It is impossible to beat the feeling of hopping onto a thick, soft mattress. Mattress thickness determines how comfortable you sleep.
Mattress thickness ranges from 2 inches (mattress toppers) – 20+ inches (Extra firm mattresses). Luxury or posh mattresses fall in the range of 12 – 20+ inches.
So, what is the ideal mattress thickness?
A thicker mattress will require you to dig deeper into your pocket. However, if the mattress is supportive at the bottom and the top layer is comfortable, then it is worth the money. On the other hand, a substandard top layer and a weak support base mean that the mattress is worthless.
In what situations should you consider thinner mattresses?
When it comes to children, thinner mattresses are the best option. A child’s mattress height should be kept low to prevent them from falling and hurting themselves. Baby bones are delicate and can be broken easily.
Additionally, low-profile mattresses reduce the distance between your house’s ceiling and your baby’s head, reducing the risk of your baby being injured.
An Overview Of Mattress Thickness
Low Profile Mattresses (2 – 5″)
Firstly, we’ll talk about the low-profile types that are between two and five inches high. These include inflatable air beds as well as space-saving folding floor mattresses.
This type of mattress suits bedrooms that are spacious and modern or those who prefer a bed that is closer to the ground.
The foundation can also be used to lower the overall height if it serves as a drawer or storage space underneath. Be aware, however, that comfort may be compromised, particularly for heavier people.
Thin Mattresses (5 – 8″)
In conventional mattresses, foam tends to be the densest material, which makes it the slimmest. There are few thin spring mattresses out there these days. In fact, most of these mattresses are made of foam, and they will remind you of bad nights on guest beds or campsites.
Children’s beds and crib mattresses tend to be the thinnest. Nevertheless, even lightweight adults may not require the thickest pocket sprung mattress support, so they might benefit from the thinnest foam mattress.
Low-slung bed frames are often a great match for contemporary bedrooms, especially with their clean lines, light wood, and Scandinavian-influenced design language. You may want to accentuate the effect with a thin foam or spring mattress. However, a mattress taller than 18 inches may look out of proportion with the furniture.
Standard Mattresses (8 – 12″)
This size would be typically available in most of the usual constructions on the market, such as springs, memory foam, and latex, so it would be a standard-sized or most typical mattress thickness for general use. A mattress’ firmness is determined by its material construction and specific characteristics, such as coil gauge (for spring mattresses), foam density in pounds (for memory foam mattresses), or processing method (for latex mattresses).
Since these mattresses tend to contain numerous layers that pile up the height rather easily, they are more expensive than a thin mattress, however, when it comes to buyability, they are a popular size/height since they usually fall within a mid-price range.
Because this is a common height that can be shipped boxed and vacuum rolled, consumer prices are also driven lower. Generally, bed linen of standard widths and heights will fit without extra depth.
Medium-To-Thick Mattresses (12 – 20″)
Medium to thick mattress heights above 12 inches are typical for all types of mattresses. These are the most purchase-worthy quality and are widespread online and in showrooms. Many of the mattress reviews featured on this website are between 12 – 18 inches thick and are made of different materials. Some are single or dual material structured all the way through, while others consist of multiple layers of different materials that add inches upon inches to build up comfort, thus resulting in combined thickness.
Mattresses of this height are usually more expensive than those mentioned earlier but are also the type to have the highest reductions when sales occur.
Very Thick Mattresses (20″ and Above)
A thick mattress around 20 inches and above may be a legacy of a time when technology, materials, and construction were less advanced. Their proportions suit substantial bed bases and traditional, imposing bedroom furniture well in a country retreat setting.
Mattresses over 25 inches in height suggest traditional, opulent bedroom decor, with taller beds more prominent in the room.
There are fewer of these available in the marketplace and showrooms, but they exist and can be quite expensive to purchase. Because of their thick nature and inability to roll, these will not be shipped boxed, or vacuum rolled. Additionally, bedsheets that match the deep design are limited in availability.
Mattress Toppers (1 – 4″)
As an alternative to conventional mattresses, mattress toppers are a cheap and cost-effective option. With thicknesses up to 4 inches, they can be used to adjust bed height or comfort finely. It is easy to upgrade the firmness and feel of a mattress, add features like memory foam and reinforced support for pressure points, and protect against permanent mattress damage caused by pets or small children. There are many department stores in the US that sell these items off-the-shelf and they are also available online for home delivery.
