Mattress Thickness: Everything You Need to Know

A mattress placed on a bed with a mattress topper on it

For a comfortable sleep, one of the factors that you should consider while shopping for a mattress is its thickness. Mattress thickness in India varies a lot as most mattresses are locally made and each individual has different preferences and needs.

A thicker mattress is associated with better comfort and a better sleep experience generally. But is that all that matters?

You need to look at many different factors to decide on the perfect mattress for yourself. Through this mattress buying guide, we will help you decide which mattress would be an ideal fit in your bedroom.

Why Does Mattress Thickness Matters?

An extremely thin mattress can make you feel like you are sleeping on the floor with no cushioning or support. This can lead to aches, pains, or discomfort in general. 

A super thick mattress can lead to a misaligned spine. A thick mattress can also make it harder to get up from the bed and restrict movement.

The thickness of most modern mattresses is developed for superior comfort that helps support your body and provides relaxation at the same time. 

What Determines Mattress Thickness?

The material used and the amount of fill determines the thickness of your mattress. If there are multiple layers then the thickness of the mattress is determined by the thickness of each layer within it. Most beds have two layers, but some mattresses may have three, four, or more. 

Mattress Thickness Chart

Mattress TypeThickness
Low Profile Mattress2 - 5 Inches
Slim Mattress5 - 8 Inches
Standard Mattress8 - 12 Inches
Thick Mattress12 - 16 Inches
Extra Thick mattressMore than 16 Inches

Factors that Influence the Mattress Thickness

The first factor you can look at is your sleeping position. The way you sleep will help you decide the thickness of the mattress you should go for. The different sleeping positions are:

  • The best thickness for people who are side sleepers is 12-14 inches. This provides sufficient comfort for the hips and shoulders. The soft comfort layers give the appropriate cushioning needed to alleviate tension build-up in the hips and shoulders.
  • Back sleepers need a 10-12-inch-thick mattress to accommodate the natural curve of their back and avoid spinal misalignment. Spinal misalignment produces or aggravates discomfort, neck pain, or muscle stiffness. A bed 10-12 inches thick with a strong foundation layer and a lower comfort level supports your back, minimizing sinkage.
  • Individuals who sleep on their bellies need a 10-inch-thick mattress to limit the risk of spinal misalignment. Mattresses with just a thin comfort barrier would provide a firmer resting surface, providing tolerance to pressure beneath your abdomen.
  • Some people are combination sleepers and are generally comfortable on a 12-inch-thick mattress with medium firmness. Since combination sleepers change to back, side, or belly during the night, these individuals need a bed that offers a mix between stiffness and softness.
  • Body type: If you are a lightweight, your mattress thickness can range from 10-12 inches thick, which works fine for medium-weight individuals. But if you are a heavy individual, it would be preferable for you to get a 12-to 14-inch-thick mattress.

  • Comfort level: If you want a super comfortable mattress, then you should get a thicker mattress. 

  • Special cases: If you have any medical conditions or just constant body aches, you should buy a mattress that provides you pressure relief and support. 

Mattress Construction and Thickness

Most mattresses have two layers; the comfort layer and the base layer. It can contain even 3 or 4 more layers. The comfort layer is the luxurious topmost part of the mattress. In certain mattress designs, such as the coil bed, the comfort level is a pillow top made of linen, wool, or poly-foam. 

Other mattress varieties, such as latex, mixed, or foam beds, have rubber or memory foam cushioning layers. The shaping and pressure-relieving properties of a mattress are based on the hardness and feeling of its top comfort layer.

The base layer, also termed the foundational layer, influences mattress durability. In most elevated mattresses, the foundation layer makes up for at least 50 % of the overall mattress thickness.

Do I Need a Mattress Topper?

A bed topper is often used to significantly alter the feel of a mattress and provide additional pressure relief. Toppers can also be used to rejuvenate an aging mattress or extend the service life of a newer one.

While not strictly necessary, a mattress topper can help keep you warm, maintain your core body temperature, and provide extra support during the night. A very good mattress topper can even offer you an additional year or two until you need to replace the existing mattress.

Pros and Cons of a Thick Mattress

Pros

  • They often have a higher survival rate than thin mattresses because they do not sag as quickly. This is particularly true since the supporting core of a thick bed is normally thicker than 6 inches, implying that it will survive longer.
  • Thick mattresses are excellent for heavyweight people. Each level is thicker and capable of delivering support under body strain while still ensuring that the sleeper receives adequate support.

Cons

  • Thick beds make it extremely difficult to get on and off the bed if you have mobility issues. Because those with mobility issues have difficulty getting up in the morning, thick mattresses aren’t ideal for the elderly.
  • Thick beds are cumbersome. If you ever need to wash somewhere under the bed frame or move the mattress for any reason, you will require the assistance of at least one extra person to lift a thick mattress.

Pros and Cons of a Thin Mattress

Pros

  • A thin mattress can be used with old beds and foundations that may not withstand the pressure of a thick mattress. So, unless you intend to replace your old wood bed frame, you should invest in a thinner mattress.
  • Thin mattresses are less expensive; therefore, they will meet your budget if you have a limited one.

Cons

  • A thin mattress may not be able to withstand the weight of two individuals for an extended period. The mattress is very prone to sag in the middle rather quickly.
  • They have a limited lifetime compared to a thick mattress. The layers in a thin bed are weak, making them prone to sagging quickly. Thin mattresses typically do not survive a full decade.

Conclusion

Now that you are aware of the various pros and cons of thick and thin mattresses, hopefully, you can choose the mattress that is right for you. If you still have doubts, go back to the guide to understand the different levels of thickness and what they are good for.

Frequently Asked Questions

The reason that the newest designs of mattresses are thicker is because of the extra padding that is provided in them. This is usually done to increase comfort and durability.

Mattresses that are 10 inches thick or more are ideal for increased comfort and support. If you sleep on your side, a mattress 12 to 14 inches thick would most likely provide the extra padding you want.

Mattresses that measure up to 10 to 14 inches thick are enough to provide support. Thinner mattresses may not be as supportive or durable, resulting in soft spots and sags after three to four years.

The finest mattresses for bed frames must be at least 12” thick; however, more than 14 inches would be even more ideal.

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