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What Thickness of Memory Foam Is Best?

By: Christina Davies
Updated on: April 05, 2024
FAST FACTS

  • Mattress thickness significantly impacts comfort and support, influenced by factors like body weight, sleeping position, and specific medical conditions.

  • Thicker mattresses, typically ranging from 12 to 14 inches or more, suit heavier individuals (over 230 pounds) and side sleepers needing extra pressure relief.

  • A mattress thickness of 10 to 12 inches for back sleepers, maintaining spinal alignment, is recommended, while stomach sleepers benefit from a firmer 10-inch mattress.

  • The comfort layer (2 to 4 inches) and support core (50% or more of the total thickness) composition define the mattress’s feel, durability, and suitability for different sleepers.

The thickness of a mattress is an often underestimated factor that significantly impacts its feel and performance. Thicker mattresses are associated with luxury, while thinner ones are typically more budget-friendly. However, determining the ideal thickness isn’t straightforward. Your body weight, sleeping position, and the height of your bed frame or foundation all define the best mattress profile for you. To simplify the selection process, we’ll break down various thickness categories, highlight who might benefit most from each, and provide key considerations for choosing the right mattress thickness.

Factors Determining Mattress Thickness

The thickness of its layers determines the thickness of a mattress. Mattresses generally consist of two layers: the comfort layer, which influences the mattress’s feel, and the base layer, which contributes to its durability. To select the ideal mattress thickness, it’s crucial to factor in your favored sleeping position, body type, and any specific medical conditions you might have.

Comfort Layer

The comfort layer is the upper layer of the mattress that provides cushioning and support. It is usually made of materials such as cotton, wool, poly-foam, latex, or memory foam. The thickness of the comfort layer on thinner mattresses can vary, but it is typically 2 to 3 inches thick. Some mattresses may have multiple comfort layers to enhance plushness or include special sleep technologies like cooling features or targeted back support.

Base Layer

The base layer, also called the foundation layer, is the lower layer of the mattress that provides stability and durability. It is usually made of coils, poly-foam, or latex foam. The thickness of the base layer is important for preventing mattress sagging. In high-quality mattresses, the base layer thin mattresses should be at least 50% of the total mattress thickness.

Mattress Thickness Guide Chart

Selecting a good mattress matters a lot since we spend about a third of our lives asleep. It should be comfy, long-lasting, and keep your spine healthy. Mattresses vary in thickness, so choose based on what suits you: how high you want your bed, any trouble moving, your weight, and how you sleep. If you share the bed, think about what your partner needs, too, so you’re both comfy.

Thickness RangeDescriptionBest For
Low ProfileRanging from around 4 to 8 inches thick, low-profile mattresses consist of a minimal comfort system atop a support core. They provide a firmer feel.From around 4 to 8 inches thick, low-profile mattresses have a minimal comfort system atop a support core. They provide a firmer feel.
SlimMeasuring 8 to 10 inches, slim mattresses have a relatively thin comfort system and support core.It benefits adults who find higher beds challenging and children who enjoy thinner mattresses.
StandardAt 10 to 12 inches, standard mattresses offer a notable comfort system and a durable support core.Most comfortable for adults weighing between 130 and 230 pounds, particularly back sleepers.
Thick/DeepRanging from 12 to 14 inches, thick mattresses strike a balance between cushioning and durability.Suitable for sleepers over 230 pounds and side sleepers needing extra pressure relief.
Extra Thick/DeepMeasuring 14 inches or more, these mattresses provide ample comfort and support but can be challenging to navigate due to their height.Recommended for side sleepers over 230 pounds and those desiring enhanced contouring and support.

Choosing the Right Mattress Thickness

When deciding on the thickness of your new mattress, there are several factors to consider.

Sleeping Position

Your sleeping position is important in determining the ideal mattress thickness for you. Different thickness levels provide varying levels of cushioning and support.

  • Side Sleepers: Side sleepers generally need a mattress with extra cushioning to relieve pressure on their shoulders and hips. A mattress thickness of 12 to 14 inches is ideal for side sleepers.
  • Back Sleepers: For those who sleep on their backs, it’s best to choose a mattress that maintains the spine’s natural curve. A mattress thickness ranging from 10 to 12 inches is advised.
  • Stomach Sleepers: Stomach sleepers benefit from a firmer mattress to prevent spinal misalignment. A mattress thickness of 10 inches is suggested for people who prefer sleeping on their stomachs.
  • Combination Sleepers: When you tend to switch between various sleeping positions during the night, opting for a medium-thickness mattress around 12 inches may offer better comfort and support.

Body Type

Your body type also influences the ideal mattress thickness for you.

