Updated May 14, 2021While many people view thicker mattresses as the height of luxury and quality sleep, we don’t all need 14-inch mattresses. What thickness you need depends on many factors, including your height, whether or not you share a bed, and your sleeping position.Too thin or thick of a mattress can ruin your sleep quality and potentially impact your health (causing pain or worsened energy levels due to poor sleep). Also, if your mattress is too tall or short, it can get difficult for some to get in and out of bed, such as pregnant women, short people, or the elderly.Your mattress’s thickness impacts your support and comfort while you’re in bed. We run down the different mattress thicknesses along with what to consider when choosing your bed’s thickness.Mattress Thickness OverviewThicknessTypeGood For2 to 5 inches Low ProfileCribs Rollways or trundle beds5 to 8 inchesSlimChildren's beds Short adults People with limited mobility8 to 12 inchesStandardMost adults Back and stomach sleepers Guest bedrooms12 to 20 inchesThick, Deep, or TallSide Sleepers Heavy Sleepers20+ inchesExtra Thick, Extra Deep, or Extra TallTypically unnecessary for all sleepersMattress Thickness ChartMattress thickness isn’t a one-type-fits-all sort of deal. Different thicknesses suit different needs and people, though the thickest and thinnest types of mattresses usually don’t work for frequent use.The following are the various mattress thicknesses and their primary uses.2 to 5 inches (Low Profile)Mattresses come as thin as 2 to 5 inches and are usually for infants or toddlers in their cribs. Low profile mattresses are suitable for trundle beds or murphy beds in case you host occasional guests. Some air mattresses are around 2 to 5 inches as well.Still, if you’re looking for a mattress to use every night, skip the 2 to 5-inch mattresses unless it’s for a young child.5 to 8 inches (Slim)Slim mattresses (5 to 8 inches thick) are another type of thin mattress, but they have just a few extra inches to make them suitable for nightly use.The best mattresses for kids are around 5 to 8-inch mattress since children are light enough where they won’t need a thick bed to support them and keep them comfortable. Or, if you’re short or have limited mobility, a slim bed is low enough, but still thick enough, to be accessible and still comfortable to sleep on.8 to 12 inches (Standard)8 to 12-inch mattresses are the thickness of the average mattress. They work for most adult individuals and suit most sleeping positions. You can find a large variety of mattresses around this size, all with different materials, price points, and technologies.12 to 20 (Thick, Deep, or Tall)Thick, deep, and tall mattresses are between 12 to 20 inches. This range of thick mattresses is wide, and most people usually don’t need a bed thicker than 14 to 15 inches. With that in mind, most mattress companies don’t even make beds thicker than 14 inches.Beds of this thickness are typically soft, but also durable, making them suitable for side sleepers and plus-sized individuals.20 inches or more (Extra Thick, Extra Deep, or Extra Tall)20-inch or thicker mattresses are known as extra thick, extra deep, or extra tall. Now, mattresses this thick are uncommon nowadays due to how unnecessary they are for most people. Extra deep mattresses are expensive, hard to get into, and excessive, thus why nobody uses them.What Makes Up Your Mattress?The materials inside your mattress determine how thick it is. Inside your mattress’s cover are between 2 to 5 layers (most mattresses have around 3 to 4 layers) made from materials such as memory foam, latex, pocketed coils, or polyfoam.Mattress materials affect its feel, durability, and support to help you sleep comfortably. The two primary layers in every mattress are the comfort and support layers.Comfort LayerThe comfort layer of a mattress is the cushiony, uppermost layer of your bed. Comfort layers cradle your body’s curves and provide pressure relief, motion isolation, and temperature regulation.A comfort layer is usually between 2 to 3 inches, depending on how soft or firm your bed is. Softer beds have thicker comfort layers, while firmer beds have thinner comfort layers.Some beds may only have one comfort layer, while others can have several to enhance the bed’s cushioning. These extra layers may include cooling features, zoned support technology, or provide additional bounce to your bed.Support LayerThe support, or base layer is the bottom portion of a bed and comprises the majority of a mattress. Your mattress’s support layer should make up at least 50 percent of the mattress for it to function well.For example, if you have a 10-inch mattress, the support layer should be at least 5 inches thick to ensure it’s durable and won’t sag quickly.The foundation layers are made from one or two layers of poly-foam, latex, or steel coils, depending on the mattress models. The quality of the support layer’s materials also affects the bed’s durability along with how well it’ll support your body.What Mattress Thickness Do You Need?Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to mattress thickness. The mattress thickness you need depends on your size, sleeping position, your mobility, and other factors.For nightly use, we recommend at least an 8 to 10-inch mattress with a 2 to 4-inch comfort layer and a 5 to 6-inch support layer. Here are the general guidelines to keep in mind when deciding what mattress thickness to choose.Body WeightBased on how much you weigh, you’ll put more or less pressure onto your bed. As a result, you’ll need a different thickness to accommodate your body type and ensure your body is properly supported and comfortable. Let’s take a look at our thickness recommendations based on your size:Petite Sleepers (130 pounds or less): Since petite sleepers are so light, thinner mattresses can feel too firm for them. Petite sleepers should use at least a 12-inch mattress to adequately conform to their body and prevent pressure build-up or pain.Average-sized Sleepers (130 to 230 pounds): Usually, the average-sized adult needs around a 10 to 12-inch mattress to properly support their body. However, they may choose a slightly thinner or thicker mattress depending on their sleep position.Plus-sized Sleepers (230 pounds or more): Large sleepers should use at least a 12 to 14-inch thick mattress to prevent sinking or wearing down a mattress prematurely. Their bed’s comfort layer should be at least 6 inches or thicker so the mattress won’t bottom out.Sleeping PositionYour sleeping position affects the best mattress thickness for your body. Your sleep position determines your body’s main pressure points and how much contouring you need to be comfortable. Based on your sleeping position, here is the ideal mattress thickness for you:Back Sleepers: Back sleepers typically need around a 10 to 12-inch mattress to support their lower back and keep their spine aligned. The mattress should have a thick base layer and a thinner comfort layer to prevent back sleepers from sinking too much and causing the spine to curve unnaturally.Side Sleepers: Side sleepers typically need a thicker mattress, around 12 to 14 inches, with a thick comfort layer to properly cushion their widest body parts, the hips and shoulders.Stomach Sleepers: Stomach sleepers need the thinnest and firmest mattresses, roughly 10 to 12 inches thick. They need a thin comfort layer and a very thick support layer to keep their hips from sinking and their bodies aligned.Sharing a BedSingle adults won’t need as thick of a mattress because there’s usually less weight on the bed. When two adults are sleeping on one bed, the extra weight can cause a mattress to be less supportive and potentially sag prematurely.So, the best mattresses for couples are at least 10 to 12 inches thick to bear the weight of two adults. If you and your partner are heavier, you may even want at least a 12 to 14-inch mattress.Health and Medical ConditionsIndividuals with specific medical conditions may need thinner or thicker beds to better support their bodies and ease their pain.If you suffer from health conditions such as fibromyalgia, shoulder or hip pain, or arthritis, you may need a thicker and softer mattress (12 to 14 inches) to cushion your body and reduce pain.Conversely, back pain sufferers typically need a firmer and thinner mattress (10 to 12 inches) to prevent sinkage and conform to their spine.Total Bed Height PreferencesYou may have never considered your bed’s height, but depending on your height and range of mobility, its height may affect how thick you want your mattress to be. The overall height of your bed includes the mattress with its frame or foundation, any mattress toppers, and the bedding. Bed risers can raise the height of your bed if you want a taller sleep surface.If you have limited mobility for whatever reason, too tall or short of a bed can make it difficult to get in and out of. Ideally, your bed should be around 25 inches off the ground. This way, you can sit on the edge of the bed with your feet touching the floor and your knees in line with your hips.Although we don’t recommend sleeping on the ground (the