What Makes Up Your Mattress?
Mattress thickness is determined by the materials inside. Most mattresses have between 2 and 5 layers of materials such as memory foam, latex, pocketed coils, or polyfoam inside the cover.
A mattress’ material affects how it feels, how durable it is, and how supportive it is when it comes to helping you sleep. Comfort and support are the two primary layers of a mattress.
Your bed’s comfort layer is the cushioned, uppermost layer. Your body’s curves are cradled by comfort layers, which relieve pressure, isolate motion, and regulate temperature.
Comfort layers usually range from 2 to 3 inches in thickness. Beds with softer comfort layers have thicker comfort layers, while beds with firmer comfort layers have thinner comfort layers.
In some beds, there might only be one comfort layer, while several layers may enhance the cushioning in others. In addition to cooling features, these layers may provide zoned support or provide you with a bed that bounces more.
In a mattress, the support layer is the bottom portion, which makes up most of the mattress. The support layer of your mattress is recommended to make up at least 50% of the mattress.
In the case of a 10-inch mattress, the support layer should be at least 5 inches thick to ensure durability and prevent sagging.
Based on the mattress model, the foundation layers may consist of poly-foam, latex, or steel coils. It is also important to consider how well the support layer supports your body and how durable the bed will be.
What is the right mattress thickness for you?
In terms of mattress thickness, bigger isn’t always better. Depending on your size, sleeping position, mobility, and other factors, you’ll need different mattress thicknesses.
A mattress of at least 8 to 10 inches with a comfort layer of 2 to 4 inches and a support layer of 5 to 6 inches is recommended for nightly use. When selecting a mattress thickness, keep these general guidelines in mind.
Your bed will be under more or less pressure based on your weight. Your body type, therefore, will dictate the thickness you need to ensure your body is supported and comfortable. Based on your size, here are our thickness recommendations:
- Petite Sleepers (130 pounds or less): Sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds: Due to their lightweight, petite sleepers may experience a feeling of too much firmness from thinner mattresses. To prevent pressure buildup or pain in petite sleepers, a 12-inch mattress should be used.
- Average-sized Sleepers (130 to 230 pounds): An average-sized adult (130-230 pounds) needs a mattress between 10 and 12 inches thick to properly support their body. They may, however, choose a thinner or thicker mattress based on their sleeping position.
- Plus-sized Sleepers (230 pounds or more): Large sleepers (230 pounds or more) should use a 12- to 14-inch thick mattress to prevent sinking or premature wear. The comfort layer should be at least 6 inches thick to prevent the mattress from bottoming out.
The best mattress thickness for your body depends on your sleeping position. Depending on your sleep position, you may need more contouring for comfort. Here are the ideal mattress thicknesses for your sleeping position:
- Back Sleepers: Back sleepers typically require a mattress between 10 and 12 inches thick to keep their spines aligned and support their lower backs. A mattress should have a thick base layer and a thinner comfort layer to prevent back sleepers from sinking too much and causing their spines to curve unnaturally.
- Side Sleepers: To properly cushion their widest body parts, the hips and shoulders, side sleepers require thick mattresses, around 12 to 14 inches thick.
- Stomach Sleepers: Sleepers who sleep on their stomachs need thin and firm mattresses, approximately 10 to 12 inches thick. Keeping their hips from sinking and their bodies aligned requires a thin comfort layer and a very thick support layer.
Because there is less weight on a single adult’s bed, they won’t need as thick a mattress. Sleeping on one bed with two adults can cause the mattress to become less supportive and potentially sag.
To support the weight of two adults, the best mattresses for couples should be at least 10 to 12 inches thick. Depending on your weight and that of your partner, you may even want a mattress of at least 12 to 14 inches.
Medical Conditions and Health
Those with specific medical conditions may require thinner or thicker beds to alleviate their pain and support their bodies.
You may need a thicker and softer mattress (12 to 14 inches) if you suffer from fibromyalgia, shoulder or hip pain, or arthritis.
