A Bed for Every BODY!

Blogger: Terry Cralle, RN, MS, CPHQ and spokesperson for the Better Sleep Council

No matter what your weight or body type, a comfortable mattress is a key component in healthy weight management. Although traditionally weight management has been equated exclusively with diet and exercise, recent research demonstrates that sleep quality and sleep duration are equally important. With more than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7 percent) exceeding a healthy weight, it is more important than ever for everyone to make sufficient sleep a daily priority.

The Triad of a Healthy Lifestyle: Sleep, Diet and Exercise

As with many other health conditions, the relationship between sleep and weight management is a two-way street.  Not only has inadequate sleep been shown to lead to weight gain, but also that being overweight can cause sleep problems. The most effective ways to break this cycle are to understand the importance of sleep and prioritize it, practice healthy sleep habits, obtain sufficient sleep and incorporate sufficient sleep as part of a healthy lifestyle regimen along with diet and exercise.

 It’s Easy – Just Get Comfortable

A fundamental step to take in the prioritization of sleep is to assess the comfort of your sleep surface. A comfortable, supportive, and relaxing mattress will go a long way toward your goal of obtaining healthy sleep. With the wide array of mattresses currently available, there is plenty of variety to provide comfort and support for every body type.

While comfort is subjective and is a personal choice, it is helpful to narrow down appropriate choices in the mattress selection process. One helpful measurement and variable factor is the Body Mass Index, or BMI, which is a standard body measurement guide based on height and weight. BMI calculators for adults and children are available at the CDC website.

Mattress Features

When selecting a mattress, people with a BMI greater than 25 should consider mattress thickness. Mattresses are available in a range of thicknesses between 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14 and 16 or more inches. The higher the BMI, the thicker the mattress should be. People weighing between 250 and 400 lbs. will probably be most comfortable on a mattress 10 inches thick or greater. For people weighing over 400 lbs., a 14-inch thick or greater mattress is recommended.

Natural latex mattresses, memory foam mattresses, adjustable air mattresses and traditional and hybrid springs are all popular choices among sleepers who have a higher BMI. A firm mattress is recommended for sleepers with higher BMIs for support, but if a softer surface is preferable, simply add a topper to a firm mattress.

Look for reinforced edges on the mattress that will promote durability and edge support. Cooling properties are another consideration to keep in mind for those who sleep “hot.”

Nothing Lasts Forever

Note that mattresses will not last indefinitely. The Better Sleep Council recommends that you evaluate your sleep every 7 years for comfort and support to know when your sleep is compromised and it is time to replace it.  It  is not unusual for those with a higher BMI to replace their mattresses more frequently to ensure continuous comfort and support.

See the Difference Sleep Makes

A good night’s sleep is essential for achieving a healthy weight and a healthy lifestyle, and a comfortable and supportive mattress is an easy first step to take toward a good night’s sleep. Sufficient sleep should be a priority for everyone, and especially for those desiring to get to a healthy weight. A combination of sufficient sleep, plenty of exercise, and a healthy diet can make healthy weight management an achievable goal for everyone.

Other Articles of Interest:
Consumers Share Mattress Shopping Concerns
Mattress Buying Tips (video)
The Better Sleep Guide 


  1. Thank you for this great post, it helped me to realise that my mattress was quite old and it was the time to replace it. As you mentioned, nothing lasts forever and an uncomfortable mattress is a nightmare. I ended up buying this mattress and so far, so good! I can’t speak about durability yet, but when it comes to comfort it definitely exceeds any expectations.


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