latex mattresses tend to feel firm at first, and then as the foam begins to relax in response to your body weight and dominant sleeping position, the mattress will begin to feel softer in certain places and generally more comfortable overall.

This ‘breaking in’ period typically takes around 30-60 nights of continuous use in a latex mattress – which is often longer than the 1-4 weeks normally required to break in a memory foam, spring, or hybrid mattress because latex foam tends to be more resilient.

After the 30-60 night period, the rate of softening will typically slow down and your mattress will likely be as comfortable as it’s ever going to feel because the materials will have adapted to your body weight and shape.

At which point, you may notice slight dips or body impressions in the mattress which – unless the mattress is defective and needs repairing/replacing under the warranty or sleep trial – should not exceed 0.5 inches in depth and should actually aid with making your mattress more comfortable.

As time progresses, most mattresses will start to degrade and potentially sag to the point where discomfort may be noticeable and a replacement is required – which usually occurs within the 5-10 year mark for most spring, memory foam, and hybrid mattresses.

However, mattresses made from high-quality latex are some of the most durable and longest-lasting mattresses that are resistant to sagging and may last for longer than a decade with the right care.

But if you’re having difficulty getting used to your new latex mattress, then follow the 3 steps below to potentially speed up the break-in period.

1: Apply Pressure

The most effective way to speed up the break-in period for a new latex mattress is to apply pressure to the mattress so that the fibers of the cover and the foam layers are able to relax and soften up faster.

However, you need to be very careful when applying pressure to the mattress, use the following techniques as appropriate:

  • Pushing – evenly pushing downwards across the entire surface of the mattress is the best way to break in an all-latex or hybrid spring-latex mattress because the pressure isn’t too concentrated and you can control the amount of force.
  • Massaging – in addition to pushing, you can massage the material in a kneading motion to loosen up the fibers even more (just be careful that you don’t damage the connective materials/adhesives that are holding the layers together if they are present).
  • Rolling – rolling on the mattress can help to break up the fibers in a less concentrated way whilst saving time and energy.
  • Kneeling – kneeling on the mattress is a more forceful way to break up the fibers because your body weight is concentrated upon the materials. This strategy isn’t recommended for hybrid spring-latex mattresses because the coils may be displaced or damaged – you should also be mindful that you don’t hurt your knees doing this too.
  • Walking – walking on your mattress applies the most amount of force in the most concentrated manner. As such, you shouldn’t use this method of pressure application on hybrid spring-latex mattresses because you may damage the springs.

These methods should be applied for between 10 and 30 minutes per session – with 1 session per day advised for 30 consecutive days to cover the initial break-in period.

You may find that increasing the ambient room temperature up to 20°C (68°F) or more in conjunction with the application of pressure may also help to speed up the break-in process (this works very well for making a new memory foam mattress expand faster too).

However, I would caution AGAINST applying a localized heat source to the mattress because you may damage the materials.

2: Wait 72 Hours

If you ordered a latex mattress in a box then you should wait for up to 72 hours for the mattress to decompress and reach its fully expanded state.

If your mattress isn’t expanding fully, then you can use the pressure application strategies listed above to expedite the process.

3: Sleep On it For 30-60 Nights

In the vast majority of cases, sleeping on your new latex mattress for 30-60 consecutive nights in your preferred sleeping position is the best way to break in the mattress because the fibers will soften in response to your unique physical shape.

The first week is likely to be the most uncomfortable phase of the break-in period, with things getting easier after that.

How to Fix Discomfort After the Break-In Period

If your new latex mattress is still uncomfortable after 60 nights of continuous use have passed then you should consider the options below.

1: Layer Exchange

Many latex mattress companies will offer to exchange the layers of your latex mattress for a new set with different firmnesses or feels.

Before doing so, it’s helpful to pinpoint the current issue so that the company has a better chance of sending you the right replacement layers.

For example, if your mattress is way too firm then you should ask them to send you a softer upper comfort layer.

If you feel that your mattress is lacking in support then a firmer base layer of Dunlop latex might be the answer.

It’s best to give the company as much information as possible so they can help you make your mattress more comfortable.

In other instances, you may be able to unzip the cover and move the layers around yourself – but always check the warranty to ensure that doing this won’t void it.

2: Check the Frame

Placing a new mattress on an old bed frame can result in an uncomfortable mattress – usually because the underlying support is undermined which can lead to the mattress feeling saggy and uncomfortable.

Latex mattresses are typically quite heavy – so a solid platform base or slatted frame with slats no more than 3-4 inches apart is the best type of frame to use with a latex mattress because it will provide even support for the entire area of the mattress.

For the avoidance of doubt and to mitigate voiding the warranty, you might want to consider buying a compatible frame from the same company that made your latex mattress.

3: Buy a Mattress Topper

If the mattress company doesn’t offer a layer exchange – or you don’t want to go down that route – then you could buy a separate mattress topper to alter the firmness of the mattress.

For example, if your latex mattress is still too firm after 60 nights then you might want to consider buying a softer mattress topper to increase the pressure point relief.

4: Return the Mattress

If you’ve tried everything that I’ve listed above and you’re still not happy with your latex mattress then you should try to return the mattress.

If you bought a mattress online with a good sleep trial then you should be able to return the mattress for a refund without much issue.

However, if you bought your mattress from a physical store or an online retailer rather than buying directly from the company website then you’ll have to contact their customer support and enquire about their return process.

Alternatively, if your mattress is exhibiting significant sagging or is defective, then you may be able to get a replacement mattress by claiming on the warranty.

Related Questions

With most of the main points covered, I’m going to round-off this article with the concise answers to some of the most common questions related to breaking in a latex mattress.

How Long Does it Take to Break In a Latex Mattress?

It takes 30-60 nights of continuous use to break in a new latex mattress.

How Do You Soften a Latex Mattress?

You can soften a latex mattress by sleeping on it for 30-60 consecutive nights so that the materials relax and mould to your body shape; by applying pressure to the materials, or by using a softer mattress topper.

How Do You Make a Latex Mattress Firmer?

You can make a latex mattress firmer by placing it on a hard, flat surface like a solid base or the floor (but beware the dangers of putting your mattress on the floor); by placing a sheet of plywood under the mattress, or by putting a firm mattress topper on top of the mattress.

Why is My New Latex Mattress Causing Back Pain?

Your new latex mattress may be causing you back pain because the materials are new, more rigid, and different to the shape and feel of your old mattress – this issue may go away after the 30-60 night break-in period has passed.

Conclusion: Give it Time

The most effective way to break in a new latex mattress is to sleep on it for at least a month so that the materials can soften up and adapt to your body shape.

The first 72 hours may see a significant amount of change if your latex mattress came in a compressed box as the mattress fully expands.

You can also use the application of pressure to potentially speed up the expansion and soften up the materials to expedite the break-in process.

Once the 30-60 night period has passed, you can solve comfort issues by using a different bed frame, using a mattress topper, or contacting the mattress company to arrange for a layer exchange, return, or refund.

If you’re in need of a new mattress then click the button below to see the best mattresses to buy online now.

Sources and References

[1] Wikipedia – Hevea Brasiliensis. Accessed 27/8/20.

Image Attribution and Licencing

Main image: ‘Modern Bedroom Design’ by Snorkulencija (Getty Images Pro) – used with permission under the terms of Canva’s One Design Use License Agreement.