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What is the Best Thickness for a Mattress?

July 29, 2022

What is the Best Thickness for a Mattress?

Most people love sleeping on a plush and comfortable mattress at the end of a long day. But when it comes to shopping for a new mattress, many sleepers have no idea what mattress thickness best suits their comfort and sleep needs. For this reason, sleepers often ask one common question: how thick should the ideal mattress be?

The ideal mattress thickness depends on several factors sleepers must consider while shopping for a new mattress. Usually, most comfortable mattresses range between 8 and 14 inches in thickness. However, some sleepers prefer mattresses out of this thickness range for various reasons.

This mattress thickness guide breaks down all the details about mattress thickness to help you choose a mattress that best compliments your comfort needs.

What are the Factors Affecting Mattress Thickness Preferences?

Sleepers have varying preferences when it comes to mattress thickness. However, there are several factors that influence mattress thickness preferences sleepers should consider before purchasing their new mattress.

These Factors Include:

Body Weight

Plus size sleepers find a thin mattress less comfortable, because their bodies tend to sink deeper into the thin mattress. This compromises the mattress's support, and may cause health problems, such as lower back pain, neck pain, and joint pain. For this reason, mattress experts recommend a 12-inch mattress or more for sleepers weighing more than 275 pounds.

On the other hand, petite sleepers weighing 225 pounds or less would be more comfortable on thinner mattresses between 6 to 9 inches thick. Similarly, average-weight sleepers sleep better on medium-thick mattresses between 10 and 12 inches.

Sleeping Position

Sleeping position also influences mattress thickness preferences. This is because some positions require more support to keep the spine in proper alignment. In contrast, other sleeping positions require extra cushioning to protect pressure points, such as the knees, hips, neck, and shoulders.

Here's how different sleeping positions influence mattress thickness preferences.

Back Sleepers

Back sleepers need to maintain the natural curve of their spine while sleeping to avoid developing lower back pain. As a result, these sleepers feel uncomfortable sleeping on extra-thick and firm mattresses. Instead, mattresses ranging between 10 to 12 inches are ideal for such sleepers because they provide adequate cushioning and support.

Side Sleepers

Side sleepers also need sufficient cushioning to protect their necks, shoulders, and hip joints. Because these pressure points are fragile, mattresses with thicker comfort layers would be more appropriate for such sleepers. Such mattresses range between 11 to 14 inches in thickness.

Stomach Sleepers

Stomach sleepers need medium or medium-firm mattresses to avoid spine misalignment. These mattresses have thicker support layers, but thinner comfort layers to support this sleeping position. As a result, the mattresses prevent the spine from curving out of its natural shape, and protect the sleepers' stomach while sleeping. Ideally, suitable mattresses for stomach sleepers should be 12 inches thick.

Combination Sleepers

Combination sleepers change their sleeping positions throughout the night. As a result, they need a mattress that perfectly balances support and cushioning. This points at an 11- and 12-inch mattress with a medium-firm feel.

Preferred Total Bed Height

Some sleepers prefer higher beds while others sleep comfortably on lower beds. Ideally, the total bed height shouldn't exceed 25 inches, because it may cause mobility issues for some sleepers. Therefore, sleepers must consider the height of their foundation bed while selecting the right mattress thickness. For example, if the foundation base is 13 inches high, a mattress thicker than 12 inches would be too high. In such a case, the ideal mattress should be 11 inches thick.

Couples Sharing a Bed

Couples often have a lot of challenges while selecting their ideal mattress, let alone deciding the right thickness, because of their differing comfort needs. Despite this, thick mattresses often work better for couples for many reasons.

For example, mattresses between 10 to 12 inches thick have wider support layers capable of supporting a couple's weight without squashing. In addition, these mattresses come with extra comfort layers, favoring most sleeping positions.

Medical Conditions

Sleepers with some medical conditions need to customize their mattress thickness to ensure they are comfortable, and well supported. For example, sleepers with arthritis, back pain, and shoulder pain usually need thicker mattresses. This is because thicker mattresses have extra comfort layers. These layers found in thicker mattresses cushion the pressure points to relieve pain while sleeping.

What are the Layers that Make the Mattress Thickness?

