Why do we need rest anyway? These scientific insights reveal why it’s necessary and what happens in our bodies while we’re snoozing

Originally found on sleepsavvymagazine.com


We’re busy people. Our schedules are jam-packed with work, school, activities, sports, social events, volunteering, parenting, playing—you name it. And there’s always more to do. Whether it’s another project or opportunity we can’t pass up, we need to make time in our day to fit it all in. Unfortunately, we tend to sacrifice sleep first. We stay up later—sometimes much later—to get things done. Or we wake up earlier to get a jump on everything we need to do before the workday begins. But there’s always a price to pay. Is it worth it? Why do we really need sleep anyway?

The body tells us sleep is not an option; it’s a necessity. It regulates sleep just like it regulates eating, drinking and breathing. We can’t hold our breath for very long, and we can’t go without sleep for too long either. If we don’t eat, we can starve. If we don’t sleep, we can die. The longest anyone has gone without sleep is 11 days. But don’t try to break that record because it’s dangerous! Instead, we should follow the signals our bodies give us. When we are hungry, we need to eat. When we are tired, we need to sleep. Sleep is a natural state for us.

One way we know we are sleepy is by yawning. When we are very tired or sleep deprived, the temperature of the brain increases so it can function optimally. Yawning helps cool the temperature of the brain. The mouth opens widely and draws large amounts of air into the lungs. You may feel your chest expand, and your eyes close. Movements like these increase your heart rate and blood flow, which allows the body to cool the brain. We need to pay attention to these cues. An important function of sleep is thermoregulation, or the distribution of heat in the body so we can maintain a healthy core temperature.

Just as a delicious meal can satisfy our hunger and be enjoyable, a good night’s sleep can alleviate our sleepiness and be a wonderful experience. It’s great to wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. When we have good sleeping habits, we look forward to going to bed at night and wake up easily in the morning.

While you’re sleeping

Quality sleep helps the body conserve energy for those times when we most need energy. Research shows that energy metabolism declines during sleep, which, for example, is why we don’t need as many calories when we are sleeping as we do when we are active. Good sleep also helps the body both repair and rejuvenate. Many important restorative body functions like tissue repair, growth hormone release and muscle growth occur mostly during sleep.

Sleep also helps brain function. During waking hours, the brain produces a byproduct of the cells’ activities called adenosine. The accumulation of adenosine is one factor that makes us feel tired. After all, mental activity uses energy the same way physical activity does. Caffeine temporarily can block the actions of adenosine to artificially keep us alert, but adenosine continues to build up. The only way to clear adenosine from our system is to sleep.

Scientists also are using brain scans to show a correlation between sleep and brain plasticity. Brain plasticity, also called neuroplasticity, refers to the brain’s ability to change—for better or worse—at any age. Infants sleep from 13 to 14 hours a day; half of this time is in REM sleep, when we dream. This is significant because the brains of infants and young children are developing rapidly at those ages. Research shows similar links between sleep and brain plasticity for adults, especially regarding the ability to learn and perform tasks. A good night’s sleep helps with memory and recall. Another study shows sleep helps us deal with stress. During sleep, the brain can process an unpleasant or traumatic experience and help us recover from it. When we are stressed or have an illness, we usually need more sleep. The body and mind need rest, so sleep is good medicine.

Too much, too little

On the flip side, it’s possible to get too much sleep, which also can be harmful to the body. Oversleeping—more than nine hours of sleep a night for an average healthy adult—has been linked to medical problems such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Researchers also note depression is associated with oversleeping. Further, people of lower socioeconomic status may have less access to health care and be more likely to have an undiagnosed illness that causes oversleeping.

Hypersomnia is a medical condition marked by a constant sleepiness that isn’t relieved by long hours of sleep at night or napping during the day. Anxiety, low energy and memory problems often accompany hypersomnia. Sleep apnea is a medical disorder that interrupts the normal sleep cycle. People with this condition stop breathing momentarily during sleep, which can lead to an increased need for sleep. Consult with a doctor if you have any of these symptoms.

Just right

As you can see, too much sleep is just as bad for us as too little sleep. Everyone’s sleep needs are different, and ideally, we want to find that Goldilocks formula when the amount of sleep we get is “just right.”

A mattress is the foundation of a good night’s sleep, so when you are choosing a mattress, make sure you find one that is just right for you. With so many options on the market today, this is not a difficult task. Rest-test mattresses in a store by lying down on them, just as Goldilocks did. Getting horizontal is the best way to get a real feel for what it will be like for you when you are sleeping.

