The main thing we’re all looking for when we buy a new mattress is comfort— but comfort encompasses so many other things, like temperature regulation, firmness, and even body type. Those who weigh 200 pounds or more approach mattress shopping with a few more specific needs than the average weight person looking for a basic bed.
The best mattress for heavy people should be supportive, relieve pressure points, and deter sagging for at least 10 years, if not more.
Amerisleep Mattresses for Heavy Sleepers
Heavyset people need to keep an eye out for a supportive mattress that won’t show signs of sagging. All of Amerisleep’s mattresses are supported by Bio-Core®, a sturdy, thick foam that allows Amerisleep to offer their generous 20-year warranty. No matter the order or composition of layers above it, the Bio-Core® prevents sagging, dipping, or that awful “stuck” feeling so many experience on foam mattresses.
In general, we recommend a mattress firmness between medium and medium-firm for those weighing over 200 pounds, although there is some variation in this since everyone has different sleep styles and other considerations, such as sleeping with a partner or health conditions.
If you are heavy and prefer a soft mattress, we recommend the 14-inch thick Amerisleep AS5. Sleepers over 250 pounds can sometimes struggle to find a soft but supportive mattress, but the AS5 is designed to be exactly that.
Our AS5 is the only Amerisleep mattress with four layers. It includes a layer of Active Flex, a latex-like poly-foam, making this bed comfortable for plus-size sleepers. All in all, the AS5 has 3 inches of Bio-Pur®, 2 inches of Active Flex, 2 inches of Affinity with HIVE® technology, and 7 inches of sturdy Bio-Core®.
When you lay on the AS5, the top layer of Bio-Pur® molds to your body for instant softness and comfort. The Active Flex layer below is designed to be more responsive than Bio-Pur®, so it gives the bed a bit of bounce. The inclusion of this layer directly below the Bio-Pur® creates a soft but supportive feel and prevents a heavy sleeper from sinking uncomfortably far into the mattress.
As we mentioned, the AS5 also includes a transition layer with HIVE® technology. HIVE® reinforces the Active Flex layer above by offering dynamic support to promote healthy sleeping positions. HIVE® feels firmer under your torso, head, and feet while allowing for deep compression under your shoulders and hips. HIVE’s® design makes this mattress especially comfortable for side sleepers, too.
With the help of Active Flex and HIVE®, the AS5 is perfect for supporting a heavier sleeper while still offering a cloud-like sleeping experience.
If heavier folks prefer a firmer mattress, we recommend the Amerisleep AS2. At 12 inches thick, it’s still supportive enough for deep compression with just a little bit of give on top from the Bio-Pur®.
The AS2 is medium-firm, but unlike the firmer AS1, it contains the Affinity layer with HIVE®, a Surface Modification Technology to support your heavier areas like the shoulders and back. As we explained above, HIVE® contributes to healthy sleep by promoting proper spinal alignment and relieving pressure points.
The AS2 contains 2 inches of Bio-Pur®, 3 inches of Affinity with HIVE® technology, and Bio-Core® to help heavy sleepers get comfortable sleep. The thickness of the transition layer offers more support and prevents unhealthy sinkage.
Like all Amerisleep mattresses, the AS2 features a soft, breathable cover to promote airflow and prevents night sweats.
We offer a 100-night sleep trial with every one of our mattresses, allowing you to try your new bed at home while determining if its the right fit for you. Plus, we back each of our mattresses with a 20-year warranty, helping you get the most for your money.
Mattress Considerations for Heavy People
For the purposes of this article, we will categorize heavier folks as weighing 200 pounds or more. Since heavier people compress their mattresses more deeply, they need to consider some particulars that others may not really think about when they’re shopping for mattresses.
When it comes to comfort, mattress firmness is the thing that affects how your mattress feels. As important as it is, mattress companies define firmness a little bit differently— what one brand might call “medium-firm,” another would classify as “firm” or “luxury firm.” It’s hard to tell what firm, medium, or soft really mean since there is not really a standard definition across the board.
The key to determining your ideal mattress firmness is to know your sleeping position and try out a few different firmnesses so you have a general idea of what soft, medium, and firm feel like. Another way to figure this out is by referring to the firmness scale, which many online brands advertise on their website.
