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Can you buy a half and half mattress?

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A half and half mattress is ideal for sleeping partners of different weights or with different comfort preferences. It allows each partner to have their side of the bed in their preferred firmness, so there’s no need to compromise on sleep.

Sleeping partners often disagree about which mattress they should choose. What one partner finds comfortable, the other may find uncomfortable. A compromise may be necessary, where one partner settles for a mattress that isn’t best suited to their needs.

A half and half or split tension mattress combines different degrees of firmness in one mattress. It allows each partner to have their side of the bed in the firmness of their choice. For instance, one partner could have soft support on their side of the bed, while the other could have medium support on theirs.

young couple sleeping together in bed

Most manufacturers will offer mattresses in soft, medium, and firm options, allowing couples to have a split tension mattress in the following combinations:

  • Soft and medium.
  • Medium and firm.

Half and half mattresses typically contain pocket springs, which move independently, meaning sleeping partners are less likely to disturb one another when they turn over in bed. Pocket springs also ensure each part of the body is correctly supported.

How to choose the correct spring tension or firmness

A mattress should closely conform to the shape of the body, ensuring the spine is aligned and correctly supported. A common issue for couples is finding a mattress that they both find comfortable, especially if there are differences in body weight.

A soft mattress may feel comfortable to a lightweight person weighing eight stone, but a heavier person weighing fifteen stone may find that they sink too far into the mattress and feel unsupported. On the other hand, a heavier person may feel adequately supported on a firm mattress, but a lighter person may experience discomfort, aches and pains.

Correct support depends on your weight, height, build, and preferred sleeping position. In general, the heavier you are, the firmer the mattress you need.

Half and half mattresses are ideal for couples of different body weights as they allow each partner to choose the firmness or tension best suited to their body weight, as shown in the table below.

Body weightRecommended mattress tension
Someone that weighs up to 11 stone (70kg)Soft
Someone that weighs between 11 and 16 stone (70 to 102kg)Medium
Someone that weighs 16 stone and above (102kg +)Firm

Couples of similar weight and build may also prefer a split tension mattress. They may have different needs where one person requires effective pressure relief to alleviate shoulder pain, while the other may prefer a firmer mattress, to make it easier to turn over in bed.

What are the sizes of a split tension mattress?

A half and half or split tension mattress is only available in 5’0” king size models and above. Smaller sizes, such as standard 4’6” double beds, are only available in one firmness or tension.

 Imperial sizeMetric sizeAvailable in split tension?
Small single2’6” x 6’3”75 cm x 190 cm
Single3’0” x 6’3”90 cm x 190 cm
Small double4’0” x 6’3”120 cm x 190 cm
Double4’6” x 6’3”135 cm x 190 cm
King size5’0” x 6’6”150 cm x 200 cm
Super king size6’0” x 6’6”180 cm x 200 cm

How to turn a half and half mattress

Mattress turning instructions will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. As a general guide, you should turn the mattress regularly for the first three months of use, then once a month after that. Doing so will allow the mattress upholstery to settle, ensuring an even sleeping surface.

Most split tension mattresses are double-sided and have fillings on both sides for sleeping on. These mattresses can be rotated and flipped over where necessary. However, you will need to flip and rotate the mattress if you wish to retain your preferred sleeping side of the bed.

Is there a mattress that is firm on one side and soft on the other?

A half and half mattress is not available in a soft and firm split tension because the variation in firmness would cause the mattress to slope when in use.

However, a zip and link bed allows sleeping partners to have a half firm, half soft mattress. Zip and link allows you to convert two single beds into one larger bed. It tends to be more expensive than a bed with a one-piece mattress, but offers a flexible solution allowing couples to sleep together or apart.

Final thoughts

If you’re considering a half and half mattress, it helps to try the mattresses together so that you’re both satisfied with your choice. Most split tension mattresses are made to order, so you may not have the option to return the mattress if you find it uncomfortable.

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About the author

Tony Brown is the founder and creator of The Bed Consultant. His career in the bed industry began in 2002. After graduating from university with a degree in Business Administration, Tony joined one of the largest independent furniture retailers in the UK as a bed consultant. Tony has helped thousands of customers find the perfect mattress.

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