How Thick Should a Mattress Be?

Written by: Andjela Kastratovic
Updated: 04/20/2023

How thick are mattresses? And does mattress thickness matter at all? 

Mattress thickness is often overlooked during mattress shopping. A lot of people think that thicker is better. 

But that is not the case. While sleeping on a mattress that’s too thick or too thin can impact sleep quality and health, the best mattress firmness depends on your preferences and sleeping habits. 

There’s much more to mattress thickness than meets the eye. Here’s a little mattress thickness guide.

How Thick Should a Mattress Be? – Mattress Thickness Chart

There’s no rule when it comes to the perfect mattress thickness. It all depends on the sleeper; different mattress thicknesses are good for different people. However, most high-quality mattresses are on the thicker side.

Here’s a little mattress thickness breakdown and what you need to know about each level. 

Levels Mattress Thickness 
Low profile2 to 5 inches
Slim5 to 8 inches
Standard 8 to 12 inches
Thick, deep, or tall12 to 20 inches
Extra thick, extra deep, or extra tall Over 20 inches 

2 to 5 Inches – Low Profile

Low-profile mattresses are typically used for cribs, toddler beds, Murphy beds, or other fold away beds. 

This 2 inch mattress can be folded easily, so it is also a good thing to have around if you have guests over. Air mattresses also often fall into this category.

However, only some low-profile mattresses are built for everyday use. They have thin comfort layers and a lack of support for a grown adult. Also, they’re prone to deteriorating. 

5 to 8 Inches – Slim

Just like low-profile beds, slim mattresses are considered to be thin mattresses. A slim mattress is usually very soft.

However, the fact that it’s a slightly thicker mattress than the low-profile one makes it way more suitable for everyday use. They can certainly give more support and comfort than a thin mattress and won’t deteriorate as fast. 

This definitely isn’t a thick mattress, though, and it’s meant for children or lightweight sleepers. Slim mattresses are also suitable for short people or people with mobility issues. If you really want these, a 7 to 8 inch mattress is a better choice than a 5 inch one.

8 to 12 Inches – Standard

An 8 to 12 inch mattress has the standard mattress thickness, providing the proper support and comfort layers for most sleepers. Standard mattresses mainly have a medium feel to them. 

These mattresses can come in all mattress materials and types, so you’ll find what you’re looking for in this thickness range. 

12 to 20 Inches – Thick, Deep or Tall

The more inches you add to a mattress, the softer it feels. Thicker comfort layers conform to the body and offer an ultra plush sleeping surface. Thick mattresses also tend to have transitional layers, which improve comfort. A lot of high quality mattresses fall into this category.

Thick mattresses are usually very durable, making them an excellent choice for heavy people and side sleepers. However, if you’re on the lookout for a thicker mattress, keep in mind that tall mattresses over 14 inches are generally rare. 

Over 20 Inches – Extra Thick, Extra Deep, or Extra Tall

In the past, mattress companies didn’t have the sleep technology we use today to make comfortable mattresses, so they just made them thicker.

Deep or extra tall mattresses are soft and durable but also expensive because of the amount of material used. Also, depending on your height, whether you have limited mobility, and the height of your bed, they might be hard to get in or out of. 

Finally, finding a 20 inch thick mattress is rare today, but you can get a lot of beds that can offer you the same comfort and support with way fewer inches. 

What Determines Mattress Thickness?

Mattress thickness mostly depends on the mattress’s materials and how many layers there are. 

Most mattresses have only two layers: comfort and support. But newer beds, especially those luxury ones, have more transitional layers with different materials that add to the quality of the mattress. 

However, we’ll focus on the two main ones. Here’s what you need to know about comfort and support layers and their thickness. 

Comfort Layer

The comfort layer of a mattress has one job: to provide comfort. 

It significantly impacts how a mattress feels to us, whether it’s firm or soft or provides pressure relief and contouring. 

The materials of the comfort layer depend on the mattress type, but they’re usually made from softer fabrics like wool, cotton, thicker foam, and latex. 

The comfort layer should be at least 2 to 3 inches thick to provide adequate comfort, but it can be much bigger. 

Support Layer

The support layer in a mattress is there to keep your spine aligned. It’s also known as the base layer. 

This layer must be strong enough to support the body but not disintegrate under pressure. 

Different materials can be used to create the base layer. It can be made from high-density polyurethane foam, latex, or steel coils. It all depends on the mattress type. 