Back pain sufferers typically need a firmer, thinner mattress (10 to 12 inches) to prevent sinkage and conform to their spines.
Preferences For Total Bed Height
Depending on your height and range of mobility, your mattress thickness may be affected by your bed’s height. Mattress toppers and bedding all contribute to the overall height of your bed. A bed riser can help you achieve a higher sleep surface by raising the height of your bed.
A good bed height is one that allows sleepers to comfortably sit on the edge of their mattress and rest with their feet flat on the floor and their knees perpendicular to the floor. When their feet are difficult to rest on the floor or their knees are pushed too high, the bed height isn’t ideal.
Having a good bed height is more important for some sleepers than others. Mattresses for seniors that ensure the bed isn’t too tall or too short, for example, are important for seniors at risk of fall damage from restricted mobility.
It may be difficult to get in and out of a bed if you have limited mobility. It is ideal to have your bed about 25 inches off the ground. You can sit on the edge of the bed with your feet touching the floor and your knees aligned with your hips this way.
A bed that can be raised or lowered to several preset heights is an excellent option for older individuals who want to experiment with their bed height. The legs of some adjustable beds can also be completely removed, allowing sleepers to place them on a platform instead.
We don’t recommend sleeping on the ground (the ground is cold, voids some mattress warranties, and wears your mattress down rapidly), but if you have to, use a mattress at least 12 inches thick. Your bed will be easier to access if your mattress is thicker.
Pros of a Thick Mattress
- In general, thicker mattresses last longer than thinner mattresses because the supportive base is thicker than 6 inches.
- Side sleepers benefit from thick mattresses’ extra cushioning.
- Plus-sized sleepers and two adults can both sleep comfortably on thick mattresses.
Cons of a Thick Mattress
- The number of materials used makes them more expensive than thinner mattresses.
- It is difficult to transport thick mattresses because they are heavy and large.
- Depending on your base, thick mattresses can get quite tall, so those with mobility issues may have difficulty accessing their beds.
- As a result of the amount of cushioning in some mattresses, they can trap heat.
Pros of a Thin Mattress
- A thin mattress is always cheaper than a thick one.
- Due to their small size, thin mattresses are lightweight and easy to move.
- It may be easier to access thin mattresses depending on your bed’s foundation.
Cons of a Thin Mattress
- Mattresses that are thinner are not always as durable as mattresses that are thicker.
- If two people share a bed, thin mattresses might not provide adequate support and can sag prematurely.
Today’s mattresses are so thick, why is that?
Modern mattresses contain modern technologies and materials to improve your sleep, comfort, and support so that they may be as thick as 12-14 inches.
Several decades ago, thicker mattresses (16, 18, and 20 inches or more) were more common. In the past, mattresses were thick because there were fewer advanced technologies for comfort, so companies compensated by selling thick mattresses.
Today, mattresses are thinner than they used to be because most companies no longer make mattresses that deep because they aren’t necessary.
Is a Thick Mattress Better?
The base layer of a thick mattress is much more supportive than the top layer of a thin mattress. The additional pressure placed on the mattress by sharing a bed with a partner requires a thicker mattress. However, you don’t need to worry about finding a mattress that will support each individual’s weight since weight is calculated per side. Remember that box springs also have weight capacities, so keep that in mind when choosing your mattress.
Comfort is the most important factor, regardless of the thickness. It is also important to consider the bed’s depth. It is recommended to keep your bed height at 25 inches, regardless of whether you use a box spring or platform. People who have limited mobility or back, hip, or any other kind of joint pain may have difficulty getting in and out of anything over 25 inches.
In many cases, platform beds sit too low, but if you use a box spring, they will sit at a comfortable height. You can get injured if you have to jump up or down from higher-level beds. Find a good quality bed frame that will work with the mattress you choose.
What size bed sheets should I use for a mattress with a 10-inch depth?
It’s best to have your fitted sheet about 1 to 3 inches deeper than your mattress so that it tucks under your bed and doesn’t come off accidentally. The fitted sheet should be 11 to 13 inches deep for a 10-inch mattress.
It’s just aggravating at night to get caught on excess fabric when you have a fitted sheet that’s too deep.
Mattress Buzz is reader supported. When you buy a product through our links we may earn an affiliate commission.