Question: How Thick Should My Mattress Be?

When shopping for a new mattress, people are on the lookout for things like price, materials, firmness level, cooling capabilities, or other technologies that they could benefit from in order to get more comfortable and feel more supported in their favorite sleeping position. But something that few people seem to care about is the thickness of the mattress. Is this really important and what is the right thickness level.

mattress thickness

Mattress Types & Their Thickness

If you think that all mattress types are available in all thickness options, know that the materials used to construct a mattress have limitations when it comes to the mattress profile. Here is some information on the topic:

  • Mattresses with profiles between 4 and 8 inches are usually made with foam and memory foam, with some models being available in a latex construction. However, there are also a few innerspring beds that are super thin, since they are only made with a coil layer and a thin cushioning between the support core and the sleeper.
  • Standard mattresses that measure between 8 and 12 inches are commonly found in all types of materials, such as memory foam, latex, springs, etc. 
  • Mattresses that are thicker than 14 inches are usually hybrids that have a pocketed coil support layer of at least 7 inches, and multiple comfort and transition layers on top of that. Airbed mattresses are also pretty thick, since the air chambers inflate and deflate so that you can adjust the firmness of the bed. 

Pros & Cons of a Thick Mattress

Most mattresses that are currently available on the market have a thickness between 9 and 12 inches. The differences between these thickness profiles aren’t that important if the mattress is properly constructed. That being said, thickness isn’t always a benefit, but there are a few advantages and drawbacks to choosing a thicker mattress:

  • Pro: Thick mattresses are better for heavyweight individuals because each layer is thicker and is capable of providing support under heavy body pressure while making sure the sleeper gets a decent amount of support. In other words, it’s pretty difficult for a 9-inch mattress to support someone who weighs 250 pounds. 
  • Con: Thick beds are heavy. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you want to clean underneath the bed platform or, for whatever reason, have to move the mattress around, you are most likely going to need the help of at least one more person to move a thick mattress around.
  • Pro: Thicker mattresses usually have a longer lifespan because they won’t sag as fast as thin mattresses. This is especially true because the support core of a thick bed usually measures more than 6 inches, and that means it lasts longer.
  • Con: If, for whatever reason, you have limited mobility, thick mattresses will make it difficult to get in and out of bed. People with mobility problems have a difficult time getting out of bed, so thick mattresses aren’t that suitable for the elderly.

Pros & Cons of a Thin Mattress

Analyzing the pros and cons of a thick mattress can lead us to making the following list of advantages and drawback for a thin mattress, so here it goes:

  • Pro: Thin mattresses are cheaper. In fact, you are much likelier to find a very good mattress under $1,000 if it measures 10 or 11 inches in thickness rather than a good one for the same price, but with a 15-inch profile.
  • Con: They have a shorter lifespan when compared to a thick mattress. The layers that are used to make up a thin mattress are, obviously, thin as well, which makes them likelier to sag faster. Thin mattresses don’t usually last for a full decade.
  • Pro: A thin mattress is compatible even with older bed frames and foundations that might not be able to support the weight of a thick mattress. So, unless you plan on replacing that old wooden bed frame, you should consider investing in a thin mattress. 
  • Con: If you share a bed with another person, a thin mattress might not be able to support the weight of two people for a very long time. In fact, it’s quite likely that the mattress will start sagging in the middle pretty fast. 

Is It Important?

Throughout the years, we’ve seen people care about a lot of different things when it comes to buying a new bed, but rarely have we seen people inquire about thickness. Some of you might wonder if there is indeed a relationship between the height of the bed and the quality of sleep, and we’ll try to answer that for you.