The base layer needs to be at least 6 to 8 inches thick to provide enough support for the sleeper. While poly foam layers need to be thicker to do this, coils don’t have to be that tall.

Also, it should make up at least 50% of the mattress. So, a 14 inch mattress should have a support layer of at least 7 inches.

How to Choose the Right Mattress Thickness

In general, choosing the best mattress can be challenging, but, just like with that, selecting the ideal mattress thickness can depend on personal preferences, body type, position, and even the height of your bed.

Here’s what you should remember before getting a new mattress. 

Body Weight

The more body weight you have, the more pressure you put on the mattress. Not all beds are built to handle this pressure, and the thickness of their layers has a big part in it. 

We created a body type scale to make this easier to follow. Here’s what you need to know about body types and mattress thickness. 

Light Sleepers

Sleepers weighing less than 130 pounds don’t put much pressure on the mattress, so they need a softer bed that suits them. Lightweight sleepers should look for a mattress about 12 inches tall with thicker comfort layers. 

Average Sleepers

If you weigh between 130 and 230 pounds, you should look for a 10 to 12 inch mattress. The thickness of the support and comfort layers mainly depends on your sleeping position. 

Heavy Sleepers

Heavy sleepers weighing over 230 pounds put a lot of pressure on the bed and should look for a durable and thicker mattress. The best options for them can be found in the 12 to 14 inches range on the mattress thickness chart, and they should have a thick comfort layer and a strong support core for durability. 

Sleeping Position

The best mattress height also depends on your sleep position. Some sleeping positions require a mattress with thick comfort layers to let their bodies sink, while others need more support. 

Back Sleepers

Back sleepers need a slightly firmer mattress with more support. This sleeping position needs a thicker base layer that offers enough support, while a thinner comfort layer can help with cushioning.

This doesn’t mean that they should get a completely thin mattress, because the best mattress thickness for back sleepers should be about 10 to 12 inches. 

Side Sleepers

Side sleepers need an extra thick mattress that lets their hips and shoulders sink into the materials while keeping their spine aligned. This sleeping position needs a bed with more comfort and extra cushioning to accommodate it. 

Side sleepers should look for a 12 to 14 inch mattress, focusing more on comfort. 

Stomach Sleepers

Stomach sleepers put a lot of pressure on their spine and neck, and it’s one of the worst sleeping positions for your health. But if you’re a stomach sleeper and just want to sleep comfortably, you should look for firmer mattresses. The bed should have thinner comfort layers, more firmness, and a thick base layer that focuses on support.

A 10 inch thick mattress should be more than enough to get the job done for stomach sleepers.

Combination Sleepers

Combination sleepers move around a lot, so the best thing to do for them is to get a medium mattress. 

Look for a bed with a medium feel and an average thickness of about 12 inches for the right balance of support and comfort. 

Sleeping Partner

The more people there are on the mattress, the more it needs to handle. Not all beds are durable enough to have two people sleep on them comfortably, especially if they’re two adults. 

If you sleep with a partner or a child, you need to look for a mattress that is at least 10 to 12 inches thick and can support both of you without deteriorating. Mattress thickness affects sleep quality and health for both of you!

Health Issues

For some people with medical conditions, thinner mattresses are necessary, while others need thicker, more comfortable ones. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. 

For example, back pain sufferers need a mattress with a lot of support and thin comfort layers. They’ll be OK with an 8 to 12 inches thick bed. 

But on the other hand, those with hip or shoulder pain need to sleep on a softer mattress with extra cushioning that will let these body parts sink and relieve pressure. So, their best decision is to get a bed that is 12 to 14 inches thick. 

And also, older people need a mattress that suits their limited mobility. The height of your bed shouldn’t be too tall or short because you’ll have trouble getting in and out of it. 

Bed Frame

Your bed frame also plays a big part in choosing the thickness of a mattress. 

How tall is your bed? Can you move in and out of it with no effort? This is especially important for older people and others with limited mobility. 

Your bed frame, along with your mattress and the box spring, should be around 25 inches tall. For most people, this means that when they sit on the edge of their bed, their feet touch the ground completely at a 90-degree angle. 

Of course, it doesn’t have to be 25 inches for you. Taller people need more, while shorter people need less, but it’s something you should consider. 

Also, look into what your bed frame can handle. It might need to be more durable for a heavy mattress. 