If you find yourself dozing off at the mattress store, that’s a good indication that you need more sleep—and that the mattress is a good match for you!


New Theory Connects Sleep Stages and Creativity

Originally found on bedtimesmagazine.com

Scientists agree that sleep inspires creative problem-solving. The question is, how?

Researchers from Cardiff University in Wales have suggested that both REM and non-REM sleep work together to make creative connections, according to a May 15 article by Ed Yong in The Atlantic.

In the first wave of sleep, people enter a light phase and then the heavier slumber of non-REM sleep. During this time, the brain replays memories. It’s also a time when the brain pulls generalities from specifics, researchers say. Part of the new theory states that the brain’s hippocampus, which captures memories of events and places, and the neocortex, the outer layer of the brain where memories of facts, ideas and concepts are stored, work together to replay memories that have related themes.

During REM sleep, a chemical called acetylcholine floods the brain and disrupts the connection between the hippocampus and neocortex, “placing both in an especially flexible state, where connections between neurons can be more easily formed, strengthened or weakened,” Yong writes.

As the brain goes through 90-minute cycles of REM and non-REM sleep throughout the night, the hippocampus and the neocortex sync and then separate repeatedly. “An analogy would be two researchers who initially work on the same problem together, then go away and each think about it separately, then come back together again to work on it further,” researcher Penny Lewis writes in the June issue of Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

“The obvious implication is that if you’re working on a difficult problem, allow yourself enough nights of sleep,” Lewis says. “Particularly if you’re trying to work on something that requires thinking outside the box, maybe don’t do it in too much of a rush.”

How Sleep Changes from Infancy to Old Age

Originally found on sleepsavvymagazine.com

How much rest we need changes over time, as do the things that keep us up at night. Here are tips for a lifetime of good sleep:

As human beings, we need sleep, just as every animal does. But the amount of sleep we need and the factors that prevent us from getting that required sleep change as we age.

Let’s start at the beginning

Newborns sleep between 16 and 20 hours a day. Of course, as new parents know well, not all the hours a baby sleeps are in a row. It can be challenging to get little ones into a sleep routine during which they sleep through the night and their parents can, too. At 4 months of age, babies’ bodies want to sleep through the night, but they don’t always know how. Here are a few sleep strategies to try with your infant:

  • Avoid using a pacifier for nighttime sleep. Some babies start to depend on a pacifier to get to sleep. The problem is that when the pacifier falls out at night, they don’t have the fine motor skills to put it back in their mouth. At about 8 months of age, they possess enough dexterity to manage a pacifier on their own.
  • Play white noise. In utero, babies hear all kinds of muffled sounds and find this soothing. Use a fan or a white-noise machine or look online for some white-noise tracks to download to a music player.
  • Work with your pediatrician to gradually cut back nighttime feedings so your baby doesn’t wake up and expect a bottle.

By 12 months of age, babies should sleep easily all through the night, for about 12 hours. Toddlers will take naps, but those will grow fewer as they get older. By age 6, children should get all their necessary sleep at night.

Moving into the ‘big kid’ bed

When children outgrow their crib and get their first “big kid” bed, they often want to delay bedtime and stay up. This is when lifetime sleep habits start to develop so it is important to get kids into a good sleep routine.

Have them participate in choosing their bedding. Allow them to select sheets featuring their favorite cartoon characters, for example, so they really look forward to bedtime. It is important to purchase a new mattress for your child that ensures she is comfortable and supported during sleep.

Keeping in mind that elementary-school-age children need between 10 and 12 hours of sleep a night, look at the time your kids need to wake up and work backward to set their bedtimes. A good nighttime routine follows the three Bs: Bath, book, bed. The bath will help them relax. The book will give them quality time with a parent or caregiver as they read together. And then they’ll be ready to be tucked into bed with a goodnight kiss.

Teens crave sleep

Sleep needs change again when children reach adolescence. Our bodies follow a circadian rhythm—a kind of internal clock that cues us when to fall asleep and when to wake up. Hormonal changes seem to affect this cycle, causing teenagers to prefer both staying up later at night and waking up later in the morning. But in many communities, high-school classes start early, meaning students often struggle with having to get up before they feel they’ve slept enough and then being tired during the day. In addition, teens spend a lot of time at school under artificial light and time at home staring at screens as they do homework and check their social media feeds. That, in turn, makes it more difficult to get to sleep.

