It’s not easy being a plus-size person in a one-size-fits-all world. Airline seats, restaurant chairs, doorways, and bathroom stalls are all designed for people of average height and weight. As an above-average-sized person, you know that one size does not fit all, and yet you often have to compromise your comfort because the world is designed mostly for average people. We feel your pain. We’re here to assure you that your mattress does not have to be one of those places where you have to sacrifice comfort because of your size.
When it comes to mattresses, what does it mean to be a heavy person? People weighing more than 200 pounds are considered larger than average. At this weight, sleepers begin to need certain mattress features that are less important to average-sized sleepers. Heavy people should look for mattresses:
- with weight limits that are at least 300 pounds
- with sufficient thickness to accommodate deep compression
- that are designed to be medium to medium firm
- with excellent edge support
- that provide relief from sleeping hot
These features become increasingly important as your weight exceeds 200 pounds.
How to Find the Best Mattresses for Heavy People
The key to efficient mattress shopping is narrowing your choices. With so many mattresses on the market, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. And mattress shopping, ironically, can be exhausting. After a few hours of lying on mattress after mattress in brightly lit showrooms with salespeople bombarding you with pitches and pressure to buy, almost any mattress will feel comfortable – if it means you can get out of there and move on with your day. Chances are you’ll end up with a mattress that you’ll regret buying a few months later. How can anyone make an informed decision under these conditions? It’s time to put an end to this madness!
Doing your research ahead of time and shopping online can help you make a more deliberate and wiser mattress choice. Because you are not average height and/or weight, you have some objective criteria to help narrow your choices. Here’s what to look for.
Check the weight limit recommended by the manufacturer for any mattress you consider. Many mattress manufacturers will warrant their mattresses to be supportive and durable for single sleepers weighing 300 pounds, but some go as high as 500 pounds. Generally, these limits can be doubled for couples sharing the bed. Don’t even bother with mattresses whose weight limit is less than your weight or whose doubled weight limit is less than yours and your partner’s combined weights. Even if they feel comfortable at first, they will not hold up over time.
You can usually find the weight limit for a specific mattress on their FAQ page, or you can simply ask a representative via their live chat feature if they have one.
Plus-sized sleepers should consider mattresses that are at least 12 inches deep.
Plus-sized sleepers should consider mattresses that are at least 12 inches deep. Some 10-inch foam mattresses can work for heavy people if:
- the foam is high-density
- sleepers prefer a firmer mattress
- there is a sufficient comfort layer to provide deep compression support, meaning it relieves pressure points and prevents sinking to the support layer
In general, the heavier a person is, the thicker their mattress should be. That’s because heavier people need more support to keep their spines in a neutral position no matter what position they sleep in. Thinner mattresses simply cannot provide sufficient support for the heavier weight. In addition, whether they are foam, latex, or innersprings, thinner mattresses will give heavier people the feeling of bottoming out in the mattress.
Often confused with support, firmness refers to how soft or firm the top layer of the mattress feels, also known as the comfort layer. The firmness of your mattress provides you with the “hug” or contouring, and relieves the pressure on those body parts that weigh more or protrude from the rest of your body. Think heels, hips, and shoulders.
Above-average-sized sleepers should aim for mattresses in the medium to medium-firm range on the firmness scale. That translates to a firmness rating of 5 to 7 on a 10-point scale, with 10 being the firmest. Anything softer and you will sink too far into the mattress to maintain proper spinal alignment. Too much sinkage also makes it very difficult to move around and get out of the bed.
A note about sinkage and plus-sized sleepers: commons sense tells you that the more you weigh, the more you will sink into a mattress. Since firmness ratings, just like so many other things, are calibrated for average-weight people, your additional sinkage will affect the firmness rating you aim for. Plus-sized sleepers can expect to sink 1 to 2 inches more than lighter people depending on their weight and mattress type. So, a mattress rated an 8 on the firmness scale, may feel more like a 7 for a sleeper over 250 lbs.
