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10 Inch vs. 12 Inch Mattress: Choosing the Right Thickness for Your Sleep

Mattress Resources
Read Time: 7 minutes

  • Thicker mattresses, like 12-inch ones, often provide better support and cushioning, making them ideal for heavier individuals or those with specific health conditions like back pain.
  • 10-inch mattresses are typically firmer and more suitable for individuals who prefer a firmer sleep surface or have a lower body weight. They can also be easier to get in and out of, especially for shorter individuals or those with mobility issues.
  • Mattress thickness is influenced by factors such as body type, preferred sleeping position, firmness preference, and specific health conditions. Considering these factors helps determine whether a 10 or 12-inch mattress is the better choice for an individual’s sleep needs.

When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, the thickness of your mattress can play a significant role. If you’ve ever spent a restless night tossing and turning, your discomfort may stem from the thickness of your mattress. This comprehensive guide will delve into the difference between 10 and 12-inch mattresses, helping you determine which thickness best suits your lifestyle and sleeping habits.

What to Consider When Deciding on Mattress Thickness

Before diving into the specifics of 10 and 12-inch mattresses, it’s essential to consider various factors that can influence your decision. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

Body Type and Weight

Your body type and weight can greatly impact the type of mattress that best suits you. Lightweight sleepers weighing up to 130 lbs may prefer a thicker mattress with support and comfort. On the other hand, average sleepers, weighing between 130-230 lbs, can benefit from either a 10 or 12-inch mattress, depending on their personal preferences for firmness and thickness. Heavier sleepers, weighing over 230 lbs, typically require a 12-inch mattress for added support.

Sleeping Position

The position you sleep in can also influence your ideal mattress thickness. Side sleepers often find more comfort in a plush mattress that provides support while accommodating the curves of their shoulders and hips. A 12-inch mattress is generally recommended for side sleepers. Back sleepers can opt for either a 10 or 12-inch mattress, depending on their desired level of firmness. Stomach sleepers benefit from thinner mattresses with firmer support to maintain proper alignment. A 10-11 inch mattress is typically suitable for stomach sleepers. Combination sleepers who shift positions during the night might discover that a 12-inch medium-firm mattress is ideal for them.

Number of Sleep Partners

If you share a bed with a partner, the number of sleep partners can affect your decision. Additional pressure is exerted on the bed when sharing a mattress, potentially causing sagging if it lacks proper support. Thicker mattresses tend to have better motion isolation, reducing disturbances caused by a partner’s movements during sleep. Consider opting for a thicker mattress if you sleep with a partner, as it can provide better support and minimize motion transfer.

10 vs. 12-Inch Mattress: What’s the Difference?

The main distinction between a 10 and 12-inch mattress lies in their height. While the difference may seem minimal, it can affect the overall feel and firmness of the mattress. Thicker mattresses often provide a more plush and cushioned feel, while thinner mattresses tend to be firmer.

Mattress firmness is usually measured on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest. The firmness level can vary based on personal preference and specific sleep needs. Thicker mattresses generally offer better support and pain relief, making them a popular choice among sleepers with specific requirements. Opting for a 12-inch mattress over a 10-inch one can provide additional cushioning and enhance overall comfort during sleep.

What is Mattress Thickness?

Mattress thickness refers to the vertical measurement or depth of a mattress. While there are no standardized thickness measurements, most mattresses fall within the range of 8-14 inches. The layers of materials determine the thickness of a mattress within it.

Here’s a breakdown of how mattress thickness is typically categorized:

Low Profile Mattress: Low-profile mattresses, typically ranging from 2 to 5 inches in height, are regarded as thin and commonly employed in bunk beds or trundle beds.

Slim Mattress: Slim mattresses measure between 5-8 inches in height and are commonly found in guest rooms or children’s beds.

Standard Mattress: Standard mattresses, typically measuring between 8 and 12 inches in height, are the preferred option for adults, offering a blend of comfort and support.

Deep, Thick, or Tall Mattress: These mattresses measure between 12-16 inches in height and offer additional cushioning and support.

Extra Deep, Extra Thick, or Extra Tall Mattress: Measuring 16 inches or more in height, these mattresses provide maximum cushioning and support.

How Thick Should a Mattress Be?

Determining the ideal thickness for a mattress depends on several factors. Here are important factors to consider to help you make a well-informed decision:

Body Type

Consider your body type when selecting mattress thickness. Heavier individuals generally benefit from thicker mattresses as they provide better support and weight distribution. On the other hand, lighter individuals may find thinner mattresses sufficient for their needs.

Preferred Sleeping Style

Your preferred sleeping style is another crucial factor. Various sleeping positions require different levels of support and cushioning. Side sleepers may find a thicker, more plush mattress comfortable, as it can alleviate pressure points and provide adequate support for the shoulders and hips. On the other hand, back and stomach sleepers typically benefit from firmer mattresses with thinner comfort layers to maintain proper spinal alignment.

Preferred Firmness Level

Consider your preferred mattress firmness when determining thickness. Firmness preferences vary from person to person, with some individuals favoring a softer feel while others prefer a firmer surface. Thicker mattresses often offer a softer feel due to increased cushioning, while thinner mattresses tend to be firmer. Consider your comfort needs and any specific health conditions that may influence your firmness preference.

Physical Health Conditions

If you have specific physical health conditions, such as back pain, arthritis, or joint pain, mattress thickness can play a significant role in providing relief. Thicker mattresses with adequate support can help alleviate pressure points, promote proper spinal alignment, and reduce pain. Seek advice from your healthcare provider to identify the optimal mattress thickness that matches your particular condition.

