Stacking mattresses is a common practice for some sleepers looking to customize their sleep setups. Adding an extra mattress on top can help change the firmness and feel of your bed. It may also be a convenient space-saving solution in certain situations.
However, there are also downsides to consider before stacking mattresses. As we’ll explore in this post, factors like mattress compatibility, weight distribution, and warranty restrictions need to be addressed to ensure safety, sleep quality, and mattress longevity when layering beds.
|Can I Put A Mattress on Top of Another Mattress?
Why Would Someone Stack Mattresses?
There are a few reasons why sleepers may consider stacking their mattresses:
In small spaces like studio apartments, dorm rooms, or rooms with limited floor space, stacking mattresses can help maximize vertical storage. This allows keeping an extra mattress handy without compromising the open floor area. Stacked mattresses can be separated when needed to accommodate guests.
During moves, renovations, or when transitioning between homes, mattress stacking presents a convenient and temporary sleeping solution. Keeping mattresses stacked can save time and effort compared to disassembling bed frames.
Stacking mattresses essentially creates a DIY mattress with personalized comfort and support qualities. The sleeper on top gets the benefits of the extra mattress layers below. This allows adjusting mattress firmness and feel to match individual preferences.
Factors to Consider Before Stacking
While stacking mattresses may seem like a quick fix, there are a few important factors to consider first:
Innerspring mattresses should only be stacked with other innerspring beds to prevent uneven wear and compression.
Memory foam mattresses contour closely to the body's shape. Stacking these may restrict airflow and retain more heat unless stacked with a breathable innerspring mattress.
Hybrid mattresses contain both foam and innerspring components. Their stacking compatibility depends on the mattress layers and materials.
Mismatched mattress sizes can lead to awkward gaps, poor edge support, and uncomfortable corners. This is especially true when using very old mattresses that may have shifted from their original size. A 50% size difference is the maximum for safe stacking.
Brand-new mattresses should never be stacked with used or very old ones. The quality of the mattress below will influence the comfort and longevity of the mattress stacked on top. Plush mattresses compress more easily and provide less stability. Sagging or broken-down beds should be avoided.
Pressure points from uneven weight distribution can quickly damage foam layers and compromise mattress life. Proper reinforcement and support are needed to prevent this. Mattresses with too many foam layers are especially prone to developing permanent areas of compression if over-stacked.
Can Any Mattress Be Stacked?
While it’s possible to stack any mattress with another, the combination’s compatibility is key for durability and performance. Here are some challenges to consider:
Cramming a larger mattress atop a smaller one leads to poor support around the edges. Gaps also develop over time as the materials compress unevenly. This causes uncomfortable pressure points.
Stacking rigid innerspring mattresses atop softer all-foam or pillowtop mattresses quickly creates body impressions and uneven wear in the foam layers below. This shortens mattress's life.
Layering a firm mattress over a soft plush mattress throws off the entire support system. The sleeper feels suspended rather than cushioned. Meanwhile, materials in the softer mattress prematurely break down.
Potential Risks of Stacking Mattresses
Beyond just compatibility issues, improperly stacking mattresses can cause other problems:
Closing off mattress sides with an added layer greatly reduces airflow. This allows heat and moisture buildup within the mattresses, creating an environment for mold, mildew, and dust mites.
Pressure points from size mismatches, gaps or soft spots in the supporting mattress below lead to poor spinal alignment and long-term discomfort.
Impact on Lifespan
The mattress supporting the weight of the stack deteriorates much faster from uneven wear and compression. Its lifespan ends prematurely while the top mattress still has ample life remaining.
Tips for Safely Stacking Mattresses
For those committed to stacking mattresses, here are some best practices to follow:
Use a Mattress Topper
Adding a 2-4” mattress topper protects both beds from friction while allowing customization of feel. Look for high-density, ventilated memory foam toppers for breathability.
Properly Align Mattresses
Mattress layers must be centered and evenly stacked to prevent sliding. Check that all sides are equally supported without corners hanging over. No gaps should exist between the mattress edges.
Secure Layers Together
Specialty mattress straps securely hold stacked layers together. Foam handle connectors also work to prevent sliding between the mattress layers. This improves safety and stability.
Test for Comfort and Support
Plush mattresses that excessively sink and conform may allow too much compression for proper spinal alignment. Try out the stacked mattress and evaluate whether it provides adequate support without pressure points before committing long-term.
Alternatives to Stacking Mattresses
If stacking mattresses seems too risky or incompatible, consider these options instead for adding comfort or customizing feel:
Mattress Toppers and Pads
An extra 2-4 inch layer of memory foam, down alternative fiber or latex rubber atop your mattress, allows customizing surface feel without compromising support layers. Toppers are much easier to handle than entire mattresses.
Adjustable Bed Frames
Quality adjustable frames let you tweak mattress incline and firmness zones to meet your comfort needs. This prevents having to stack entire mattress layers. Adjustable frames also promote better posture and spinal alignment than sagging, uneven surfaces.
Purchase a New Mattress
If your current mattress is excessively worn out or uncomfortable, it likely won’t perform any better with another mattress stacked on top. Buying a tailored mattress designed for your sleep position, firmness preference and support needs is best. This avoids wasted costs and frustration trying to revive an old, incompatible mattress.
