Just like people, mattresses come in all shapes and sizes. With a wide variety of designs, materials, and tensions, it may be difficult to decide what works best for you, especially if you are on the heavy side. What you may not know is that experts offer some general guidelines to follow when shopping for the best mattress for a heavy person. These guidelines recommend finding a mattress that is deeper than average (25cm or more), has a medium/firm or firm tension, and if you opt for a pocket spring mattress, one that has a high spring count (approximately 2000 springs).
These characteristics and more should be taken into account when you are in the market for a new mattress designed for heavy people, so we have compiled a handy mattress buying guide for you to consider, offering mattress reviews on some of the best available in the UK. But first, let’s learn a little more about your product, so you can consider the options put forth in our guide with the information you need to make the right decision for you.
What you should know about mattresses for heavy people
Mattress design is highly dependent on the manufacturer. Implementing their own rigorous testing and research techniques, they decide on a variety of factors to develop the best mattresses for a variety of purposes. With heavier consumers in mind, they often employ features such as stronger side rails, more and sturdier support slats, more legs to aid in support and weight distribution, and a higher count of larger, sturdier springs.
Proper support starts at the foundation, and many manufacturers offer bed frames with reinforced side rails that come in a variety of materials and designs, all geared toward providing better support for the mattress. After all, the better the mattress is supported, the better the sleeper is supported. The sturdiest of bed frames are made of steel, and encompass the mattress with a robust design optimized for providing proper support and ensuring the mattress keeps its shape over the long term. Manufacturers also offer stronger support slats, the crossbeams that span the left and right sides of the bed frame. These are often made of steel as well, and are provided in varying numbers depending on the size of the mattress. Finally, it only makes sense to provide additional legs for support. Again, depending on the size of the mattress, designs can offer up to eight or more legs to aid in weight distribution. When considering which mattress is best for you, start at the floor and work your way up—inquire about the design of the frame, ask if additional slats are an option, and make a note of the number of legs on the frame.
The firm support of the inner coil
As for the mattress itself, a wide variety of materials and layers have been developed to aid in proper support. But let’s start with the coils. Innerspring mattresses employ coils, or springs, directly inside the mattress, providing the core layer of support. Keep in mind that the lower the coil gauge, the sturdier the coil. Most commonly ranging from twelve to fifteen, with twelve offering firmer resistance, coil gauge is an important factor when considering your mattress. So too is coil quantity. Generally, coil count ranges from 400 – 900, and averages around 700. This is another important number to keep in mind, along with coil gauge. Coils also come in a range of configurations depending on manufacturer, with different configurations boasting different properties. This is a feature worth inquiring about, as some may be employed for maximum resistance, while others provide maximum longevity.
Look for pocket coils
Another type of popular innerspring mattress is the pocket coil—individual coils wrapped in fabric, as opposed to linked together with wire. This is an effective design used to reduce weight transfer, and comes in counts ranging up into the thousands. It is worth keeping in mind that more is not always better—there is some debate in the mattress industry regarding the correct range of springs. Generally, experts advise taking all of the above factors into account, not just the quantity of springs.
Why are pocket springs superior?
The technology of pocket springs is fairly new to the market (old fashioned coil ruled the industry for what is almost a century), but there are already numerous factories both in the UK and abroad manufacturing a steady supply of these.
Pocket coils, unlike memory foam, provide a strong edge support, so more of the surface can be used.
Another advantage is the independent amortization of each coil, allowing partners of different weight to sleep without disturbing one another when moving throughout the night.
How many of them do you need?
The rule of thumb, in most cases, is to go for a higher number. However, anything that is above 2000 individually wrapped coils can be considered a marketing statement more than anything else.
The simple explanation for this is because anything above 2000 coils must be vertically placed, which means adding another layer of pockets on top of the first. There is lack of scientific evidence that such a feature can provide you with a better sleeping experience. Some experts even advise against it.
On the lower end, you will generally need at least 800-1000 coils for the average weight person, so definitely above 1200 pockets if you are on the heavy side.
What about wire diameter and wire length?
Another way of determining the firmness of the mattress is looking at the specifications of the wire. Each pocket will feature a separate spring, which means that you can generally gauge the durability and effectiveness of the support by investigating the wire length and diameter. Both play a role in determining the support.
A longer wire will always be more responsive, but it is the diameter that affects the level of support first and foremost. Take, therefore, these measurements in mind:
Soft 1.2 millimeters
Medium 1.4 millimeters
Firm 1.6 millimeters
Extra firm/ Orthopaedic – 1.9 millimeters
The thing about foam is that it rarely provides the adequate support for a heavy person. The ideal solution would be a very dense base layer that is generous in depth, followed by a memory foam layer placed underneath the surface.
And while memory foam is both cushy and soft, it prevents you from using the entire surface of the bed. The edges, as you would imagine, might compress under the weight, and you would risk rolling off to the side.
It is a good practice, therefore, to combine memory foam layers with other technologies such as pocket springs. This way, you will get the best from both worlds, enjoying support as well as a cushy and deeply immersive surface.
Do note, however, that foam greatly highlights the need for breathability. Otherwise, being immersed into the material, your body temperature will rise very quickly, and you will easily start to sweat.
Combining features together
Mattresses designed for the heavy person also come in a range of layers and materials, configured in a variety of combinations to provide varying levels of support. From memory foam and polyurethane foam layers to synthetic latex and the newer buckling column gels, it is rare to find a mattress that employs just one form of support. The good news is that many of these layers can be mixed and matched, and often come in sales packages that best compliment the type of support you are looking for.
Now that you have some background information on the many styles, features, and materials involved in your mattress considerations, let’s take a look at a selection of some of the best mattresses for heavy people.
Breathability is very important
Depending on the model, heavy people usually enjoy more immersion into the surface layer. If the mattress is offering firm support at the base, but medium to soft support at the surface, this is usually the case. And as you can imagine, it tends to become a problem.
Immersed into the cushy surface, you see, the need for breathability is greater. Otherwise, sweating and constant heat can easily ruin your sleeping experience, messing up your ideal sleep temperature, which tends to rise exponentially.
Sleeping with a partner
The biggest issue we had with our old mattress was that I was disrupting the sleep of my wife. My weight, you see, although not on the very heavy side, is still way above when compared to hers, and it was a problem. Compressing the mattress on my side of the bed, I often made her complain about the sag.
If you are a heavy person, you already know how frustrating this can be.
Without any surprise, we found the solution in a pocket spring – memory foam combo. A pocket sprung mattress would suffice, but you can always add a cushy layer on top if you prefer to sleep on a softer surface.
Pocket sprung mattresses often come with zonal support, which gets even better as different sections of the surface adjust even better to the weight of different parts of your body. The memory foam, at this point, becomes entirely a personal preference.
Having this in mind, let’s delve deeper and scroll through the best mattress reviews comparing one model to another.