Ends 5/27: 50% off mattresses
Ends 5/27: 50% off mattresses
Ends 5/27: 50% off mattresses

The History of the Twin XL Mattress

woman and child asleep on bed

When purchasing a new bed or mattress, one of the most important factors to consider is mattress size. The most popular mattress sizes are king size and queen size, leaving full and twin size beds used primarily for children’s sleep spaces. A much less popular mattress size on the market is the twin XL mattress. As the name suggests, the twin XL mattress measures slightly longer than the length of a standard twin. A twin size mattress measures 38 inches wide and 75 inches long, while a twin XL mattress comes in at 38 inches wide and 80 inches long. Although the twin XL mattress is not as commercially popular as its counterparts, it is considered the standard size of a dorm bed at most, if not all, colleges and universities. This blog takes a look under the covers at the historical relationship between twin XL mattresses and colleges and how the twin XL is beneficial.

The Story Behind the Twin XL

As you might guess, the twin size mattress was developed before the twin XL. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, disease was rampant in the U.S. with several outbreaks of infectious disease. One of the reasons why disease spread so quickly is because families were sharing the same beds. Public health officials began suggesting that parents and children sleep in separate beds to minimize the spread of disease. As a result, twin beds soared in popularity. They were less expensive beds and smaller in size, so they used less floor space, allowing multiple twin beds in one room. Soon enough, twin beds became a staple in American households. Even on popular television shows such as I Love Lucy, couples were portrayed sleeping in separate twin beds. Eventually, the popularity of twin beds waned among most adults, with the exception of one demographic – college students.

The Standard Dorm Bed

The twin XL is the standard mattress size found in dorm rooms at most universities and colleges. In fact, twin XL mattresses are so specific to college living, that most people are not aware of the mattress size until someone is sent off to college. College residence halls have always used small beds because of the limited space found in the typical college dorm. For a long time, twin beds were used but eventually replaced by twin XL beds.

According to a 2002 Wall Street Journal article, research in the mid-1970s revealed to residence-life administrators that human height was gradually increasing. In order to accommodate this height increase, administrators started replacing the twin size beds with something a little longer. Similar to a twin mattress, a twin XL is 38 inches wide, but it boasts an additional 5 inches in length, measuring 80 inches long. These additional 5 inches do not seem like much, but considering that men, on average, reach about 69 inches by age 20, the standard 75-inch length of a twin bed is not a very practical option. So, that extra 5 inches that a twin XL provides is a subtle but critical improvement.

Benefits of a Twin XL

While a twin XL may not be at the forefront of a buyer’s mind, this mattress is valuable outside of college dorms. In fact, you may find that this size mattress perfectly fits your needs. The twin XL is:

  • Affordable: Compared to larger mattress sizes, the twin XL is a less expensive option. Prices for a BedInABox® twin XL mattress can range from $559 to $999.
  • Lightweight: The twin XL is lighter in weight than a full or queen size mattress, so it is very easy to set up or relocate.
  • Kid-friendly: In the same way a twin bed works for children, so does a twin XL memory foam mattress. It is suitable for children who use either standalone bed frames or bunk beds.
  • Compact: While the twin XL is the same length as a king or queen size mattress, it is not as wide, leaving extra floor space while providing extra legroom for tall individuals or single adult sleepers.
  • Two Twin XL mattresses make a King: Pushed together, two twin XL size mattresses measure the same length and width as a standard king size mattress! If you and your partner have different sleep preferences, two twin XL mattresses may be the perfect solution.

In addition to having an interesting history, the twin XL is a great transitional mattress size that can also be paired with an adjustable base. At BedInABox®, we offer two adjustable base models: the MotionInABox™ 1.0 and 2.0. Each comes in sizes ranging from twin XL to split king. If you pair a single twin XL mattress with a second twin XL, you’ll have a standard king- size bed that can be paired with a split king adjustable base for longer-term use. Each twin XL
adjustable base is 37.5” x 79.5” and can be synced if desired.

