Buying Guide: Size Matters

Size Matters: How to Pick the Perfect Mattress Size

Finding the right size mattress is a crucial component of building healthy sleep habits. Most people spend six to eight hours each day lying in bed, and when you multiply that out across an entire lifetime, it’s easy to see this is a decision you want to get right. Whether you want a king mattress you can stretch out on or a twin mattress for the littlest sleeper in your family, we can help make choosing a mattress a breeze!

Five Important Questions to Ask to Get the Right Mattress Size

Did you know the top mistake made when buying a new mattress is picking out one that is too small? And, did you know the average person moves more than 40 times a night, including a dozen full body turns!? If you choose a mattress that is too small, you’re going to alternate between trading groggy elbows with your partner and rolling off onto the floor. If you choose a mattress that is too big, you and your partner will become lost in an ocean of blankets.

Determining the best mattress size for you begins with five very basic questions:

  1. How tall is the tallest person who will be sleeping on the mattress?
  2. Can you fold your arms behind your head without them going beyond the edge of the mattress?
  3. Do you plan to stay in a small bedroom with minimal space for a long period of time?
  4. Are you battling with health issues like chronic fatigue syndrome, GERD or sleep apnea?
  5. Do you have children or pets or are you planning to within the next eight years?

Easy enough, right? Your new mattress size should be long enough to accommodate the tallest person who will be sleeping in it. Your new bed should also be wide enough for you to fold your arms behind your head without having them fall over the edge of the mattress – this ensures you will be able to execute your sleep gymnastics routine. It’s important to keep in mind that the bed you need today may not be the one you’ll need tomorrow, when little ones – or furry ones – want to join you for some snuggle time.
If you’re planning on moving into a larger bedroom space, then upgrading your mattress size may be the right move. Alternatively, if you’re staying in a smaller bedroom space, think through selecting a bed that fits the room and offers enough space to move around.

Which Size Mattress Is Right For You?

Once you’ve thought through all of this, let’s take your answers and try to match them up against the form and function of the full suite of mattress sizes.

Twin Size Mattresses

Let’s start small and work our way up. Who needs a twin mattress? Usually, it’s for either small people (think kids) or for small spaces (think college dorms or New York City apartments). Clocking in at 38 inches wide by 75 inches long, these are the smallest available mattress that aren’t intended to be in a crib. Twin-sized beds are a great “first” bed for children transitioning out of cribs, and they don’t take up a lot of space either.

Full Size Mattresses

Are you thinking about a full mattress? These are also 75 inches long – the same length as a twin – but a full-sized mattress is 52 inches wide, giving you an extra 15 inches of rolling-over space. Unless you’re just a big fan of persistent cuddling, this size doesn’t work well for most couples because that leaves only 27 inches of personal space per sleeper. They do make a lot of sense for singles and teens, and some parents are even opting for a full mattress over a twin mattress as a first “real” bed for a more comfortable fit.

Queen Size Mattresses

What about a queen mattress? At 60 inches wide and 80 inches long, they’re roomier than a full mattress. Queen size mattresses are a perfect fit for master bedrooms that are designed to hold larger beds. This size is the perfect first mattress for couples, particularly those of the snugging variety, as well as single folks who just want to be able to spread out at night.

King Size Mattresses

Have you thought about a king mattress? If bigger is better, then this is the mattress for you. These feature the same length as a queen-sized mattress, but a whopping 76 inches of width means you don’t have to touch your sleeping partner at all during the night if you don’t want to. You’ve got maximum sleeping space, and even extra room for a kid or two, the family pet, a wayward neighbor and whoever else you want to squeeze in. And, the California king mattress shaves off 4 inches in width and adds 4 inches in length. This makes for a bed that’s a total of 7 feet long for taller individuals.

Don’t Forget the Room!

The challenge, of course, is fit. Choosing a larger-size mattress will allow you to spread out while you sleep, but there may not be much space for a bedside table – or room to walk around – depending on how big the bedroom is. You also might need a split boxspring, which is using two twin-sized boxsprings to provide enough support for the weight of the mattress. Mattress Firm has a great return policy, but we’d rather you not have to use it because the mattress you chose doesn’t fit in your room!
As you can see, size does matter when it comes to what bed is best for you. When thinking through which mattress to buy, be sure to keep these tips handy and don’t forget to put our shopping checklist to work when you visit a Mattress Firm location.

About The Author

Craig McAndrews Craig McAndrews is the former chief strategy officer for Mattress Firm. In his role, he led product development and merchandising strategy, both in-store and online. When he was a regular contributor to The Daily Doze, he shared insights on to how make the mattress buying process a little easier, and what is really important when it comes to selecting your sleep system. Craig’s career in the bedding industry initially began with Sealy’s Stearns & Foster, where he regularly worked with Mattress Firm, giving him the opportunity to witness the company’s special culture first hand. He soon joined the Mattress Firm team as a franchise owner, and played a part in the company’s expansion into Arizona. Later, Craig served in a variety of roles for Mattress Firm; and his passion for helping customers “Sleep Happy” and commitment to sharing his extensive industry knowledge with his teammates have garnered the respect and admiration of coworkers and peers alike. Craig graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. He lives in Houston with his wife April and their two sons Ben and Nate. Best Night’s Sleep: His best nights’ sleep happen at home when he is with his family – and, of course, following a Cowboys win.

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