Generally, a mattress has three layers. These are:

The Support Layer

The support layer makes up more than 50 percent of standard-size mattresses. This layer is responsible for holding up a sleeper, and preventing the mattress from losing shape. It also plays a significant role in determining how firm the mattress feels.

The materials used to make the support layer of a mattress vary. For example, Eco Terra's 11-inch hybrid latex mattress contains a layer of premium quality quantum coils as the support layer. These coils are individually encased with fabric, allowing the springs to respond independently to the pressure from a sleeper's body. As a result, the mattress gives sleepers better spine alignment, and maximum support.

Besides the coil system, mattress companies may use other materials, such as high-density memory foam and latex foam, to build the support layers of their mattresses.

The Comfort Layers

The comfort layer of a mattress usually sits on top of the support layer. This layer may contain more than one material targeting different comfort issues.

For instance, mattresses consisting of thick layers of latex foam have several advantages, including:

  • Temperature regulation
  • Responsiveness
  • No motion transfer
  • Allergens and dust mite resistance

And more.

Other materials that make up the comfort layers of mattresses include fibers, natural fillings, memory foams, and gel-infused memory foams.

The Covers

Lastly, a mattress consists of a covering layer made from varying materials. Usually, mattress manufacturers use soft, plush, and breathable fabrics, such as organic cotton, to make these covers. Underneath these covers is a thin layer that acts as the fire barrier that prevents the mattress from going up in flames in a fire accident.

Although the covers and the fire barriers are typically thin, they add a few inches to the thickness of a mattress.

What are the Benefits of a Thick Mattress?

Thick mattresses are often plush and luxurious. But, before getting a thick mattress, you need to know the pros and cons of a thick mattress.

Here are the Benefits of a Thick Mattress

Improved Support

Since a thick mattress has wider support layers, it provides sleepers with better support than thinner mattresses.

More Comfort

Similarly, most thick mattresses feel soft and plush, thanks to the extra comfort layers made using soft materials, such as latex foam, cotton, and wool.

Long-Lasting

Thick mattresses last longer because of their strong support cores, capable of withstanding more weight than thin mattresses.

Are There Drawbacks to a Thick Mattress?

Thick mattresses also have their drawbacks, including:

Heaviness

Thick mattresses are heavier, because of the extra materials and layers that make up these mattresses. As a result, it may be challenging to move such mattresses through narrow staircases, slim doors, and small rooms.

High Beds

A thick mattress significantly increases the height of your bed. Although this may be cool for some sleepers, it's a huge problem for sleepers with mobility problems.

Expensive

Thick mattresses are more expensive than thin ones because of the amount of raw materials, labor, and technology that goes into making these mattresses.

What are the Benefits of Thin Mattresses?

Some sleepers prefer slim mattresses for numerous reasons. Here are the pros of thin mattresses.

  • Thin mattresses are lightweight because they don't contain a lot of materials.
  • Thin mattresses are easy to fold while transporting or storing when not in use.
  • Most thin mattresses are cheaper than thick mattresses.
  • Thin mattresses can also work as RV, camping, and bunk mattresses.

What are the Cons of Slim Mattresses?

Some people avoid thin mattresses for the following reasons:

  • Poorly constructed thin mattresses lack adequate support.
  • Most thin mattresses have short life spans.

Mattress Thickness Profile Chart

Here are the different mattress thickness profiles you need to know:

Low Profile Mattresses

Low-profile mattresses range between 2 and 5 inches in thickness. These mattresses are best suited for infants and toddlers, rather than adults. However, adults may use these mattresses occasionally. For example, homeowners may use these mattresses on folding beds for guests staying a few nights in their homes.

Slim Profile Mattresses

Mattresses between 5 and 8 inches thick belong to slim profile mattresses. These mattresses are suitable for older children, because they are lightweight. The mattress is also ideal for sleepers who prefer shorter beds, or have problems getting in and out of higher beds.

Standard Profile Mattresses

Mattresses in this profile are 8 to 12 inches thick. These are the most popular family mattresses, compatible with most sleeping positions. They are great for both adults and children.

Medium-Thick Mattresses

Medium-thick mattresses range between 12 and 20 thick. As a result, these mattresses make taller beds than the average bed height. In addition, they are plush, comfortable, and durable.