During adolescence and even into college, kids grow quickly. Make sure their mattress is keeping up with them. Most college dorms provide extra-long twin beds for their students, but your child is not obligated to use that mattress. Feel free to purchase one to assure the quality sleep your child needs.

Here are some sleep tips for teens and college students:

  • Make sure to get as much sunshine as you can every day.
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages, especially after 2 p.m.
  • Take a warm bath or shower before bed to help you relax. It’s good to have a break between “screen time” and bedtime to help the brain prepare for sleep. Listen to soft music or do easy yoga stretches.
  • Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet. Shut down your computer and smartphone before you get into bed and keep them on the other side of the room. If light bothers you, invest in blackout shades or wear a sleep mask.
  • If you need a snack before bed, keep it small. Carbohydrates will help you feel warm and sleepy. Graham crackers, a piece of toast or a few crackers with hummus are all good choices.
  • In the morning, open the curtains wide and turn on lights to help you wake up more easily.

Grownup problems

The older we get, the more likely we are to have trouble sleeping. Boston-based Harvard Medical School says that seven out of 10 adults experience problems that affect sleep quality. Women, in particular, experience sleep troubles over their adult lifetimes, many related to their menstrual cycle, pregnancy, new motherhood and menopause. (Read more about women’s particular sleep challenges in “A Remedy for Women’s Sleep Shortfalls” at SleepSavvyMagazine.com.)

Chronic medical conditions that often come with age, such as arthritis, congestive heart failure and depression, can contribute to sleep problems. In addition, respiratory and digestive disorders can cause awakening during the night. Fortunately, when underlying medical disorders are treated, sleep often dramatically improves.

Restless legs syndrome, which results in an uncontrollable need to move the legs, makes it difficult to both fall asleep and stay asleep. One home remedy for RLS is putting a bar of soap under your sheets near your feet. No one knows why this works, but 40% of people who tried it had good results. You could use lavender soap to get the added relaxing aromatherapy benefits.

Because older adults have more trouble sleeping, they are more likely to suffer from chronic sleep deprivation, causing them to unintentionally nod off during daytime activities. But sleep problems don’t have to be a part of aging.

Here are some tips that can help:

  • Let your doctor know when you are experiencing sleep difficulties so that you can work together to solve the problem.
  • If you require a nap, take it during the late morning to ensure it doesn’t interfere with nighttime sleep.
  • Make sure to get exercise every day. Being up and active as much as possible during the day helps you feel sleepy at bedtime.
  • If you are caring for an aging parent or grandparent, the best gift you can give is that of a good night’s sleep. An adjustable bed base that elevates the head and legs might be helpful to them.

Is it Good to Sleep With Your K-9 in Bed at Night?

The APPA (American Pet Products Association) recently published a study revealing that at least 50% of pet owners allow their animals to sleep with them. This is especially true for canine lovers. Sleeping with your dog is obviously something that lots of you prefer.

It goes without saying that it’s obviously a common practice. But is it good or is it bad? Should you really allow your lovable pet to cuddle with you throughout the night? Are there pros and cons or does it not matter at all?

As it turns out, serious arguments are supporting both sides of the debate. Let’s have a look at the debate and find out what is all the fuss about.

Overview of the Debate – Is It Bad?

Dogs are a man’s best friend, and it makes sense to let them sleep with us as long as they are properly groomed and clean, right? Well, while there are strong points supporting the overall merits of letting your canine partner up with you under the blanket, there are also some reasonable arguments for you to refrain from this practice.

We’ve taken the liberty of examining both the pros and cons, and we’ll let you decide whether or not you should do it. Let’s have a look.

The Benefits of Sleeping With Your Dog

Help Us Relax & Fight Insomnia

There is a reportedly significant amount of people who share that the rhythmic breathing of their dog allows people to go to sleep quicker. This is especially true for people who are fighting sleeping disorders like insomnia.

The presence of your pet would promote a feeling of safety, stress relief, and calmness. In other words, your pet is capable of taking away all of the things which are known for keeping you up at night. This is definitely something worth accounting for. People who sleep with their pets can enjoy a restful night of good sleep, and that’s something that’s been reported over and over again.

They Are Warm

We all love cuddling but the reason for which it feels even more awesome to snuggle up to your dog on a cold winter night is because their body temperature is about 3-6 degrees warmer compared to ours. Or, to word it differently – canines are the highly efficient non-electric blankets that would make you feel warm and comfortable.

