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Best Mattresses for Athletes – 2020 Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Jenny Iyo

Written by Keith Cushner

Quick Overview

Athletic performance and physical recovery are both directly linked to sleep quality. Well-rested athletes are faster, more reflexive, and able to perform for longer durations than those who don’t get enough sleep.

And at the end of the day, a comfortable, supportive sleep surface can alleviate aches and pains, promote good blood flow, and cool the body to a reasonable temperature. For these reasons, an athlete’s mattress choice is very important.

Some mattresses are better equipped to accommodate athletic individuals than others. These beds cushion sensitive areas – such as the neck, shoulders, lower back, and hips – and align the head, spine and pelvis. This helps reduce pressure points all over the body.

Temperature neutrality is another important factor; beds that sleep excessively hot can have a negative effect on physical recovery. And because many athletes have larger-than-average bodies, a mattress that offers support to taller and/or heavier sleepers is usually the best option.

This guide will discuss these and other important criteria for selecting an athlete’s mattress. Below you will find our choices for the best mattresses for athletes sold today. Our picks are based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as intensive product research and analysis.

Best Mattresses for Athletes
First Time Buying a Mattress?

Hop down to our Buyer’s Guide for a crash course on finding the best mattress for athletes.

 

Best Mattresses for Athletes – Reviewed

Editor's PickBear Mattress

Editor's Pick – Bear Mattress

Highlights

  • 'Firm' (7)
  • 100-night sleep trial
  • 10-year warranty
  • Close conforming and good motion isolation
  • Celliant cover promotes physical recovery
Read Our Full Review
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Editor's PickBear Mattress

bearmattress.com

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The Bear Mattress is our Editor’s Pick largely due to its cover, which is made of Celliant fabric. This material is engineered to absorb body heat, convert it into infrared energy, and transmit the energy back into the sleeper’s skin.

This process benefits sleepers in many ways, such as improved blood circulation, targeted pain and pressure relief, and a speedier physical recovery. Celliant also provides good temperature neutrality; as a result, the Bear Mattress sleeps cooler than most competing all-foam beds.

The Bear Mattress has comfort layers made of memory foam and polyfoam that conform moderately to the sleeper’s body. This helps align the spine and prevent more pressure points from developing.

The bed also includes a high-density polyfoam support core, which helps maintain an even surface for sleeping. Other benefits of the Bear Mattress include good motion isolation and no noise – both of which may be beneficial for couples who awaken easily during the night.

The Bear is a high-value mattress, as well, with a price-point that is significantly lower than the cost of the average memory foam bed. The mattress qualifies for free delivery in the contiguous U.S., and comes with a hassle-free 100-night sleep trial.

The Bottom Line.

With its Celliant fabric cover and pressure-relieving memory foam, the Bear Mattress features an innovative construction that’s particularly beneficial for athletes. Available in a ‘Firm’ feel but still conforming moderately, this is a bed that will support athletes of a wide range of body types and comfort preferences.

  • Side and back sleepers. The all-foam construction adapts to the sleeper’s body, providing balanced comfort and support for the side and back sleep positions.
  • Athletes who weigh 230 pounds or less. The ‘Medium Firm’ feel of the Bear Mattress is most supportive for sleepers of average weight or less.
  • Back and hip pain sufferers. Foam comfort layers cradle the body, allowing the sleeper sink just enough into the mattress surface to relieve pressure in sensitive areas.
  • Value seekers. Despite its futuristic materials and quality construction, the Bear Mattress has an extremely competitive price-point.

Not Recommended for:

  • Heavyweight athletes. The ‘Medium Firm’ feel may not provide adequate support for athletes who weigh over 230 pounds.
  • Stomach sleepers. Similarly, the Bear Mattress may be too soft for stomach sleepers, letting them sink too deeply into the mattress so as to increase pressure on the lower back.

Best Value Mattress for AthletesLayla

Best Value Mattress for Athletes – Layla

Highlights

  • Flippable with dual firmness (4, 7)
  • 120-night sleep trial
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Great motion isolation
  • Close conforming and pressure relief
Read Our Full Review
Get $110 off a Layla Mattress. Click the link below.
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Best Value Mattress for AthletesLayla

laylasleep.com

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Many athletes prefer to have firmness options rather than sleep on a bed with the same firmness setting night after night. The Layla is a good pick for these individuals.

It offers a flippable design with one side that is ‘Medium Soft’ (4 on the 1-10 firmness scale) and another that is ‘Firm’ (7). Changing the firmness is as easy as flipping the mattress over – and the Layla is lightweight even by memory foam mattress standards and will cause minimal strain to rotate.

The Layla Mattress is also suitable for athletic recovery because both memory foam comfort layers are infused with copper, which accelerates blood flow and improves circulation in sleepers. The copper also cools down the foam to give the mattress great temperature neutrality.