Plus-sized sleepers can expect to sink 1 to 2 inches more than lighter people depending on their weight and mattress type.
Edge support helps prevent your mattress from collapsing when you sleep near the edge of the bed. Over time, sturdy edge support can save your mattress from suffering a premature demise due to sagging and losing its shape. This feature is especially important for larger people because of the additional weight put on the edge of the mattress. Spring, coil-on-coil, or hybrid (springs and foam) mattresses tend to provide better edge support than foam mattresses. However, better foam mattresses compensate for this weakness by increasing mattress thickness.
Sleeping hot is not unique to heavy people, but it is more of an issue for bigger people. Larger bodies generate more heat that can be trapped in bedding and mattresses. But even the most luxurious high-thread-count, Egyptian cotton sheets can only do so much to compensate for the heat built up in your mattress.
Mattress materials and construction play a big part in temperature control, even in brands without mechanical cooling features. Lower quality foam mattresses tend to retain body heat more than latex, spring or hybrid mattresses. If you do prefer a foam mattress, be sure to look for one that has cooling properties or construction that allows for air circulation to dissipate body heat.
Our Top Mattress Picks for Heavy People
Memory Foam Mattresses
Foam mattresses can be easy on pressure points by contouring to your body while still being supportive. High-density foam mattresses will offer more support than less dense foam. You should look for foam that weighs at least four pounds per cubic foot to get the support you need for a neutral spinal alignment.
While lower quality memory foam has a reputation for sleeping hot, better mattresses alleviate heat retention by including a layer with an open-cell structure, gel or other cooling layers, and/or a cover that uses a breathable or cooling material.
For heavy people, we like:
$1,099 for Queen | Weight limit: 300 lbs.
The mattress makers at Saatva have created the Loom & Leaf mattress with all the pressure-relieving comfort of memory foam without the heat retention. The secret lies in a layer of cooling gel in the lumbar zone to dissipate heat and ensure neutral spinal alignment.
Available in two firmness levels, Loom & Leaf mattresses are constructed of layered memory foam including a high-density, 5 lb. foam top layer for contouring hug and pressure relief. A dual-layer foam support layer provides a base with enough pushback to stay supportive under deep compression. A quilted, organic cotton cover wraps these 12 inches of layered foam in breathable comfort so you sleep cool with plush support.
Word on the street
- “I’ve had my bed for about four months now and I love it even more than the first day it was delivered! I have two new hips and have had my lower back fused and this bed is the bed for me! This was the best money I have ever spent!” Rexene
- “I am now able to sleep throughout the entire night without waking up in pain. I am refreshed in the morning and can actually get out of bed without hobbling. It does not sleep hot at all either. I purchased the queen and split box springs. I am so happy with this purchase and highly recommend this mattress, particularly if you have back problems. This mattress is a great fit for side sleepers.” Angie
Latex mattresses share many of the benefits of foam mattresses without the drawbacks, such as chemical smells and heat retention. They come in a wide range of firmness levels which are measured as Indentation Load Deflection (ILD). Plus-sized shoppers should look for ILD ratings between 24 and 31. Latex mattresses in this medium to firm range offer superior deep compression support, proper spinal alignment, excellent motion isolation, and virtually no push-back on pressure points. Latex retains less heat than memory foam so naturally sleeps cooler. Latex mattresses are also the most durable types of mattresses, outliving other types by as much as seven years.
For heavy people, we like:
$2,299 for queen | Weight limit: 300 lbs.
PlushBeds’ Botanical Bliss™ mattress gives you the support and durability of latex with the hug and pressure relief of memory foam. Constructed in layers, the Botanical Bliss bed starts with six inches of an organic latex support layer topped with one or two talalay latex comfort layers. The comfort layers eliminate pressure points while the core layer offers deep compression support.
Latex is naturally cooler than memory foam, but PlushBeds goes further to regulate temperature with a 100 percent pure wool layer encased in organic cotton. Both materials offer superior breathability and moisture absorption to keep sleepers cool and dry at night.