Mattress Elevation

Consider the overall height of your bed when choosing mattress thickness. If your mattress will be placed on a frame or foundation, ensure that the combined height of the mattress and base does not exceed your desired comfort level. Taller individuals may find it challenging to get in and out of bed if the mattress and base are too high. Conversely, mattresses placed directly on the floor may feel too low for some individuals, making it harder to get up.

Factors That Determine Mattress Thickness

The thickness of a mattress is determined by the composition and arrangement of its layers. Most mattresses consist of a comfort layer and a support layer, with some variations depending on the specific mattress type.

Comfort Layer

The comfort layer is the topmost part of the mattress, directly in contact with your body. It provides cushioning and contouring to create a comfortable sleep surface. The thickness of the comfort layer depends on the mattress design and materials used. Common materials include:

  • Latex Foam: Latex foam, whether made from natural or synthetic rubber, offers a responsive and bouncy feel. It is known for its durability and ability to provide pressure relief.
  • Memory Foam: Memory foam, often made from polyurethane foam, conforms to your body’s contours, relieving pressure points and encouraging correct spinal alignment. It offers excellent motion isolation and can be found in varying thicknesses.
  • Polyurethane Foam: Polyurethane foam, or poly-foam, is a versatile and affordable material used in many mattresses. It comes in different densities and can provide varying levels of support and cushioning.
  • Gel Foam: Gel foam incorporates gel beads or infusions into the foam to enhance breathability and temperature regulation. It offers a cool and comfortable sleep surface.
  • Natural Fibers: Some mattresses may use natural fibers such as cotton, bamboo, wool, or horsehair in the comfort layer. These materials offer natural breathability and moisture-wicking properties.
  • Micro/Nano Coils: Micro or nano coils are small coils covered by a thin layer of foam or fiber. They add extra support and responsiveness to the comfort layer.

Support Layer

The support layer, also known as the base layer, is the foundation of the mattress. It provides overall support and durability. The thickness of the support layer can vary depending on the mattress type and design.

  • Foam Mattresses: Foam mattresses typically have a thick layer of high-density foam as the support layer. This foam provides stability and durability to the mattress.
  • Innerspring Mattresses: Innerspring mattresses feature a layer of metal coils as the support layer. The thickness of the coil gauge and the number of coils can vary, affecting the overall support and firmness of the mattress.
  • Hybrid Mattresses: Hybrid mattresses combine the support of innerspring coils with the contouring comfort of foam or latex layers. The support layer in hybrid mattresses typically consists of pocketed coils or a combination of coils and foam.
  • Latex Mattresses: Latex mattresses may have a support layer made entirely of latex foam or a combination of latex and other supportive materials. Latex provides excellent support and bounce.

10 vs. 12-Inch Mattress: Which Is Better?

There is no definitive answer to which mattress thickness is better, as it ultimately depends on your personal preferences and needs. Both 10 and 12-inch mattresses have their advantages and considerations.

A 10-inch mattress is suitable for individuals who prefer a firmer feel or need specific support. It may also be more suitable for individuals with a lower body weight. The thinner profile can make it easier to get in and out of bed, especially for shorter individuals or those with mobility issues. Additionally, 10-inch mattresses are often more affordable compared to thicker options.

On the other hand, a 12-inch mattress provides additional cushioning and can offer a more plush feel. It is ideal for individuals who prefer a softer sleep surface or require extra support for specific health conditions. Thicker mattresses generally provide better motion isolation, which can be advantageous for couples or individuals who are easily disturbed by their partner’s movements during sleep.

When choosing between a 10 and 12-inch mattress, it’s crucial to consider your body type, preferred sleeping position, and firmness preference. Additionally, factors such as mattress elevation and any specific health conditions should be considered. Ultimately, the best mattress thickness is the one that aligns with your comfort needs and promotes a restful night’s sleep.


What are the key differences between a 10-inch and a 12-inch mattress?

The main disparity lies in thickness, where the 12-inch option offers a thicker support layer than the 10-inch variant. This variation can affect the overall feel and support of the mattress.

How does the thickness of a mattress affect its comfort and support?

The mattress’s thickness, whether 10 inches or 12 inches, impacts its support and comfort level. A thicker mattress typically offers more support, especially for those with back pain, while a thinner mattress may suffice for individuals who prefer a firmer feel.

Do I need a specific bed frame for a 12-inch mattress compared to a 10-inch one?

Both 10-inch and 12-inch mattresses can generally fit on standard bed frames. However, it’s crucial to ensure that the bed frame can adequately support the weight and thickness of the mattress, especially if opting for a thicker option.

Can a mattress topper compensate for the difference between a 10-inch and a 12-inch mattress?

While a mattress topper can enhance the comfort of a thinner mattress, it may not fully compensate for the support provided by a thicker mattress. The choice between 10-inch- and 12-inch mattresses ultimately depends on individual preferences and sleep needs.

Are memory foam mattresses available in both 10-inch and 12-inch thicknesses?

Yes, memory foam mattresses come in various thickness options, including 10 inches and 12 inches. The decision between the two depends on personal preference, desired level of support, and any specific requirements, such as accommodating a thinner mattress or opting for a thicker one for added comfort.


Choosing the right mattress thickness ensures a comfortable and restful sleep. By considering factors such as body type, sleeping position, firmness preference, and specific health conditions, you can determine whether a 10 or 12-inch mattress is better suited for your needs. Remember to consider your comfort requirements, budget, and any additional considerations, such as mattress elevation. Ultimately, the perfect mattress thickness is the one that promotes a night of rejuvenating and blissful sleep.

Harrison Wall is Sleep Junkie’s business strategist and sleep analyst. He also authors posts on bedding and mattress accessories. Harrison regularly coordinates with new mattress companies and tests their products to determine what really helps you get better rest and have brighter mornings.

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