As you know, mattresses aren’t a one-size-fits-all type of product, and something that works for a sleeper might feel terrible to another. The height of the mattress might not be as important as other aspects, but it isn’t something that you want to neglect, especially in the following situations:

  • Placing the mattress on the floor. If you are the type of sleeper that likes to place their mattress on the floor, you will need a thicker mattress. That’s because the floor isn’t the most hygienic or the most temperature-safe place in the room. In fact, placing the mattress on the floor might actually cause you to void the warranty of your bed (some manufacturers clearly state that the warranty of the mattress becomes void if it’s not used with a compatible platform base).
  • Being a heavyweight person. In the next section of this article, we are going to further address the issue of how thick a mattress should be depending on your body weight. Needless to say, the more you weigh, the more the materials inside the bed will compress, which makes the height of the bed a more important factor.
  • Sharing the bed with a partner. Couples that share a bed need to consider the fact that their body weights will add up, which means that a thin mattress might not be able to handle the total weight of two sleepers.
  • Having limited mobility. The height of the mattress will determine how easy it is for people to get in and out of bed. This is a situation that varies from one individual to another, and the height of the right mattress needs to be established depending on what medical condition is responsible for limiting your mobility. You don’t want to make getting in and out of bed a real nightmare.

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Body Weight & Mattress Thickness

As we’ve mentioned above, your weight is one of the most important factors that will have a say in what thickness your mattress should have. Here are some general guidelines that might prove useful the next time you go mattress shopping:

  • For the most part, people that weight below 225 pounds won’t need a mattress that’s thicker than nine inches.
  • People who sport between 225 and 275 pounds will need a mattress that measures about 10 inches in height.
  • People that are above the weight of 275 pounds are much better off with a bed that’s at least 12 inches in height.

The truth of the matter is that the thickness of the mattress will also determine its lifespan. As you can imagine, when resting on top of several layers of material, you are more likely to have a bed that lasts for a decade.

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Other Thickness-Related Considerations

When you stand at the edge of the bed, the soles of your feet have to touch the floor entirely, while the back of your knees should form a perfect 90-degrees angle. That is how you know that your mattress is the right height for you. Of course, you also have to take the height of the foundation into consideration (together with any risers you might have installed underneath the frame).

One particular thing that we still want to address is the matter of mattresses that are too thick/too thin. While the ideal thickness of a bed varies between the 9 and 12-inch intervals, there are mattresses out there that measure six inches in height, while others measure more than 15. Are these mattresses bad?

Well… yes and no. Typically, a mattress that measures six inches in thickness will have a terrible construction, but if it’s designed for a crib or toddler bed, it might be decent. For an adult, having a mattress that’s six inches thin will most likely result in poor support.

As far as really thick mattresses are concerned, it’s all a matter of personal preference. If you find a 15-inch mattress that you really like but happen to find too expensive, there’s most likely a similar one measuring 12 inches in height and available at a better price. We are not saying that thick mattresses aren’t worth the money, but if you’re short on cash, there are alternatives.

Even more, buying a 15-inch mattress is completely justified if you opt for beds that have pillow-tops that add a few inches to the height of the mattress. Pillow-tops are particularly awesome in beds that are designed for side sleepers.

Conclusion

While the right thickness for your future mattress is a number that relies on a variety of different factors, for the most part, people are generally comfortable when paired with beds that have between 9 and 11 inches in thickness.

Keep in mind that there are certain “special cases” that demand a thicker mattress. For instance, people who have a few extra pounds will compress the layers of the mattress and their beds are more likely to sag if the mattress is too thin.  While there is no PERFECT mattress thickness that everyone can turn to and be happy about, a mattress should be thicker if you are heavier (or if you share a bed with a partner). Except for that particular situation, the thickness of a mattress is a very subjective topic.

FAQ 

What is the difference in mattress thicknesses? 

Mattresses can be divided into multiple categories depending on their thickness. A mattress that measures between 2 and 5 inches is a low-profile bed, one that measures between 5 and 8 inches is a slim mattress, beds with a profile between 8 and 12 inches are standard mattress, and measurements above that are considered to be high profiles. 

How thick is a 10 inch mattress? 

A 10-inch mattress is thick enough to support people who sleep on their stomach because they won’t allow too much sinkage into the bed as to prevent the spine from sitting in a position as close to its natural one as possible. A 10-inch mattress is also thick enough to support the spine’s natural curvature.  

What is the depth of a standard mattress?

Standard mattresses have a depth that varies between 8 and 12 inches, so anything within this range is considered to be a thick mattress. 

How thick is the average queen mattress?

The size of the mattress doesn’t really make a difference when it comes to thickness. For instance, if you find a mattress with a construction and thickness that is suitable for you, you have every chance of finding it available in a Queen-size.