Botanical Bliss™ is available in three thicknesses and four firmness options that allow you to customize your mattress according to your weight and sleep style.
PlushBeds offers health benefits beyond the support you need for a good night’s sleep. Latex is naturally antibacterial, antifungal, and resistant to mold, mildew, and dust mites. Because it’s 100 percent natural, there’s no off-gassing of toxic chemicals.
Word on the street
- “My hips used to ache in our old mattress and my husband’s shoulders ached. Not with our new bed. We use to toss and turn all night. Sometimes my hips ached so bad I had to get up and walk to ease the pain. With this bed we sleep all night and wake up without the aches and pains. Definitely recommend.” Barbara A.
- “I am in heaven with my new 10″ Botanical Bliss mattress. Thanks to Plushbeds for making such an incredibly comfortable bed. I have never slept better!” Jana G.
The beauty of hybrids is the marriage of great support with superior pressure relief. The support typically comes from the combination of an innerspring system topped with a memory foam or latex layer for comfort, but it can also include other material combinations (see Purple below).
Innerspring mattresses have the most pushback of all the mattress surfaces so they are able to hold up under deep compression night after night. We recommend innerspring mattresses with high-density, individually wrapped coils or springs for maximum support and durability. Also, the spring construction means these mattresses have the best edge support. Innerspring mattresses generally offer the firmer support heavier people need not only for proper spine and neck alignment but to make it easier to get in and out of bed.
But innerspring mattresses without some additional bells and whistles could be less than optimal for heavy people. Deep compression onto a firm surface means uncomfortable pressure points on shoulders, hips, knees (for side sleepers), and heels (for back sleepers). That’s where the foam or latex layer takes over. The contouring ability of this comfort layer relieves pressure points as it floats you above the support layer.
For heavy people, we like:
$1,499 for queen mattress and foundation | Weight limit: 500 lbs.
The Big Fig takes on the sleep challenges of heavy people and confronts them head-on with a hybrid mattress that is specifically designed for plus-size and big and tall sleepers. Each component of their foam and innerspring mattress addresses a different problem facing heavy people when they sleep.
- Sleeping hot. Layers 1 and 2 are made with ThermoGel cooling technology to actively cool your body as you sleep.
- Sagging mattress. Layer 3 provides a comfortable hug without the feeling of sinking due to its three inches high-density foam.
- Lack of support. Layer 4 provides active support with 1600 individually wrapped coils that pushback against body weight responding to changes in position so you never feel “stuck in the mud.”
- Insufficient edge support. Your Big Fig mattress will not collapse when you sleep near the edge because it is wrapped in a layer of super firm foam (Layer 5) surrounding the entire 13-inch mattress.
- Material shifting. With sixteen tufts for the queen mattress, the layers of the Big Fig will never shift out of place.
- Weak foundation. Plus-size sleepers often complain about premature sagging and deterioration of their mattress. Big Fig solves this durability problem with a super supportive foundation (Layer 7) made from 16, 2.5 inch slats and dual center rails that can support five times the weight of standard foundations.
Word on the street
- “I’m plus-size and my boyfriend is tall. It’s great to finally see a mattress that’s made just for us!” Natalie C.
- “I’m a very hot sleeper, so I expect to overheat throughout the night. So far, with the Big Fig, I haven’t.” Bruce S.
$1,299 for queen | Weight limit: 500 lbs.
WinkBed Plus features a hybrid construction that is specifically designed for heavy people. With a firmness rating of 6.5, the WinkBed Plus offers a comfort layer made of two premium foams:
- The hypersoft foam eliminates pressure points and contours to your body
- A stabilizing gel foam minimizes motion transfer and directs heat away from your body so you can sleep cool
The support layer features pocketed coils that respond to the contours of your body and provide deep compression support. An additional layer of densified cotton provides lumbar support to reduce stress and tension in your lower back. Excellent edge support results from wrapping all the components in a high-density foam perimeter that eliminates sagging and increases durability.
