How thick should a mattress be? Your guide to picking the right height

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How thick your mattress should be depends on several key factors

When shopping for the best mattress for you, you’re likely focusing on the price, materials, and firmness – but what about height? How thick your mattress should be will depend on a variety of factors. You may believe that the taller the mattress, the more cozy it’ll be – but that won’t be the case for everyone.

To help you figure out the right mattress thickness for your needs, we’ve put together this handy explainer guide. Here you’ll discover what influences the height of a mattress and find out why you might want to opt for a less lofty bed instead.

While thick mattresses tend to cost more due to all of the materials they use, this year’s Presidents’ Day mattress sales are coming up, so now is a great time to buy a bed, no matter how short or tall.

Here’s a brief rundown of the most common mattress thickness levels and who (and what sleep scenarios) they are best for:

A mattress consists of a base layer plus one (or several) comfort layers. The base layer typically accounts for most of the height of a mattress and consists of springs, dense polyfoam, or latex. This is the support core of the mattress – and the thicker it is, the longer you can expect the mattress to last.

Comfort layers range from 1 to 4 inches thick and are usually made of foam, latex, cotton, or wool. Their main purpose is to provide pressure relief and dampen movement. There are also gel-infused comfort foam layers to help dissipate heat. Some mattresses may add a pillow-top or Euro-top for another layer of cushioning and a more luxurious appearance. (They’re common among luxury mattresses.)

You may dream of owning an extra-thick mattress but it could end up being a nightmare if it doesn’t mesh with your preferences. Here are four things to keep in mind when choosing the right mattress thickness for your needs:

Are you a side, back, or front sleeper – or a little bit of each? How you fall into bed at night and wake up in the morning will determine how thick or thin your mattress should be:

You’ll want to choose a mattress thickness that can comfortably support your body weight. Anything too firm or soft will result in unpleasant aches and pains in the morning:

The average bed height (with mattress) is 18 to 25 inches. You should be able to sit at the edge of your bed with your feet flat on the ground and knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Anything too tall or short will make it difficult for you to get in and out of bed in the morning – especially if you have limited mobility. Sleepers with back or joint pain should aim for a medium-firm mattress at a manageable height.

Thicker mattresses can handle more weight. If you’re sharing a bed with a partner, your kids, and/or your pets, look for a mattress that’s between 10 to 12 inches thick. Anything thinner will wear out sooner.

Also, account for the size of your bedroom. A thick mattress will fit nicely in a palatial space – but in a smaller room, it could make you feel claustrophobic.

Thick mattresses can seem luxurious – but they’re also a practical choice for many sleepers. Before you click “buy” on that super tall mattress, consider what else you need to sleep comfortably. And as always, don’t buy a mattress without a trial period – you won’t get a feel for a new bed until you’ve spent enough time with it.

✅ You’re a side sleeper: Pressure relief is key for side sleepers because their shoulders and hips are right against the surface. Taller mattresses with multiple comfort layers can ease any tension that may build in those areas.

✅ You’re over 230lbs: Thicker mattresses boast more layers and taller support cores. Heavier sleepers need a mattress that’s built to comfortably sustain them.

✅ You share a bed: Whether you’re sharing a bed with one person or as a family, thicker mattresses are able to withstand more weight than thinner ones.

❌ You have trouble getting around: If you have mobility issues, it’ll be hard to get out of bed that’s too tall for you to manage. Not to mention, they can be a real hassle to move and rotate, especially on your own.

❌ You don’t have the space for it: Tall mattresses just don’t look good in a smaller bedroom. It’ll feel like your bed is taking over the entire space, which could disrupt the overall vibe of your room, making it more difficult to fall asleep.

❌ You don’t have the cash to splash: Thicker mattresses use more materials – and that’s reflected in their pricing. You could find ways to save during regular mattress sales, but you should still expect to pay more than you would for a thinner bed.

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