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When it comes to getting proper sleep, choosing the right mattress is key. Not every mattress on the market is going to satisfy a sleeper’s needs. Mattress thickness is an important factor of mattress quality, and it plays a large role in the comfort and support a mattress can offer.

When shopping for the best mattress, it is easy to overlook mattress thickness as a consideration. However, alongside mattress material, construction, features, and price, mattress thickness should be on your list when deciding on your next mattress.

Not everyone requires the same mattress thickness to get the best night’s sleep. Mattress thickness requirements are not universal. Take a look at this mattress thickness guide to learn more about what factors contribute to mattress thickness, and how different mattress thicknesses work for different people. 

What Is Mattress Thickness?

Mattress thickness is how tall a mattress is. Thicker mattresses are also called plush mattresses. Mattress thickness is determined by how many layers a mattress contains, and how thick each of those layers is.

Mattress thickness also plays a role in how firm or soft a mattress is. Mattress density and mattress thickness are two different things, but the two mattress characteristics relate to one another.

Softer mattresses have thicker layers for comfort that allow sleepers to sink in, while slim mattresses have fewer layers that are firm and supportive.

Layers That Makeup Mattress Thickness

Each mattress is made up of different layers. The two main layers in a mattress are the base layers and the comfort layers. However, depending on how firm or soft a mattress is, it can have multiple layers that increase the thickness of the mattress.

The base layer and comfort layer can each be broken down into additional layers, depending on the style and thickness of a particular mattress. Each individual layer has its own durability and thickness, which contribute to the overall mattress thickness.

Some mattresses also have cover layers that wrap around the mattress, and offer additional features. You can add mattress covers to any mattress separately, but mattress cover layers are not the same as mattress covers that you apply on top of a mattress.

Base or Support Layer

A mattress’s base layer is the most significant and largest layer. The base layer determines how firm and supportive a mattress is. Different mattress types have different support layer compositions. For example, an innerspring mattress will have a base layer that includes springs. A latex or foam mattress will have a latex or foam base layer.

The base layer acts as a foundation of the mattress, so it is usually on the very bottom of the mattress. For flippable or reversible mattresses, the support layer is in the middle of the mattress with comfort layers on both sides.

Comfort Layer

The comfort layer is the topmost layer of a mattress, and it determines, as the name suggests, what kind of comfort the mattress offers a sleeper. Comfort layers vary in thickness from thin to extra thick, depending on a person’s preferences.

Like a base layer, a comfort layer can be composed of many different materials, depending on the type of mattress you choose. Natural mattresses like latex will include comfort layers made of latex and other natural materials like wool and cotton. A memory foam mattress will have a foam comfort layer, and an innerspring mattress might include a foam comfort layer, or a simple fiber comfort layer.

Cover Layer

Some mattresses come with mattress covers that are either removable, or non-removable. Cover layers are different from mattress covers in that mattress cover layers are typically thicker than mattress covers that you buy for mattress protection.

A mattress’s cover layer can be pillowy or quilted to add soft, breathable comfort to your mattress. Additional cover layer types include plain covers that add thickness and cover layers that add heat for added warmth.

How Thick Is the Average Mattress?

Mattress thickness is not regulated, so there is no rule that states what the standard mattress thickness should be. However, most mattress manufacturers make their mattresses with a standard mattress thickness between six to nine inches.

There is a lot of variance in mattress thickness, however. The standard mattress height of six to nine inches thick might not necessarily be the best mattress thickness for every sleeper. Many mattress manufacturers offer multiple mattress thicknesses for those who want something beyond the average mattress.

Mattress Thickness Guide

There are different levels of mattress thickness, though naming them is not a precise science. Most sleep experts would agree that the following mattress thickness designations cover the thin mattresses, thick mattresses, and standard mattresses that you will find on the market.

  • Extra thick mattresses
  • Thick mattresses
  • Standard mattresses
  • Thin mattresses
  • Low profile mattresses

Since mattress thickness varies between manufacturers and mattress types, there is no exact mattress thickness chart that determines exact guidelines for how many inches thick each designation of mattress should be.

Extra Thick Mattress (15 to 20+ inches thick)

Extra thick mattresses are the plushest of the plush. Mattresses that are 15 inches thick or more are considered extra thick. These mattresses are over a foot thick, and include multiple layers that add to their thickness.