The ‘Medium Soft’ side has an additional layer of convoluted polyfoam for added cushioning and pressure relief, while the shared polyfoam support core reinforces the even sleep surface.

Layla Sleep offers free shipping to customers anywhere in the contiguous U.S. The Layla Mattress is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty, both of which are longer than average.

The Bottom Line.

From physical injuries to varying training regimens, the firmness preferences of athletes have the potential to change. With the Layla’s flippable design and recovery-promoting copper technology, these athletes are covered no matter what.

  • Side and back sleepers. Either side of the Layla Mattress can relieve pressure and provide support for these sleep positions.
  • Athletes in all weight groups (light, average, heavy). The ‘Medium Soft’ side may be most comfortable for lightweight sleepers, while the ‘Firm’ side may be preferable for average weight sleepers and heavier.
  • Those with shifting firmness preferences. If an athlete suffers a physical injury or changes to their training, their comfort needs may change. With two firmness options, the Layla Mattress can accommodate these sleepers.
  • Value seekers. With its flippable design, the Layla is like two mattresses in one. You can’t get a better deal than that!

Not Recommended for:

  • Stomach sleepers. Even on the ‘Firm’ side, the foam construction of the Layla Mattress may allow stomach sleepers to sink too deeply, potentially resulting in aches and pains upon waking up.
  • Those looking for strong edge support. Like many all-foam models, one can experience “roll-off” when sleeping or sitting on the edges of the Layla Mattress.

Best Luxury Mattress for AthletesAvocado Green

Best Luxury Mattress for Athletes – Avocado Green

Highlights

  • Multiple firmness options (5.5, 6.5)
  • 365-night sleep trial
  • 20-year warranty
  • Good conforming and motion isolation
  • Exceptional temperature neutrality
Read Our Full Review
Get $150 off an Avocado Green Mattress. Use this code at checkout: TUCKAVO
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Best Luxury Mattress for AthletesAvocado Green

avocadogreenmattress.com

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The Avocado Green is a latex hybrid crafted from materials that are both high-quality and eco-friendly. These include comfort layers of breathable, moisture-wicking New Zealand wool and aerated Dunlop latex. These materials help keep the bed cool and comfortable for most sleepers, including athletes fresh from intense workouts.

The mattress also has a sturdy pocketed coil support core that reinforces the entire bed and helps minimize sagging and indentations from developing in the sleep surface. These imperfections can cause the surface to become uneven, and often lead to added aches and pains for physically active people.

The Avocado Green is available in two firmness settings: ‘Medium’ (5.5) and ‘Medium Firm’ (6.5). This range is best suited for athletes who weigh at least 130 pounds, as this weight group often finds that softer beds sag excessively.

The thick latex layer also absorbs and minimizes a fair amount of motion transfer, and the coils do not produce much noise. Both of these attributes can benefit couples who awaken easily during the night.

Avocado offers free standard shipping to all 50 states, as well as White Glove delivery – which includes in-home assembly – for an extra charge. The mattress is backed by a 365-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty.

The Bottom Line.

With its hybrid construction and organic latex, the Avocado Green is a smart pick for athletes who want to invest in a durable, premium-quality mattress that will help them sleep cool and offer excellent support for an extended number of years.

  • Every type of sleeper (side, back, stomach, combination). Hybrid mattresses like the Avocado Green are adaptable. The latex comfort system provides cooling relief, while the pocketed coil core provides additional contouring and support for different pressure points, depending on the sleep position.
  • Athletes who weigh 130 pounds or more. The ‘Medium’ feel may be more comfortable for average weight athletes who sleep on their back or sides, while the ‘Medium Firm’ may be better for heavier individuals and average weight stomach sleepers.
  • Athletes who tend to sleep hot or sweat in their sleep. Organic latex naturally sleeps cool, while the top layer of natural New Zealand wool wicks away moisture and further cools down the mattress surface temperature.
  • Eco-conscious shoppers. The Avocado Green is hand-made in the USA with green materials like organic latex and natural New Zealand wool.

Not Recommended for:

  • Athletes who weigh less than 130 pounds. Along with the bed’s medium firmness, the Dunlop latex used in the Avocado Green’s comfort layers has a denser feel that can feel too firm for these sleepers.
  • Athletes who prefer a traditional memory foam feel. While the Avocado Green offers some contouring and pressure relief, it can’t compare with an all-foam model.

Best Mattress for Lightweight AthletesCasper Wave

Best Mattress for Lightweight Athletes – Casper Wave

Highlights

  • 'Medium Soft' (4.5)
  • 100-night sleep trial
  • 10-year warranty
  • Thick, pressure-relieving comfort layers
  • High-profile support
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Best Mattress for Lightweight AthletesCasper Wave

casper.com

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Most people in the light weight group (less than 130 pounds) prefer softer mattresses that provide deep conforming and improve spinal alignment. The Casper Wave is optimal for athletes in this group because it is considered ‘Medium Soft’ (4.5) and constructed with thick comfort layers of polyfoam, memory foam, and blended latex.

