A mattress industry insider gives you the scoop on the truth behind the California King hype.

Why a California King is a Waste of Space

Are you considering upgrading that shoddy queen bed for the holy grail of mattresses? You’ve slept up close and personal with your partner for far too long, and are craving the space that only vast swathes of foam separation can give. Yes, I’m talking about you deciding to “upgrade” to a California King bed. The subject of much fascination, lore, and Rihanna songs, the California King has a reputation for delivering massive space and for earning the envy of your jealous neighbors. However, I've been a professional inside the bedding industry for a few years now, and I can say this with confidence: you don't need or even want a California King mattress.


Despite the common misconception to the contrary, in my experience there are only two types of people who need a California King sized bed (this is due to the fact that the California King has odd dimensions that result in a loss of space, but I’ll get to that later). The first types are what I call the “Slim Jims:” these are people over 6'5" tall, and skinny as a rail to boot. If this describes your body type, then it would be a good idea for you to get a California King. The second types are what I call “the Donalds” (as in Trump). These are people whose sole purpose in life revolves around the need to impress others. Do you have a large ego and like bragging about the size of your (fill in the blank)? If yes, then a California King is for you! The truth is that the average American male is only about 5'10", or 70 inches, tall, weighs about 191 lbs., and has a 40" waist. The average American female is roughly 5'4", or 64 inches, tall, weights approximately 140 lbs, and has a 37" waist. If you’re average, and most of us are, a California King is actually a bad idea because you end up losing out on space. Here’s why: the average person who purchases a king size bed has a sleeping partner. Sleeping with a partner is great for cuddling, but not for a restorative night’s sleep. In a given night, we end up sleeping about 20% less with a partner in our bed. Our partners toss and turn throughout the night (the bastards) which disrupts our sleeping patterns. A king size bed (76"x80") helps solve that loss of sleep by providing each individual the most room to move and not disrupt the other partner.

A California King might sound large and in charge, but in fact, if you’re sleeping on a Cali King, you’re losing space. A California King mattress is 72"x 84". Now, you, the average person in height, weight, and waist size has lost valuable space necessary for achieving a restorative night’s rest. The California King might seem like the better option on the surface, but the original king is the better choice for people looking for space and comfort (Slim Jims and Donalds excluded). In short (no pun intended), in order to get the best night’s sleep, take it from me: if you’re not close to 7" tall and can dunk on Shack, you should get a king bed. If you’re concerned about what the Joneses think of your bed size, and you don’t mind counting a few more sheep, by all means go for the California King. The counting sheep will say thank you for the exercise.