How Thick is a Standard Mattress?

The information in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. [Read our full health disclaimer]

Updated on February 16, 2023

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 get a good sleep quality will depend on the product and your preferences. What depth is a standard mattress? A standard mattress is 10 inches in depth or 25 cm.

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 Size

The thickness of mattresses 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.

White bed in bedroom

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.

Mattress Thickness Guide

While a 10-inch mattress (25 cm) is a standard 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.

Low Profile Mattress

Thin mattress on wood bed frame

Mattress thicknesses come as thin as 2 to 4 inches and are usually for children or babies in their cribs. Low-profile mattresses are suited for trundle beds or Murphy beds in case you host occasional guests. An air mattress is about 2 to 5 inches thick as well. If you want to buy a mattress to sleep on every night, skip the low-profile mattress thickness unless it’s for a young child. A thicker mattress provides better support and comfort.

Slim Mattress

A mattress that is 5 to 8 inches thick is called a “slim mattress.” These mattresses are typically found in hotels and motels because they are easier to move around and store. A standard full-size mattress is about 2 feet wide and 12 feet long. So, a typical hotel room might have a king-sized mattress, which is 10 feet wide and 16 feet long. If you want to buy a mattress online, you’ll probably find one that is 9 to 11 inches thick. This is a good size for most people. But, if you are very tall or have trouble getting into a regular-sized bed, it could be too big for you.

Standard size

The standard bed mattress height is 8 to 12 inches tall. This allows you to sleep comfortably while still having room to move around. Most adults fall into this range, although some people are shorter or taller than others. If you’re unsure about what size you should buy, it’s best to go with the largest size you think you’ll use. For example, if you tend to sit up in bed, you might want to choose a larger size.

Thick Mattress

A thick mattress is one that measures between 12 and 20 inches. A deep mattress is one that measures 16 to 24 inches. And a tall mattress is one that measures 18 to 30 inches. These measurements vary depending on the type of mattress you want. If you’re looking for a firm mattress, you’ll probably want something thinner. But if you’re looking for a softer mattress, you might want something thicker.

The best way to find out what size mattress you need is to measure it yourself. You can do this by measuring the length and width of your current mattress. Then add those numbers together to get the total length and width of your mattress. Compare that number to the sizes listed above. If you fall within the ranges for each category, you’re good to go. 

Extra Thick Mattress

Mattress sizes have been getting larger over the years. In fact, some mattress companies now offer mattresses up to 30 inches wide. This size is called extra thick, extra deep or extra tall. These mattresses are usually priced much higher than regular mattresses because they are designed to accommodate those who sleep on their sides. They are also extremely difficult to move around in bed.

Black and Beige Book on White Bed Sheet

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 an excellent choice for those who suffer from back pain but don’t want to break the bank to buy another bedroom set.

Layers Inside your Mattress

Mattresses come in different sizes, shapes, and thicknesses. They vary in terms of quality, price, and material composition. There are many types of mattresses out there, including traditional coil, hybrid, pillowtop, adjustable firmness, and even waterbed mattresses. Each type offers something unique, and each one helps provide a comfortable night’s rest.

The two main layers of a mattress are the comfort layer and the support layer. These two layers work together to give you a good night’s sleep. The comfort layer provides softness and pressure relief while the support layer gives stability and structure.

In addition to the two layers, some mattresses include additional features like pocketed coils, memory foam, gel-infused memory foam, and latex. Pocketed coils are used to add extra bounce and movement to the mattress, while gel infused memory foam adds heat retention and cooling properties. Memory foam is a popular option because it conforms to your body shape and contours. Latex is another common choice because it provides great breathability and cools down quickly.

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.

White linens in bed

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 pressure point relief to offer quality 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.

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.

What Does A Thin Mattress Do?

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.

White Throw Pillow on Bed

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, and 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).

Do You Need A Thick Mattress?

Thick mattresses are usually considered to be premium quality mattresses with a plush sleeping surface. They are generally constructed with high-quality materials such as latex foam, memory foam, gel foam, etc., and are designed to provide support and comfort throughout the night.

These mattresses are known for being thicker than standard mattresses, and therefore, they tend to feel firmer and less cushioned. However, it is worth noting that there are some differences among different types of thick mattresses. For instance, while memory foam mattresses are often considered to be the best option for those seeking comfort, latex foam mattresses are better suited for people looking for firmness.

The main benefit of choosing a thick mattress over a regular one is the fact that you will enjoy a luxurious appearance in your bedroom. This is because thick mattresses come in many different colors and styles, including contemporary designs, traditional patterns, and even rustic ones. Moreover, they are available in a wide range of sizes, making it possible for you to find one that perfectly fits your needs and preferences.

In addition, thick mattresses are known for offering superior support and durability. As mentioned earlier, they are built with high-quality materials, and thus, they are able to withstand daily use without showing signs of wear and tear. Furthermore, they are easy to clean, and they do not require special maintenance. All things considered, investing in a thick mattress is definitely a smart move.

How To Find The Ideal Mattress Thickness 

Mattresses are among the most important purchases you make because of how much sleep you get each night. A good mattress will help you wake up refreshed every morning, while a poor choice could lead to tossing and turning throughout the night. So, what makes a mattress great? Well, there are many different things to consider, such as the material used, whether it is adjustable, and even the size of the bed itself. But the most important factor is the mattress thickness.

