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Can I Sleep On My Memory Foam Mattress Right Away?

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Can I Sleep On My Memory Foam Mattress Right Away?

If you ask a bed in a box manufacturer, they will tell you to wait at least 24 hours before sleeping on your new memory foam mattress. That can be pretty inconvenient.

You’ve already hauled away your old bed and box spring. The only other place to sleep is the floor—right beside your inviting new memory foam mattress.

Technically, you can sleep on memory foam right away. Most mattresses in a box reach about 90% of full expansion within 4—6 hours after opening. Manufacturers still say no and they have their reasons. We aren’t saying they are wrong. Knowing the precautions to take and the reasons you may want to wait can help you decide.

What is Bed in a Box?

Memory foam mattress manufacturers found success in the online market. The internet allows consumers to research, shop, and buy almost anything. Your purchases are paid for and then shipped, in a box, right to your door. Some companies are so large and efficient they can do all this in 24-48 hours.

You may wonder how a mattress is going to fit in a box. Well, the box is now the primary mode of shipping for memory foam mattresses. This means manufacturers can compress, deflate, fold, and stuff a mattress in a box. Unlike traditional innerspring mattresses, memory foam is known for easy shipping and added comfort.

Getting a mattress in a box has changed the way we shop and sleep. Memory foam’s ability to be compressed, rolled, and folded is remarkable. All this action and the memory foam does not lose any of its quality. Once your bed in a box has reached your doorstep, all you need to do is pop the airtight seal, unroll the mattress and watch the expansion process begin. A good night of sound sleep is in your future.

How to Unbox and Deploy a Memory Foam Mattress Without Damaging It By Mistake?

Considering all the money you just invest into the mattress, it would be a good idea to know how to unbox it properly. After the mattress has been delivered, refrain from cutting through the box with sharp objects like knives or scissors, use your hand instead. Check out the state of the mattress foundation as well, the slats must be strong enough to support the mattress weight and yourself. Should you encounter any worrisome signs in the structure then you better repair or replace the foundation before you actually deploy the mattress.

Once the mattress in on the foundation, open all the doors and windows of the room so as to in enhance air circulation. Newly manufactured foam often off-gassing at room temperature which means you could encounter a slightly uncomfortable odor for a couple of hours. Without this step, the odor could linger around for a long time and make it hard for you to sleep. Allow the mattress to breathe or you could cause permanent damage to the memory foam dimension and the lifetime of the mattress.

Why Do You Have To Wait 24 Hours To Sleep On A Memory Foam Mattress?

Manufacturers ship memory foam mattresses compressed in a box. You’ll find a skinny box on your doorstep that you’ll swear there’s no way it can contain a mattress. But upon opening it, you’ll see that it does.

Once you unroll the mattress, it slowly expands. You can guess how much time it takes – 24 hours. That doesn’t mean you’ll be sleeping on a flat pancake if you use the mattress beforehand. Each mattress takes a different amount of time, but typically, after a few hours, it resembles a standard mattress.

By advising a 24-48 hour window, manufacturers try to prevent:

  • Customer dissatisfaction with the mattress
  • Damage to the foam while it expands
  • The unpleasant odor from off-gassing

Let’s face it. If you sleep on a brand-new mattress, you want to feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud. If the mattress isn’t fully expanded, you won’t get that feeling. You may be upset and want to return it right away. That’s why many companies require you to sleep on the bed for 2 weeks or longer before deciding.

Off-gassing is another big issue. Many memory foam mattresses are made with CertiPUR-US materials which limits the off-gassing (odor), but not all of it. Again, this could make you frustrated with your purchase, prompting you to return it prematurely.

Risks Of Not Waiting To Sleep On A Memory Foam Mattress

The manufacturer will tell you there are risks in not waiting. Most notable of the issues are the smell and discomfort. Are they true risks? You can decide.

In reality, sleeping on the mattress or at least using it may help speed up the expansion process. The memory foam needs activation. This occurs with regular movement and body heat, both of which you provide when sleeping on the mattress.

Can You Speed Up The Expansion Process?

Aside from sleeping on the mattress before the manufacturer recommends it, there are a few other ways to speed up the expansion process:

Turn Up the Heat

If your bedroom is notoriously cold at night, it may cause the memory foam to stiffen. This may delay the expansion time. For at least the first few days that you have the mattress, consider cranking the heat slightly. The mattress may expand faster in the higher temperature.

Roll Around on the Mattress

If you don’t want to sleep on it quite yet, at least give the mattress a little body weight. Move around the bed or let the kids romp around on it for a little bit. This will help activate the memory foam, encouraging faster expansion to full capacity.

Give It Plenty of Room

Don’t put your memory foam mattress right on the foundation and expect it to expand. If you have a spare room or any other area with plenty of space, use that. Not only will the mattress have more room to expand, but you’ll get the off-gassing over with in a room other than your bedroom.

