What’s the Right Mattress for Your Body Type?

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best mattress for body type - family lying in bed

There’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to mattresses. Just like a good pair of jeans, the right mattress will conform to your shape and leave you feeling terrific. So details like how tall you are, how much you weigh, and your individual body type play a big part in what kind of mattress is best for you.

Here are some things to keep in mind so that your next mattress fits you just right.

Are you a woman or a man?

This may seem like a strange question to start with, but it’s critical. Men and women have different body shapes, which can come into play when mattress shopping. “Women often have more of a dip in the small of their back, so if you’re a woman and you’re a back sleeper, you should make sure the mattress has latex or foam on top. That way it can mold to your body and support you while you sleep,” advises Michael Breus, PhD, a clinical psychologist and fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

How much do you weigh?

If you weigh more than average, take that into consideration when choosing a mattress. An innerspring mattress with a thicker-gauge spring will provide the firmer support that you need. Innersprings are also more breathable than foam mattresses, so they can help you stay cooler throughout the night. Other things to think about if you’re heavy are mattress thickness—too thin and it won’t be comfortable or durable—and edge support, so you can sit or lie close to the edge without feeling like it’s going to collapse.

When it comes to mattress materials, heavier people may want to think twice about memory foam, Breus says. Because memory foam conforms to the sleeper’s body, it can make a heavy person feel a little stuck. “It’s heat activated, so it molds to your body and can trap you there,” he says. If you prefer the feeling of foam, look for a higher-density foam with cooling features or consider latex, which is buoyant and breathable. At the other end of the spectrum, people who are on the lighter side do better with a softer, more pillow-like comfort layer that can help make up for a lack of natural padding.

Are you taller or shorter than average?

Standard mattress sizes don’t just differ in width—a king is wider than a queen which is wider than a full—but also in length. Particularly tall people might want the roominess of a California king. At 84 inches, it’s 4 inches longer than a standard king (76 by 80 inches) or queen (60 by 80 inches).

Mattress thickness comes into play here as well. Standard mattresses range from 8 to 12 inches thick, while pillow-top styles can be as deep as 20 inches or more. Shorter people might find it awkward to climb up on one of the deeper styles—especially if it’s going on top of a platform base—while those who are taller will be more comfortable with a mattress that’s higher off the ground. When shopping for the best mattress for your body type, take into account the height of any bed frame or foundation before deciding on ideal mattress depth.

Do you and your partner have totally different body types?

People who share a bed don’t just have to think about their own needs, they also have to take their partner’s comfort into consideration. “If you sleep with someone who is a lot heavier or lighter than you, you’re going to find different levels of support comfortable,” says Breus. As with so many things in coupledom, compromise is key, but one solution, if you have space, is a split king bed, which consists of two twin XL mattresses side by side in a frame. That way each person can have the level of firmness he or she desires.

For more advice, check out our mattress-buying tips for couples and our guide to the differences between memory foam and innerspring.