Why are twin mattresses called twin?
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A twin mattress is the smallest mattress you can find outside of a baby’s crib. It measures 38 inches wide and 78 inches long. Most Adults would not be comfortable sleeping on that. Generally, the twin mattress is good for teenage and students. We have an article with the review of the best twin mattresses, you are welcome to read that.
Twin Mattresses don’t Actually Come in Pairs
The word ‘twin’ does not seem to make sense because bed sizes have evolved over the years, while their names have remained the same. To understand why twin mattresses are called twin, we will have to go back to the early 20th century. A single mattress was as wide as the shoulders of the average person. A twin mattress was as wide as one and a half single mattresses, and a double mattress was as wide as two single mattresses. A queen size mattress measured as wide as a single mattress and a twin mattress combined.
The width of two twin mattresses or three single mattresses combined was equal to the width of a king size mattress. Today, single mattresses only exist in RVs and tiny homes, where there isn’t much space. The old ‘twin bed’ is now standard size for one user only.
Is a single mattress the same as a Twin Mattress?
A single mattress and a twin mattress are both the same thing. They refer to a mattress measuring 39’’-75’’. Mattress makers would glue two ‘XL twin’ mattresses together to form a king size mattress. In America, a twin sized mattress is the same as a single mattress. It is the standard mattress for one person to sleep on.
A lot of people think that a single bed is smaller than a twin bed, but that is not fully true. They are both the same size. The difference, if you can call it that, is that a twin bed was intended to be one half of a pair. Don’t mistake a twin bed for an XL twin bed. An XL twin bed is 5’’ longer than a twin bed. Couples who want to share a room but not a bed will use twin mattresses. Some people sleep better when they are not sharing a bed. You will find twin mattresses in bedrooms where siblings share the space. They are also used multiple occupancy hotel rooms – often called double rooms or triple rooms, depending on the number of beds.
Twin Mattresses are Child-Friendly
They work for children who have grown too big for a baby crib. In a smaller space, a twin bed works as a bunk bed. Twin XL mattresses are 80 inches long instead of 75 inches long like twin mattresses. This mattress is still ideal for children, but it can also serve adults who live in cramped spaces. College dormitories are full of twin XL mattresses.
We’ve Grown too Big for Twin Mattresses
Americans are bigger today than they were seventy years ago, but the name ‘twin’ persists. King size mattresses are a relatively new development. In the past, two twin mattresses were laid down side-by-side to make a king size mattress.
Mattress Sizes are not the Same Across the Pond
The term ‘twin mattress/bed’ is an Americanism that came about in the 1920s. In the UK, the same mattress bears the name ‘single’ mattress. The differences in terminology do not end there. American beds come in twin size, full size, queen size, and king sizes. UK beds come in single size, double size, king size, and super king size. Single and twin size mattresses are the same size, 39”-75”. A double bed is the same size as a full bed, at 54”-75”. Queen sized mattresses are 60”-80” in the USA and King size beds are 60”-78” in the UK. American King Size beds are 75”-80”. And super king size beds in the UK are 72”-78”. The California king size bed is in a league of its own at 72”-84”.
Twin mattresses are perfect for smaller spaces, or for those situations where you want to fit multiple beds in one room. Twin bed accessories are cheaper to buy. And children who are sleeping on a twin bed can make their bed more easily because it is small enough. Some adults – and some older kids – will not fit into a twin bed, but they would fit into an XL twin.