Photo of a Woman Hugging a Blue Pillow

Thickness refers to the amount of space between the bottom and top layers of the mattress. This measurement determines how firm or soft the mattress feels. Most people prefer firmer mattresses, while others like a plush feel. However, some people find themselves waking up with sore shoulders and neck muscles, which indicates that the mattress is too hard. On the other hand, if you experience pain in your lower back, hips, knees, or ankles, then the mattress might be too soft.

The best way to determine the perfect mattress thickness is to try out several options. You can start off with a thin mattress, such as those found in hotels, and gradually add additional inches to see how it affects your body. Once you know what works for you, stick with it. But while you can’t try on mattresses now, here are some things to consider when choosing one. 

Sleep Position

The most common question asked by people is how thick are mattresses should be. Well, there are different types of sleepers out there and each one requires a specific thickness. If you’re a side sleeper, you’ll want a thicker mattress because you spend more time on your side. A good rule of thumb is to add 2 inches to your existing bed frame size. For example, if you have a queen sized bed, you’d go up to a king. And vice versa.

Back sleepers usually don’t require much extra space since they spend less time on their backs. You just need enough room to comfortably lie down without mattress sinkage.

A stomach sleeper usually wants something that is very comfortable. You’ll want to make sure that you don’t sink too far into the mattress. Try to avoid buying a thin mattress because it won’t give you enough support. Instead, opt for a thicker mattress. For combination sleepers, a bed with an average mattress thickness will suit their sleep style.

Body Weight and Body Type

A firmer mattress offers better support for your spine, while a softer mattress provides better support for your hips. The average person weighs about 150 pounds. So, if you are a lightweight sleeper, you probably don’t need a thick mattress. However, if you weigh over 200 pounds, you might benefit from a thicker mattress. This is especially true if you tend to toss and turn during the night. In addition, if you spend long periods of time sitting down, such as working at a desk, you might find yourself sinking into a soft mattress.

A mattress at least 12 inches thick should work fine for petit sleepers. The average sleeper weighs about 130 to 230 pounds. They are usually found sleeping on a mattress that measures 8 to 9 inches thick. This type of sleeper tends to prefer medium-firm mattresses. These mattresses provide enough support while still being soft enough to keep them comfortable throughout the night.

For heavier people weighing over 230 pounds, you’ll probably need a thicker mattress. For example, a mattress measuring 12 inches deep should work well for someone weighing up to 310 pounds. On the other hand, a mattress measuring 14 inches deep should suit someone weighing over 330 pounds. 

Sleep Partner

woman in white dress lying on white bed

If you’re sharing a bed with someone else, he or she could easily weigh twice as much as you do. When you add that to the extra weight of your partner’s head, arms, and legs, you can see why you might start to notice some serious sagginess in your mattress. 

So, for couples, or anyone sharing their beds, it’s usually recommended to use a mattress with at least a 10 to 12-inch thickness. A thicker mattress provides better support and helps prevent sagging.

Health Conditions

People suffering from certain medical conditions such as arthritis, shoulder pain, lower back, and fibromyalgia should opt to buy thicker mattresses. This is because these mattresses offer the required cushioning for their bodies and relieve their pain.

Owing to their extra thickness and firmness, these mattresses are ideal for people with arthritis, joint pain, hip pain, and lower back pain. They help reduce pressure points and improve circulation.

For those suffering from back pain, it’s best to go for mattresses that fall within the range of 8 to 10 inches. These mattresses are soft enough to conform well to the shape of their backs and thus relieve pressure points and promote good blood flow.

Bed Height

When choosing a mattress, you must take into account the height of your bedbase. In fact, it’s essential to know how much space there is beneath your bed frame. If you’re looking for a good quality mattress, you’ll want to ensure that the combined height of the mattress and the bed base won’t exceed 25 inches.

For example, if you pick a 12-inch thick mattress, your bed base should be no greater than 11 inches high. Otherwise, you might find yourself unable to get into your bed.

FAQs

Conclusion 

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!

Article Sources

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  2. Jacobson, B. H., Boolani, A., Dunklee, G.,et al., (2010). Effect of prescribed sleep surfaces on back pain and sleep quality in patients diagnosed with low back and shoulder pain. Applied ergonomics, 42(1):91-97. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0003687010000724
  3. Yu, N., Yu, C., Li, H., & Li, M. (2021). Effects of mattress firmness on infant body pressure distribution. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 83:103101. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0169814121000196
  4. Hong, T. T. H., Wang, Y., Wong, D. W. C.,et al., (2022). The Influence of Mattress Stiffness on Spinal Curvature and Intervertebral Disc Stress—An Experimental and Computational Study. Biology, 11(7):1030. https://www.mdpi.com/2079-7737/11/7/1030
  5. Marin, R., Cyhan, T., & Miklos, W. (2006). Sleep disturbance in patients with chronic low back pain. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 85(5):430-435. https://journals.lww.com/ajpmr/Abstract/2006/05000/Sleep_Disturbance_in_Patients_With_Chronic_Low.3.aspx
  6. Bader, G. G., & Engdal, S. (2000). The influence of bed firmness on sleep quality. Applied ergonomics, 31(5):487-497. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11059462/
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  8. Hawks, L. K. (1987). Selecting a Comfortable Mattress. https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1511&context=extension_histall
Bree Taylor - Lead Editor

Lead Editor

Bree is an interior designer with a passion for helping people improve their sleep quality.

She specializes in creating comfortable and functional bedroom spaces that promote a good night’s rest.

When she’s not testing mattresses or helping people get the best rest possible, Bree loves to travel and explore new cultures.

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