February 2022

What’s the best mattress for a heavy sleeper?

Mattresses for heavier or larger sleepers 18 stone plus need to follow slightly different rules to ensure they last and provide enough comfort. Most mattress manufacturers have a weight limit of 18 stone (115kg) per sleeper which means if you are of this weight of above you're going to struggle. This article explains exactly how as a heavier sleeper you can still find the perfect mattress.

Updated 2022: Are you looking for a mattress for a heavy person or struggling with retailers when trying to buy a new bed? You’re not alone.

Did you know that 90% of retail mattresses only offer support up to 115kg / 18 stone? Does that mean if you’re a heavier sleeper there are no mattresses for you? Of course not.

Resilience 2
Mattresses for heavier sleepers need a completely different construction method

This mattress guide for heavier sleepers is going to show you what to look for in finding the best mattress for a heavy sleeper.

Best Mattress for a Heavy Person 2022

There are a number of reasons why you may need an extra supportive mattress. Usually, it’s because you’re over 18 stone which excludes you from nearly all retail mattresses. Meaning your choices in bed showrooms is limited as they usually will just shove you towards the firmest rock-solid mattress they have. If you’re a heavy sleeper the sad fact is most retailers simply don’t have beds suitable for you. What they do have is usually just the firmest of the firm hidden at the back of the shop.

We’re going to explain what you need to look for so you can avoid being simply dumped on the firmest slab of foam in the shop.

To find the best mattress for a heavy sleeper you need to identify 3 areas:

  1. Does this mattress have the right spring tension for my weight?
  2. Is the mattress upholstery suitable for my sleeping position and weight?
  3. Can this mattress be customised for my sleeping partner?

We’re going to walk you through these 3 key areas to help you choose the very best mattress for your needs. Taking you from frustrated in bed to a perfect nights sleep!

Sleeping couple On John Ryan By Design Mattress

How to choose a mattress for a heavy sleeper

When it comes to choosing the correct mattress your body weight and height are vital statistics needed before any mattresses can be recommended. We always advise you to start off with the mattress support system which is vital for all sleepers, not just heavier ones. This support is always tailored to your weight so if you skip this step the chances of finding the right mattress are very slim.

Look at the table below to work out which spring or support tension you need based on your body weight.

Spring TensionWire diameter (Gauge)Weight Range
Soft1.2mmBespoke Tension (Please Call)
Medium1.4mmUpto 16 stone
Firm1.6mm16 stone plus
Extra Firm / Orthopaedic1.9mm20 stone plus

Then it’s time to look at the upholstery layers on top of the mattress to work out what comfort layer it will provide. We will discuss the comfort layers and mattress fibres next to help explain what to look for.

John Ryan Calico encased mattress springs

What are the best mattress fillings for a heavy sleeper?

It’s not just the support part f a mattress that heavier sleepers need to pay particular attention to but the mattress upholstery or fillings. These mattress fillings are often referred to as the comfort layer of a mattress. There can be hundreds of different brand terms for these comfort layers making it really confusing when looking for a new mattress. There are a few you probably want to avoid as well as they are simply not suitable for heavier sleepers.

But don’t worry there are plenty of fillings that are fantastic in keeping you comfy in bed. All leading to a perfect nights sleep.

Upholstery LayerFibre TypeHow it will feel?Suitable for heavier sleepers?
PolyesterSyntheticSuper SoftWith other fibres
White FibreSyntheticSoftWith other fibres
Recycled Fibre / Eco FibreSyntheticMediumYes
Memory FoamSyntheticMedium/FirmNo
Igel / Hybrid FoamSyntheticMedium/FirmWith other fibres
Wool (Pure)NaturalSoft/MediumYes
Cotton (Pure)NaturalSoftYes
Latex (100% Natural)NaturalMedium/FirmYes
Coarse CashmereNaturalFirmYes
BambooNaturalSuper SoftWith other fibres
Horsetail NaturalFirmYes
AlpacaNaturalSoftWith other fibres
Cashmere (Pure)NaturalSoftWith other fibres

It’s important when looking at fibres that you know which order they are in, usually firmer to softer as they layer up towards the top layer of the mattress. It’s also crucial you know the GSM (grams per square meter) of the fibres in any mattress you’re looking at. Softer fibres are fine providing they are deep enough (ie a sizable 500gsm or higher) plus they have other supporting fibres to stop them compressing so quickly. Have a look below at suitable fibres for heavier sleepers.

