How to Choose the Right Mattress Thickness For You

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Each mattress manufacturer typically offers a range of thicknesses for their products. With so many options, choosing the right thickness of mattress could prove to be challenging. The thickness of the mattress you choose should depend on a few factors, including your sleep position, whether you have a sleep partner, if you have any spine or joint problems and your body type.

Here are some tips on choosing the right mattress thickness for you.

What Mattress Thickness Means

Mattress thickness also refers to its height or depth. To measure the thickness of a mattress, use a ruler or tape measure and start at the bottom and go up to the crown. The crown is usually a little taller than the perimeter seam. Different types of beds have different ranges for mattress thickness. Futons and daybeds tend to use the thinnest mattresses, and inflatable air mattresses are often the thickest. custom sized mattress designed for sturdy wooden frames are in the middle of these ranges.

Why Mattress Thickness Varies

Mattress thickness varies based on what’s inside the mattress. Each company has its own thickness options. In general, mattresses using the same materials are firmer when thinner because the materials are compressed. They’re softer when thicker. Hybrid mattresses are thicker than foam mattresses because of the coils. The amount of gel or memory foam padding also plays a big role in mattress thickness. More foam or gel usually means a softer mattress.

Generally, you want the top of your mattress to be 25 inches from the floor. This way, your feet touch the floor when you sit on the side of the bed making it easier to get in and out of the bed. Since most mattresses are made of multiple materials, they have different sections that make them thicker or thinner.

The comfort layer if the top of the mattress that sits on top of the inner springs, gel or other materials. This is usually a pillow top that offers a soft feel no matter the stiffness of the layer underneath. The comfort layer is normally 2 to 3 inches thick and offer the support and cushion needed for each person to get a quality night’s sleep.

The base layer is under the comfort layer and is the biggest determining factor in the mattress’ durability and longevity. This layer makes up at least 50 percent of the overall mattress thickness and should be around 12 inches thick.

Mattress Thickness Options

A typical mattress manufacturer has four or more thickness options. The range mattress thicknesses for beds is 6 to more than 20 inches. The thickness ratings include:

  • Very thin: Less than six inches
  • Thin: Six to eight inches
  • Standard: Nine to 11.5 inches
  • Thick: 12 to 15 inches
  • Very thick: 16 to 20 inches
  • Extremely thick: More than 20 inches

The Right Mattress for You

For most people, a mattress less than nine inches thick or more than 20 inches thick is not ideal. The thin mattresses may not be supportive enough, and the extremely thick mattresses can be too difficult to get on and off, unless you’re very tall. When shopping for your new mattress, use these guidelines on thickness based on your body type, sleep style and age.

  • Standard: Ideal for most people, including children. Suitable for all sleeping positions. Recommended for people who weigh less than 250 pounds.
  • Thick: Recommended for teenagers and adults. Ideal for back and stomach sleepers. Good for people who are average to heavy in weight.
  • Very thick: Recommended for adults. Suitable for all sleeping positions. Ideal for people who move a lot while sleeping. Excellent for heavy people.

Sleeping with Another?

Whether or not you have someone in the bed with you nightly makes a huge difference in the thickness of your mattress. Since mattresses with thicker constructions are more supportive, those of us with another next to us every night should have a mattress that’s at least 10 inches thick. Thinner mattresses will tend to sag much faster with two people sleeping on them.

Have a Medical Condition?

Back pain is a huge issue in today’s society due to all the computer work that creates poor posture. For those of us with this medical condition it’s a good idea to have a mattress with a thinner comfort layer and more support. Mattresses with an 8 to 12 inch thickness, firmer comfort layer and a medium to firm feel will help to properly support the back while sleeping.

Conversely, those who suffer from hip pain, shoulder pain or arthritis need a softer feel in their mattress. 12 to 14 inch mattresses with a softer feel and enhanced cushioning provide the supporting elements you need with these ailments. These mattresses comfort to the body giving the relief and support that’s needed.


How Thick is the Average Mattress?

Most mattresses are between 8 and 14 inches thick. Luxury mattresses should have a comfort layer of 2 to 3 inches thick with a base layer of 6 to 8 inches thick.

Is Thicker Always Better?

Mattresses with at least 10 inches of thickness are good for support and durability. The best mattress for side sleepers with back pain should be 12 to 14 inches of thickness to be able to provide proper support and comfort. Back sleepers get all the support needed from a 10 to 12 inch mattress with a medium to firm feel. 10 inch mattresses can be used for stomach sleepers to prevent sinkage and offer enough support for their abdomen. 

Other Considerations When Choosing Mattress Thickness

The coil thickness or height versus foam or gel thickness will also play a big role in how a mattress feels. Taller coils do a great job of providing support. Choose the tallest coils possible if you have spine or joint problems or are heavy. Thicker foam or gel makes for a softer mattress. Choose the thickest cushioning layer for more cushioning. Keep in mind that a very thick mattress will change the height of your bed.




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