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Break In Period - should it be painful? 24 Jun 2016 14:47 #1

I keep hearing about this "break in period" that people need to go through with a new mattress, but I can't find details about what I should genuinely expect during this phase. Reason tells me that this should be a time when I may not sleep ideally, but I should be able to fall asleep on the bed and not be in any severe pain. My actual experience with my new mattress has been very different... the first night it felt like I was laying on the floor, and I was in pain no matter how I laid. I tossed and turned all night, and when I finally got up after an agonizing night of sleeplessness, I could barely walk. Is this normal?

I called the company (online mattress place with 100% money back guarantee) in tears the next morning, (mostly emotional disjoint from sleep deprivation) and they offered to send me a mattress topper. I set the new mattress aside until it arrived and then tried again to sleep on the new mattress once I added the topper. It wasn't outright painful this time, but again I tossed and turned all night, and don't think I ever truly fell asleep (maybe dozed lightly out of sheer exhaustion). I wasn't semi-crippled the next morning like before, but I still hurt all over. With the topper, it feels like a carpeted floor, but overall a hard sleeping surface none the less.

I just want to know specifically what a break in period is supposed to feel like.

If details would be helpful, I'm a 5'1" female, 111 pounds, hourglass figure, with a side-sleep preference (but I do also sleep on my stomach, back, and in between the three positions). I have low back pain that I think is from the cheap mattress I've been using for the past 5 years, hence recent mattress shopping. The bed is from Helix, so it was custom designed for me, and in speaking with customer service, they said I made accurate selections in the customization quiz, aside from choosing a slightly too firm "feel", which should have been corrected by the topper.

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Break In Period - should it be painful? 24 Jun 2016 15:27 #2

Hi jcat_3,

I just want to know specifically what a break in period is supposed to feel like.


Unfortunately there is no way to answer this specifically because it can very greatly from person to person. Some people can certainly feel some pain or discomfort during the break in and adjustment period while some people sleep well on their mattress right from the first day. Of course "symptoms" of pain and discomfort that don't start getting better after a few weeks or that get worse can be the result of choosing a mattress that isn't a suitable "match" for you in terms of "comfort", firmness, and PPP in which case you would need to either return the mattress or make other "adjustments" such as adding a mattress pad or a topper.

In general though ... there will be a break in and adjustment period for any new mattress or sleeping system as the mattress loses any of it's "false firmness" and the cover stretches and loosens a little and the materials settle and your body gets used to a sleeping surface that is different from what it is used to (see post #3 here and post #2 here ). This would typically be a few weeks but it can be shorter or longer depending on the specifics of the person and the mattress (higher density materials can take longer) and it can be surprising to many people how much their sleeping experience can change over the course of the first month or so. I would generally suggest sleeping on any new mattress for a few weeks at a minimum (preferably a month or so) whenever possible before deciding on whether it's a good "match" in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP and/or deciding to make any changes or additions to your mattress.

While it's not possible to "diagnose" mattress comfort issues on a forum with any certainty because they can be very complex and there are too many unique unknowns, variables, and complexities involved that can affect how each person sleeps on a mattress in terms of "comfort", firmness, and PPP or any "symptoms" they experience ... there is more about the most common symptoms that people may experience when they sleep on a mattress and the most likely (although not the only) reasons for them in post #2 here that may be helpful.

Phoenix
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Break In Period - should it be painful? 24 Jun 2016 15:47 #3

Hi Phoenix,

Thank you for your prompt reply, and also for all of the wonderful information throughout your website.

In my teens and 20s I could easily skip a night of sleep with little consequence, but in my 40s, I'm a wreck without sleep. Is there any way to break in the mattress without giving up more nights of precious sleep? I feel unsafe driving and perform poorly at work without at least a few hours of sleep.

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Break In Period - should it be painful? 24 Jun 2016 16:01 #4

Hi jcat_3,

Is there any way to break in the mattress without giving up more nights of precious sleep? I feel unsafe driving and perform poorly at work without at least a few hours of sleep.


There are some suggestions in the posts I linked (particularly in the second one) but it may be worth walking evenly and carefully across the surface which can help speed up the initial softening or break in period.

Phoenix
Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
Click here for TMU Discount Codes if purchasing from Our Trusted Members.
For any mattress questions Ask An Expert on our forum

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Break In Period - should it be painful? 26 Jun 2016 12:13 #5

I recently got a new mattress and even the first night I was pain free and comfortable.

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Break In Period - should it be painful? 26 Jun 2016 12:53 #6

Hi stevejarek,

I recently got a new mattress and even the first night I was pain free and comfortable.


You're one of the fortunate ones :)

Phoenix
Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
Click here for TMU Discount Codes if purchasing from Our Trusted Members.
For any mattress questions Ask An Expert on our forum

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Break In Period - should it be painful? 27 Jun 2016 07:58 #7

Although a painful experience may be within the realm of "normal" for a break in period, I've decided it is not reasonable for me. I've contacted Helix to return the mattress. So far their customer service department has been responsive, and my return is in the works. I'll post with the final outcome of this for the benefit of others who may consider using them. And if I ever find a mattress that suits me well, I'll post that information as well for the benefit of others. I know I genuinely appreciate all those out on the web who take the time to share their knowledge and experiences.