This is a major part of your good nights’ sleep. They work like a portable radiator that you can put in your bed. Sure, this could be seen as a drawback in the summer but who doesn’t love a little warmth through the colder and chilly nights?

They Fight Depression

If there is one thing that our canine companions offer without a shred of doubt is unconditional love. For someone who is fighting the terrible symptoms of depression, this connection could feel rather hard to come by.

Receiving it from your pet that’s always there, right by your side, is something that could provide a tremendous feeling of support. This is undoubtedly one of the things that people who are battling depression need more than anything – the constant presence of encouragement, love, and affection. These are all things that our K9s offer in abundance.

Feeling of Safety

Regardless of whether you own a tiny Chihuahua or a larger Labrador, the truth is that the additional presence of something watching over you delivers a comforting feel that makes you feel safe.

Their enhanced hearing and tendency to bark at strangers, or unknown entities are all factors which would make you feel overly safe – this is something that you ought to account for. What is more, the sheer presence of a dog in the house is something that brings additional comfort and feeling of safety. After all, you know that you’re not alone.

Why You Shouldn’t Sleep With Your Dog

They Can Disturb Your Sleep

Just like you have to think about the overnight movements of your partner, you’d have to do so about your dog. They are animals and, as such, they have different sleeping cycles compared to ours. It’s known that they wake up every few hours and even if they don’t jump out of bed, they could disturb your sleep.

This is definitely something that could lead to tiredness and insufficient sleep if it happens every night. Finding the perfect balance is hard, and some people just don’t find it worth the overall effort that is needed.

Allergies & Asthma

Now, you might not be allergic to your canine fellow per say, but keep in mind that every single dog carries allergens. It’s not their fault – it’s just the way things work. Every single time your canine friend gets outside to pee or you take it out for the daily walk, he’s going to be broadly exposed to a range of different allergens, including dust, pollen and worst.

They are going to stick in the dog’s fir and on his paws, and regardless of how good you clean them afterward, you are unlikely to take them all off. This is how they can aggravate certain allergic reactions.

Less Partner Time

That’s just it – when you get your dog used to sleeping with you, it’s rather hard to get alone time with your partner. If you want to enjoy a nice night between the two of you and you close the door, prepare for howling, scratching and barking – your dog needs his sleeping space, and you currently deny it.

This is something that might slide by the first few times, but it definitely gets rather annoying when it happens every night you want to get alone with your partner.

House Training Accidents

Let’s face it – until you get your canine to get used to proper bathroom habits, it’s going to get its business done all over the place. When it sleeps on your bed, and it does the funny business on it, you’d have to steam clean the entire mattress. Believe us when we tell you – that’s not a fun experience.

It’s far easier to throw a rubber mat over its dog bed on the floor and just replace it when you have to. That’s impossible, though, when your dog sleeps with you.

You Can’t Switch Later

It is incredibly hard to get your dog to go back to sleeping on the floor or in a crate once he has had the pleasant taste of the bed.

Ask yourself this, though – can you really blame him? If you’ve had a warm, comfy mattress and a pillow with a blanket the one night and you are thrown on the cold tile or wooden floor the next – wouldn’t you feel upset too?

If you decide to go back to crate training, you should be prepared for a lot of sleepless nights, and you can rest assured that you’ll get a lot of whining about it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does it mean anything that my dog wants to sleep in my bed?

It means that you’ve created a habit in your dog. It has gotten used to sleeping in the comfort of your bed and, chances are, it’s going to be rather challenging to get him to stop doing it.

It means nothing in particular – you’ve presented your dog with a comfortable alternative and something that he has a true passion for – sleeping with his owner – the one thing that he loves the most.

How can I stop my dog from sleeping with me every night?

The truth is that it would be rather challenging to do so. Going back to crate training suggests that you’d have to spend quite some time getting your dog to get used to a brand new habit.

This is especially true if you’ve never taught him to do so in the first place. Unfortunately, this is not a pleasant experience, and you should be aware of it. It is a challenge that would probably bring you quite a lot of sleepless nights, howling, scratching of doors and crying.

Why does my dog sleep at my feet?

If your dog sleeps on your feet, it suggests that it is submissive. Even though this might not be the best pose for him to sleep in, it suggests that it has a sense of security. Keep in mind that you are considered to be the leader of his pack, and he has a very strong connection to that.