These materials hug the body closely without sagging excessively to alleviate aches and pains in the sleeper’s most sensitive areas. The Wave also has a high-density foam base that reinforces the bed to prevent sagging and sinkage along the surface.

Its 11.5-inch profile is also ideal for taller people, who often struggle getting in and out of bed, as well as those who prefer thicker-than-average beds. Additionally, the Casper Wave isolates motion transfer very well and is virtually silent when bearing weight. These two factors can be beneficial to couples who experience sleep disruptions due to movement or noise.

The Casper Wave has an above-average price-point, but the mattress qualifies for free White Glove delivery anywhere in the contiguous U.S. This service includes in-home assembly and old mattress removal upon request. The Wave is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.

The Bottom Line.

With its ‘Medium Soft’ feel and thick comfort system, the Casper Wave is ideal for athletes with lighter body weights. Soft memory foam cushions and relieves their pressure points, while latex keeps the mattress cool and breathable. Athletes will wake up feeling well-rested and ready to tackle their training.

  • Side and back sleepers. The Casper Wave’s ‘Medium Soft’ feel is just right for lightweight sleepers who prefer these sleep positions, providing an optimal mix of comfort and support.
  • Athletes who normally sleep hot. The Casper Wave uses ventilated latex and quality foams that trap a minimal amount of body heat, allowing the bed to sleep quite cool.
  • Couples. The foam and latex construction gives the Casper Wave excellent motion isolation, reducing the potential for sleep disruptions during the night.
  • Athletes who prefer a traditional memory foam feel. The Casper Wave conforms closely to the sleeper’s body, creating a pressure-relieving cradle.

Not Recommended for:

  • Stomach sleepers. The ‘Medium Soft’ feel may be too soft for this sleep position, allowing sleepers to sink too deeply into the mattress surface and creating the potential for spinal misalignment.
  • Couples where one partner weighs over 230 pounds. The Casper Wave may not provide adequate support for individuals in this weight group.

Best Mattress for Average Weight AthletesSaatva

Best Mattress for Average Weight Athletes – Saatva

Highlights

  • Multiple firmness options (4, 6, 7.5)
  • 180-night sleep trial
  • 15-year warranty
  • Strong, durable support
  • Good conforming and pressure relief
Read Our Full Review
Get $200 off a Saatva Mattress. Click the link below.
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Best Mattress for Average Weight AthletesSaatva

casper.com

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A common complaint about innerspring mattresses is below-average pain and pressure relief. Most models are made with thin polyfoam comfort layers that provide minimal conforming and do not improve spinal alignment to a noticeable extent. The Saatva is a notable exception. Using innovative coil-on-coil construction and thick comfort layers, the mattress offers exceptional comfort and pain relief for athletes.

The mattress is made with memory foam, polyfoam, and pocketed coil comfort layers that provide targeted support to the sleeper’s body, which can help cut down on aches and pains. The bed also has a support core with steel-tempered bonnell coils, which offer robust reinforcement to the entire bed.

Good air circulation through the coil layers also allows the Saatva to sleep cool for most. The mattress is available in three firmness settings – ‘Medium Soft’ (4), ‘Medium Firm’ (6), and ‘Firm’ (7.5) – as well as 11.5- and 14.5-inch profiles. This range should accommodate most sleepers regardless of their weight or preferred position.

Saatva provides free White Glove delivery to all customers in the contiguous U.S. The mattress is backed by a 180-night sleep trial and a 15-year warranty, both of which are longer than average.

The Bottom Line.

The ‘Medium Firm’ setting is the most popular among average weight sleepers, but with three firmness settings and two profile options to choose from, athletes can hone in on just the right version of the Saatva for their needs.

  • Every type of sleeper (side, back, stomach, combination). The Saatva’s thick comfort system allows it to provide good pressure point relief for any sleep position.
  • Athletes who tend to sleep hot. The Saatva sleeps exceptionally cool, thanks to good airflow throughout the innerspring support core.
  • Back pain sufferers. The memory foam and pocketed coil comfort layers offer contouring and pain relief, while the uniformity of the coil layer ensures evenly distributed support.
  • Value seekers. The Saatva offers a sophisticated construction and free White Glove delivery, but comes with a very reasonable price tag.

Not Recommended for:

  • Athletes who prefer a traditional memory foam feel. The Saatva provides more conforming than the average innerspring bed, but it can’t compete with an all-foam or hybrid model.
  • Couples. Thanks to its coil core, the Saatva has a more responsive feel that may lead to some noise or movement if a sleep partner changes positions during the night.

