What Is a Split Head Mattress—and Do You Need One?

Choosing a mattress as a couple with different preferences can be challenging. The split head mattress, divided at the top half, allows individual adjustments, customizations, and separate head elevation. Benefits include accommodating mobility issues, reading in bed, and retaining the ability to snuggle. However, drawbacks include higher costs, potential discomfort for restless sleepers, limited availability of sheets and mattresses, and the necessity of an adjustable base. While suitable for some, a split head mattress may not provide the maximum customization of a split king mattress for couples with vastly different sleep habits.

As you may know all too well, choosing a mattress as a couple can be quite difficult if each of you has different preferences. But it’s worth it to find the one that works for both of you.

“I always say that you should invest in your shoes and your mattress,” says Shelly Lynch-Sparks, principal and founder of Hyphen and Co. “You spend eight hours in both a day—and no matter what, they should be comfortable. In the argument for a good night’s sleep, it is difficult to find the perfect mattress that works for each party to sleep well.”

And that’s where the split head mattress comes in. If you’ve never heard of this mattress option, then you may be pleased to discover that it can be an excellent pick for couples. Ahead, this article will walk you through what you need to know about this mattress type.

What is a split head mattress?

“A split head mattress is split into two at the top half of the mattress,” explains Lynch-Sparks. “Imagine slicing a mattress in half vertically but stopping halfway through the middle. The bottom half is still connected as one, making it possible for you and your partner to still be on the same mattress.”

You can choose between a split head queen mattress or split head king mattress. When a split head mattress is paired with an adjustable base—which tends to be the preferred setup—you and your partner can raise and lower your heads separately while your feet remain on the same level.

A split head mattress is split into two at the top half of the mattress. Imagine slicing a mattress in half vertically but stopping halfway through the middle. The bottom half is still connected as one, making it possible for you and your partner to still be on the same mattress.

Shelly Lynch-Sparks, principal and founder of Hyphen and Co.

Pros of a split head mattress

Lynch-Sparks believes that a split head mattress carries many pros that are beneficial for both individuals and their partners. These pros include:

  • There are individual adjustments and customizations for each side of the mattress.
  • There are adjustable options to choose from that make it easy to get in and out of bed for people who have mobility issues.
  • For individuals who like to read before bed (and if their partner may go to bed on the earlier side), they can adjust the bed to a seated position while their partner sleeps soundly in a regular mattress position.
  • Since it’s not totally divided down the center, couples will still have the opportunity to snuggle up together.

Cons of a split head mattress

While a split head mattress sounds like a perfect solution for many couples out there, there are some cons to consider. Lynch-Sparks details the following drawbacks:

  • Split head mattresses can be a bit pricier than traditional king-size mattresses.
  • If you toss and turn in your sleep, then the split down the middle can be uncomfortable at times.
  • There are also a few issues with sheets and types of mattresses, such as there are limited places you can buy split head sheets and limited brands that carry split head mattresses.
  • A split head mattress really only works if you pair it with an adjustable base. 
  • Lastly, sometimes the mattresses slide when placed in a king frame.

Keep in mind, also, that a split head mattress doesn’t offer the maximum customization of a split king mattress, which is split entirely down the middle. So if you and your partner have completely different sleep habits, then a split king may be a better option for you than a split head mattress. 

“Overall, I think split king mattresses are a great investment for couples who struggle with sleep and have wildly different sleeping patterns,” Lynch-Sparks says.

What type of bed frame should you use with a split head mattress?

This mattress type should be paired with an adjustable base so that you can elevate or lower each side of the head separately. An adjustable base will also allow you to lower or raise the bottom half of the bed together.

Choose the right split head mattress and adjustable base for you

Solaire Adjustable Firmness Mattress

Featuring precise 50 firmness settings on each side of the bed for personal customization. Natural latex and gel-infused memory foam layers provide luxurious comfort and support.

Zenhaven Latex Mattress

Natural latex responds to every curve for pressure-free support and responsive comfort. Natural latex is supple, resilient, and durable, for the ultimate in elevated sleep. (It's naturally hypoallergenic too.)

Adjustable Base Plus

With weightless, Zero Gravity support, the Saatva Adjustable Base Plus allows you to set your ideal position for sleeping—and living—with one touch of the remote.

FAQs

What is a split head king mattress?

Lynch-Sparks defines a split head king mattress as “split into two at the top half of the mattress.” She adds, “Imagine slicing a mattress in half vertically but stopping halfway through the middle. The bottom half is still connected as one, making it possible for you and your partner to still be on the same mattress.”  

Who makes split head mattresses?

Some modern mattress companies have embraced the split head mattress and include it in their product offerings, but it’s not the easiest mattress size to find. Saatva has a couple of different mattress models in the split head setup.

Find the perfect split head mattress for you at Saatva

As we mentioned, Saatva offers two of its mattresses in the split head setup so you can choose the right one for your unique needs. There’s the

Solaire
solaire adjustable firmness mattress
Solaire

Our luxurious customizable mattress with 50 precise firmness options

 (adjustable firmness mattress) and
Zenhaven
zenhaven latex mattress
Zenhaven

Our dual-sided organic natural latex mattress for buoyant, pressure-relieving comfort

 (latex mattress). 

The split head design is known as “Upper-Flex.” Solaire is available in queen and king Upper-Flex, while Zenhaven is available in king Upper-Flex. Either option should be paired with our Upper-Flex

Saatva Adjustable Base Plus
saatva adjustable base plus
Saatva Adjustable Base Plus

Our deluxe adjustable base with even more customized comfort options

 to really reap the benefits.

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