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The Unexpected Way Your Mattress Could Be Affecting Your Sleep

mbg Contributing Writer

By Brittany Loggins

mbg Contributing Writer

Brittany Loggins is a freelance writer covering health, wellness, and all things lifestyle.

Image by Prostock-Studio / iStock

August 24, 2022

Our editors have independently chosen the products listed on this page. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.

A bigger mattress can be a total game-changer for those sleeping with a partner. The extra space allows both partners to sleep in their ideal sleep position without bumping elbows–and the swap could even reduce your need for a sleep divorce.

If you’re battling in your sleep over crucial snooze territory but don’t have the space for a king mattress, it’s time for you to consider the best California king mattresses. This less conventional mattress size falls between a queen and king in square footage and has a few extra inches of length (i.e. it’s a great bed for tall people).

While splurging on a larger bed may seem extraneous, sleep specialist and neuroscientist Christopher Winter, M.D. says there are plenty of benefits associated with a larger mattress.

“Farther away from your partner (if you like that) means less heat, less breathing sounds, and less transmitted movement,” says Dr. Winter.

While these sleep disturbances may not seem like a big deal, they can have serious short- and long-term impacts on your health, including increased stress response, somatic issues, emotional distress, and memory and cognition issues, as well as an overall decrease in the quality of life.

Surveys also show that people sleep better on bigger mattresses and generally feel less discomfort or joint pain during the night, per Dr. White. Plus, there’s simply more space for you and your partner–or your pets and kids–with a larger mattress.

Ready to upgrade your sleep space? Scroll on to learn all about California king mattresses–and our favorite picks based on quality, sustainability, and customer reviews.

What is a California king mattress?

A California king is narrower than a typical king mattress–but it makes up for the slimmer build with four extra inches of length added to the bottom. Also known as an Eastern king, it has an overall dimension of 84 inches long by 72 inches wide. This is slightly smaller square footage than a standard king, which is 80 inches long by 72 inches wide.

How we picked:

Firmness

This is an especially important consideration if you’re sleeping with a partner or have spine issues that can be exacerbated by a firm or soft mattress.

Sustainability

In addition to looking at the manufacturing and shipping processes, we prioritized GOLS-certified organic latex and GOTS-certified organic cotton.

Customer Feedback

Not only do we look for good reviews on the product, we specifically searched for reviews that touted good experiences with customer service reps.

Quality

In addition to the materials and specific feel of the mattress, we searched for brands that believe in their products enough to offer sleep trials and generous warranties.

mbg’s picks for the best California king mattresses of 2022:

Best memory foam: Casper Original Mattress

Casper Original Mattress

VIEW ON Casper | $1,520 (was $1,695)

Pros

Foams are CertiPUR-US(R) certifiedMulti-zoned supportEasy shipping in a small box

Cons

Memory foam isn’t environmentally sustainable

Type: Memory foam

Sizes Available: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California king

Firmness: Medium-firm

Trial Period: 100 nights

Weight: 100 pounds

Warranty: 10-year

Measurements: 72″ W x 84″ L x 11″ H

With three zones of support, this is the perfect choice for those that want to prioritize their spinal alignment. The foam around the hips is firmer, while the foam and the shoulders is much more soft. As a result, it’s a great option for back sleepers. Plus, it’s recommended by Consumer Reports, which is a testament to the fast and responsive customer service offered by the brand.

While memory foam isn’t the best for the environment, Casper has done everything possible to make sure it’s causing the least harm. This includes the fact that all of foams are low VOC and CertiPUR-US(R) certified, which means that they don’t include any ozone-harming phthalates.

Best latex: Avocado Latex Mattress

Avocado Latex Mattress

VIEW ON Avocado | $3,699

Pros

GOLS organic certified natural latexEntirely biodegradable

Cons

PriceyHeavy

Type: Latex

Sizes Available: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California king, Split king

Firmness: Firm

Trial Period: 365 nights

Weight: 173 pounds

Warranty: 25-year

Measurements: 72″ W x 84″ L x 12″ H

Not only is this Avocado mattress the very best pick for the environment on our list, but it also feels great to snooze on, too. Firmer than other mattress types, it’s made with a GOLS organic certified natural latex that contours to your body. Known for its sustainability, the material manages to offer just the right amount of bounce while still maintaining a firm feel.

A greener pick than memory foam, latex also better holds its shape and is fully biodegradable-but it’s also pricey. A California king from Avocado will set you back nearly $4,000, but it’s a sound investment for those wanting to snooze in peace.