Best Mattress for Heavyweight AthletesBear Hybrid

Best Mattress for Heavyweight Athletes – Bear Hybrid

Highlights

  • 'Medium Firm' (6)
  • 100-night sleep trial
  • 20-year warranty
  • Sleeps exceptionally cool
  • Thick, pressure-relieving comfort layers
Read Our Full Review
Get 20% off a Bear Hybrid Mattress. Use this code at checkout: TUCK20
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Best Mattress for Heavyweight AthletesBear Hybrid

bearmattress.com

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Like our Editor’s Pick, the Bear Mattress, the Bear Hybrid is constructed with a Celliant fabric cover that aids circulation, provides pain relief, regulates body temperature, and hastens physical recovery for athletes.

What makes this mattress our top choice for heavyweight athletes, however, is its sturdy construction. The Bear Hybrid mattress features polyfoam and memory foam comfort layers that provide close conforming and improve spinal alignment. And because the comfort layers are 5 inches thick, the Bear Hybrid isolates motion transfer better and sleeps quieter than the average hybrid.

As is the case with many hybrids, the Bear Hybrid also sleeps quite cool – but Bear’s model is available at a much lower price-point than the average hybrid, making it a high-value pick as well. The pocketed coil layer ensures good airflow, which helps with temperature neutrality, and also reinforces the edges to prevent sinkage around the perimeter of the bed.

Bear will ship this hybrid anywhere in the contiguous U.S. free-of-charge. The mattress is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty.

The Bottom Line.

The Bear Hybrid mattress has a lot to offer bigger athletes who weigh 230 pounds or more. The bed’s thick hybrid construction ensures durable support across the mattress surface, including the sides, while foam comfort layers provide needed pressure relief. Thanks to the Celliant fabric cover and pocketed coil core, the bed also sleeps very cool.

  • Side and back sleepers. A thick comfort system in a ‘Medium Firm’ feel ensures side and back sleepers get the pressure relief they need, without sacrificing support.
  • Athletes with poor circulation. Poor blood flow can negatively impact athletic performance. Fortunately, the Bear Hybrid’s Celliant technology converts body heat into infrared energy, transmitting it back into the sleeper’s skin to facilitate physical recovery.
  • Couples. The Bear Hybrid has great motion isolation, due to its thick foam layers and use of pocket coils, so sleepers are less likely to be disrupted by noise or movement from a nearby sleep partner.
  • Athletes who tend to sleep hot. The Celliant fabric cover, gel-infused comfort layers, and pocketed coil core all work together to keep the mattress surface cool.

Not Recommended for:

  • Stomach sleepers. The ‘Medium Firm’ feel may be too soft for heavier athletes who sleep on their stomach, allowing them to sink too deeply into the mattress and thereby increasing pressure on their spine.
  • Shoppers who want to be able to return their mattress quickly if they don’t love it. The 100-night sleep trial includes a mandatory 30-night break-in period.

Buying Guide – How to Find the Best Mattress for Athletes

Numerous studies have established a direct link between healthy sleep habits and strong athletic performance. Well-rested athletes are faster, stronger, more accurate, and quicker to react than those who do not receive enough sleep.

Additionally, proper sleep can supplement exercise routines, allowing athletes to build muscle, strength, and endurance more effectively. Those who don’t get enough sleep often pay the price physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Choosing the right mattress can greatly impact an athlete’s sleep habits and routines. However, it’s important to understand the key differences between mattress types — such as innerspring, foam, latex, and hybrid models — in terms of support, comfort, firmness, and other important sleep factors.

This page will look at the most important sleep considerations for athletes of all ages, along with our best tips for buying a new mattress.

Why Is Sleep So Important for Athletes?

We all require a good night’s sleep in order to wake up feeling refreshed and function the following day. However, athletes face unique considerations when it comes to sleep. Poor or inadequate sleep can lead to problems like slow reaction times, lengthier recovery times and diminished motor skills — all of which impact athletic performance.

Sleep deprivation and sleep debt are two important factors. Sleep deprivation is a condition characterized by lack of sleep that may be chronic or acute in nature. Sleep debt refers to incremental loss of sleep that accumulates over the course of a week or longer.

Let’s say an athletic person receives seven hours of sleep each night from Monday to Friday, rather than the recommended eight hours of nightly sleep. By Saturday, that person’s ‘sleep debt’ will reach five hours — and they will most likely feel the effects, which may include slower reaction times, lack of focus, and delayed physical recovery from athletic activities.

Sleep deprivation also impacts body chemistry. When we sleep, our bodies regulate production of the stress hormone known as cortisol. Lack of sleep can cause cortisol levels to rise. This hinders the body’s ability to produce glycogen and carbohydrates, which provide energy boosts during high-endurance activities (such as athletic events).

As sleep debt accumulates and cortisol levels increase, our bodies become less and less equipped to perform. Many athletes rely on supplements to replenish their glycogen and carbohydrate levels, and these supplements may carry negative side effects.

How Much Sleep Do Athletes Need?

