Your first 28 sleeps on your new mattress are important ones.
During the first 4 weeks you own your mattress (4 weeks x 7 days a week = 28 sleeps), your body is adjusting to the new feel. Since we spend a third of our life sleeping, the way we sleep is pretty major in our overall experience of life! A new mattress represents a significant change in your overall way of being, and proper attention must be paid to this transition.
With your old mattress, most likely, your body got used to being somewhat uncomfortable. Maybe your back always felt ‘off’ or your hips ached.
Now, on your new mattress, you’re supported in areas where you once had no support. Or maybe you’re used to a plush feel and you’ve decided to go firmer, or vice-versa. It takes some time for your body to catch up to your well-reasoned decision!
Off-gassing versus normal fiber odor
Most mattresses you purchase will have an odor at first. That’s because every material in the world has its own unique smell: carpet, trees, metal, cardboard, the earth, meat, fruit, the air, styrofoam. We live in a world of smells, some natural and some synthetic. And your mattress is no different.
In short, there’s no such thing as an odorless mattress. If you don’t smell any odor at all (even one that isn’t unpleasant), it’s because your nose isn’t as good as your dog’s.
Synthetic odors are more problematic than natural ones
If your mattress contains memory foam, gel foam, poly foam, or any type of material made from chemicals in a lab, YES, it will off-gas for a while. (Remember: read the law labels. Retailers are not going to advertise, This mattress is made from chemicals!)
Chemical off-gassing is problematic not only because it can smell strongly and badly, but because the airborne chemicals can cause headaches, respiratory upset, skin rashes, and unknown health issues that medical scientists are still studying. No one yet knows the exact risk factors involved in exposure to VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).
The best way to reduce off-gassing is to air the mattress out in an open space (like a garage) for a week before sleeping on it. If this sounds like a hassle, you’re not alone in thinking that: it is! Some people (particularly those sensitive to fragrances) find that the odor persists and remains bothersome well past the one-week recommendation. That’s another reason why a natural or organic mattress may be the best choice for you.
Even natural fibers have natural odors
Cotton and wool mattresses have barely detectible odors.
Botanical latex, which comes from the rubber tree, has a subtle, natural rubber smell, which is non-toxic. It will, however, have a constant sweet rubber smell that will not really go away. Just like cedar will always smell like cedar, rubber tree will always smell like rubber tree. It’s subtle, but it’s there.
If your retailer’s Comfort Exchange policy allows, give your new mattress 28 sleeps before deciding.
About four weeks of sleep is the right amount of time for you to know if you want to keep your first choice mattress or exchange it. So give it 28 sleeps and see what your body tells you.
If you decide to contact your retailer for a Comfort Exchange or return, let them know exactly what the problem feels like to you, in your body. The more information they have on your sleep experience and preferences, the more helpful they can be in finding you just the right mattress the second time around.