Best adjustable: Saatva Solaire Adjustable Firmness Mattress

Saatva Solaire Adjustable Firmness Mattress

VIEW ON Saatva | $3,626 (was $4,120)

Pros

50 firmness settings on each sideCertiPUR-US(R) certified foamsHidden inflator

Cons

One of the pricier options

Type: CertiPUR-US(R) certified foams, Natural latex

Sizes Available: Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California king, Split king, Split California king

Firmness: Customizable

Trial Period: 365 nights

Weight: 135 pounds

Warranty: Lifetime

Measurements: 72″ W x 84″ L

If you and your partner require something completely different from your bed–they’re a back sleeper and you snooze firmly on your side–then Saatva’s adjustable mattress is the ultimate match. Although more expensive than other options, the luxurious pick offers 50 different firmness options.

Use the hidden inflator button to inflate (or deflate) the air chambers located in the top layer to reach the desired firmness. When paired with six layers of CertiPUR-US(R) certified foams, you get the ultimate oasis for snoozing. Plus, the split designs can even be used with an adjustable base for the ultimate customization.

Best cooling: Purple Plus Mattress

Purple Plus Mattress

VIEW ON Purple | $2,099 (was $2,299)

Pros

Non-toxic and hypoallergenicDraws heat away from the body

Cons

Contains memory foam

Type: Gel memory foam

Sizes Available: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California king, Split king

Firmness: Medium

Trial Period: 100 nights

Weight: 140 pounds

Warranty: 10-year

Measurements: 72″ W x 84″ L

You won’t find any other mattress quite like this Purple pick–and it’s all due to the brand’s proprietary GelFlex grid. The unique grid layer has open squares that allow maximum airflow, keeping the Plus mattress cool despite its primarily memory foam makeup.

Both adaptive and supportive, it features a solid dense foam base layered with premium comfort foam under the grid. This gives a medium-firm feel with plenty of cushioning and pressure relief, although it has less support than the brand’s hybrid model.

You’ll have 100 nights to decide whether the Plus is right for you, but if the reviews are any indication you’ll also be impressed. More than 31,000 shoppers have reviewed this cooling mattress, yet it’s still earned a solid 4.4 out of 5 stars.

Best under $1,000: Nolah Original 10″

Nolah Original 10″

VIEW ON Nolah | $1,099 (was $1,349)

Pros

Comes with two free pillowsSuper lightweightLow VOC

Cons

Fully memory foam

Type: Airfoam

Sizes Available: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California king, Split king

Firmness: Medium

Trial Period: 120 nights

Weight: 85 pounds

Warranty: Lifetime

Measurements: 72″ W x 84″ L x 12″ H

Unlike typical memory foam, this mattress is made with Nolah’s proprietary AirFoam, which consists of 100-percent temperature-neutral materials. Not only will you stay cool, but tiny air bubbles integrated into the foam better distribute body weight to prevent a deep-sinking feeling on heavier limbs.

Optimal for side sleepers, it’s made with four layers of the foam which retain their shape over time. And t 85-pounds, it’s also by far the lightest mattress option on this list.

Best cheap (under $500): Zinus 12 Inch Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress

Zinus 12 Inch Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress

VIEW ON Zinus | $412 (was 513)

Pros

ActivCharcoal-infused memory foam absorbs moistureGreen tea-infused for freshness

Cons

Some reviewers hoped it would be softer

Type: Memory foam

Sizes Available: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California king, Narrow twin, Short queen

Firmness: Plush

Trial Period: 365 nights

Weight: 78.8 pounds

Warranty: 10-year

Measurements: 72″ W x 84″ L x 12″ D

Finding a great mattress on a budget is no easy feat, but Zinus delivers with this plush pick. It’s made with a responsive memory foam that’s soft enough to relieve pressure yet firm enough to provide support.

Green tea and charcoal infusions help keep the design smelling (and looking) fresh, and it’s available in four different heights. Shipped in a box, it’s an ideal pick for side sleepers due to the softer construction, which allows plenty of relief for your shoulders. Already Amazon’s number one mattress, it also has a breathable cover for plenty of airflow.

Best for side sleepers: Ghostbed 3D Matrix

Ghostbed 3D Matrix

VIEW ON Ghostbed | $3,287 (was $4,695)

Pros

Comes with two free pillowsSuper lightweightLow VOC

Cons

Pricey

Type: Gel memory foam

Sizes Available: Twin XL, Queen, King, California king, Split king

Firmness: Medium

Trial Period: 120 nights

Weight: 85 pounds

Warranty: Lifetime

Measurements: 72″ W x 84″ L x 12″ H

Side sleepers need to prioritize mattresses that offer cushioning at the hip joint, and this hybrid mattress does just that. It pairs a layer of durable coils with seven layers of gel, making the mattress both soft and supportive. Bonus: There’s even reinforced edge support to prevent unwanted slipping off the sides.

While the gel polymer-infused foam layer almost earned this mattress the top spot for keeping you cool, the layer of contouring transition foam ultimately landed this 12-inch pick a top spot for side sleepers.