Generally speaking, athletes require more sleep than non-athlete adults, particularly before and after major athletic events. The average man or woman requires seven to nine hours of sleep per night in order to properly function the next day.

However, adult athletes should get roughly 10 hours of sleep whenever they are training or competing on a regular basis. This helps ensure strong athletic performance, as well as a speedy physical recovery. Likewise, adolescent athletes are urged to get at least nine hours of sleep per night during their active seasons to reap the full benefits of sleep.

In addition to more overall sleep, athletes require steady sleep schedules that consist of both light and deep sleep. Light sleep, known as non-rapid-eye-movement (nREM) sleep, is associated with cell division and regeneration, which is crucial for muscle recovery. Cortisol regulation takes place primarily during REM sleep.

Additionally, athletes may experience longer REM latency — the time from falling asleep until REM sleep begins — than non-athletes, and not getting enough REM sleep can negatively affect athletic performance and reaction time.

Studies on the Effects of Sleep in Athletes

The following studies highlight the importance of sufficient sleep for athletes in different sports and activities.

  • 2014 study found that adolescent athletes who received less than eight hours of sleep per night were 1.7 times more likely to get injured during an event or competition than those who received eight or more hours of sleep per night.
  • 2013 study found that ‘strike-zone judgment’ in baseball players was worse in September than in April of that year, due to the long-term effects of sleep loss and fatigue across a single season.
  • Another 2013 study noted that baseball players with unhealthy sleep habits and routines were less than 40 percent likely to still be playing three seasons later; in contrast, those who received sufficient sleep were 72 percent likely to still be playing.
  • As part of a 2007 study, a group of swimmers received 10 hours of sleep over a period of six to seven weeks. Most participants reported faster swim times, higher stroke rates, and quicker reaction times.
  • In a 2010 study, a group of football players who increased their daily sleep times over a period of seven to eight weeks noted faster times in 20- and 40-yard sprints, as well as mood improvements.
  • 2011 survey of basketball players found that increasing sleep times by two hours per day resulted in faster sprint times and better shooting accuracy for both free throws and three-point shots.
  • 2009 study asked female tennis players to get at least 10 hours of sleep over a period of five to six weeks. Participants recorded sprint time improvements, as well as an increase in serving accuracy of nearly 24 percent.

Next, let’s look at important performance factors that athletes should consider when shopping for a new mattress.

Mattress Firmness and Other Considerations for Athletes

When browsing and comparing different mattress brands and models, here are a few factors to keep in mind.

  • Mattress Firmness

    Firmness is directly tied to the topmost layers of a mattress, which are collectively known as the comfort layer or comfort system. Firmness is often measured on a numerical scale, with 1 being the least firm and 10 being the firmest; most mattresses sold today rate between a 3 (‘Soft’) and an 8 (‘Very Firm’).

    Firmness preferences vary strongly from person to person, and often come down to two individual factors: bodyweight and sleep position.

    People with below-average weights (130 pounds or less) tend to feel most comfortable on mattresses that rate between a 3 and a 5 (‘Soft’ to ‘Medium’). If the mattress is firmer, then lightweight sleepers may weigh enough to sink deeply and experience close conforming.

    Heavier sleepers (more than 230 pounds), on the other hand, typically prefer mattresses that rate between a 6 (‘Medium Firm’) and an 8 (‘Very Firm’). If the mattress is less firm, then heavyweight sleepers may sink too deeply and experience discomfort and/or added pressure.

    In terms of sleep position, those who sleep on their back utilize a position that naturally aligns the spine. As a result, back sleepers may feel comfortable on different firmness levels, often depending on their bodyweight. Side sleepers, on the other hand, do not utilize a position that aligns the spine, so they often require a mattress that conforms to their body and targets pressure buildup.

    Stomach sleepers face a similar issue regarding spinal misalignment, but they usually prefer firmer mattresses. If the mattress is too soft, then stomach sleepers may sink too deeply, requiring them to turn their heads; this can cause pressure buildup, especially in the neck and shoulders.

    The table below summarizes the most popular firmness settings for sleepers, based on body weight and sleep position:

Weight Group Preferred Firmness for Most Side Sleepers Preferred Firmness for Most Back Sleepers Preferred Firmness for Most Stomach Sleepers
Below-average (Less than 130 pounds) 3 (Soft) to 5 (Medium) 4 (Medium Soft) to 6 (Medium Firm) 4 (Medium Soft) to 6 (Medium Firm)
Average (130 to 230 Pounds) 4 (Medium Soft) to 6 (Medium Firm) 5 (Medium) to 7 or 8 (Firm) 6 (Medium Firm) to 7 or 8 (Firm)
Above-average (More than 230 Pounds) 5 (Medium) to 6 (Medium Firm) 6 (Medium Firm) to 7 or 8 (Firm) 6 (Medium Firm) to 7 or 8 (Firm)
  • Conforming and Pressure Relief

    Some mattresses are designed to conform closely to sleeper’s bodies, forming a deep, contoured impression that helps align the spine and target pressure points along the shoulders, neck, back, and hips. Other mattresses do not conform as closely, and may not alleviate as much pressure.