Mattress Types & Thickness

The average mattress thickness also depends on the mattress type. Some mattress types can be thin and provide enough support and comfort, while others need more height for a suitable sleeping surface. 

Here are the four standard mattress types and what their layers are all about. 

Foam Mattresses

Foam mattresses are made with high-density poly foam in the base layer and softer foam, like memory foam, on top of it for comfort. 

Use thicker and denser foam if you want a more supportive and durable memory foam mattress. For example, these can be 8 to 14 inches tall, but you should look for thicker mattresses to ensure comfort and longevity. 

Innerspring Mattresses

Innerspring mattresses have steel coils in the base layer and a thin comfort layer stitched on top. This makes it possible for them to be pretty slim, so traditional innerspring mattresses are about 7 inches tall. 

Hybrid Mattresses

Different types of hybrid mattresses combine different mattress types. However, the most common one uses steel coils in the base layer and has a couple of inches of memory foam or latex on top for comfort. 

Hybrid mattresses also tend to have more transitional layers. This makes them luxurious, heavy, expensive, and thicker. A typical hybrid mattress is at least 10 inches tall. 

Latex Mattresses

Mattresses made from latex can have a wide range, depending on whether they’re made from natural or synthetic latex. Natural latex is very durable and sturdy, and mattresses made from this material are between 6 and 13 inches thick. 

Thick Mattresses – Pros and Cons


  • Thick mattresses provide more comfort, which is especially good for side sleepers 
  • Thick mattresses are usually more durable than thin mattresses 
  • They generally offer more support and can support more sleepers 


  • Thicker mattresses are more expensive because they have more materials
  • They’re heavier and harder to move around 
  • Taller beds aren’t great for older people or people with mobility issues 

Thin Mattresses – Pros and Cons


  • They’re cheaper than thick mattresses because they use fewer materials 
  • A thin mattress is very light and easy to move around 
  • Thinner mattresses are a good choice for older people or people with mobility issues 


  • Thinner mattresses can’t offer the right combination of support and comfort
  • A thin mattress is more of a short-term solution
  • They’re not very durable, unlike thicker mattresses

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Better to Get a Thick Mattress?

The best mattress thickness for you depends on a couple of factors. Some sleepers need a thick mattress, while others require a thin one. 

But no matter how you sleep, there’s usually no need to go over 14 inches when mattress shopping. Thicker mattresses are more comfortable, but there’s no need to overdo it. 

How Thickness Memory Foam Mattress Is the Best?

You can find good memory foam mattresses in the 8 to 14-inch range. But if you’re looking for durable foam that can give you comfort but still handle a lot, look for a memory foam mattress at least 10 to 12 inches thick. Thick mattresses are more durable.

How Thick Is the Average Mattress?

Most mattresses have an average thickness of 8 to 14 inches, which usually fits what people need. A thinner or thicker mattress is rare, and they usually serve a special purpose.

The comfort layer of a mattress should be at least 2 to 3 inches tall, while the support layer should be 6 to 8 inches tall. 

Does Thickness Affect Mattress Durability?

Yes. Especially the thickness of the support layer, because this is the more durable part. A mattress with a base layer made from durable foam or sturdy steel coils can last around 8 to 10 years. 

How Thick Should a Mattress Topper Be?

Mattress toppers are usually 2 to 4 inches thick and are used to improve your mattress’s comfort. They can be made from various materials, making them firmer or softer. A 2 inch thick mattress topper can be enough, but you might need more based on your preferences and current mattress.

And if your mattress is too short, you can use a mattress topper to make it taller! 

Final Thoughts

That’s all we have! We hope this mattress thickness guide helps you choose the best thickness for you!

Remember that your mattress should suit you and your sleeping habits. Whether you want a 20 inch thick mattress or a super thin one is up to you.

Good luck finding your new mattress! 

Reviews written by:

Andjela Kastratovic - Co-editor

Anđela is a content writer by the day and an Illustrator by night. She loves anything creative, but sleep takes the cake – that’s why she enjoys writing for Anatomy of Sleep so much!

While in high school, she got accepted for her dream job – a ‘professional sleeper’. Her job was to test new mattresses from a local mattress brand and write reports on the quality of sleep. Ever since then, she’s been in love with reviewing mattresses and putting her compelling research into ultimate buyer’s guides. While not exploring the latest brands, she likes to illustrate and spend time with her dog and friends.