Best firm: Helix Twilight

Helix Twilight

VIEW ON Helix | $1,399 (was $1,549)

Pros

Lots of add-ons availableCoils allow the mattress to give

Cons

Too tough for side sleepers

Type: Memory foam, Coils

Sizes Available: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California king

Firmness: Firm

Trial Period: 100 nights

Weight: 120 pounds

Warranty: 10-year

Measurements: 72″ W x 84″ L x 12″ H

Full transparency: This is not the most sustainable option on the pibkc, however it’s an optimal option for those who want maximum support. The innerspring base provides support and allows for airflow, while layers of poly memory foam add much-needed pressure relief.

Designed to accommodate side sleepers, it’s worth noting that some of the reviewers felt it didn’t offer enough cushioning. However a cooling cover and reinforced sides still make this popular pick worth considering, especially for those needing a firmer option.

Best hybrid: Nest Bedding Sparrow Signature Hybrid

Nest Bedding Sparrow Signature Hybrid

VIEW ON Nest Bedding | $1,839 ($2,299)

Pros

Lifetime renewal exchangeFree exchange to another feel

Cons

Contains memory foam

Type: Gel memory foam, Pocket coils

Sizes Available: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California king, Split CK 1-side

Firmness: Medium

Trial Period: 365 nights

Weight: 125 pounds

Warranty: Lifetime

Measurements: 72″ W x 84″ L x 12″ H

Sometimes you think a mattress is the perfect fit–and then you realize it may be causing you aches or pains. Nest has you covered; the brand will send you additional foam layers to help adjust the firmness of the mattress to suit your sleep preferences. Plus, it’ll also send you a new mattress when this one wears out.

The hybrid option uses both memory foam and coils, which means it offers optimal motion isolation. Another perk? All foams are CertiPUR-US(R) and allowed time to air out in the factory, which limits off-gassing in your home.

Best split California king: The Winkbed

The Winkbed

VIEW ON Winkbeds | $1,749 (was $2,049)

Pros

Lifetime warrantyCustomizable firmness

Cons

Memory foam isn’t environmentally sustainable

Type: Memory foam

Sizes Available: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California king

Firmness: Customizable

Trial Period: 120 nights

Weight: 145 pounds

Warranty: Lifetime

Measurements: 72″ W x 84″ L

Equal parts supportive and plush, this mattress is the closest thing you’ll find to a luxurious hotel-bed feel. It pairs a layer of individually wrapped innerspring coils with a gel-infused foam pillow top available in a variety of firmness options. This allows you to choose the firmness that’s best tailored to your needs, whether you’re a back, stomach, or side sleeper.

While the brand doesn’t stand out on the sustainability front–you won’t find any special credentials listed on the site–it does have stellar customer reviews. If you’re not a fan, the 120-night trial will be a standout; if you are a fan, you’ll be grateful for the lifetime warranty. Better yet, it was also one of our standout picks for the best mattresses for hip pain and low back pain.

Types of mattresses:

There are lots of different materials out there, and it’s important to find the one that’s best-suited to your sleep style.

Latex: Typically on the firmer side with just the right amount of bounce, a latex mattress is one of the most environmentally friendly options.Memory Foam: Typically made from polyurethane foam, a memory foam mattress offers pressure relief at an affordable price. Plus, it’s a great material for partners, as it has limited motion transfer.Hybrid Mattress: Hybrid mattresses combine at least two different types of materials, typically foil and innerspring coils. The best of both worlds, a hybrid mattress is often a top pick for side sleepers. Innerspring: Most of us have probably snoozed on an innerspring mattress at some point; they provide a bouncy base with plenty of support from individual coils or grouped bases. Not only is this model often the most affordable, but it also allows for maxim airflow to keep you cool.

FAQ

Is a California king worth it?

Larger mattresses are more conducive to a relaxing night of sleep if you have a partner, per Dr. Winter. In addition to experiencing less movement transfer, you’ll sleep cooler and be exposed to less noise from your partner. Anyone sleeping solo with enough space in a full or queen bed may want to skip the extra expense.

How much does a California king bed cost?

There isn’t a large price difference between a California king and traditional king mattress due to their similar square footage; prices start around $500 on the lower end and increase up to about $1,500.

Is a California king or king better?

Both the available square footage in your bedroom and the height of you (and your partner) will best determine which bed type is right for you. Anyone on the taller side will appreciate the few extra inches of length offered by a California king–but it comes with the small sacrifice of a few inches of width. Those with less square footage for a bed will also appreciate the slightly smaller square footage taken up by a California king.

How can a California king mattress help with sleep?

The extra square footage can prevent sleep disturbances from your partner throughout the night, such as movement, noise, and heat. As a result, you won’t have to deal with the negative short- and long-term impacts of sleep disturbances, which include increased stress response, a decline in cognitive ability, and a decrease in overall quality of life.

The takeaway

It’s safe to say that once you’ve upgraded to a California king mattress, you’ll never look back. Not only do they provide extra space for snoozing, they also allow for more movement isolation to prevent you and your partner from disturbing each other. Luckily, they come in a range of options for different sleep styles and budgets.

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