    However, it is possible for a mattress to provide too much conforming. For example, mattresses that sink too deeply can cause sleepers to feel more pressure in these sensitive areas. Typically, this happens when someone is sleeping on a mattress with high conforming that has too soft of a firmness rating for their body weight.

  • Support

    Support in a mattress is regulated in the support core, or the layer(s) located below the comfort system. The support core is intended to withstand the sleeper’s weight by pushing back, creating a level surface that keeps the spine straight.

    Mattresses that do not offer inadequate support will eventually sag, which makes the surface uneven. This can cause pain and pressure along the body over time. Side and stomach sleepers in particular require mattresses that offer sufficient support.

  • Temperature Neutrality

    A significant number of adults naturally sleep hot or warm, including athletes. Some mattresses (most notoriously memory foam models) amplify this feeling by absorbing high levels of body heat, which causes the bed to feel uncomfortably hot or warm. These increases in temperature can negatively impact sleep and leave individuals feeling tired and unfocused.

    Other mattresses, like innerspring and all-latex models, retain less body heat and sleep fairly cool by comparison. These models are usually the best bet for naturally hot sleepers. Likewise, those who naturally sleep cold should seek out mattresses that will keep them sufficiently warm throughout the night.

  • Motion Isolation and Noise

    Some mattresses are engineered to absorb motion when someone gets up or shifts positions and isolate it to certain parts of the mattress. This is particularly beneficial for couples who share a bed. Other mattresses offer minimal motion isolation, and motion can be felt across the mattress surface. This can lead to sleep disruption, especially for sleepers that awaken easily.

    Mattresses with good motion isolation also tend to be quieter. Mattresses with solid comfort layers and support cores typically produce little to noise when bearing weight, so this can also cut down on sleep disruptions. By comparison, mattresses with metal components may squeak or rustle when compressed.

  • Cover Fabric

    The mattress cover can play a crucial role in sleep quality for athletes. Some mattress covers are made with Celliant, a fabric also used in athletic attire that absorbs energy from the sleeper’s body and infuses it back into the body using infrared light. This process improves circulation, speeds up muscle recovery, and regulates body temperature — all benefits for athletes.

    Other athlete-friendly mattress covers include those made from phase-changing material (PCM), which retains body heat until the sleeper reaches a certain temperature and then maintains that temperature for the rest of the night. This can be highly beneficial for athletes that sleep hot.

What Type of Mattress Is Best for Athletes? Pros and Cons

Now let’s go over five of the most popular mattress types sold today, including the pros and cons for athletes associated with each type.

Best Foam Beds for Athletes

Mattress Reviews
Bear Mattress Review
Mattress Reviews
Layla Mattress Review
Mattress Reviews
Casper Wave Hybrid Mattress Review

Memory Foam Mattresses

Memory foam, or viscoelastic polyfoam, is a polyurethane-based foam. When memory foam comes into contact with body temperatures, it sinks and conforms closely to the sleeper’s body. When cool, the foam retains its original, flattened surface.

Memory foam mattresses typically have lower price-points.

  • Comfort Layer: A memory foam mattress features at least one layer of memory foam in the comfort system. One or more layers of standard polyfoam may also be added for extra stability.
  • Support Core: The majority of memory foam mattresses sold today are made with high-density polyfoam support cores. HD polyfoam is strong enough to withstand a sleeper’s weight and maintain an even surface; memory foam is not as supportive, and most sleepers would sink too deeply on a mattress made entirely of memory foam.
  • Memory foam conforms very closely to help keep the spine straight and alleviate pain and pressure in the neck, shoulders, lower back, and hips.
  • Memory foam mattresses are available in a wide range of firmness ratings to accommodate sleepers with different weights and position preferences.
  • Memory foam mattresses offer above-average motion isolation, and produce little to no noise when bearing weight.

Cons for Athletes

  • Memory foam tends to sag with age, and this may affect its supportive properties.
  • Memory foam retains high levels of body heat, and may not be suitable for athletes who sleep hot or warm.

Best Innerspring Beds for Athletes

Mattress Reviews
Saatva Mattress Review

Innerspring Mattresses

Innerspring mattresses are the most widely sold mattresses today, accounting for roughly two-thirds of industry sales. These mattresses get their name from the steel coils that make up their support core; the coils are evenly spaced in order to properly distribute weight, and often reinforced with high-density polyfoam layers.

Generally speaking, innersprings have medium to low price-points.

