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There is a lot that goes into putting together and decorating your bedroom: picking out bedding, hanging art, putting up curtains or blinds, and adding those personal touches. You might even spend hours pouring over different bed frame designs without ever really considering how high the actual bed should be for your particular needs.
Just to be clear, when we’re talking about bed height, we’re talking about the height from the floor up to the top of the mattress, so it includes any space between the floor and the frame, the boxspring if you have one, and the mattress itself. This doesn’t include headboards or footboards. Bed height is an important feature to be aware of for both practical purposes and aesthetic ones, and in this article, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about choosing the correct bed height for you.
Finding The Best Bed Height for You
Ideally, when you sit down on the edge of your bed, you want your feet to be able to comfortably rest on the floor. For most people, this means a 90-degree bend at the knee.
The average knee height for most adults is somewhere between 16 and 24 inches off of the ground, so in order to get that comfortable 90-degree angle at the knee, your mattress should be somewhere between 16 and 24 inches from the ground. In general, a taller person will need a taller bed, and a shorter person will need a shorter one.
Why Does Bed Height Matter?
Choosing the proper bed height will make it easier for you to get in and out of bed. This is especially important for individuals with mobility issues, injuries, or painful joints.
Your bed’s height will also play a role in the aesthetic of your room. For example, beds low to the ground tend to look more modern and minimalist, whereas beds that are high up off the ground tend to look more traditional or antique.
If you’re trying to fit your bed beneath a window or some other feature of the room, you’ll also need to make sure the height works for the space.
What is the Best Bed Height for Seniors?
Some seniors can have issues getting in and out of bed if the bed is either too tall or too short. In fact, one study1 showed that seniors were more likely to fall if their bed height was too low, in particular.
Again, the ideal bed height really depends on the individual’s height. If you want to be precise, measure how many inches it is from the bottom of the person’s foot to the top of their knee when they’re sitting down and the knee is at a right angle. This will be the perfect, precise height for a bed.
If the individual has weak knees or minimal upper body strength, you can also add a couple of inches to this height, just to make sure they’re not putting too much pressure on their joints when getting up or into bed.
If actually measuring isn’t a feasible option, a good guess is somewhere in the middle: About 20 to 23 inches high, including the bed frame, the mattress, and any box spring.
Read more about best mattresses for elderly here.
What is the Best Bed Height for Children?
If choosing a bed height depends on how tall a person is, you can see why it’s a bit trickier to pick one for kids since they’re still growing.
For toddlers and very small children, we recommend a bed that is lower to the ground. This will be easier to get into, and it will also be less of a big deal if your toddler tumbles out of bed.
As your child grows, you can either replace the bed with a higher and perhaps larger one, or you can raise the bed by placing bed risers beneath its legs, adding a box spring beneath the mattress, or replacing your child’s mattress with a thicker one.
Different Types of Bed Frames and Platforms
There are different bed styles available – canopy beds, beds with headboards only, beds with headboards and footboards, four-poster beds, minimalist beds, and more. All of these different designs, though, are attached to one of three main types of bed bases: a standard frame, a platform bed, or an adjustable base.
Standard bed frames are the more traditional of the bases. These bed frames are usually used with a box spring, and with the frame, box spring, and mattress, the bed is usually somewhere around 25 inches off the ground. This is generally a good height for taller folks or those who want a bed that sits a bit higher.
Usually, these frames are made with steel and are a great low-price option, especially if you are using a mattress that goes with a box spring.
Platform beds tend to be lower to the ground and give a minimalist, modern look to a space. They don’t require a box spring, and they average about 18 inches off of the ground, mattress included. This will work well for a shorter person or somebody who wants to sleep lower to the ground. We wouldn’t recommend sleeping low to the ground if you have bad knees or a bad back.
Platform beds can be made from wood, steel, or some combination of materials, and they can either have a slatted or solid base.
Adjustable Bed Frame
Adjustable bed frames are bed frames that can be adjusted by remote control or manual buttons in order to elevate the head/shoulders, the knees/feet, or some combination of these. There are many reasons to get an adjustable base bed frame. For example, research shows2 that sleeping on an incline like this can help improve sleep apnea symptoms. Adjustable beds are also recommended for those who have had back surgery3 and even patients with glaucoma4 as they can relieve some eye pressure.
The heights of these beds from the ground to the top of the mattress tend to vary, depending on the mattress you’re using, the position the bed is in, and the height of the frame’s legs. However, they are all elevated from the ground at least somewhat so that the bed can move. You should also note that not all mattresses are adjustable base compatible. Therefore, be sure you’re getting an adjustable base-compatible mattress.
Best Bed Height FAQs
What is the average height of a bed?
The average height of a bed is somewhere between 16 and 24 inches, depending on whether or not you’re using a box spring and what type of bed frame you’re using.
What is the best bed height for sex?
While there is no magic number, some sexually-active couples prefer a higher bed, rather than a lower bed. This might mean something 24 inches or higher. Really, though, the best bed for sex all comes down to personal preference – and a good mattress.
How can I raise the height of my bed?
The easiest way to raise the height of your bed is to put bed risers beneath the legs of your frame. You can also put a box spring beneath your mattress, depending on the type of mattress and bed frame you have. This would add a significant amount of height – anywhere from about five to 10 inches.
- Merryweather, Andrew S., Morse, Janice M., et. al. “Effects of bed height on the biomechanics of hospital bed entry and egress”. National Library of Medicine.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26409356/. 2015.
- Fabrício de Barros Souza, Fábio José., Rodrigues Genta, Pedro., et. al. “The influence of head-of-bed elevation in patients with obstructive sleep apnea”. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5700252/. 2017.
- “Should You Get an Adjustable Bed to Help Alleviate Your Back Pain?” Orthopedic and Laser Spine Surgery. Webpage accessed May 7, 2023. https://www.orthopedicandlaserspinesurgery.com/should-you-get-an-adjustable-bed-to-help-alleviate-your-back-pain.
- Sedgewick, Jeffery H., Sedgewick, Justin A., et. al. “Effects of different sleeping positions on intraocular pressure in secondary open-angle glaucoma and glaucoma suspect patients”. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6078092/. 2018.
Natalie is a content writer for Sleep Advisor with a deep passion for all things health and a fascination with the mysterious activity that is sleep. Outside of writing about sleep, she is a bestselling author, improviser, and creative writing teacher based out of Austin.
When she's doing none of these things, you will most likely find her outdoors, at the gym, or... asleep.