Your canine will become a shadow of you – it would want to follow you anywhere and embark on whatever adventure you do. But when it comes to basic habits, it knows its place. This is the main reason for which, unless otherwise permitted, the dog will sleep at your feet.

What does each sleeping position mean for my pet?

Your dog is a clever companion which could read your sleeping positions easily. If you decide to open yourself in a side sleeping position, allowing your pet to come close, it will do so immediately. It shows him that you want him close.

On the other hand, should you start turning your back or pulling your legs away from it, the dog would likely go and cuddle up at your feet, acquiring a submissive position as he knows he’s not the leader of the pack.


As you can see, it’s primarily a matter of personal preferences and health conditions. If you have no issues allowing your canine sleeping with you on your bed, it could bring certain benefits.

On the other hand, if you know that you have certain health conditions and you wouldn’t want to aggravate them, it would be best not to go down this path. These are the things that you’d want to consider. Always discuss this with your partner as it’s something that’s likely to have an impact on both of your lives.


Originally found on sleepadvisor.org

History of the Mattress

Comfortable, supportive mattresses are something most of us take for granted. We don’t think about how they’ve evolved over time. Want an eye-opening lesson on the bed history from long ago to more modern times? Here’s something to think about the next time you go to sleep. So go ahead, lie down and let us tell you a story about the history of the bed.

Originally found on bettersleep.org

How Does Seven to Eight Hours of Sleep Affect Your Body?

Why do we need sleep?

People who can get by on four hours of sleep sometimes brag about their strength and endurance. But recent scientific studies show that a lack of sleep causes many significant changes in the body and increases your risk for serious health concerns such as obesity, disease, and even early death.

Sleep is an important function for many reasons. When you sleep, your brain signals your body to release hormones and compounds that help:

  • decrease risk for health conditions
  • manage your hunger levels
  • maintain your immune system
  • retain memory

    But you can’t catch up or make up loss of sleep. In fact, consistently sleeping more than six to eight hours a night can negatively impact your health. Read on to learn why seven to eight hours of sleep a night is ideal.

Seven to eight hours for longevity

The healthy amount of sleep for the average adult is around seven to eight hours each night.

Researchers in the United Kingdom and Italy analyzed data from 16 separate studies conducted over 25 years, covering more than 1.3 million people and more than 100,000 deaths. They published their findings in the journal Sleep. Those who generally slept for less than six hours a night were 12 percent more likely to experience a premature death. People who slept more than eight to nine hours per night had an even higher risk, at 30 percent.

Researchers also found that people who reduced their sleep time from seven hours to five hours or less had 1.7 times the risk of death from all causes.

Sleep helps manage your appetite

Poor sleep habits can increase the body’s energy needs. At night, movement and need for calories is reduced. But when you are sleep-deprived, your brain will release chemicals to signal hunger. This can lead to eating more, exercising less, and gaining weight.

Researchers conducting a study of almost 5,000 Japanese adults with type 2 diabetes found that those who slept fewer than 4.5 hours or more than 8.5 hours had a higher body mass index (BMI) and higher A1C values. An A1C is a measurement of a person’s average blood sugar levels over the course of three months. Those who slept between 6.5 and 7.4 hours a night had the lowest A1C levels of all the participants.

Sleep deprivation also affects children. A 2014 study showed that children who slept less had an increased risk for obesity and high BMI. These risks can affect children as they mature.

Sleep helps your immune system function

When you sleep, your immune system releases compounds called cytokines. Some cytokines have a protective effect on your immune system by helping to fight inflammation and infection. Without enough sleep, you may not have enough cytokines to keep from getting sick.

A 2013 research study found that sleep restrictions increase the amount of inflammatory compounds in a person’s body. These are the same compounds associated with conditions like asthma and allergies.

The researchers studied people who had long-term sleep deprivation as well as limited sleep deprivation of four to five hours a night for a week. In both cases, the researchers found that the participants’ immune systems were affected by lack of sleep.

Sleep helps your memory

In addition to helping you focus, sleep helps protect and strengthen your memory. Research shows that sleeping after learning can help with memory retention. It also reduces interference from external events.

