When will a memory foam bed fully expand? Plus, suggestions for bedding accessories

2023-03-01 07:14:55 - Patrick Gruce Patrick Gruce is a seasoned journalist with over a decade of experience in the tech and media industries, offering unique insights on the intersection of technology, media, and legal/regulatory issues through his background in journalism and law.

Most modern mattresses feature memory foam, a type of viscoelastic material that responds to body heat. A memory foam mattress contours to your body as you sleep, and it keeps that shape when you get up thanks to its viscoelasticity. Comfort and portability are two of the many reasons why people choose a memory foam mattress. It's designed to be compressed, so the manufacturer can simply deflate, fold, and pack the memory foam into a box for transport. Because of this, you may also hear memory foam referred to as "bed in a box."

Manufacturers state that full expansion of a memory foam mattress takes 24-72 hours, but that 90% expansion occurs in just 4-6 hours. It takes memory foam mattress toppers 24 hours to expand to their full size. Because of their greater density, memory foam pillows require between 48 and 72 hours to reach their full size.

Other factors, such as temperature and humidity, may affect how long it takes for memory foam products to expand.

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Memory foam can be easily transported and stored in its compressed state. Most memory foam mattresses need to breathe for 24 hours before they can be used. Image courtesy of Happy BedsThe memory foam mattress pad has finally reached its full size. Since it can be pressed down without much effort, you know it's not solid. Photo from an Excessive Supply

What is the typical time frame for a memory foam bed (or mattress-in-a-box) to fully expand?

An earlier post mentioned that memory foam mattresses need up to 24 hours to fully expand. Once you remove the memory foam from the packaging, the air that was forced out during compression can begin to fill the open cell structure once more. Due to its viscoelasticity, the foam is able to return to its original size and shape as air begins to fill its open cell structure. The time it takes for memory foam to expand varies from one product to the next, as was mentioned earlier.  

You can expect your memory foam product's expansion time to be influenced by the following three variables:

  • Memory foam, in general, will expand more quickly in a warmer environment. As the temperature rises, the material's viscosity decreases, making it more fluid and, in turn, easier to shape.
  • Memory foam manufacturers create products with varying densities. Denser foam requires more time to expand. It makes no difference if it's a pillow or a topper. Similarly, a dense foam will be more solid. This article on how to use a Tempur-Pedic pillow effectively may be of interest to you.
  • The expansion time is also influenced by the foam's thickness or depth. Because of their extra thickness, pillows may require more time to fully plump up. Thinner memory foam toppers and mattresses expand more quickly than their thinner counterparts. Cut your memory foam mattress or topper if it's too thick to sleep comfortably on.

Do you know what happens if you don't let the memory foam expand for 24 hours?

For optimal results, most memory foams require a full 24 hours to fully expand. As soon as the mattress is fully expanded, any flaws in the product become apparent. Flaws and splits may not be visible until the product is expanded to its maximum size.

Although it is not recommended, using memory foam before the 24-hour period has passed will not harm the product. Actually, the memory foam will expand more quickly thanks to your body heat. In the event that you are unable to wait 24 hours before using the mattress, we recommend that you wait at least 4-12 hours.

Most of the growth takes place during the first four to six hours after the memory is unboxed; this time is known as the off-gassing period. When a mattress expands, a process known as "off-gassing" occurs, in which chemical fumes are released into the air. While not typically harmful to healthy individuals, off-gassing can be unpleasant and even uncomfortable for those who suffer from asthma. This article on off-gassing and mattress flammability may be of interest to you.

However, it's worth noting that different companies claim different expansion times for memory foam mattresses (anywhere from 8 hours to minutes). You should get in touch with the makers to ask any questions you may have before making a purchase.

To what extent does temperature affect the expansion rate of a gel memory foam mattress?

To fully expand, gel memory foam needs at least 48 hours. How long it takes depends on factors like the foam's density, the room temperature, and the room's humidity.

As a result of its higher density, gel memory foam may take a little longer to expand than traditional memory foam, but the time difference is negligible. Gel memory foam is essentially just regular memory foam with tiny gel particles mixed in.

This memory foam is a step above the ordinary in terms of temperature regulation thanks to these particles. Gel memory foam offers more support to the body because of its higher density.

If your memory foam mattress topper (or mattress) isn't expanding, try these suggestions.

Speeding up the expansion of a memory foam mattress

We understand how tough it is to be patient when you just got a brand new mattress. You should try lying down on it first to get a feel for it. Memory foam mattresses, rv mattress toppers, and pillows, on the other hand, necessitate an initial period of expansion before they can be used.  

Here are some ways to help memory foam expand more quickly:

  • Right Away, Take the Mattress Out of the Box
  • It's time to lay your mattress flat, so unfold it.
  • Keep the space toasty
  • Give the bed some fresh air and ventilation.

Get Right to Unboxing That Mattress!

Don't let too much time pass between when you get your memory foam mattress and when you can start using it. You can begin the process of enlarging it immediately after you remove it from the packaging.

Mattress, rolled up, not in a box Ameri Sleep product photo

Spread the mattress out flat and unfold it.

Unfold the mattress and set it down in a flat, level position once you've removed it from the packaging. This will ensure rapid and even expansion by increasing the exposed surface area to the air.

After flattening the mattress, Photo by Ameri Sleep

Check that the temperature is comfortable

The key to reducing the expansion time of the mattress is to keep it in a warm room. In order to warm up a cold room, you can turn on a space heater. Memory foam expands more rapidly when it's at a higher temperature because the viscoelastic material it's made of is more fluid at that point.

Keeping the mattress at a warm temperature after it has expanded also helps keep it soft.

In addition to making the mattress more comfortable, heat also encourages its expansion. Photo from the India Market

Make sure the mattress has adequate ventilation.

Introducing some air flow through the memory foam is another technique used to cut down on the expansion time. Keeping it in a slatted platform bed or similarly airy location is one option, while fans can also be used to boost natural airflow.

It's possible to speed up the expansion of the memory foam by using fan heaters instead of standard fans. If you decide to go this route, please remember to use a low heat setting and double-check with the manufacturer to make sure it's okay to do so with their specific product. According to the sleep number user manual, you should never place the device near a heater or fireplace.

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The mattress will expand more quickly if the air can flow more freely through it. The Ameri Sleep Company's Image

Does the memory foam expand quicker if the room temperature is higher?

Memory foam expands more quickly when the temperature is high. Normal room temperature is just fine for memory foam to expand to, but a warmer environment may cause it to expand more quickly.

Not only does heat cause memory foam to expand, but it also helps to maintain the foam's softness over time by decreasing its viscosity and increasing its fluidity. In this way, memory foam is more likely to retain its suppleness when kept in a warm environment. Since different materials have different reactions to heat, it is important to read the product's manual to determine what range of temperatures it can withstand.

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