The mattress scale is fairly simple— it goes from 1-10, with 1 being extremely plush and 10 being very firm. Most mattresses fall right in the middle of this scale since a too-soft or too-hard mattress would be practically unusable.
|Mattress Firmness Scale||Feel|
|1||Very soft, not supportive at all*|
|2||Soft, sinks down significantly|
|3-4||Medium-soft, sinks down but has some support|
|5-6||Medium, even balance of support and softness|
|7||Medium-firm, has more support than softness|
|8-9||Firm, very little cushioning or give|
|10||Extremely firm, no cushioning *|
*most mattresses are not sold in these firmnesses
Another more technical way to get a read on mattress firmness is to look at the ILD rating. ILD ratings are usually assigned to foam mattresses, but they can be applied to innerspring models, too (although they are not usually advertised).
ILD stands for Indentation Load Deflection, and it refers to the amount of weight needed to compress the top foam layers of a mattress up to 1 inch, or 25% of the mattress’ thickness. The higher the ILD rating, the firmer the mattress. Most companies don’t advertise the ILD rating, but if you’re really curious, you can contact the brand through their customer service representatives or via email.
Heavier people should avoid mattresses that fall on the extreme ends of the spectrum— that is, super-firm or super-soft beds. Very firm mattresses are made with few comfort layers on top, and so if a heavier person sleeps on a bed with two layers, they will most likely come in contact with the super-firm high-density foam layer (which is not meant to be felt).
Conversely, a soft mattress contains thicker comfort layers, which can put a heavier sleeper at risk for misaligning their spine, back, or shoulders, leading to pain because they will sink down too far. So, which firmness is best for heavier people? It depends on the mattress type and sleeping position, but in general, we recommend a mattress somewhere between medium and medium-firm.
Mattress Type and Construction
You’ve probably been sleeping on your current mattress for a while, and whether you realize it or not, your body has gotten used to the way it feels (even if it feels uncomfortable). When you’re ready for a new mattress, consider all the different types and their materials so you can sleep comfortably.
The basic innerspring mattress has been around for a long time, and it’s usually the mattress type that comes to mind when we imagine a basic bed. Innersprings all have the same basic construction: a steel coil base layer underneath a few inches of foam and then a pillow top or Euro top cushion. Of course, this construction can vary across brands, but all innersprings have coils in their base and some type of cushioning on top.
Basic Innerspring Mattress Construction
|Quilted top layer||1-2 inch pillow top or Euro top (usually a quilted layer of foam; Euro-tops are typically higher quality and more expensive than pillow tops).|
|Comfort Layer||1-3 inches of memory foam, poly-foam, or latex foam.|
|Support Layer||7-8 inches of steel coils, sometimes individually wrapped in fabric. Coil type and coil count vary.|
Innerspring mattresses feel firm because they contain much less foam than memory foam, latex, or hybrid beds. They are also the bounciest, most responsive mattress type, which some people like, but it tends to create sagging and motion transfer— two qualities making innersprings less durable.
Heavier people should carefully consider durability when mattress shopping. Their mattresses will need to support more weight than average without sagging, breaking down, or flattening. Essentially, a high-quality mattress should perform well no matter how much weight is compressing it.
We’ll discuss mattress lifespan and durability in a later section, but keep in mind that innerspring mattresses have the shortest lifespan of any mattress type— customers report sagging after only 5 years of use.
Are innerspring mattresses good for heavy people? It depends on the firmness and the strength of the coil base layer. If the innerspring uses high-gauge (thin) coils, it will most likely break down faster than one that uses low-gauge (thick) coils. Additionally, innersprings that incorporate latex and memory foam will most likely last longer than those made with poly-foam.
If you’re interested in an innerspring mattress and you weigh above 200 pounds, look for one with low-gauge, wrapped coils in the base and a high-quality comfort layer. Additionally, choose one that rates between medium-soft and medium-firm.
Memory foam mattresses are the latest trend, made even more popular by the bed-in-a-box revolution that cuts out mattress salesmen and showrooms and replaces it with a convenient sleep trial, free shipping, and overall higher customer satisfaction.
Memory foam, also known as viscoelastic foam, starts as polyurethane foam and then other materials are added to make it pressure-relieving and close-conforming. Memory foam is soft to the touch, so heavy sleepers may be wary of sleeping on it; however, memory foam beds are most often made with dense, sturdy cores that prevent too much sagging.
Memory foam is known to trap heat, which can be another concern for heavier people as they will sink further down and can feel “stuck” in the mattress. A memory foam mattress made with cooling technologies, such as gel memory foam, advanced open-cell foam, or even foam infused with charcoal or graphite, can mitigate this issue.