White cashmere cross section


What’s the best mattress for a heavy sleeper UK?

The answer to this is one that is both supportive and has adequate upholstery layers to offer comfort.

Most retailers just focus on spring support and ignore comfort when it comes to heavy sleeper beds. However, we find this unfair. Now that you know what spring tension you need and how different fibres will feel it’s time to start looking for comparable models and avoiding unsuitable beds.

Upholstery comfort layers are key to a decent night sleep regardless of your weight. Don’t just settle for reflex foam or some extra firm polyester. There are plenty of suitable luxury fibres too!

What to look for as a heavy sleeper:

  • Choose a mattress with a 1.6 gauge Firm or 1.9 gauge Extra Firm Pocket Spring
  • Ensure adequate firmer support layers like Reflex Foam, Horsehair, Flax or Coir
  • Choose a mattress that is at least 27cm -33cm deep.
  • Avoid cheap one-sided memory foam mattresses.
  • Look for a 2000 pocket spring count for extra support
  • Mattresses can be paired with removable toppers which can be replaced after a few years rather than the entire mattress.

Natural sleep with wooden Headboard

Top 3 mattresses for heavier sleepers

If you’re a heavy sleeper then you are going to need specific support in a mattress that can accommodate 115kg plus per sleeper. Usually, these mattresses are well hidden in retailers who will try and plonk you onto a firm spring tension bed and hope for the best.

However, you’re going to need more than a 1.6 gauge pocket spring. You also need mattress upholstery (ie the comfort layers) that can both offer support but also accommodate your needs. As a starter for ten the three models below all offer suitable comfort layers and support for the heavier sleeper.

  1. Artisan Bespoke (Extra Firm Spring as a bespoke order)
  2. Resilience 1
  3. Resilience 2

Artisan Bespoke full bed

Beds for Larger Sleepers

Mattress retailers do not accommodate bigger sleepers. This is defined by us as anyone over 20 stone. Most mattress ranges limit the weight to 18 stone or 252lbs with a combined weight of 30 stone. As you can understand the heavier the sleeper the more stress is put on the mattress which if exceeded causes the mattress to fail, dip or reduce its lifespan.

Retailers will still sell you their firmest model even though it is completely unsuitable and then you’re stuck with a bed that will no doubt fail after a few years bringing you back to square one.

Resilience 1
Resilience 1 Heavier Sleeper Mattress

The retail shops will at best simply try and sell you an expensive incredibly firm mattress if you fall into this category. These are usually known as Orthopaedic or ‘ultra-firm’ mattresses. We believe this is highly unfair and unsuitable as they simply point you to the firmest bed rather than one that has both support and comfort layers. We are one of the only companies out there to specialise in bespoke beds for bigger sleepers.

Resilience 2
Latex heavier sleeper mattress

Beds for people who weigh 20 stone plus follow different rules to standard mattresses, as support requires much more attention.  Unfortunately, the truth is that bigger sleepers will need to replace their mattress much more frequently than the lighter sleepers. This is an inevitable fact. What we want to offer is not just a bed that ‘will do’ but a bed you’re actually comfortable on. Not just a firm slab of heavyweight foam. Whilst you may need to replace a standard bed more frequently than a lighter sleeper, with our dual construction design we can limit the need to replace the entire mattress. Our Resilience mattresses offer you the solution.

Where we differ is we are foam specialists; we can offer a range of high support reflex and PU foams for the support aspect of your mattress. We then match this with a higher density range of hybrid or latex Foams using our dual construction method. This means that any wear or sagging that occurs over time can be reduced by having a removable replaceable topper.

Resilience Mattresses Specifications

Below you will find the makeup of the Resilience mattresses which is useful when compared to other bariatric or reinforced bed manufacturers.

 Resilience 1
CoverMicro-quilt John Ryan Cover with tape edged damask sides
17.5cm of 60kg Laygel Foam
25cm V39 Medium Support Foam
315cm of V38 Firm Support Foam
45cm V39 Medium Support Foam
Total Depth32.5cm + 3-5 cm for the quilted cover
Resilience 2 Layers
Resilience 1 layers
 Resilience 2
CoverMicro-quilt John Ryan Cover with tape edged damask sides
15cm of 70kg 100% Natural Latex
25cm V39 Medium Support Foam
315cm of V38 Firm Support Foam
45cm V39 Medium Support Foam
Total Depth30cm + 3-5 cm for the quilted cover
Resilience Layers v2
Resilience 2 layers

What’s the maximum weight a sleeper can be for a mattress?

