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What Thickness Of Memory Foam Is Best

Mattress Resources
Read Time: 7 minutes

  • Thickness Range: Mattresses come in various thickness options, ranging from 2 to 20 inches. The optimal thickness depends on factors like body weight, sleeping position, and personal preferences.
  • Material Impact: The materials used in the mattress, particularly in the comfort and support layers, influence its overall thickness. Thicker mattresses often include additional features such as cooling technology or zoned support.
  • Consideration Factors: Key factors for choosing the right thickness include body weight, sleeping position, sharing the bed, health conditions, frame design, and total bed height preferences. Thicker mattresses are not universally better, and the choice should align with individual needs for comfort and support.

When choosing a mattress, thickness is a vital consideration. The ideal mattress thickness depends on factors like body weight, preferred sleeping position, whether you share the bed, and any existing health or mobility concerns. The correct thickness is crucial for a comfortable and supportive night’s sleep. This comprehensive guide will explore different memory foam mattress thickness options, discuss the materials that affect the thickness, and provide recommendations based on specific needs and preferences. Whether you’re a side sleeper, a plus-sized individual, or looking for a mattress for a guest room, we’ve got you covered.

Mattress Thickness Options

Mattresses come in several thicknesses, ranging from 2 to 20 inches. The right mattress thickness guide for you depends on your specific needs. Let’s take a closer look at the different mattress thickness options and who they are suitable for:

2 to 5 inches – Low Profile

Mattresses with a thickness of 2 to 5 inches are considered low profile. These low-density mattresses are typically designed for cribs, rollaway beds, trundle beds, or occasional guest use. They are not recommended for nightly use except for young children.

5 to 8 inches – Slim

Slim mattresses, with a 5 to 8 inches thickness, are slightly thicker than low-profile mattresses. They are suitable for children’s beds, short adults, and people with limited mobility. Slim mattresses can also be a good choice for guest rooms, providing comfort without taking up too much space.

8 to 12 inches – Standard

The most common mattress thickness is 8 to 12 inches, known as standard thickness. These mattresses work for most adults and cater to various sleeping positions. With a wide variety of mattress materials used, price points, and technologies available, you can find a standard mattress that suits your preferences.

12 to 20 inches 

Thick mattresses, ranging from 12 to 20 inches, are best for side sleepers and plus-sized individuals. They provide the necessary support and cushioning for optimal comfort. It’s important to note that most people do not need a mattress thicker than 14 to 15 inches.

20 inches or more

Mattresses 20 inches or more are considered extra thick, deep, or tall. While these mattresses were more common in the past, they are now uncommon and usually unnecessary for most people. Thicker mattresses are often plush and long-lasting, yet their increased density and excessive height may pose challenges when it comes to getting onto the bed.

Materials Affect Thickness

The materials used in a mattress play an important role in determining its thickness. A mattress’s primary layers include the comfort and support layers. Here’s a breakdown of how different materials impact average mattress thickness:

Comfort Layer

The comfort layer is the uppermost layer of the mattress, providing cushioning and pressure relief. It is usually 2 to 3 inches thick, depending on the mattress’s thickness and desired firmness. Softer beds have thicker comfort layers, while firmer ones have thinner ones. Some mattresses may have multiple comfort layers, offering additional features such as cooling or zoned support technology.

Support Layer

The support layer is the bottom portion of the mattress and comprises at least 50% of the mattress thickness. It is responsible for providing thin mattresses with the necessary support and preventing sagging. The materials used in the support layer can vary, including polyfoam, latex, or steel coils. The quality of the support layer’s materials directly impacts the mattress’s durability and ability to support your body.

Choosing the Right Thickness for Your Needs

Now that we understand the different mattress thickness options and how materials affect the thickness, let’s delve into how to choose the mattress topper’s right thickness based on various factors.

Body Weight

Your body weight plays an important role in determining the appropriate mattress thickness. Heavier individuals will exert more pressure on the mattress, requiring a thicker mattress to provide adequate support. Here are some general guidelines based on body weight:

  • Petite Sleepers (130 pounds or less): Petite sleepers should opt for a 12-inch mattress to ensure proper conformity and pressure relief.
  • Average-sized Sleepers (130 to 230 pounds): Most average-sized adults will find a 10 to 12-inch mattress suitable for their needs, depending on their sleeping position.
  • Plus-sized Sleepers (230 pounds or more): Larger individuals should consider a 12 to 14-inch thick mattress to prevent sinking and ensure proper support.

Sleeping Position

Your sleeping position also influences the ideal mattress thickness. Different sleeping positions place varying pressure levels on other parts of your body. Here’s what to consider:

  • Back Sleepers: Back sleepers generally require a 10 to 12-inch mattress to support their lower back and maintain spinal alignment.
  • Side Sleepers: Side sleepers benefit from a thicker mattress, around 12 to 14 inches, to cushion their hips and shoulders properly.
  • Stomach Sleepers: Stomach sleepers need a thinner and firmer mattress, approximately 10 to 12 inches, to prevent excessive sinking and maintain spinal alignment.

Sharing a Bed

If you share a bed, the thickness of the mattress becomes even more crucial. The weight of two adults can place additional stress on the mattress, potentially causing it to sag prematurely. For couples, choosing a mattress that is at least 10 to 12 inches thick is recommended to ensure proper support.

Health and Medical Conditions

People with specific health conditions may have unique requirements regarding mattress thickness. For example, those with fibromyalgia, shoulder or hip pain, or arthritis may benefit from a thicker and softer mattress to provide extra cushioning and alleviate pain. On the other hand, individuals with back pain typically require a firmer and thinner mattress (10 to 12 inches) for proper spinal alignment.