Basic Memory Foam Mattress Construction
|Comfort layer||1-3 inches of soft memory foam (the thinner this layer, the firmer the bed)|
|Transition foam layer*||1-3 inches of foam, often egg-crate or convoluted foam, to buffer between the soft and hard layers|
|Support layer||7-8 inches of stiff, dense foam to support the softer layers above|
*this layer is not always present
Are memory foam mattresses good for heavy people? Yes, memory foam mattresses can be excellent for heavy people as long as they have sturdy support cores and some temperature regulation incorporated into the mattress. Choose a memory foam mattress that is either medium-firm or medium-soft for the best comfort level.
You’ve probably used latex before in some capacity— from rubber gloves to kitchen appliances, latex is practically everywhere! It’s even in mattresses. Natural latex is extracted from the sap of a rubber tree and then processed using either the Talalay or Dunlop method to create an extremely durable, responsive mattress.
Heavier people need a mattress that maintains its quality from day one. Latex mattresses have the highest lifespan of any mattress type— some can last for up to 15 years, while the average latex bed lasts 8-10 years. Latex has the same pressure relief of memory foam, but it has a slightly firmer feel, which could make it ideal for some heavy sleepers.
Basic Latex Foam Mattress Construction
|Comfort layer||1-3 inches of soft latex foam (usually Talalay latex)|
|Transition layer||1-3 inches of transition foam to buffer between hard and soft layers (could be latex or another type of foam)|
|Support layer||7-8 inches of dense, firm latex foam (usually Dunlop latex)|
Are latex mattresses good for heavy people? Latex mattresses are an excellent choice for heavy people; we recommend choosing a natural latex bed, as this will last much longer than a synthetic latex or latex-blend mattress. Additionally, choose one between medium and medium-firm.
Overweight people might have a hard time choosing between the two most popular bed types— foam and innerspring— because one offers excellent pressure relief and motion isolation, and the other maintains an even sleeping surface and circulates air through its base layer. The good news is that manufacturers recognized this predicament and created hybrid mattresses, which combine coils and foam in one mattress.
A hybrid must have at least 2-3 inches of foam and a coil support system to be considered a true hybrid. Some all-foam beds are advertised as hybrids because they combine latex or memory foam, but these are not really hybrids. A true hybrid is 50% foam, 50% coils.
Basic Hybrid Mattress Construction
|Comfort layer||At least 2-3 inches of memory foam, latex foam, poly-foam, or a combination|
|Transition layer||1-2 inches of foam|
|Support layer||8 inches of coils, often individually wrapped in fabric for better motion transfer|
Are hybrid mattresses good for heavy people? Yes, hybrid mattresses are a good option for heavy people as long as they are at least 12 inches thick and are available in a few different firmness choices. Take care to choose one with a comfort layer at least 2-3 inches thick so you can enjoy pressure relief along with the support of the coils in the base.
One of the most important things larger sleepers should consider while they mattress-shop is their sleeping position, as this can affect the overall feel of the mattress just as much as the firmness and mattress type.
Most of us are either side sleepers or combination sleepers, meaning we switch between two or more positions throughout the night. Side sleepers maintain relatively healthy spinal alignment as long as the legs and arms aren’t bent too far upwards. The best mattresses for side sleepers are usually medium to medium-soft since they cushion pressure points properly. If you’re heavyset and you sleep on your side, the Amerisleep AS3 or AS4 could be a good fit for you.
Both of them contain responsive Bio-Pur® and the Affinity layer with HIVE®, which keeps the sleeper on top of the mattress without sinking down too far.
We do not recommend sleeping on the stomach unless you’re on a very firm mattress. That’s because the neck, hips, and back are prone to twisting sideways while gravity presses down on the spine, causing it to bow up or down. In short, sleeping on the stomach puts you at the highest risk for pain or injury.
Heavy stomach sleepers should sleep on a mattress with just a little bit of give, like the Amerisleep AS2. This model is not as thin as the firmest model, the AS1, so it will offer plenty of support with just a little bit of cushioning.
Back sleepers are in a good position for spinal alignment, but those who sleep this way are more prone to snoring than the other sleeping positions. Additionally, heavier sleepers are more likely to have sleep breathing disorders, such as sleep apnea.
In short, heavyset back sleepers have the highest risk of developing SBDs (sleep breathing disorders). To avoid this, they should choose a medium-firm or medium mattress like the Amerisleep AS2 or AS3. Usually, the best mattresses for back pain are medium to medium-firm, as well.
Thickness isn’t a major consideration for most people when mattress shopping because we assume that the mattress we choose will be thick enough for our needs. For heavier people, mattress thickness can affect the overall lifespan of the bed, so they need to make sure their bed is not too thin.