The majority of mattresses are manufactured to accommodate a certain weight of sleeper, usually with a maximum tolerance set of 18 stone or 115kg.

Anything that’s plus size is usually ignored over this limit. This is usually as far as it goes. You’re not told whether this is in total or per sleeper and does this change per bed size.

There is also no information given on what the feel, longevity or response the mattress will give when pushed to its weight limit. This is a very difficult specialist area so we empathise with the retailers on their decision to avoid it. We however quite like the tricky questions it keeps us on our toes and allows us to show how we, the experts, differ to the misguided sales staff.

Sleep Schedule from John Ryan Website

Our new Resilience Mattress range for heavy sleepers / plus size sleepers has been designed specifically to offer both comfort and support for sleepers 114kg / 18 stone plus. So whether you’re a 6ft 6 20 stone rugby player or you simply prefer a really firm mattress we have a range that is suitable for you.

Different tensions for different sleepers

Many customers come to us because they are completely confused when trying to find a mattress to suit two different weights of a sleeper.

If you and your partner are very different in terms of weight, ie 8 stone vs 18 stone, then it will be very hard, if not impossible, to get one mattress to suit you both. Most retailers will hedge their bets and go either for a very firm mattress to suit the heavier or put you somewhere in the middle. We, however, don’t like this approach, as it gives you the one size fits no one response. This is where split tension or dual tension beds come into play and can literally save you from years of awkward sleeping.

If you and your sleeping partner are very different weights then it may be more practical to get two different beds. It’s not as extreme as it sounds. In traditional pocket sprung beds, such as our Artisan Bespoke you can have dual tension springs, with one side softer and one firmer or zip and linked mattresses to achieve this.

Mattresses for heavier sleepers need consideration and more support
Mattresses for heavier sleepers need consideration and more support
Most retail mattresses are built for upto 18 stone only - this is where we differ
Most retail mattresses are built for upto 18 stone only - this is where we differ

How to get a mattress for differently weighted sleepers?

By having two different mattresses both sleepers can get the right mattress for their individual needs without compromising. Due to our dual construction method, we can supply you with two different mattresses, ie two 2”6 small single beds to make a kingsize when put together. Utilizing two different zip and link spring tensions we can accommodate a  9 stone sleeper and a 20 stone sleeper on one bed.

What are the benefits of split tension beds?

You both get a side of the bed that is suitable for your body weight, firmness preference, and comfort. Meaning that heavier sleepers don’t have to suffer from an overly soft or unsupportive mattress. A mattress that will over time cause poor nights sleep and will sag far quicker than the correct spring tension.

Spring TensionWire diameter (Gauge)Weight Range
Soft1.2mmBespoke Tension (Please Call)
Medium1.4mmUpto 16 stone
Firm1.6mm16 stone plus
Extra Firm / Orthopaedic1.9mm20 stone plus

What are the limitations of split tension beds?

It wouldn’t be very wise if we didn’t give you the full picture and there are limitations to this.  The mattresses have to be the same depth or else you will end up with a ridge down the middle of the bed where they join. We can advise on which in our range go together to address this.

It may also mean that you don’t have as large a choice of a mattress as you can’t simply match any of our mattress range together. That said it has to be miles better than the retail equivalent of giving you both a bed that meets neither of your requirements. The other limitation is for sleepers that want to regularly change or swap sides of the bed. You would need to move and rotate the mattresses into the other side to do this.

Don’t settle for the most basic ultra-firm mattress. You can get both support and comfort with a custom made mattress.

We believe we are one of the only suppliers who can offer a supportive and comfortable bed for bigger sleepers. The replacement topper service ensures that you’re reducing your future outlay where parts need replacing.  Again please contact us for a friendly chat about your requirements where our bespoke team can assist you.

Regardless of your size, we believe everyone should be able to find a bed that provides them with a supportive and comfortable nights sleep. Don’t settle for any less.

Why not get in touch for confidential advice if you’re a heavier sleeper?

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