People who are sleep-deprived:

  • have a harder time receiving information due to the brain’s overworked neurons
  • may interpret events differently
  • tend to have impaired judgement
  • lose their ability to access previous information

It’s important to get seven to eight hours of sleep so that you can experience all the sleep stages. No one stage is responsible for memory and learning. Two stages (rapid eye movement and slow wave sleep) contribute to:

  • creative thinking
  • procedural memory
  • long-term memories
  • memory processing

Lack of sleep increases disease risk

Lack of sleep is a public health problem, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It’s known to be a contributing factor for many chronic health conditions, including:

  • diabetes
  • heart disease
  • obesity
  • obstructive sleep apnea

    Sleep is a habit, just like eating healthy and exercise. While everyone misses a few hours of sleep sometimes, chronic lack of sleep is part of an unhealthy lifestyle and can increase your risk for serious health concerns.

Having a poor work-life balance, stress, and worry can all affect how much and how well a person sleeps. These kinds of stressors can lead to further inflammation and health problems in addition to lack of sleep.

How to get more sleep

The recommended seven to eight hours of sleep is mainly for adults, including older adults. Younger people may need more sleep. See the table below for the recommended amount of sleep by age.

Age Recommended hours of sleep per day
Infants 16-18 hours
Preschoolers 11-12 hours
Elementary at least 10 hours
Teens 9-10 hours
Adults (including seniors) 7-8 hours

Adults who report getting seven or more hours of sleep per day


Building good sleep habits

Are you among the many people getting fewer than seven hours of sleep per night? Try adopting some of these practices to help you sleep better and longer:

Schedule your sleep: Make an effort to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day of the week, including weekends. Doing this establishes a regular sleep-wake cycle. It may help you adopt the habit of doing the same things each night before bed, such as taking a warm bath or reading.

Avoid stimulants: Caffeine, chocolate, and nicotine can keep you awake past your bedtime. Alcohol may make you feel sleepy initially but will disrupt your rest later in the night. Stay away from these at least four hours before sleep.

Make your bed comfy: A number of new mattresses on the market are aimed at increasing comfort, including those that have “cooling” effects to keep a person from getting too warm while they sleep. Memory foam mattresses conform to a person’s body, providing extra shape and support. Use room darkening shades, earplugs, or other tools that will help create a restful environment.

Exercise regularly: Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep faster at night. Exercise also promotes deeper, more restful sleep. Just make sure you don’t exercise too close to bedtime, since this can leave you too energized to sleep.

Relieve stress during the day: Try adopting some stress-reducing technique before bed. Keep a journal by your bedside to write down what’s bothering you. Start practicing yoga, learn to meditate, get regular massages, or take long walks.

Apps for sleep: Some apps can help you sleep better. Sleep Genius tracks your sleep cycles and offers a progressive alarm clock to prevent sudden waking that’s associated with increased tiredness. Other apps, like pzizz, provide soft music and ambient lighting used to encourage restful sleep.


Research shows that consistently getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night is beneficial. Any more or less can increase your risk for serious conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and even death.

Getting enough quality sleep is also key to a healthy lifestyle. Sleep boosts your immune system, manages weight loss, and retains memory. Whether it’s setting an alarm or getting a new mattress, you can take simple steps to help you get seven to eight hours. It’s never too late to practice good sleep hygiene.

Originally found on Healthline.com

The Ultimate Mattress Size Chart and Bed Dimensions Guide


Intuitively, the different sizes of beds seem easy enough to understand, right? The truth is, choosing the right size of your mattress can be more complicated than you may think. Does it fit nicely in my bedroom? Is there enough leg room? And many other.

To help you make the best decisions when selecting a mattress, we’ve put together a summary of the most common measurements you will see online and in a store so you can have an idea if it’s a perfect bed for you and your bedroom.

Common Bed Size Dimensions Comparison

Type Size (Inches) Suitable For
Type Size (Inches) Suitable For
Small Single or Cot 30 x 75 Babies and toddlers
Twin 38 x 75 Kids that have outgrown their cribs and single adults living in smaller apartments. It’s also great for daybed or bunk bed.
Twin XL 38 x 80 Kids and taller adults and those who want to use an adjustable bed frame
Full 54 x 75 Good for a single sleeper or someone with children or pets and couples that do not require a lot of leg room.
Full XL 54 x 80 More than enough for single sleeper and for couples that need more leg room but cannot accommodate queen size due to bedroom limitations.
Queen 60 x 80 Frequent choice and a perfect size for most couples that do not need a lot of sleeping space. If you plan to sleep alone this is more than enough.
Olympic Queen 66 x 80 Six Inches wider than a standard queen, it makes it nice for someone who doesn’t want to upgrade all the way to king.
King 76 x 80 Great choice for couples who want maximum personal sleeping space. Check our room dimensions scale guide to ensure it will fit in your bedroom.
California King 72 x 84 4 inches longer but 4 inches narrower than a standard king type. Good for taller individuals.

