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Single vs. Twin

Austin Meadows

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Austin Meadows, Sleep Product Tester

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Understanding the world of mattress sizes can be confusing. Some terms mean one thing in the United States, and something else entirely in the rest of the world. Other terms, like “single” and “twin”, mean the same thing, but are both commonly used.

Is There a Difference?

Single and twin are two terms for the same bed size. There is no difference between the two, and both terms are often used interchangeably.

“Single” used to be the more popular terminology, but today, “twin” is more commonly used. This is true in most countries, although some nations still prefer the term “single”. The term originally came about because hotels often placed two single beds – “twin” single beds – in the same room.

Some twin beds are designed to be bought and used in pairs. However, this is not necessary, and the dimensions of both twin and single beds are identical.

The twin bed size is generally 38 inches by 75 inches (sometimes 39 inches by 75 inches). This makes it the smallest mattress, outside of beds designed specifically for cribs and small children. It’s certainly designed for only one sleeper.

Find Your Mattress

Answer 5 Easy Questions To Discover Your Perfect Mattress

What position do you sleep in?

  • side sleeper icon

    Side

    You normally wake up sleeping on your side

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    Back

    You normally wake up sleeping on your back

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    Stomach

    You sleep lying flat on your stomach

Do you experience any pain while sleeping?

  • side sleeper icon

    Back and / or Side Pain

    I often have back and/or side pain after waking up and into the day

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    Neck and / or Shoulder Pain

    I often have neck and/or shoulder pain after waking up and into the day

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    Little to No Pain

    I rarely experience any pain from sleep

Do you have any material preferences?

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    Innerspring

    I prefer a more traditional coil-based mattress

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    Foam

    I prefer a coil-less design made of memory foam, latex, and fabric.

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    No preference/ Other

    I don't mind any material as long as I feel good sleeping

Do you sleep hot?

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    Yes

    You tend to heat up at night and wake up sweaty often

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    No

    You never have issues being too hot during the night

Do you sleep with a partner?

  • side sleeper icon

    Yes

    We'll recommend beds that have superior motion isolation to account for partner movement during the night

  • side sleeper icon

    No

    Motion isolation is less of a factor in our mattress recommendations

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Twin XL beds are a different size altogether, which can create some confusion. A twin XL is 38/39 inches wide by 80 inches long, giving it an extra 5 inches of legroom over the standard twin. Twin XL is a better choice for college students and adults over 6 feet tall. See our twin vs twin XL comparison for details.

We typically recommend twin beds for children and teens, and occasionally for single adults who don’t need a lot of space. Everyone else will be better off with a larger mattress.

 

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About Our Editorial Team

author
Austin Meadows

Sleep Product Tester

Austin is a professional writer and researcher who has covered sleep science and sleep products for over a decade.