Several Ways to Protect and Maintain The Memory Foam Mattress

Since memory foam mattresses are often expensive investments, you would obviously want to get the most out of them. In order to that, you have to take care of the mattress properly and protect it from harm. Some products come with a removable and washable cover to shield the foam from stains and liquids. In the case your memory foam doesn’t have one, you should drop by the store and get one. A mattress cover would be an excellent idea to protect the memory foam. It’s advised that you should keep food and drink as far away from the mattress as possible.

Memory foam is good at conforming to pressure point so its shape is very vulnerable to sudden and violent forces. The material could end up sagging if you do that so be careful and keep children from jumping on it.

Every once in a while, rotate the mattress so it can stay in a good shape for years. Don’t ever flip over the mattress though because the foam layers are only arranged to provide the relief on the surface side. The bottom side of the mattress would not offer you sufficient back support.


Whether you should sleep on your memory foam mattress before the 24-hour mark is up to you. If you want the full effect of a fully expanded mattress, wait at least a day.

You may find that you have to “break” the mattress in, which could take a matter of a few weeks. Overall, your memory foam mattress will look and perform its best once you start using it.

10 Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Does It Mean to Break In a Memory Foam Mattress?

Just like shoes take a few “wears” before feeling comfortable, mattresses need a little time. Brand new foam is stiff and if left in cold temperatures, it can become brittle. Nurture the mattress by giving it heat, movement, and time to truly settle into its full form.

2. How Long Does It Take For a Memory Foam Mattress to Stop Smelling?

Each mattress takes a different amount of time to stop smelling. Some don’t smell much at all because of the low or non-existent use of VOCs. Others take a few days or even weeks.

3. Does a Memory Foam Mattresses Lose Its Memory?

Just like any mattress, memory foam can stop working with excessive use. Proper care including rotating it often and properly cleaning the mattress helps it last longer. On average, expect 8 – 10 years out of your memory foam mattress.

4. Can You Make Memory Foam Firmer?

Memory foam is naturally cushioning and comforting. If you find it too soft, try one of the following:

  • Place plywood between the mattress and the foundation
  • Turn down the temperature in the room
  • Add a firm mattress topper
  • Switch out your box spring for a foundation with even and flat slats
5. Does Heat Help Memory Foam Expand?

Memory foam is sensitive to varying temperatures. In cooler rooms, memory foam can seem more firm. If this is the case, you may want to raise the room temperature a few notches. Once memory foam becomes warmer, it tends to be more flexible and thus expand faster. Body heat can also aid in the expansion process.

6. What to Do When Memory Foam Mattress Not Inflating?

Memory foams have different thickness levels. You can choose from an 8-inch mattress to a 13-inch memory foam bed. They are designed with open cells to conform to various shapes of sleepers using the bedding. Before they leave the factory, these mattresses are folded and compressed using a machine roller to fit into a small package.

The best way to use a memory foam is to let it expand before using. However, if it’s not inflating, there are simple tricks you can do to enjoy its comfort after 24 hours of arrival. Check these tips to help you out:

  • Unbox the memory foam within the three days of arrival. Remove the plastic cover using your hands. Never use any sharp objects like a knife and scissors when removing the mattress from the package to avoid damages.
  • Allow the foam to adjust in room temperature, which may take up to a couple of hours until it begins expanding. This step is essential, especially when you get your memory foam in the winter season. Foam mattresses tend to become more brittle if it’s still tight, which can lead to tearing.
  • Unroll it in a spare room so the open cells of the memory foam will expand and inflate freely. Separate each layer of the foam carefully to allow them to grow. Pull them in uniform motion with slow and steady hands.
7. What to Do If The Mattress Hasn’t Expanded After a Week?

If a foam mattress doesn’t expand after five or seven days, then you most likely have a defective bed.

A mattress not expanding is very rare; but if you’ve given your mattress a whole week to expand and it hasn’t, call customer service to inform them of the defect and initiate the return policy.

8. What Thickness Memory Foam Mattress Is Best?

The optimum choice for the thickness of the memory foam layer ranges from 4 to 5 inches thick with a density of at least 5 pounds per cubic foot. The denser and thicker the mattress, the higher the price goes.

9. Is Memory Foam or Gel Memory Foam Better?

It is being used as both a standalone layer and an infusion into foam. Gel benefits mattresses by retaining less heat than memory foam. Also, newer gels compete against memory foam by being more responsive and less toxic. Gel is similar to foam because it is a polymer made by blending plastics and other chemicals.

10. Can Bed Bugs Go In Memory Foam?

Bed bugs can live on or in any mattress, including memory foam. However, they’re more likely to live on the underside of the mattress rather than inside it. They also can’t burrow, so they can’t get inside a mattress unless there’s already an opening.

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