Small Single Bed (Cot) Dimensions

These are the mattresses specifically designed for cribs. It can also serve as toddler beds in most cases once your baby outgrows the cot. Typical measurements are 30” width and 75” length.

Twin Bed Dimensions

Illustrated image of Twin size bed dimensions in inches

typical single, twin or bunk mattresses are 38” width x 75” length. You’d be hard-pressed to find a bed that is any smaller than this one, other than that of a toddler bed or crib.

Typically this is ideal for children who have outgrown cribs and toddler beds, and who are now ready to graduate to a larger mattress.

Additionally, for those who sleep in cramped quarters, who have small rooms or who share a room with a sibling or roommate, Twin beds are an ideal choice. Day beds, bunk beds, dorm room beds or those found in the guest room often use this type.

What is important to note about a Twin bed versus a larger toddler bed, is that comfort is taken more into account. It’s common that, once you reach the Twin size, more quality materials are used, and more engineering centered on comfort takes place. This is because, the older we get, the more we consider comfortable sleeping to be a necessity.

Twin XL Bed Dimensions Illustration

Twin XL

There are subcategories of double beds to consider as well. The Twin XL is typically 80” L while still maintaining the 38” W. If you’re an adult looking for a bed that saves space and still is a comfortable choice, an XL Twin may be perfect for you.

Can I use Twin XL mattress on a King Size Bed Frame?

Yes, you can use two double/twin XL beds in a king frame. If you are in a relationship where one partner requires a different firmness than the other, usually end up being big fans of this setup. This is because Two XL beds can fit snugly alongside each other within a King sized bed frame.

This is good to know for partners who are tired of the fluffiness or firmness of their spouse’s mattress.

Full Bed Dimensions

Illustration of full size bed dimensions in inches

Full-size mattress measures 54’ width x 75” in length, and these are also commonly referred to as “standard double.” Sufficient for adults that need more room than what a Twin can offer.

If you are in a relationship, this may not be the best choice for you, as the fit will be exceedingly tight. Likewise, if you have a dog, cat, or you have a child that sleeps next to you, you may want to consider a wider option.

full xl dimensions illustration

Queen size mattresses are 60” width x 80” length. Ideal for almost anyone, in that it’s long enough and wide enough to suit most any sleeper. For those who sleep with their spouse, child or pet, it might be perfect for you.

When thinking about these larger types, it becomes necessary to consider the living space. These take up much more room than the Twin or the Full, and thus, the ability to freely move around the bedroom may become restricted.

If you have a larger bedroom, then this won’t be a factor for you.

Olympic Queen

These are slightly wider and measure at 66”W x 80” L.  Olympic queen is perfect for taller individuals, but you don’t want to upgrade all the way to King, but you could use some more width.

King Bed Dimensions

King Bed Dimensions Illustration


A standard King size mattress is 76” in width and 80” in length. It’s recommended that you do not opt for this option unless your room is at least 12×12. This is a perfect option for couples who sleep with their kids or pets and want more sleeping room for themselves.

If you want to compare this to other options, King is same as 2x Twin XL.

A nice fact is that box springs are split for this type, and it makes it easier to carry around and maneuver.

California King Bed Dimensions

Illustrated image of California King measurements


The California King mattress is 72” W x 84” L making it one of the biggest options on the market. It’s perfect for active sleepers, tall people and couples with kids or pets. Cal King is 4” longer but 4” narrower when compared to a standard King.

It is recommended that you have a large room of at least 12’x12’.

Bedroom Size Requirements

Ok, so you have decided that you need a new bed. But, can you actually put it in your room and still be able to open the door and walk around it?

Let’s take a look at the following illustrations showing how certain mattress sizes will fit in your room.

An illustration showing a King type bed inside a 12x12 feet bedroom

King type bed inside a 12×12 feet bedroom

An illustration showing a 12x12 feet room with a queen type mattress

How a Queen type bed looks in a 12×12 feet room.

10x10 foot room with a queen bed inside it - scaled model

How a queen bed fits in a 10×10 foot bedroom

How a King sized bed fits in 10x10 foot bedroom

How a King sized bed fits in a 10×10 foot bedroom

Originally found on Sleep Advisor.org

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