WinkBeds has tackled the issue of sleeping hot with their optional CoolControl™ base that allows each sleeper to regulate the mattress temperature on each side of the bed. The base pumps cool or warm air through the mattress lowering the temperature of your bed as much as 10° or raising it as much as 30°.
Word on the street
- “Best investment I’ve ever done. I used to have major back and neck pain, hoping that a good night’s sleep would relieve the pain but to no avail with my previous mattress. …We bought the king size WinkBed after a good month of comparing and reviewing mattress. I no longer wake up with back and neck pain. The only issue is that as soon as I hit the bed I fall asleep. 😉 So don’t plan on sitting on it while studying or doing finances. I am so happy with my purchase.” Donna
- “I’m updating my review. I have had this bed now for a year and a half and it’s still super comfy and great. I still give it 5 stars…” Topaz
$999 for queen | Weight limit: 300 lbs.
Saatva mattresses offer a distinctive coil-on-coil construction that combines support with contouring comfort even before the foam layer is added. The bottom coil offers a support base for the top layer of individually foam-wrapped coils that respond to pressure separately to allow contouring as well as excellent motion isolation. A high-quality memory foam layer provides additional pressure relief and just enough hug to reduce tension and stress in the lower back. Saatva offers available in three firmness options; we recommend Luxury Firm (5 – 6.5 on firmness scale) or Firm (8 on firmness scale).
Saatva offers excellent edge support with a dual perimeter edge support system that prevents sagging and collapsing when sleepers near the edge. The 14.5-inch mattress is designed to provide consistent support and comfort for 10 to 15 years.
Saatva prides itself on being eco-friendly using only non-toxic materials. That means no chemical smell and no toxic off-gassing of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) which have been linked to cancer, organ damage, and endocrine disruption.
Word on the street
- “We bought this bed in 2015 and just wanted to say the mattress is still as awesome as it was when it was first delivered. We love it and we are so grateful for finding this bed online and so easily. …This bed is amazing. …We love you SAATVA!!!” Dawn
- “I don’t even think about my mattress or my lower back pain anymore. ….And it’s comfortable! No back pain, no poisonous chemicals. It was delivered with 10 days of my order. Made in the USA. I would recommend this bed to anyone.” Helen
$999 for queen | Weight limit: 300 lbs.
The Purple™ Bed is thinner than other mattresses we recommend for heavy people but at 9.5 inches, it is still able to provide deep compression support due to two layers of high-density foam pads. The purple magic is the Hyper-Elastic Polymer™ layer that sits on top of the foam layers. Its honeycomb design eliminates pressure points and allows for maximum airflow so there is no heat retention.
Purple has devised an innovative way to address two problems for heavy people with one super cool material. Pressure points and heat retention are virtually eliminated with their purple Hyper-Elastic Polymer™ layer.
Word on the street
- “I have had my bed for close to 50 days and I have to say I have never slept so well in my life. I wake up feeling refreshed and all my aches gone. One other thing that has to be pointed out, this bed does not get hot like other foam mattresses. In fact, it stays at a perfect temperature in my opinion, not too hot – not too cold…but just right. 5 stars for this bed!” Lance B.
- “Not only did I sleep that first night without sweating for the first time for as long as I can remember, but my wife who is pregnant says it is one of the best mattresses she has ever slept on while being 7 months pregnant.” Jordan
The importance of finding the best mattress for your weight
Finding the best mattress for your height and weight is one of the most important steps you can take to improve the quality of your sleep. A study done at Oklahoma State University indicates that mattress comfort significantly reduces stress and back pain as well as improves the quality of sleep. For heavy people who sometimes struggle to get a good night’s sleep because of discomfort, finding a mattress with sufficient support and comfort is even more important.
We know buying a mattress is a big investment, but we also know that the time and money that you spend finding the right mattress will reap health and well-being benefits for as long as you own your mattress. So, check out our picks for the best mattresses for heavy people and drop us a line with any questions or comments.
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