A thicker mattress like this might also be called an extra tall mattress, or an extra deep mattress.

Thick Mattress (12 to 15 inches thick)

Thick mattresses are between eight and 12 inches thick. Most people consider eight and nine-inch mattresses to be in the standard thickness category, so these thick mattresses fall anywhere between standard and very thick.

Like the extremely thick mattresses above, thick mattresses are usually on the soft side. People who prefer the pillowy, cloud-like feeling of soft, deep mattresses prefer thick or very thick mattresses.

Standard Mattress Thickness (8 to 12 inches thick)

While most manufacturers make their average mattress thickness between six and nine inches, as stated above, eight to 12 inches is considered standard mattress thickness. This goes to show how much the standard varies.

With a difference of four inches in thickness, there is a lot of wiggle room for people who prefer soft comfort and support, or firm and dense relief for their pressure points.

Thin Mattress (5 to 8 inches thick)

At five to eight inches thick, a thin mattress is slimmer than the average mattress. Thin mattresses are often called slim mattresses. For someone who does not want a large, bulky mattress, or who prefers an especially firm sleeping surface, a thin mattress is great.

The thinner a mattress gets, the fewer layers it typically has. Additionally, most slim mattresses are made of foam layers because foam is firm and supportive.

Low Profile Mattress (2 to 5 inches thick)

Mattresses that are two to five inches thick are called low-profile mattresses. They are useful for tight spaces, and floor sleeping.

Low-profile mattresses are not typically used for everyday sleeping surfaces because they are so thin. More often, they are used for children and babies who do not weigh much, and on trundle beds that are kept out of the way most of the time.

Pros and Cons of Thick Mattresses

Thick mattresses are opulent, luxurious, and invoke feelings of indulgence and maximum comfort. However, the thickest mattress is not always the best mattress. Thick mattresses have their own sets of pros and cons, depending on the needs of the sleeper.

Thick Mattress Pros

  • Thick mattresses are durable
  • Thick mattresses have sturdy layers
  • Thick mattresses are designed for plush comfort in mind
  • Thick mattresses stand up to heavy weight
  • Thick mattresses typically last longer

Thick Mattress Cons

  • Thick mattresses are more expensive
  • Thick mattresses are heavy
  • Thick mattresses are harder to get in and out of

Pros and Cons of Thin Mattresses

Similar to thick mattresses, thin mattresses also have their own pros and cons. Each individual person should consider their own specific needs and lifestyle when shopping for a mattress, and choosing a mattress thickness.

Thin Mattress Pros

  • Thin mattresses are more affordable
  • Thin mattresses are lightweight
  • Thin mattresses fit into old bed frames
  • Thin mattresses are easier to get in and out of
  • Thin mattresses are firmer, which can relieve pressure points

Thin Mattress Cons

  • Thin mattresses are less durable
  • Thin mattresses have fewer layers
  • Thin mattresses are often less comfortable
  • Thin mattresses cannot support heavier people

What Factors Determine Ideal Mattress Thickness?

The ideal mattress height for each individual person comes down to several components. It is important to take every aspect of your sleeping environment and needs into account when choosing your mattress height to ensure that you choose the best thickness for you.

Sleeping Position

Sleeping position plays a role in how thick you want your mattress to be. There are all kinds of sleeping positions out there, and most people fall into one of the following categories:

  • Stomach sleepers
  • Back sleepers
  • Side sleepers

Stomach Sleepers

Stomach sleepers do best with thick mattresses between 10 and 15 inches tall. That is because stomach sleepers sink into their mattresses, so plush comfort is a priority.

Back Sleepers

Back sleepers, on the other hand, need more support and therefore less mattress height. An average mattress thickness between six and eight inches can provide the firmness and support back sleepers need to sleep comfortably, without suffering from spinal misalignment.

Side Sleepers

The most preferred sleeping position puts pressure on the shoulders and hips. Side sleepers are more common than any other. Fortunately, an average mattress thickness between eight and 10 inches will work well for side sleepers. This thickness with the proper soft comfort layer will support the shoulders and hips, and offer a good night’s sleep.