Extra-Thick Mattresses

Any mattress upwards of 20 inches thick falls under the extra-thick profile. These mattresses also have a higher price tag than thinner ones. However, they are generally not desirable for a particular group of sleepers.

Steps to Choose the Right Mattress Thickness

These are the steps to follow when choosing the best mattress thickness:

  • Determine the height of your bed without a mattress. This helps you decide your ideal total height of your bed with a new mattress.
  • Determine your body weight to know the mattress thickness profile that suits you best.
  • Consider any health conditions you may have, such as lower back pain, or arthritis. This helps you know whether you require extra cushioning or support from your new mattress.
  • Consider your budget for a new mattress.
  • Shop for your ideal mattress online, and compare the specs to find one that matches your needs.

How Thick are Eco Terra Mattresses?

The Eco Terra Hybrid Latex Mattress is one of the few natural hybrid mattresses on the market today. This mattress gives you 11 inches of chemical-free and nature-friendly materials with unmatched support and comfort.

The mattress comprises two layers that perfectly balance comfort and support, and a soft, breathable cover. The support layer consists of heat-treated and stress-relieved quantum coils for long-lasting support throughout the mattress. These coils are also individually-encased to improve airflow around the mattress, reduce motion transfer, and keep the spine in proper alignment.

The thick base layer of this mattress consists of a seamless 100% natural latex foam measuring three inches thick. This layer feels buoyant, but doesn't let the sleeper sink too deep into the mattress. In addition, the latex foam dispatches heat from the sleeper's body, keeping them cool all night long.

Eco Terra Mattress Firmness Levels

Mattress thickness also affects its firmness level. For this reason, The Eco Terra's latex mattresses are available in medium and medium-firm levels of firmness. The medium mattress is ideal for most sleepers and sleeping positions.

How Thick are the Eco Terra Toppers?

Sleepers use mattress toppers to change the firmness of their mattress. For instance, softer mattress toppers make firm mattresses plusher, and more comfortable to sleep on. However, mattress toppers add a few more inches to mattresses, making them thicker. If you need a topper for these reasons, or more, look no further than the Eco Terra 100% Natural Latex Topper.

Because this topper consists of 100% natural latex, it does more than change how your mattress feels. For instance, it improves your mattress's breathability, reduces allergy irritations, and adds more plushness to your bed.

This topper is 3 inches thick, and comes in three firmness levels; firm, medium-firm, and soft. The firm topper's ILD is 36. It's ideal for sleepers who need a firmer bed with more support, rather than cushioning. The medium-firm topper of ILD 28 balances the mattress's support and comfort layers. The soft topper's ILD is 15. It makes your mattress plusher, and conforms to the sleeper's body shape.

Eco Terra Mattress Toppers Sizes

These toppers also come in six sizes ranging between the Twin and Cal King. This gives sleepers a wide range of choices, and makes the toppers compatible with standard-size mattresses.

Frequently Asked Questions on Mattress Thickness

Below, we've answered some common questions sleepers ask about mattress thickness.

What is the Standard Mattress Thickness?

The average mattress thickness ranges between 8 and 14 inches. These mattresses have comfort layers of at least 2 and 3 inches thick, and support layers of at least 6 to 8 inches thick.

Are Thick Mattresses Better than Slim Mattresses?

Thick mattresses aren't best for everyone, especially an extra thick mattress. This is because a sleeper's mattress thickness preferences depend on factors such as body weight, medical condition, and whether or not they share a bed with their partner.

Why Are Mattresses So Thick Nowadays?

Mattress technology has come a long way from thin and rock-hard mattresses to soft and comfortable mattresses. As a result, most high quality mattresses today have more cushioning, and larger support layers, making them a thicker mattress than traditional mattresses.

Conclusion

As discussed in this mattress thickness guide, mattress thickness is an important factor to consider when shopping for a new mattress, although it's not always easy to make the right selection. In most cases, sleepers choose standard profile mattresses ranging between 8 and 12 inches thick. However, some sleepers may need thicker or thinner mattresses, depending on factors such as their body weight, sleeping position, and medical conditions, or mobility issues.

Patrick Gunther

Patrick is an accomplished writer. He has been in the retail mattress space for the past 11 years, and more specifically in the natural mattress niche. He blogs on the subjects of natural mattresses, sleep, health, fitness, and green living.



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