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Break In Period - should it be painful? 27 Jun 2016 13:36 #8

Hi jcat_3,

Although a painful experience may be within the realm of "normal" for a break in period, I've decided it is not reasonable for me. I've contacted Helix to return the mattress.


I'm sorry to hear that your mattress isn't working out as well as you hoped for.

While "some" pain for a short time would be "normal" for some people (especially if the mattress is very different from what they are used to sleeping on) ... more significant pain certainly isn't the norm and if the pain isn't improving then I would certainly return the mattress as well.

And if I ever find a mattress that suits me well, I'll post that information as well for the benefit of others.


While other people's comments about the knowledge and service of a particular business can certainly be very helpful ... I would always keep in mind that you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress and I would be cautious about about using anyone else's suggestions, experiences or reviews on a specific mattress (either positive or negative) or review sites in general as a reliable source of information or guidance about how you will feel on the same mattress or how suitable or how durable a mattress may be for you. In many if not most cases they can be more misleading than helpful because a mattress that would be a perfect choice for one person or even a larger group of people in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences) may be completely unsuitable for someone else to sleep on (even if they are in a similar weight range). In other words ... reviews or other people's experiences in general won't tell you much if anything about the suitability, quality, durability, or "value" of a mattress for any particular person (see post #13 here ). Having said that ... it's always great to know when someone has purchased a mattress that they sleep well on even if how well you sleep on a mattress may not be particularly meaningful to someone else.

I'm not sure what you've read since you found the site but just in case you haven't read it yet ... the best place to start your research for your next mattress is the mattress shopping tutorial here which includes all the basic information, steps, and guidelines that can help you make the best possible choice ... and perhaps more importantly know how and why to avoid the worst ones.

Two of the most important links in the tutorial that I would especially make sure you've read are post #2 here which has more about the different ways to choose a suitable mattress (either locally or online) that is the best "match" for them in terms of "comfort", firmness, and PPP that can help you assess and minimize the risks of making a choice that doesn't turn out as well as you hoped for and post #13 here which has more about the most important parts of the "value" of a mattress purchase which can help you make more meaningful quality/value comparisons between mattresses in terms of suitability (how well they will sleep), durability (how long they will sleep well), and the overall value of a mattress compared to your other finalists based on all the parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you.

If you are also interested in researching local choices that you can test in person before a purchase then if you let me know your city or zip code I'd also be happy to let you know about the better options or possibilities I'm aware of in your area as well.

Phoenix
Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
Click here for TMU Discount Codes if purchasing from Our Trusted Members.
For any mattress questions Ask An Expert on our forum

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Break In Period - should it be painful? 05 Jun 2018 23:03 #9

I'm reviving this topic as I've recently purchased a new mattress from Flexus Comfort a recommended vendor here on the Mattress Underground forums. When I went to their store to test out their mattress, I selected the firmness level from their in-store demo. The sales person James was very helpful and helped me try out different configurations. After testing different combinations, I ended up with medium-medium-firm on my side and my wife was very happy with soft-medium-firm on her side. Fast forward to this week, we received our brand new mattress with the above configuration. We immediately tested it out and it felt much firmer than we both remembered. Is it something that is expected? Our first night didn't end too well as I woke up with back pain and my wife was tossing and turning all night. I'm hoping that it will get better as the days progress and this mattress has a break-in period. I've heard latex mattresses do no change throughout the years so I'm wondering why the store's model was so much softer. Any advice on this is much appreciated as I do not want to go exchange it immediately knowing it might also change a few weeks in.

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Break In Period - should it be painful? 06 Jun 2018 13:06 #10

I ended up buying a bed from a local mattress company, as suggested on this website. It's half good-quality traditional mattress, with 2" of latex above that (you can swap out this part for varying firmness), and all topped off with a quilted zip-off section. From day 1 the quilted zip off part was like a rock, so I took it off. I tried a couple of different latex layers, in soft and medium (I'm a side sleeper with a curvy middle, so the softness lets my hips sink in better). The bed always feels good when I get in, but by the time I wake up in the morning, I'm achey. After about a year of that, I just recently took off the latex layer too. Being on just the traditional mattress part feels firmer when I get in bed, but not uncomfortably so, and now I'm less achey in the morning.

The moral of all of this is that while all the research I did pointed me toward latex as being the right material for me, it ended up not being so. Personally I just couldn't deal with more than a few nights of sleeplessness on the mail-order mattress. I don't care that all the sites and stores say you're supposed to give it several weeks... pain and sleeplessness aren't for me.

So SleepyMC, try it for at least a few nights, but if you're still not sleeping at all and in pain, I would say the bed is a bad fit. I'm by no means an expert... just an average consumer, so this is just my opinion based on my own experience. I wish you all the best, as it's such an important thing (good sleep) and at the same time so difficult to find the right bed.

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