For anyone above 200 pounds, we recommend a mattress at least 12 inches thick. Note that some firm mattresses are as thin as 10 inches. We don’t suggest sleeping on a bed this thin, simply because you’re more likely to feel the hard, core layer when you lay down. Choose a mattress with at least three layers— a comfort layer, transition layer, and durable base layer.
If you weigh over 300 pounds, consider a 14-inch mattress. The more weight that’s pressing down on the mattress, the faster it will break down— that’s why a mattress with more layers is a better choice for heavier people.
On average, most mattresses are at least 12 inches thick, so it shouldn’t be a problem finding one this height. Thicker mattresses (14+ inches) are usually softer because they incorporate more layers and material, and as such, they can cost more. Keep all of these things in mind as you search for the best mattress.
Choosing a mattress is one thing, but you’ll also need to think about what you put it on. The foundation can change the feel of your mattress drastically— using an incompatible base can even decrease the lifespan of your mattress and void your warranty.
Your mattress foundation has to support your weight and the weight of your mattress. A high-quality foundation should not affect the feel of the mattress in any way.
|Mattress Type||Best Foundation|
|Memory Foam||Platform or slats (slats should be no more than 3 inches apart)|
|Latex Foam||Slatted, metal (gaps or slats should be no more than 3 inches apart)|
Memory foam works best on a platform or slatted base; slatted bases in particularly allow air to move through the bottom of the mattress, which is a special concern with memory foam. Latex and hybrid beds can be used on slatted or metal foundations, while innersprings are best used with box springs. We do not recommend using foam beds (both memory foam and latex) on box springs since the gaps will cause the foam to sag and deteriorate faster.
Lifespan, Durability, and Warranties
Your body weight can affect how long your mattress lasts if you buy a low-quality bed— more weight pressing down on a flimsy mattress means you’ll be throwing it out sooner than later. Always look for a mattress made with high-quality materials and a generous warranty.
The warranty can give you a hint as to how long the brand expects their mattress to last— a 10-year warranty is the standard, but some companies offer 20 years or more. That 10-year period lines up with the average life expectancy of most mattresses (around 10 years), although there is some variance depending on the mattress type and quality of materials.
|Mattress Type||Average Lifespan|
|Memory Foam||7-8 years|
|Latex Foam||8-10 years|
*note that these are averages and a lower-quality mattress may last even less than the time listed here
To ensure your mattress lasts for the entire period of the warranty (and beyond), take care of it. Place a mattress protector or an encasement on the mattress as soon as you get it; this will prevent dust mites, bed bugs, and stains from damaging your bed. Do not use it on an incompatible foundation; if you’re unsure which foundations are best for your new mattress, check the mattress warranty or website.
In addition to using a mattress protector, try rotating your mattress every few months. Keep in mind that you cannot flip most mattresses since that will completely change the order of the layers and thus, the feel of the mattress.
Before you fall asleep every night, your body temperature drops ever so slightly. If your sleep environment disrupts this process, making you wake up overheated and uncomfortable, you may develop recurring sleep problems such as insomnia.
Heavier people are especially prone to overheating on their mattresses since they sink further down into the surface. Then, the comfort layers in the mattress are likely to conform closely to their bodies, heating them up. To avoid this, choose a mattress with breathable materials and cooling technologies to draw heat away from the body.
Common cooling features in mattresses include:
- Phase-changing material: A textile that responds to your body temperature: when you’re hot, the fabric cools down, and when you’re cold, it warms up.
- Gel-foam: The most popular cooling foam these days is gel memory foam. Gel foams are either infused with gel during the molding process or dotted with ceramic gel beads. Gel-foam is often effective for the first few months, but its effects can wear out after a time.
- Copper, graphite, or charcoal: Besides gel, you will often see these materials included in foam beds to draw heat away from the sleeper. Like gel, they are effective at first, but their efficacy fades after a while.
- Innerspring coils: Innerspring and hybrid mattresses have a coil base layer, which is naturally more cooling than the layers of foam found in memory foam or latex mattresses. Remember that while innersprings and hybrids are naturally more cooling, they do not offer as much pressure relief as latex or memory foam.
Which mattress is the most cooling? Innersprings and hybrids are naturally more cooling than foam mattresses, but they do not offer as much pressure relief. If you want the pressure relief and contouring of memory foam, just find a brand that uses cooling technologies in their foams.