Our original adjustable base, the MotionInABox™ 1.0, comes with a silent lift system and wireless remote paired automatically to the base using Bluetooth® technology. The full mobility of the adjustable base allows it to raise and lower the bed, which can have significant health benefits such as reducing snoring or relieving pain.

The MotionInABox™ 2.0 shares the same features as the 1.0 but with a few added options. With four programmable sleep settings, you can easily choose your favorite positions, and the 2-zone head and foot massage setting adds an extra layer of luxury. For college students and teenagers in particular, the easy to-reach USB ports on the bed frame make it simple to plug in multiple devices at a time.

Perfect for any age, the twin XL paired with an adjustable bed frame offers just enough space for comfort while also allowing you to choose your preferred sleep position. At  BedInABox®, we understand the value of a twin XL mattress, which is why you can find almost all of our  CertiPUR-US® certified mattresses available in a size twin XL. You have the option to enjoy a single compact, multilayer memory foam mattress paired with an adjustable base or purchase two twin XL memory foam mattresses and two separate adjustable bases to meet two different sleep needs. Regardless of your reason for needing a twin XL mattress and adjustable base, your BedInABox® promises comfort and support for any occasion.

How to Maximize Bedroom Space with a Twin XL Mattress

A Twin XL mattress is a great option for any bedroom configuration, below are common bedroom configurations and how you can maximize your space in each with a Twin XL mattress:

Square Bedrooms

With a square room, you can place your mattress along the most convenient wall and make it the focal point of your room. From there you can add in furniture as needed.

L-Shaped Bedrooms

Regardless of mattress size, the best way to maximize space in an L-Shaped bedroom is to create zones. Put your Twin XL mattress in one area and that will be your sleep zone. The secondary area can be used for furniture, moving around, etc.

Rectangular Bedrooms

Twin XL mattresses are narrow and long, which makes them compatible with rectangular bedrooms, which are also narrow and long. In a rectangular bedroom you will have your Twin XL mattress on one side of the room and furniture on the other.

Uniquely-Shaped Bedrooms

With uniquely-shaped bedrooms, it is always best to maximize vertical space and limit the amount of furniture in the room. Custom furniture is also a great way to maximize space in a uniquely-shaped bedroom.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of a Twin XL mattress?

A Twin XL mattress is a longer version of the standard twin mattress, so it’s perfect for growing kids while also being lightweight and affordable. A twin XL mattress can help maximize space in different bedroom configurations due to its versatility and shorter width than a full, queen, or king bed. It’s a great transitional mattress size and is especially popular in college dorms, although it’s also great if you sleep with a partner because you can buy two twin XL mattresses to form a split king bed.

How do two Twin XL mattresses make a king size bed?

You can combine two twin XL mattresses to make what we call a split king bed, which has the same dimensions as a standard king size bed. This can be beneficial for people who sleep with a partner and have different sleep preferences.

What are the benefits of pairing a Twin XL mattress with an adjustable base?

Adjustable bases have been proven to have many health and sleep benefits when paired with any mattress, including the twin XL size. Adjustable bases allow you to choose the position of your bed frame, and some, such as the BedInABox® MotionInABox™ 2.0, even come with additional features like massage settings and USB ports. Some of the health benefits that come with pairing an adjustable base with a twin XL mattress include reducing snoring, mitigating acid reflux, and relieving joint and back pain.

What kind of comfort and support can I expect from a BedInABox® Twin XL mattress?

All of our mattresses meet the BedInABox® standard, meaning they are 100% manufactured in the USA and are CertiPUR-US® and OEKO-TEX® certified for safe sleep. Our multilayer memory foam and hybrid mattresses promise to deliver the highest-quality comfort and are built to accommodate all sleeping positions to best maintain joint alignment and spine support throughout the night.

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11” multilayer foam construction designed with CoolRest® Gel memory foam to bring you cool, comfortable memory foam support.
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11” medium-soft multilayer foam construction with an UltraCool® soft knit cover and our most advanced cooling system to keep you sleeping comfortably.
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12” and three layers of memory foam support infused with CoolRest® technology for those seeking maximum support and comfort.
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