Do you know that most adults sharing a double bed have 25% less space than if they were each to sleep in a single bed alone? How crazy is that?
International bed sizes
The UK, Australia and New Zealand have the tightest fits. A standard double bed in these countries measures 4 feet 6 inches (137 cm), which gives each partner a mere 27 inches (68 cm) of personal space. In a single bed, each person would have 36 inches (91 cm) to themselves, which is 9 inches (23 cm) or 25% more.
Europe and South America are about the same. A standard double European bed ranges from 135 cm to 140 cm wide, which gives each partner 65-70 cm (26-27 inches), compared to 90 cm (35 inches) in a single bed.
A standard double bed in the USA (called a full bed) is roughly the same size, but compared to single bed sizes, ranging there from 39-48 inches (99-122 cm) wide, each person gets 28% less personal space. Not surprisingly, the full bed size isn’t such a common choice for couples. Americans generally prefer bigger beds.
The next size up in the US is the queen bed (5 feet wide), which is equivalent to the king bed in most of the rest of the world (150-160 cm). Here it starts to get difficult to make comparisons because there are so many variations in sizes, but even so, these beds still give less space per partner than sleeping alone in a single bed.
The maths really only starts to work when you get to king beds (known as superking beds outside the US), which measure 6 feet 4 inches feet wide (193 cm). Now each partner is finally sleeping in a space that is equivalent to a single bed.
And if you really want to go for it, there are some bed manufacturers who offer 7-foot (213 cm) wide emperor beds, 8-foot wide Caesar beds, and of course, bespoke beds made to any size at all.
How the size of your bed affects you
There’s no feng shui rule that says the bigger the bed, the better. Sometimes it works brilliantly well for both partners. I’ve also seen marital situations where too big a bed has resulted in a loss of intimacy in the relationship.
But too small a bed can definitely have negative consequences. Most people spend a third of their life horizontal, and spending so much time feeling physically restricted and energetically compressed can result in feeling similarly constrained in other aspects of life. It can also affect the quality of your sleep in ways you may not realize.
So what do I recommend? Well, it’s a matter of personal preference. Some people really do need more space than others.
But here’s the thing…
If you or your partner find you love the nights when the other person’s away because you get to sleep spread-eagle in the middle of the bed, then it would be wise to invest in the biggest one you can afford that your bedroom can comfortably accommodate. But if you both love the closeness and intimacy that a smaller bed can bring, that’s perfectly fine too. The important thing is to make a conscious choice about this instead of putting up with sleeping cramped for many years, as so many people do.
Copyright © Karen Kingston 2011, updated 2020
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