floor is cold, voids some mattress warranties, and wears your mattress down rapidly), if you choose to put a mattress on your floor, use at least a 12-inch mattress. A thicker mattress will absorb the shock of the ground and will make your bed easier to access.Pros of a Thick MattressThicker mattresses last longer than thinner mattresses because the supportive base is generally thicker than 6 inches.The extra cushioning of thick mattresses suits side sleepers.Thick mattresses are sturdy enough to support two adults and plus-sized sleepers.Cons of a Thick MattressMore expensive than thinner mattresses due to the number of materials used.Thick mattresses are heavy and large, making them difficult to transport.Thick mattresses can get quite tall depending on the base you have, so those with mobility issues may have difficulty accessing their bed.Some thick mattresses can trap heat due to the amount of cushioning.Pros of a Thin MattressThin mattresses are always cheaper than thick mattresses.Thin mattresses are small, so they’re lightweight and easy to move.Depending on your bed’s foundation, thin mattresses are lower to the floor, making them easier to access.Cons of a Thin MattressThinner mattresses aren’t always as durable as thicker mattresses.For couples sharing a bed, thin mattresses might be unable to properly support both people and can cause the mattress to sag prematurely.FAQsIs it better to have a thicker mattress?Not necessarily. While thicker mattresses are more expensive—in turn, suggesting the mattress is higher quality and nicer—the thickness you need depends on your size, sleep position, whether or not you share a bed, and if you have health or mobility issues.Thinner mattresses can be equally as comfortable and supportive as thicker mattresses. If you’re unsure what mattress thickness you need, take advantage of mattress sleep trials to test out a mattress long-term.Why are mattresses so thick nowadays?New mattresses contain modern technologies and materials to improve your sleep, comfort, and support, and as a result, they may be as thick as 12 to 14 inches.Still, the thickest of mattresses (16, 18, and 20 inches or more) were more common several decades ago. Mattresses were so thick because there were less advanced technologies for comfort, so companies compensated by selling thick mattresses.Hardly any modern mattress companies make mattresses of this depth anymore because they’re unnecessary, so mattresses are actually thinner nowadays.Is an 8-inch memory foam mattress thick enough?An 8-inch memory foam mattress might be thick enough for a petite, single sleeper who prefers a firmer mattress.However, for plus-sized sleepers, large adults, side sleepers, or couples, an 8-inch mattress may be unable to bear their weight and can be uncomfortable. In this case, at least a 12 to 14-inch memory foam mattress will likely work better.How thick is a standard queen bed?Mattress size and thickness don’t correlate. A mattress’s size is the surface dimensions of a mattress, while a mattress’s thickness is the depth or height of a bed.So, a California king, queen, and twin mattress can all be 14 inches thick despite having different surface areas. Also, depending on the brand you buy from, the firmness of the mattress, and the materials in the bed, can affect a mattress’s thickness.What size bed sheets fit a 10-inch mattress?Your fitted sheet should be about 1 to 3 inches deeper than your mattress to ensure it tucks under the bed and doesn’t pop off when you shift around in bed. So, for a 10-inch mattress, the fitted sheet should be about 11 to 13 inches deep.Too deep of a fitted sheet will only leave excess fabric for you to get caught on, which is just aggravating at night.ConclusionAlthough thick mattresses can be great, they’re not for everyone, and a thin mattress may work better for you. Your mattress thickness should be supportive but also conforming enough to accommodate your size and sleeping position. Thickness also impacts your bed’s height, a factor those with limited mobility must consider when looking for a new bed.About the author Kiera PritchardKiera Pritchard’s curiosity around dreams and dreaming sparked her passion for sleep science. In addition to freelancing for eachnight, Kiera is also a physical trainer and strives to help others lead healthy lives while asleep and awake. Since joining our team, Kiera has compiled multiple sleep health guides offering our readers advice on how to improve their days and evenings. Find more articles by Kiera Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.