Frame Design and Weight Capacity

When choosing the thickness of your mattress, it’s crucial to take into account the design and weight capacity of your bed frame. Some frames may not be able to support a thick mattress, while others may have height restrictions. For example, bunk bed frames with guard rails or Murphy beds that need to fold inside a cabinet require thinner mattresses. Additionally, the weight of a thicker mattress can impact the overall weight of an RV or camper, affecting its performance and fuel efficiency.

Total Bed Height Preferences

The overall height of your bed, including the mattress, frame or foundation, mattress toppers, and bedding, can influence your comfort and accessibility. Ideally, a bed’s height should allow you to sit on the mattress edge with your feet flat on the floor and your knees forming a right angle to your body. This ensures ease of access and prevents strain on your joints. Seniors or individuals with limited mobility should opt for a bed height that suits their specific needs, considering the ease of getting in and out of bed.

Pros and Cons of Different Thicknesses

Before deciding on mattress thickness, it’s essential to understand the benefits and cons of different options. Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of both a thick bed and thin mattresses:

Pros of Thick Mattresses

  • Longevity: Thicker mattresses last longer due to their thicker supportive base.
  • Comfort for Side Sleepers: Thick mattresses provide extra cushioning, making them ideal for side sleepers.
  • Support for Plus-sized Individuals: Thicker mattresses are sturdier and can better support the weight of plus-sized sleepers.

Cons of Thick Mattresses

  • Higher Cost: Thicker mattresses are generally more expensive due to the increased materials used.
  • Heavy and Bulky: Thick mattresses can be challenging to transport and maneuver due to their weight and size.
  • Accessibility Issues: Excessively thick mattresses may be difficult to access for individuals with mobility issues.
  • Heat Retention: Some thick mattresses can trap heat due to the increased cushioning.

Pros of Thin Mattresses

  • Affordability: Thin mattresses are typically more budget-friendly compared to thicker options.
  • Lightweight and Portable: Thin mattresses are easier to move and handle due to their lighter weight.
  • Lower Bed Height: Depending on the bed’s foundation, thin mattresses can lower overall height, making them more accessible.

Cons of Thin Mattresses

  • Durability: Thinner mattresses may not be as durable as their thicker counterparts.
  • Insufficient Support for Couples: Thin mattresses may not provide adequate support, leading to premature sagging.

Mattress Sizes and Thickness

It’s important to note that mattress size and thickness are independent. The size of a mattress refers to its surface dimensions, while the thickness of a memory foam mattress refers to its depth or height. Here are the standard dimensions for different mattress sizes:

Mattress SizeDimensions (Inches)Dimensions (CM)
Twin38 x 75 96.5 x 190.5
Twin XL38 x 8096.5 x 203.5
Full54 x 75134.5 x 190.5
Queen60 x 80152.5 x 203.5
King76 x 80193 x 203.5
California King 72 x 84183 x 213.5

Saving on a New Mattress

Purchasing a new mattress can be an important investment, especially for thicker models. However, there are ways to save on your purchase. Take advantage of the many mattress sales throughout the year, such as MLK Day, Presidents Day, Sleep Awareness Week, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. These sales offer great discounts and opportunities to find a high-quality mattress at a more affordable price.

FAQs about What Thickness Of Memory Foam Is Best

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Is it better to have a thicker mattress?

The best mattress thickness depends on your individual needs and preferences. Thicker mattresses are often associated with luxury and quality sleep but are not always necessary. Your proper thickness will depend on your height, sleeping position, whether you share a bed, and any health or mobility issues. Thinner mattresses can also provide adequate support and comfort if chosen correctly.

Why are mattresses so thick nowadays?

Modern mattresses feature advanced technologies and materials that enhance sleep quality, comfort, and support. Thicker mattresses may offer additional features such as cooling properties, zoned support, or extra cushioning. However, it’s important to note that excessively thick mattresses are less standard nowadays as companies focus on optimizing performance without unnecessary height.

Is an 8-inch memory foam mattress thick enough?

An 8-inch memory foam mattress can be sufficient for petite sleepers or those who prefer a firmer feel. However, for plus-sized individuals, side sleepers, or couples, an 8-inch memory foam mattress topper may not provide adequate support and comfort. A thicker memory foam mattress, around 12 to 14 inches, would be more suitable in such cases.

How thick is a standard queen bed?

The thickness of a mattress is not determined by its size. A standard queen bed typically measures 60 inches by 80 inches in surface dimensions. However, the thickness of a queen bed can vary depending on the brand, materials, and individual preferences.

What size bed sheets fit a 10-inch mattress?

To ensure a top sleep position and proper fit, bed sheets for a 10-inch mattress should have a depth of approximately 11 to 13 inches. This allows for adequate tucking under the mattress, preventing the sheets from popping off during sleep.


Choosing the right mattress thickness is essential for a comfortable and restful sleep. Consider factors like body weight, sleeping position, bed sharing, health conditions, frame design, and personal preferences when deciding on the ideal thickness. Remember that thicker mattresses are not always better, and thinner options can provide adequate support and comfort if chosen correctly.

Take advantage of mattress sales to find a high-quality mattress at an affordable price. By assessing your requirements and taking various factors into consideration, you can choose the ideal mattress thickness for a restful night’s sleep.

Christine Lapp is a full-time graduate student and part-time freelancer for Sleep Junkie. Since she was a little girl on the soccer field, Christine has had a love for sports, and she believes everybody should get up and get moving once a day. Now, she incorporates her love for exercise into her studies, pursuing a degree in exercise physiology. Christine understands that what you do during your waking hours has a direct impact on your night’s sleep. In our better sleep guides, she offers advice for developing healthy daytime habits to nurture a more peaceful slumber.

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