    • Comfort Layer: In most innersprings, the comfort system primarily consists of polyfoam layers. Thin layers of memory foam and/or latex may also be used, but these components are more commonly found in hybrids (see below).
    • Support Core: Four types of steel coils are used in innersprings. These coils differ in terms of gauge, or thickness, as well as shape and price-point. The table below includes a complete breakdown of the four main coil types. Please note that gauge measurements follow a reverse order; low-gauge coils are the thickest, while high-gauge coils are the thinnest.

 

Coil Type Shape Average Gauge Average Price
Bonnell Hourglass with rounded ends 12 to 18 Low
Offset Hourglass with straightened ends 12 to 15 Medium
Continuous Wire Straight line 15 to 18 Low
Pocketed Spiral encased in fabric 17 to 18 High
  • Innerspring mattresses are available in a wide range of firmness options.
  • Innerspring mattresses retain minimal body heat and tend to sleep cooler than other mattress types. This is due largely due to the open support core structure, which provides better air circulation.

Cons for Athletes

  • An innerspring’s supportive qualities depend largely on the coil type, but innersprings tend to sag significantly and lose their supportive qualities relatively quickly.
  • Most innerspring mattresses conform very little due to the lack of contouring materials (such as memory foam and/or latex) in the comfort layer.
  • Innerspring mattresses can be somewhat loud due to squeaking coils and other internal components, and these mattresses do not usually isolate motion to a significant extent.

Best Latex Beds for Athletes

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Latex Mattresses

Latex is a substance extracted from rubber trees that is processed into a foam-like material.

All-latex mattresses are highly durable and have above-average lifespans; as a result, the price-points for these mattresses are typically high. Mattresses made with latex and foam components are more susceptible to sagging and deterioration, and the price-points tend to be lower.

  • Comfort Layer: The comfort system of a latex bed primarily consists of latex layers. Memory foam or polyfoam layers may also be used, as well, but some models are all-latex.
  • Support Core: Some latex mattresses have support cores that are also made entirely of latex, while others feature support layers constructed from high-density polyfoam.
  • Like memory foam mattresses, latex mattresses conform closely to sleeper’s bodies and target pressure points in sensitive areas.
  • Latex mattresses are available in different firmness settings, and may be considered suitable for any body weight or sleep position.
  • Latex mattresses are fairly quiet, and they provide better-than-average motion isolation.

Cons for Athletes

  • Latex mattresses with foam components tend to absorb high levels of body heat, and may not be suitable for athletes who sleep hot or warm. All-latex mattresses tend to sleep much cooler by comparison.
  • Mattresses made with latex and foam offer average to below-average support, and sagging in the support core is often reported. All-latex mattresses tend to perform for longer, and are not as susceptible to sagging.

Best Hybrid Beds for Athletes

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Hybrid Mattresses

By definition, a hybrid mattress features at least two inches of memory foam and/or latex in the comfort layer and a pocketed coil support core. Some mattresses sold as hybrids do not meet this criteria, and should not be considered true hybrids.

Due to their thicker construction, most hybrid mattresses have above-average price-points.

  • Comfort Layer: In addition to memory foam and/or latex components, the comfort system of a hybrid mattress may also contain layers of polyfoam and/or steel minicoils.
  • Support Core: As the table above shows, pocketed coils are covered in fabric casings and tend to be high-gauge, or thin, compared to other coil types. Many hybrids feature additional layers of high-density polyfoam in the support core.
  • Hybrids conform somewhat closely due to their memory foam and latex layers, and typically provide better pressure relief than traditional innersprings.
  • Hybrids are available in a wide range of firmness settings.
  • Hybrids typically offer good motion isolation.

Cons for Athletes

  • Hybrid mattresses — particularly those with thicker memory foam layers — absorb more body heat and tend to sleep hot compared to innersprings with polyfoam comfort layers.
  • Hybrids with higher firmness ratings tend to offer adequate support, but those with lower firmness ratings are more susceptible to sagging.
  • Hybrids tend to be quieter than innersprings, but some creaking and squeaking is to be expected.

Airbeds

An airbed offers adjustable firmness and support settings thanks to customizable air chambers that can be toggled remotely or manually, depending on the design.

Airbeds are generally the most expensive mattresses on the market.

  • Comfort Layer: Most airbeds feature thin comfort layers made of polyfoam and/or memory foam, although some high-end models also feature latex layers.
  • Support Core: The support core of an airbed features at least two individual air chambers, and some have as many as six. Newer models allow owners to adjust firmness settings using app technology. Most designs feature electrical outlets for the customizable controls.
  • Due to their adjustable controls, airbeds are suitable for most sleepers regardless of their firmness preferences.
  • Most airbeds conform closely and offer a contoured fit that helps align the spine and alleviate pressure points.
  • Most airbeds — especially those with more than two air chambers — absorb and isolate motion to a significant extent.