  • Lightweight Sleepers: For individuals weighing under 130 pounds, it is advisable to opt for a mattress thickness of 12 inches or more. Thicker comfort layers conform to your body, relieving pressure points and reducing aches.
  • Average Sleepers: If your weight falls within the range of 130 to 230 pounds, a mattress thickness ranging from 10 to 12 inches is appropriate, considering your preferred sleeping position. Medium-firm mattresses are generally comfortable for average sleepers.
  • Plus-Size Sleepers: If you weigh above 230 pounds, a mattress thickness of 12 to 14 inches is recommended. Thicker comfort layers provide sufficient cushioning and prevent mattress sinkage.

Specific Medical Conditions

If you have specific medical conditions such as back pain, arthritis, shoulder pain, or hip pain, the right mattress thickness can alleviate your symptoms.

  • Back Pain: For back pain sufferers, a medium-firm mattress with a thickness of 8 to 12 inches is recommended. These mattresses offer the necessary support and conform to the natural curvature of your spine.
  • Arthritis, Shoulder Pain, or Hip Pain: People with these medical conditions may benefit from a mattress thickness of 12 to 14 inches. Plusher comfort layers provide enhanced cushioning and relieve pressure points on the shoulders, hips, and joints.

Height of Your Bed Base

When determining the thickness of your new memory foam mattress topper, consider the height of your bed base. The combined height of the bed base, mattress, and any mattress topper should not exceed 25 inches. This ensures that you can comfortably get in and out of bed. If you have limited mobility, a lower bed height may be more suitable.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Thick Mattresses

Thick mattresses offer several benefits but also come with a few drawbacks.

Benefits

  • Extra Cushioning: Thick mattresses provide a plusher surface, especially for side sleepers, by offering more cushioning to sensitive areas such as the hips and shoulders.
  • Support for Two Adults: Thicker mattresses can support the weight of two adults without sagging.

Drawbacks

  • Cost: Thicker mattresses typically come at a higher cost because of the added layers and materials utilized in their construction.
  • Weight: Thick mattresses can be heavier, making lifting and moving them more challenging.
  • Bed Height: If your mattress is too thick, it can make your bed too tall, which may be inconvenient for people with limited mobility.

What Determines Mattress Thickness?

The memory foam mattress depends on how low density and high its key parts are: the comfort system and the support core. The comfort system is the layer closest to your body. The bed’s soft part aims to ease the pressure, shape your body, and reduce motion transfer. Most comfort layers are 1 to 4 inches thick. Firmer beds often have thinner comfort layers, while softer ones tend to be thicker.

The support core is the mattress base and usually makes up about half to two-thirds of the mattress thickness. It gives a thin mattress overall support and prevents excessive sinking. Generally, a thicker support core means the mattress will last longer.

FAQs about What Thickness of Memory Foam Is Best

Are thicker mattresses always the best choice?

Most people like mattresses around 10 to 12 inches thick, but the right thickness depends on what you need. Thicker mattresses could be better for side sleepers, heavier folks, and those who prefer getting in and out of taller beds.

How thick is the average mattress?

The typical thickness of mattresses ranges from 8 to 14 inches. A good mattress usually has a comfy top layer that’s 2-3 inches thick and a strong base layer that’s 6-8 inches thick. There’s often a middle layer that’s 1-2 inches thick. This thickness is what helps the mattress feel comfy and last longer.

Is it better to have a thicker mattress?

Thicker mattresses, like 10 inches or more, can offer better comfort and support. Side sleepers might prefer 12 to 14-inch thick mattresses for added cushioning, while back sleepers may have thicker beds, like medium-firm ones around 10 to 12 inches. Stomach sleepers might need a firm 10-inch mattress to avoid sinking around their belly. But, it’s usually not recommended to sleep on your stomach as it can cause backaches due to spine misalignment.

Does the base layer affect mattress durability?

Yes, the thickness of a mattress’s base layer impacts how long it lasts. A sturdy base foam or strong pocket coils contribute to durability. The high-density foam or base layer should make up at least half of the mattress’s height for a longer-lasting mattress.

What thickness memory foam mattress is best?

When it comes to memory foam mattresses, those between 10 to 14 inches thick are the best choice. These provide excellent support by contouring your body. Thinner memory foam mattresses might not offer enough support and could wear out thinner mattresses faster, showing sags and soft spots within a few years.

Conclusion

Choosing the right memory foam mattress thickness is crucial for a comfortable and restful sleep. Consider elements such as your sleeping posture, body shape, particular health conditions, and the height of your bed base when determining the thickness of your new mattress. Aim for a balance between too thick and too thin, and select a mattress within the memory foam thickness range of 10 to 14 inches for optimal comfort and support. Remember to prioritize your individual needs and preferences to find the perfect mattress thickness for you.

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