How Mattress Thickness Affects Sleep

The thickness of foam mattresses is a crucial factor in the quality of sleep. Find out how it affects your sleep and how to choose the correct mattress thickness.


Between 18 inches and a 6 inches mattress, which one will you choose? Some buyers tend to go for thicker mattresses. Many associate thick mattress with comfort and luxury. They believe that a thicker mattress is always the best choice since it is more comfortable, durable, and has a longer lifespan. But is correct?

Mattress thickness is one of the important factors to consider when looking for a mattress. It can directly affect mattress functionality and quality of sleep. Thus, it is best to understand this factor and find out how it may affect your health.

What is the Ideal Mattress Thickness?

People indeed love thick mattresses in general. It roots from the perception that a thicker mattress offers more comfort and improves sleep. But it is not the case; super-thick mattresses are not the best option.

A mattress structure consists of a quilted top, contour and comfort layer, a support layer, a pocketed innerspring (for innerspring mattresses), a base support layer, and a bottom mattress cover. The top two layers form the mattress's comfort layer. It contours to the body and reduces motion transfer.

Beneath the top layers are the support and foundation layers of the mattress. A mattress with a nice level of support is always a great choice. It promotes pain relief and maintains proper spinal alignment. On the other hand, the foundation or base layer supports heavier sleepers. The foundation layer makes up about 50% of the mattress thickness.

Mattress manufacturers usually provide thickness chart on their official website to guide buyers on looking for the right mattress. Below is the standard list of how companies group mattresses according to thickness level.

  • Low profile mattresses have a thickness level of 2 to 5 inches

  • Slim mattresses have a thickness of 5 to 8 inches.

  • Standard mattresses have a thickness of 8 to 12 inches

  • Thick or tall mattresses measure 12 to 16 inches in thickness

  • Extra thick and extra deep mattresses measure 16 inches and more in thickness

Thickness and Sleep Quality

Thick mattresses are softer than thinner options. They are plusher and provides more cushioning for the body, especially for the hips and shoulders. Moreover, thick mattresses can accommodate heavy adults compared to thinner mattresses. Thus, it enhances sleep since it is more comfortable and offers more surfaces.

However, take note that thick mattresses are more expensive since they comprise more layers and materials compared to a standard mattress. Likewise, it is heavier, which makes it tough to move around and transfer from one bed to another. Also, thick mattresses are not advisable for individuals with limited mobility and injuries since it is difficult to get in and out of the bed. A better option for elders and injured individuals are standard mattresses.

How to Choose the Right Mattress Thickness

When deciding on mattress thickness, there are a few factors you need to consider. Below is the list of things you need to remember when looking for a mattress.

  • Body Type

Plus-size sleepers who weigh above 230 pounds may choose mattresses with a thickness between 12 to 14 inches. The comfort layer should be at least 6 inches thick to provide sufficient support and stability while sleeping.

Meanwhile, average and weight sleepers may choose mattresses with thickness around 10 to 12 inches. On the other hand, lightweight sleepers are advised to pick 12 inches mattresses.

  • Sleeping Position

Consider your sleeping position when looking for a mattress for some positions require more support and cushioning. For example, a stomach sleeper needs a 10-inches thick mattress to prevent spinal misalignment.

  • Medical Condition

Certain medical conditions have specific mattress requirements. Thus, if you are suffering from conditions such as joint pain and back pain, make sure to consult your doctor for advice.