How Thick is a Standard Mattress?

We spend a third of our lives in bed sleeping (or attempting to sleep), so finding a suitable mattress is one of the most significant investments a person makes. But just as people come in different shapes and sizes, as do their beds. 

Standard generally means that something is typical. But when it comes to bedding, mattresses can vary in thickness. This is due to mattress types, bed sizes, and special features like comfort layers, cushioning, and other factors.

Finding the right mattress type and ideal thickness of the mattress that enables you to drift into a deep sleep will depend on the product and your preferences. 

If you seek a new bed for your bedroom, the kids’ rooms, or the guest room, you’ll want to feel confident that it provides the best comfort for restful slumber. 

Mattress Thickness

While a 10-inch mattress (25 cm) is an average thickness, some thin mattresses are about 8-inches (20 cm) and can be as low as 5-inches (13 cm). Though they are traditionally reserved from camping trips or makeshift guest room beds, even air mattresses are usually between 8 to 10-inches thick.

Thicker mattresses like pocket spring, pillow top, or memory foam mattresses are typically 12-inch mattresses. They can be as tall as 14-inches (36 cm), depending on how many added comfort layers they have. 

Thick Mattresses

Thick mattresses can offer the feeling of sleeping on a cloud. Imagine the joy of sinking into pillowy cushioning after a long day. Thicker mattresses provide comfort and support through multiple layers that account for their greater bed height. 

Many new mattresses utilize the latest sleep technology. Innerspring mattresses have steel coils that support your body weight and move with you as you shift. That kind of cushioned support can help to ease back pain and other complaints.

Some of the high-quality mattresses today feature four or more comfort layers that may include gel or latex foam, and a quilted pillow top for additional padding. 

Comfort Layer

Comfort layers are the layers of different materials used in thicker mattresses that provide superior cushioning and support your skeletal and muscular system. 

The base layer is where the innerspring coils are positioned so that they can respond to your every move, but you don’t get the sensation that you’re sleeping on springs. 

On top of the layer of innerspring coils is a transition layer, followed by several layers of cozy, comforting support in the form of memory foam made of highly-responsive gel, latex, or other materials. Some of the most pillowy mattresses have up to seven layers of blissful padding. 

These comfort layers provide relief for pressure points to offer better sleep and ease joint and muscle discomfort.

As a bonus feature, the multiple layers of pocket spring coils and cushioning offer individualized support and even weight distribution. So if you share a bed, this is an asset if one person’s tossing and turning are disruptive to a light sleeper who is easily disturbed. 

Memory Foam Mattress

Memory foam mattresses have become increasingly popular nighttime accessories for good reasons. They offer dreamy padding that cradles and supports your body weight. 

The intuitive foam responds to each and every shift. It conforms to the shapes you curl up into, regardless if you are a stomach sleeper, back sleeper, or side sleeper. Memory foam mattresses are also great for people with limited mobility or those who are elderly.

This kind of support provides the opportunity for a deeper, more restful sleep that leaves you waking up feeling rejuvenated. It decreases complaints of stiffness or cramps in the morning from sleeping on a stiff, unsupportive mattress.

Memory foam comfort layers can be made from different materials. Latex foam and liquid gel memory foam are highly favored because of their intuitive responsiveness to body weight and movement.

Latex foam offers an additional benefit because it allows better airflow and ventilation to keep you cool on steamy nights. Even with a comfortable mattress, who hasn’t lost sleep due to a particularly sultry and sweaty summer night?

Due to the benefits and popularity of memory foam mattresses, there are mattress toppers that feature memory foam in latex, gel, or other materials. A hybrid, high-quality mattress is your best bet. 

Thin Mattress

Perhaps pillowy, cloudlike layers provoke anxious thoughts of restless nights? Maybe added mattress height makes you feel like you’ll need a ladder to climb into bed each night?

Not everyone feels that multiple layers of downy cushioning give the best remedy for a restful sleep. For those who want firmer support, a thinner mattress is better.

It might seem like the only mattresses that offer optimal support of the spine and body are soft with many layers of padding. That simply isn’t true. Each body has different needs, and some chiropractors feel that a thinner, firm mattress provides superior support for those who suffer from chronic back pain.

With a firmer, slim mattress, the bones take most of the pressure, relieving the muscular system from holding the body’s weight while you sleep. Internal organs are supported, the lower back does not collapse. That can also provide a better flow of oxygen.

Some sleepers will find that this kind of mattress is a better fit for them. If that sounds like you, it’s best to choose a mattress that’s not so thin that every spring digs into your spine or a bed that feels like sleeping on a rock (unless, of course, you like that!). 

Stick to bedding with support systems like innerspring coils and is at least an 8 to 10-inch mattress (20-25 cm). 

