Mattress Sizes and Bed Dimension Guide

6 min read

Mattress Sizes and Dimensions large California king bed with large Mudcloth blanket

Mattress Sizes and Bed the ultimate guide

A good night’s rest is key to good health and wellbeing. Sleeping on the correct mattress, including its size, is half the battle won when it comes to getting a decent night’s sleep.

Choosing the right mattress can be a daunting task, but it remains an essential part of your wellbeing. As a once-off purchase, most people do not consider the state of their bed until the backaches become unbearable. Only then will they go shopping for a new bed, and very few people will actually measure their bedroom or take into account changed circumstances that may require a different size and type of bed.

We will look at mattress sizes and discuss the importance of considering your changed circumstances so you can be better prepared to improve your sleep environment.

Mattress Sizes and Dimensions Graphic

Two Country Comparison.

Our research on mattress sizes in different countries provided some interesting results, and we compared the United States mattress names and sizes to South Africa. You will notice that South African mattresses do not exceed 2 meters or 200cm / 78.7in  in length, while the US caters for taller people with lengths of up to 13.5cm / 5.31in longer on the California King size bed.

U.S Mattress Sizes and Dimensions Chart

South Africa Mattress Sizes and Dimensions Chart

Size Is Important.

Space in many homes is a missing luxury. What compounds the space problem is affordability and the changing home construction industry. Smaller, more affordable homes are being built that limit the size of living spaces throughout modern homes.

Competition for space resembles a war zone in urban areas. Cheap affordable housing units are now being developed in many middle-class urban areas to meet the demands of ever-increasing population migration to these residential areas.

People’s circumstances constantly change as well. In many cases, families will move to smaller homes to meet the rising costs associated with homeownership and rental agreements.

Where you were once the proud owner of a king-size bed with more than enough room to sleep in any position you liked, you now have to consider a smaller bed because your new home wasn’t built for king-sized beds. What to do?

Mattress-Sizes-and-Dimensions mudcloth on a California king bed

You need the extra length because you’re built like a basketball player, but your income and monthly budget has now compelled you to live within your means. Moving down a size or two to a queen-sized bed that is the most popular size across the globe just doesn’t cut it for your size. You really don’t want to sleep with your feet dangling over the bottom of your bed, nor do you want your head pressing against the headboard.

This is a dilemma that many people face, and some accept that they will just have to make do with the space they have until their fortune turns. In the meantime, your quality of sleep has been compromised, which may lead to added medical bills for chiropractor sessions to deal with joint pains that could easily have been avoided with the right-sized bed and mattress type.

The right size mattress is one that allows you to rest your head on a pillow and still have a bit of room beyond your feet when lying straight on your back. You should have at least about 6” or 15 cm between your feet and the end of the mattress, so if your bedding is tucked in at the bottom and sides, it will not apply pressure on your feet when lying on your back. 

Sleeping on your side with your legs slightly bent in a relaxed fetal position or first aid recovery position is the most common sleep posture. With this type of posture, the length of your bed may seem inconsequential as you hardly ever stretch out o your full length.

Mattress-Sizes-and-Dimensions basotho heritage blanket on a california king

But changing positions while we sleep is just as common. We will tend to move into a position that we know is restrictive. A good example is if you have a pet sleeping at your feet, you will want to move your leg into the area that your pet has settled into. The same applies if you know your mattress is too short for you; you will want to stretch out to your full length.

Quality Sleep and Your Sleep Environment.

A proper mattress that provides for good quality sleep is a worthwhile and necessary investment. To compliment the quality sleep you are after, you should make a further investment in good quality breathable bedding that will contribute to your wellbeing. One without the other pretty much becomes a futile exercise.

A mattress mustn’t be too soft or too firm. Yes, it must be soft and comfortable, but it must still be firm enough to offer support. It must be able to mold to the contours of your body without fully giving in to added weight placement. Think of a water bed that isn’t filled to the correct capacity and how it will give in to your body weight as the water is displaced?

Mattress-Sizes-and-Dimensions kuba cloth on a California king

The big consideration should always be your sleep posture. Your spine should always be in its natural position and must be aligned with your head for the perfect sleep position. If a mattress is too soft, your spine alignment will suffer, and waking up with a backache will be the recurring result. 

Pillows also affect your spine alignment, and you may wake up with neck and shoulder pains if your pillow does not compliment your natural spinal alignment. Fortunately, most mattress companies have a return policy, so you will have a week or two to test your new purchase.

Mattress technology is fairly advanced, and much has been done to create a comfortable sleeping platform. The choices are endless, but there are some name brands that stand out above the rest. 

The best thing is to do a bit of research on types of mattresses that are designed for a person of your build. It might be a good idea to have a chat with a chiropractor to get a few tips on what type of mattress will give you a better night’s rest.

A good sleep environment includes the right size bed with a mattress that promotes spinal alignment, a pillow to round off your spinal alignment where your ears, shoulders, and hips are all aligned, the right bedding that regulates your sleep temperature, and a large enough bedroom that is well ventilated.

Your bedroom must be a place that invites you in with calming aesthetics that immediately make you feel relaxed. It is important to take care of the mind just like the body is taken care of. Sleep disorders are common, and many of them can be treated by simply having a bedroom makeover.

Mattress-Sizes-and-Dimensions couple under Kuba cloth on a California king

Bodyweight and state of health change with age. Snoring may have never been an issue but may have recently become an irritation for your partner. Your work environment or lack of time and opportunity to maintain the standard of exercise you were accustomed to all play a part in your quality of sleep. Changing circumstances have an impact on how well you sleep.

To further enhance or promote quality sleep, you may want to look into aromatherapy as a way to help keep your airway clear and to work on your mind-body connection that helps to promote better sleep.


Not any old mattress will do, and one size does not fit all when it comes to mattress choices. The purchase of a mattress is a personal choice that is unique to each of us. A mattress is a long-term use item that must be seriously considered before the investment is made. 

Creating the optimum sleep environment depends on many factors where each factor in its own right cannot be compromised without actually compromising the quality of sleep you get.

Quality sleep translates to a better quality of life. This article touches on some considerations to contemplate which may help you to improve your overall quality of sleep and will definitely add value to your enjoyment of life itself.

Steve Watts
Steve Watts

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