Legal and Warranty Considerations
Will stacking a spare mattress on top void the original mattress’ warranty? Here’s what to know:
Effect on Mattress Warranties
Most mattress warranties forbid stacking, especially layered combinations with incompatible materials or significant size differences. Always check the warranty guide before stacking mattresses, even temporarily. Voided warranties mean no recourse for defects or premature breakdown.
Health and Safety Considerations
Beyond warranty issues, mattress stacking also raises some health and safety concerns to address:
Hygiene and Cleanliness
Just one sleeper introduces plenty of skin cells, oils, and microbes into a mattress after months of use. Stacking doubles this bacterial load while also trapping moisture, allergens, and odors. Follow mattress hygiene best practices to keep your setup fresh.
Mitigate Allergy Triggers
For allergy sufferers, stacking mattresses doubles the reservoir of dust mites, pet dander, pollen, and other irritants. Allergy covers over each mattress and weekly airing out can greatly reduce allergen load.
Ensure Adequate Ventilation
Closing off airflow under and around mattresses leads to heat and humidity buildup. Use slatted bases or bunkie boards between layers. Avoid putting mattresses directly on solid foundations or the floor. Leave breathing room of at least 8 inches around the entire mattress perimeter.
Real-Life Experiences with Stacked Mattresses
How well does mattress stacking really work in practice? Here are some first-hand perspectives:
“We stacked a firm hotel surplus mattress atop our plush pillowtop at home and love the extra firmness it provides for my husband’s back pain.”
“During a move between apartments, we stored our Casper foam mattress stacked atop our old spring mattress. This saved having to completely disassemble and box up our bed frame.”
“We stacked two twin beds to save space for guests in our small second bedroom. But the mattresses would always slide apart, creating an uncomfortable ridge down the middle.”
“I stacked a twin memory foam topper onto my aging spring mattress hoping to soften it up. But after a few weeks the foam compressed so much it felt like I was sinking into a hole!”
Clearly, experiences vary greatly based on mattress compatibility and stacking methods used. Let’s look at some best practices for maintenance and care...
Maintenance Tips for Stacked Mattresses
To maximize the longevity of your stacked mattress setup, be diligent with:
Regular Cleaning and Airing Out
Vacuum between and around mattress layers weekly using narrow attachments to extract dust and allergens. Every 2-4 months, air out mattresses in direct sunlight for at least 5-6 hours. This naturally sanitizes and refreshes materials.
Inspecting for Wear and Tear
Check for body impressions or uneven compression monthly. Rotate the mattress layers 180 degrees to even out wear patterns. Address any new soft spots or sagging immediately before they worsen.
Reconsidering the Stack When Needed
If mattresses show signs of premature wear, off-gassing, odor, or compromised support from stacking, reassess your configuration. Separating or replacing problem mattress layers right away preserves the life of your other mattress.
Expert Opinions on Mattress Stacking
Beyond anecdotal experiences, what do the experts say about stacking mattresses?
Sleep Specialists Cautiously Recommend Limited Stacking
“If layered properly for full surface contact, mattress stacking likely won’t impact sleep quality. But the long-term durability of either mattress would concern me unless specifically designed for stacking.”
Mattress Manufacturers Strongly Advise Against It
“Warranties clearly forbid stacking other sleep surfaces atop our mattresses. The internal materials are carefully engineered to support sleepers only when directly mated to a proper foundation.”
In other words, validated mattress stacking remains limited and risky. Sleepers still want assurance they are adequately supported, their spine stays neutrally aligned, and diseases aren't cultivated in their bed.
Reusing mattresses alleviates waste and the burden on landfills. But certain practices also benefit the environment more than others:
Stacking Uses Fewer New Materials
Keeping usable mattresses out of landfills remains one of the most eco-friendly choices. Stacking spares excess new manufacturing and materials demands that come with purchasing replacement mattresses.
Alternative Eco-Friendly Options
Natural latex, organic cotton, and other sustainably sourced mattresses provide an eco-conscious upgrade when purchasing new beds. Or look into local options to donate clean, usable mattresses to community members in need.
In summary - when done carefully between compatible mattresses in good condition - stacking can be an eco-friendly endeavor. Make sure to balance stacking benefits against potential costs to sleep health or premature mattress replacement required from damage.
The Takeaway: Is Mattress Stacking Right for You?
On paper, stacking mattresses seems an easy route to custom comfort or makeshift guest bedding. However understanding material compatibility, maintenance requirements, and the overall impact on mattress life are key first steps.
While stacking can suit certain situations in the short term, alternatives like toppers or adjustable bases often prove wiser long-term investments for customized, quality sleep. Weigh considerations like warranty restrictions and potential health impacts against stacking benefits unique to your situation.
Performance, longevity, and safety should be the top concerns when it comes to your sleep setup. While stacking mattresses does offer unique benefits for some situations, incompatible materials can quickly lead to sagging, off-gassing, and seriously disrupted sleep.
Carefully evaluate whether mattress stacking suits your needs, but remain open to alternative options that ensure both quality rest and spinal support night after night. Your comfort and health depend on it!
Rest easy knowing there are tailored solutions available to meet your sleep needs. Here’s to waking up refreshed and renewed each day!