Mattress thickness usually determines how comfortable it will be, but not all mattresses are thick. For instance, foam mattresses are around 10cm thinner than sprung mattresses because they have no bulky springs inside.
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Like-for-like, a thicker mattress is more expensive, and the thicker layers make it feel plusher. Most medium-soft mattresses are also thicker than firmer mattresses because they have thicker comfort layers. But how do you choose the perfect mattress height or thickness?
Another consideration with the thickness of a mattress is bed height – thicker mattresses elevate you, while thinner mattresses put you closer to the floor. Depending on your bed frame, a thick mattress might elevate you too much and eat into your headboard space (making it difficult to sit up against comfortably).
This article covers everything you need to know about mattress thickness to help you choose the right mattress.
Let’s jump in!
Average mattress thicknesses
Most reflex foam mattresses are between 15cm and 20cm thick, while memory foam mattresses are between 20cm and 25cm thick. The softer the foam, the thicker the mattress to provide adequate support.
Sprung mattresses are between 25cm and 30cm on average, but some go up to 40cm for luxury varieties with more than one layer of springs. Traditional spring systems are bulky, so they take up lots of space in the mattress.
Hybrid mattresses are between 22cm and 28cm thick on average – they are thinner than spring mattresses because they have a compact spring system. Some hybrids reach 35cm, but these are few and far between.
Pillowtop mattresses are between 25cm and 32cm on average, with the pillowtop providing enhanced cushioning over a standard comfort layer. The thickest pillowtop mattresses go up to 50cm, but this is bordering on overkill.
Mattress thickness guide
Here’s a quick mattress size guide you can use with all mattresses:
· 8cm to 12cm – kid’s mattress (super-low profile)
· 15cm to 20cm – slim profile
· 21cm to 30cm – standard profile
· 31cm to 40cm – deep profile
· Over 40cm – extra tall mattresses
Which mattress thickness is best?
Which is best depends on the technology in question and what level of cushioning and support you want. A thicker mattress is better in most cases, but it also depends on the quality of the materials and the mattress’s design.
For instance, some 25cm hybrid mattresses provide a superior sleep to 35cm pocket sprung mattresses because they have better engineering.
Pure foam mattresses are odd because they can be 20cm while delivering a comfortable sleep. The downside to foam is it doesn’t breathe unless it is a breathable variety like charcoal-bamboo or graphite memory foam.
Picking the correct mattress thickness
25cm is the commonest mattress thickness for sprung and hybrid varieties, while 20cm is the most standard size for memory foam. Most beds are designed for mattresses up to 30cm, so you don’t have to worry about sizing things up.
If you are interested in a mattress over 30cm thick, measure the height of your mattress base and the height of your headboard. Mark a line where your mattress would come to on the headboard, and see how much space is left.
If you are looking at foam mattresses under 20cm thick, consider whether they will provide adequate comfort – mattresses under 20cm are fine for occasional sleeping. Still, they lack the comfort of thicker mattresses.
Want to make your existing mattress thicker? Add a topper
Mattress toppers add 2-3cm to your mattress, and you can get them in various firmness levels to suit how you sleep. A firm mattress topper will help support you on a soft mattress, while a soft topper will make a firm mattress squishier.
You can also get waterproof mattress toppers to protect your mattress from spills, although these have poor breathability and can feel scratchy. If you enjoyed this article, read our definitive mattress size guide. You’ll also find our article on UK bed sizes useful in your search.
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