If you understand a few key facts about mattresses, you can improve your shopping success when purchasing a mattress for a plus size person. Some construction materials provide better support and last longer. Some types of mattresses are more comfortable and make it easier for a heavy person to turn and move on the mattress.
Most mattresses are designed to support a total weight of about 300 pounds. Over time, if the two sleepers weight more than 300 pounds, the mattress may start to break down and one, or both sleepers may “bottom out” – when the mattress sinks so far down that the sleeper is touching the box springs.
Key Mattress Features
To maximize comfort, the general rule is the thicker the better for providing comfort to a heavy body. Mattresses that are too thin for the sleeper’s weight will just smash down and provide uncomfortable pressure points.
A mattress needs to be at least 8″ thick to support the pressure on the mattress from the total weight of two 300-pound sleepers. You should consider a 12” mattress if one or the total weight of both of the sleepers is in the 400 to 500-pound range.
You should select the firmness of your mattress based on the weight of the sleepers who will use the mattress. The heavier the sleeper, the further the sleeper will sink into the mattress.
Plus size sleepers tend to appreciate medium-firm or firm mattresses in order to get the support they need.
You don’t just use a mattress for sleeping. It also functions as a base for sitting, as you sit on the edge to put on your socks or to watch television.
Plus size sleepers need a stable and firm edge that will not collapse when they are sleeping towards the edge of the bed or sitting on the edge of the bed.
Mattress construction with springs have a firmer edge support than a foam construction mattress.
Heavier sleepers tend give off more body heat than lighter sleepers. To avoid being “too hot” while you sleep, you need to have a mattress that breathes.
A foam mattress does not breathe as much as a coil mattress; so, it will absorb and retain heat.
Types of Mattresses
Some mattresses are comprised of only one construction material; however, many mattresses combine layers of different construction material. This “layered” approach can be particularly useful by providing the distinct benefits provided by each type of material.
Memory foam is very comfortable since it molds to your body shape. Some sleepers say it is like sleeping on a cloud.
Memory foam is available in a variety of density formulations.
- Low density memory foam is not recommended for a heavier sleeper because it is slow response foam, meaning that it takes a long time for the foam to regain its original height. This makes it difficult for the sleeper to find a stable point to use as a platform when moving around in the bed.
- Medium and high density memory foam formulations are constructed with cell structures and gels that allow breathability which makes the mattress cooler and sleeping more comfortable.
For heavier sleepers, the ideal mattress would have at least 4 inches of memory foam, preferably as the top layer. The density of the memory foam mattress should be at least 4.0 pounds in the memory foam and over 2.0 pounds in used as a support layer.
If you want the value of a regular foam mattress, but the comfort factors of memory foam, look for a mattress that is topped with at least 10” of memory foam. For example, the DynastyMattress Cool Breeze 12-Inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress has 3” of gel foam on top of two layers of 2” airflow form and 5” of high density foam.
Latex makes a mattress more durable and more supportive than a polyurethane foam mattress. Latex is a good balance between the comfort of a memory foam mattress and the support of a coil mattress.
A latex mattress does not absorb heat like a memory foam mattress; so, it provides the benefit of a cooling sleep environment.
A latex mattress also provides good bounce; so, it is easier to move around on than a low density memory foam mattress.
Latex is available in layers and can be used with other mattress constructions. A mattress constructed totally of latex layers will provide more support and durability than a mattress that only has a latex layer above other mattress constructions.
Innerspring mattresses are popular with plus size sleepers since they are less expensive than many foam and latex mattresses and they provide a bounce that makes it easier to move around on the bed. However, A low quality innerspring mattress can provide inconsistent support, often creating uncomfortable pressure points.
On the other hand, a high quality innerspring with two layers of coils (often referred to as coil-on-coil construction) can provide a very supportive, comfortable sleep as well as provide firm edge support. For maximum comfort look for at least 2 inches of latex or medium or high density foam.
A heavy duty air mattress is constructed to support heavy body weights. It can be used on a box spring, in a bed frame or directly on the floor.
There are many brands of air mattresses with a 500-pound capacity. Remember: The weight capacity refers to both sleepers. So, if the mattress has a 500-pound capacity, and one person weighs 300 pounds, then the other person cannot weigh more than 200 pounds.
Look for a thick air mattress if you are going to use the air mattress on the floor or in your bed frame. This will make it easier to get up and down to the mattress. For example, the Big & Tall AirCloud Majestic Auto-Inflate Queen Air Mattress has a 750-pound weight capacity and is a comfortable 20 inches from the floor…about the height of a chair seat.
Shopping Tips for a Mattress for a Plus Size Person
You spend about 1/3 of your life in bed; so, your mattress is an investment in your body’s health and comfort. Be sure you purchase the best mattress for your needs, not just the best deal.
Firmer mattresses will hold up longer than low-quality foam or fiber mattresses.
When shopping for a mattress for a plus size person, consider the specific benefits of the various types of mattresses. Sometimes the best mattress for you might be a combination of layers of various types of mattresses.
Don’t just shop based on price. The lower-cost mattress may feel comfortable for a few months; but, it will not provide the level of comfort you need for the life of the mattress.