Mattress Size

The thickness of a mattress will vary depending on the comfort layers, firmness or softness, and the additional features. But the size of a mattress is more than just its depth or height. 

Mattresses generally come in the following size options: single (also known as a twin bed), long single, king single, double, queen mattress, king mattress, and a super king mattress.

Standard Mattress

On average, the standard size for a single mattress is 74 inches long by 35 inches wide. A long single and king single mattress both have the length of a king mattress (about 80 inches or 203 cm), but the king single has an added 7 inches of width.

Queen mattresses, along with the king and super king mattresses have a length of 80 inches (203 cm), but their widths range from 60 inches (152 cm), 72 inches (183 cm), and a square 80 x 80 inches (203 x 203 cm), respectively. The prices also rise accordingly with the mattress sizes. 

The length and width of mattresses tend to remain within a few inches or centimeters of each other regardless of the mattress type or company, but the mattress height can vary greatly. That is why it is good to know the thickness of the mattress. 

However, most mattress manufacturers make models that have the same height or depth according to their type. So if you’re getting a firm mattress, all of the dimensions are the same (8-10-inch mattress or 20-25 cm high). Thicker models will range in height anywhere from 12-inch mattresses to 14-inch multi-layered beds but remain the same size within their type. 

Base Layer

The base layer of a mattress is what provides durability and lifespan to the mattress. Box springs are used as a buffer between the mattress and the bed frame to protect both and offer stability from shifting when you’re sleeping so that you don’t end up on the other side of the room.

Because modern mattresses boast so many comfort layers of coils and memory foam, all of that can stack up. Adding a box spring underneath can make it feel like you’re scaling a mountain to get to sleep. 

This is why box springs now come in low profile and high profile versions. A low-profile mattress or bed set sits closer to the ground, while a high-profile box spring elevates the mattress even further for those who prefer sleeping closer to the stars.  

There are benefits and drawbacks to both choices. The low-profile box spring has become popular due to its ability to balance out the rising mattress heights, and the high-profile box spring fits more standard bedding and dust ruffles.

Some new mattresses with features like innerspring or pocket spring systems have their base layer built into the mattress itself to protect the coils. In this case, there is no need for an additional box spring to cushion the mattress from the bed frame.

Body Weight

Cushiony mattresses with multilayers of memory foam and coils can support various body weights (including those who sleep in the same bed). Firm mattresses offer similar support but will not yield as much to different body types and sizes. 

Sharing a bed can be a nightly challenge depending on weight and size differences. Thicker mattresses that provide optimal support or thinner mattresses with the right level of firmness cradle each sleeper’s body regardless of positions or shifting. 

That can ensure minimal partner disturbance and offer a restful night and less grumpy morning for you both.

Mattress Toppers

Buying a bed set is quite an investment. There’s the bed frame, box spring, mattress, and then all the bedding to fit it. Perhaps there’s even a pair of matching drapes. 

It’s no wonder that folks are hesitant to buy a new bed or mattress as soon as a high-quality item arrives on the market. But that doesn’t mean you have to forgo the benefit of modern mattress technology just because you don’t want to buy a new mattress.

Mattress toppers offer the best of both worlds, so you can keep your old bed (provided it still has durability and lifespan left) and enjoy the advantages of a pillow top or memory foam mattress. 

Gel or latex memory foam mattress toppers are excellent additions for those who suffer from back pain but don’t want to break the bank to buy another bedroom set.

Sleeping Position

Do you lie on your back while you count sheep? Perhaps you take the position of a flamingo with one leg hiked up while prone on your belly? 

A person’s sleeping position is a key factor to consider when looking for a new mattress. 

Memory foam mattresses are best for side sleepers because they offer the most flexibility and responsiveness to motion. If the bed feels too soft and the cradling feeling is too intense, latex foam mattresses give excellent pressure relief without the sinking feeling.

Those who sleep on their backs need a firmer mattress that offers stability because it helps their back from collapsing and eases chronic back pain.

Did you know that many people shift to sleeping on their stomachs because their mattress is too rigid or uncomfortable? An unfortunate result of sleeping on your stomach is that it can cause added strain to your spine and back due to uneven weight distribution. 

Stomach sleepers should choose a medium-firm mattress that has features like supportive innerspring coils and memory foam.

What is the Right Mattress For You?

If you are spending a third of your life in one place, you’d better be getting the most out of your time there! Finding the right mattress can provide you with a good night’s rest, allow you to drift off more quickly, and alleviate or ease chronic pain and discomfort. 

The best way to determine what mattress is most suited to your particular needs is to assess your sleeping position and how thick or thin, firm, or pillowy you like your bed to be. Sweet dreams!