Body Weight

Body weight plays a large role in ideal mattress thickness. For example, a very thin mattress or a low-profile mattress is not going to support a heavyset person. On the other hand, these slim mattresses are fine for cribs and toddler beds. Small adults might find ultra-thin mattresses uncomfortable, though, because they are so firm.

The best way to consider heavyweight when choosing a mattress is to remember that sleepers who weigh 230 pounds or more should consider having a 12- to 14-inch thick mattress with at least a six-inch comfort layer.

Sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds can comfortably choose an eight- to 12-inch thick standard mattress, so long as the comfort and support are sufficient.

Adults who weigh less than 130 pounds may want to choose thicker mattresses, since firm mattresses can be uncomfortable for light sleepers. Children can sleep with low profile, or thin two- to eight-inch mattresses comfortably.

Health and Medical Conditions

Medical conditions can affect how well a person sleeps on a thick or thin mattress. For people with limited mobility, thinner mattresses are preferred. The firm makeup of thinner mattresses aid with limited mobility because thin mattresses are easy to get in and out of. Additionally, thin mattresses are not as high in the air. Mobility issues can make increased bed height dangerous.

Sleepers with joint pain and arthritis need a mattress that improves their pain, rather than exacerbates it. Depending on where a person’s pain is located in the body, like hip or shoulder pain, thicker mattresses can alleviate it. Or, if back pain is the concern, a firmer, thinner mattress might be better.

Number of Sleepers

Two people weigh more than one person. If you and a partner need a new mattress to share, consider that a thicker mattress will hold up better with the added weight of a second person.

For average couples, a bed that is between 10 and 12 inches thick is ideal. Consider going up in thickness if you feel that you and your partner require more weight support.

Overall Bed Height

If you have a very tall bed frame, you might think twice before getting a 15-inch mattress. While this is not the most important factor to consider, it can have a significant impact financially.

A thicker mattress on an already high bed frame could raise the height of your bed to an uncomfortable level. If you are not in the market for a brand new low-profile bed frame, take into account how the overall height of your bed will be affected by a very tall mattress.

Adding Mattress Toppers

You can always alter the thickness of your bed by adding mattress toppers. If you feel that your bed is too thin for your taste, a mattress topper will add an extra layer of comfort and pillowy softness.

Adding a mattress topper, like the Latex For Less two-inches or three-inches mattress topper, is an affordable way to thicken your mattress slightly. However, you will not get the same result as investing in a new mattress that offers all the layers you need.

The Thickness of Latex For Less Mattresses

Latex For Less offers an all-natural latex mattress in two different thickness options. At seven inches thick and nine inches thick, both Latex For Less mattress height options fall in the standard mattress thickness range.

Not only are you able to choose your preferred thickness, but you can also choose how dense and supportive you want your sleep experience to be every night.

The Latex For Less mattress is flippable. It has two sides, each with different firmness, so you can choose which firmness level you prefer.

Latex For Less Mattress Layers

The Latex For Less mattress includes multiple layers for optimum comfort, support, and your chosen firmness.

The outer cover consists of GOTS-certified organic stretched cotton for a soft sleeping surface. Natural wool is used as a fire barrier, which means the mattress contains no dangerous flame retardant chemicals. The medium natural latex layer is made of 100 percent Talalay latex, and the firm layer is made of 100 percent natural Dunlop latex.

Why Choose Latex For Less?

Latex For Less uses all-natural materials to create organic mattresses that last. Unlike other mattresses, latex mattresses are durable, and stand up to decades of use. In fact, the mattress comes with a 20-year warranty.

The Latex For Less mattress does not include harsh synthetic chemicals that release gas into your home through a process known as off gassing, so you and your family do not have to worry about an unsafe sleeping environment. 

The company is environmentally-friendly and sustainable, so you can feel good about your mattress purchase. Additionally, Latex For Less offers a 120-night commitment-free sleep trial, so you can get a feel for the latex mattress. Try both the medium and firm sides to confirm you are satisfied with your purchase. Latex For Less will pick up the mattress if you are not completely happy with it.

Sources:

https://www.plushbeds.com/blogs/green-sleep/how-to-choose-your-mattress-thickness

https://www.terrycralle.com/mattress-thickness-guide/

https://eachnight.com/mattress-resources/mattress-thickness/

https://www.latexforless.com/products/natural-latex-mattress

Pat Gunther

Author