Sleep Trials and Returns
Almost all bed in a box mattress brands, like Amerisleep, offer a sleep trial period with your mattress purchase. This is a great benefit for heavier sleepers who need adequate time to get used to the firmness level and overall feel of their mattress.
The average sleep trial lasts around 90-100 days; that’s at least 3 months to adjust to the bed and decide if it’s right for you. If you decide to send the mattress back within this time frame, the company will most often give you a full refund and they will pick up the mattress for you. Always read the return policies before committing to a purchase; not all brands offer free pickup, and some don’t have very generous sleep trials.
We recommend choosing a mattress with at least a 90-day sleep trial and free returns. If you’re concerned about environmental impact, look for a company that donates or recycles returned mattresses.
If you’re still unfamiliar with the company policies after scouring the website, read mattress reviews or customer feedback on the website; these will usually give you a more complete picture of the company’s reputation.
You should expect to spend around $800-$1200 for a high-quality queen size mattress. The cost will depend on a few factors, but if you’re a heavier sleeper, you will probably need to spend a bit more than the average person because you’ll be looking for a thick mattress with cooling technologies and plenty of support. These features can make the price of a mattress go up.
Best Mattress Size for Heavy Sleepers
Most mattresses are available in a wide variety of sizes, from twin to California king. However, heavier sleepers will most likely skip over the smaller-sized beds in favor of those with more surface area. We suggest heavier people choose a mattress in one of these sizes:
- Full Size: 53 inches wide by 75 inches long
- Queen Size: 60 inches wide by 80 inches long
- King Size: 76 inches wide by 80 inches long
- California King Size: 72 inches wide by 84 inches long
If you share your bed, we recommend choosing nothing smaller than a queen size mattress.
Can a heavy person sleep comfortably on a foam mattress?
One of the most important considerations heavier people will need to think about when they buy a mattress is pressure relief, which foam mattresses excel at. However, foam is known to trap heat and it’s more close-conforming than innersprings or hybrids.
We believe anyone can sleep comfortably on a foam mattress, no matter their weight or sleeping position. Make sure to choose a breathable foam mattress with good motion isolation (which relates to the strength of the high-density base layer) and cooling properties if needed.
What type of mattress is best for heavy people?
The best type of mattress for heavy people is one with motion isolation, temperature regulation, a strong support layer, and a height of at least 12 inches thick. Many mattress types encompass these qualities, so it can be hard to narrow down the “best” one for you and your needs.
If you’re stuck between two good mattress options, look at the warranty. The warranty will tell you how long the company expects their mattresses to last— if it’s not at least 10 years, move on. Be aware that lengthy warranties, such as lifetime warranties, are more of a marketing tactic than a quality guarantee. Most mattresses, no matter how well-made, do not last a lifetime unless they sit in a room unused.
What is the weight limit on a mattress?
All mattresses have a weight capacity, but it’s not a huge concern since almost all manufacturers make sure their mattresses can support a significant amount of weight. Instead, pay attention to the layers and composition of the mattress— if they are made with low-quality materials, such as thin coils or poly-foam, they will most likely break down faster under more weight.
How firm should a mattress be for heavy people?
In general, we recommend heavy people choose a mattress between medium and medium-firm. However, if you sleep on your side, you may prefer a softer mattress. If this is the case, choose a soft bed with many layers and a supportive base, like the Amerisleep AS5.
Do larger people need edge support?
Edge support is usually added stitching or material around the edge of the bed to keep the user contained on the mattress. Edge support can be a concern for heavy sleepers, but for most, it’s not a huge priority. Added edge support means you’ll be less likely to fall off the bed, but it also takes up more surface area, so you’ll have less room to roll around. Most beds without built-in edge support have extra support in other areas, such as a supportive base.
Which mattress is best for heavy people?
If you are a back or stomach sleeper and you weigh more than 200 pounds, we recommend the Amerisleep AS2. It’s 12 inches thick and has just the right amount of give and support to keep you comfortable all night. The Bio-Pur® layer is five times more responsive and ten times more breathable than traditional memory foam.
If you’re heavier and you sleep on your side or switch between multiple positions in the night, the AS5 could be just the right fit for you. It has four layers— more than any other Amerisleep mattress— plus the Active Flex layer, a responsive foam that keeps you supported on the mattress despite its plush comfort layers.
Everyone Deserves a Good Night’s Rest
No matter your weight, sleeping position, health conditions, or budget, you should be able to find a high-quality mattress that supports you for years to come. Heavier people may need to do some extra research when searching for a new bed, but it’s possible to come out the other side with a comfortable, durable mattress that checks all your boxes.
This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.