Cons for Athletes

  • Although their controls are customizable, many factors can affect the settings of an airbed, including room temperature, barometric pressure, and sleeper weight.
  • Temperature neutrality is a common issue for airbed owners: models with thicker comfort layers tend to sleep hot, whereas those with thinner comfort layers may sleep excessively cold.
  • Airbeds often produce a fair amount of noise due to squeaking sounds on the sleep surface, as well as running air pumps.

As you can see, a wide range of factors impact how a mattress feels to different athletes. For more information about this topic, please visit our Sleep and Athletes page, as well as our Mattress Buying Guide.

Mattress Shopping FAQ for Athletes

  • How Warm or Cool Does the Mattress Sleep Through the Night?

    Temperature neutrality is a key concern for many athletes, who tend to run hot due to their rigorous training physical activity. If you’re an athlete and a hot sleeper, you may want to opt for cooler mattress types, like innerspring and all-latex models.

    However, these beds do provide less conforming and pressure relief than all-foam beds. If you need the pressure relief of foam, but want a cooler sleep surface, take a look at the specific materials used in the construction of the mattress. Foams infused with gel, graphite, and copper can help regulate the mattress temperature. Ventilated or aerated foams also tend to be more breathable.

    Additionally, hybrid models can be a great alternative. These beds sleep relatively cool, thanks to free-flowing air throughout the pocketed coil layer, but they also provide excellent pressure relief, due to their thicker comfort layers.

  • What’s Your Mattress Budget?

    A good mattress costs anywhere between $1,000 to $2,200 for a Queen size, on average. More affordable mattress types include innerspring and foam models, while latex, hybrids, and airbeds are more expensive.

  • What Size Mattress Do You Need?

    Although standard mattress sizes are typically long and wide enough to accommodate most sleepers, some athletes — such as those who are particularly tall and/or large — may prefer to sleep on longer, wider King and California King sizes. The extra room can be especially beneficial if you share your bed with a partner.

  • Does the Mattress Include a Sleep Trial?

    Most mattress brands offer a sleep trial with each mattress purchase, usually lasting around 90 to 120 nights. This allows customers to test sleeping on the mattress in their home for some time. If they find that it doesn’t match their comfort preferences, they can return it before the trial ends for a full or partial refund or exchange.

    All of our top mattress picks for athletes include sleep trials of at least 100 nights. Although the Avocado Green, our Best Luxury Mattress for Athletes, stands out for offering a full 365 nights with its sleep trial.

  • What’s Covered by the Mattress Warranty?

    A typical mattress warranty lasts 10 years, and guarantees that the manufacturer will repair or replace any defective mattress as long as the defect is covered by the warranty. Sagging is one potential defect often covered by mattress warranties, and is commonly covered for indentations ranging between a half-inch and one-and-a-half inches in depth.

    It’s important to review the warranty terms before purchasing your mattress, with special consideration to whether the coverage is nonprorated and prorated.

    Nonprorated coverage means the manufacturer will cover all repair and replacement costs, less the cost of shipping. Prorated coverage often kicks in after the first 10 years of a warranty, and means the manufacturer will cover only a percentage of the full repair and replacement costs, with the remainder being charged to the customer. Learn more in our Guide to Understanding Mattress Warranties.

Pillows for Athletes

Along with a supportive mattress, athletes can benefit from sleeping on the right pillow. Pillows improve the overall restfulness of your sleep, and they work together with your mattress to facilitate proper spinal alignment.

When choosing a pillow, you’ll want to consider both the filler material and the thickness, or ‘loft,’ of the pillow. More supportive pillows include memory foam, buckwheat, and latex. These also tend to be more durable. Like their mattress counterparts, memory foam pillows may retain heat, so athletes who tend to sleep hot may want to opt for more breathable latex or buckwheat options.

Pillow loft is typically broken down into three categories: ‘high-loft’ pillows are 5 inches or taller, ‘low-loft’ pillows are 3 inches or thinner, and ‘medium loft’ covers everything in between. The optimal pillow loft for you depends on a few factors, including:

  • Sleep position: Side sleepers sleep best on high-loft pillows, in order to keep their neck straight with the rest of their spine. Conversely, stomach sleepers need low-loft pillows, or no pillow at all. Back sleepers find medium- to high-loft pillows most comfortable.
  • Head size: Athletes with larger heads may find higher lofts more comfortable and supportive, while athletes with average- or smaller-than-average heads will sleep fine on medium- or low-loft pillows, respectively.
  • Shoulder span: Athletes who sleep on their sides will want to match the loft of the pillow to the length between their shoulder and neck. Independent of sleep position, athletes with broader shoulders may enjoy better support from high-loft pillows.
  • Mattress firmness: Firmer mattresses typically pair best with higher-loft pillows. Softer mattresses, on the other hand, often require lower-loft pillows, in order to reduce the space between the sleeper’s body and the mattress surface and maintain good spinal alignment.

Learn more about pillow selection in our Guide to the Best Pillows.

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