Everybody knows that getting good-quality sleep night after night is crucial to living a happy and healthy life. When it comes to athletes, however, sleep is even more important; as research has proven quality of sleep can have a significant impact on an athletes performance. Getting deep, reparative sleep is the best way to help your body recovery quickly and healthily from the day prior. For athletes, finding a mattress that’ll promote deep, undisturbed sleep, is critical for helping their body ready itself for the next day of activity. In this guide, we’ll be discussing the key things athletes should look for when buying a bed, as well as our Editors’ recommended best mattress for athletes.
When it comes time to replace your mattress, there are four major things you should consider during your search for a new bed: your sleep style, your body type, chronic aches and pains, and lastly, your personal preference for firmness. On top of these basics, athletes need to think about much more before purchasing their best bed.
- Temperature Regulation & Sleep-Promoting Technologies: It’s almost impossible to get a good night’s sleep if you’re consistently waking up hot. Cooling & temperature regulating technologies help combat heat and contribute to uninterrupted sleep.
- Zoned Support & Pressure Relief: The top layers of the mattress should conform to your body to relieve pressure points and tension, while still maintaining healthy spinal alignment. Athletes should look for additional lumbar support from their bed, too, as it prevents your torso from sinking too far into the mattress.
- High-Quality Materials: With any investment, it’s important you’re spending your money wisely. Buying a bed with high-quality materials may be more costly now, but it protects you later on down the line from having to replace a saggy mattress.
As always, we recommend taking note of the sleep trial and warranty before purchasing a bed. Sleep trials conveniently allow you the chance to try your new mattress in your home commitment-free; this gives you a more genuine experience of the bed’s comfort to decide if it’s the best fit for you.
Furthermore, warranties are in place to protect your investment for years to come. Be sure the bed you’re buying comes with at least a 10-year warranty; the average lifespan of a mattress is around 7-10 years, so a 10-year warranty will have you covered for as long as the bed is expected to last. Before buying, read the warranty guidelines and have an understanding of what’s covered and what you’d be responsible for in the event of a warranty claim.
1. Temperature Regulation & Sleep-Promoting Technologies
The time you spend asleep is the time your body has to recover both mentally and physically from the day’s events. Athletes require certain amounts of both light and deep sleep, as each stage of sleep is responsible for a specific facet of healing. For example, light sleep is associated with cell division and regeneration, which directly links to speedy muscle recovery. Getting 8-9 hours of sleep after a workout can also help build your muscles, too. During deep sleep, on the other hand, hormones are secreted to help keep your body processes in sync.
To get restorative rest, it’s imperative you spend an adequate amount of time asleep to go through each stage of sleep at least five times— this is where sleep-promoting technologies come into play. Technologies that keep you cool, and create a peaceful sleeping environment, are beneficial in helping you stay asleep.
Motion isolation, for example, helps prevent movement from transferring throughout the mattress; so if you move around, or share the bed with a restless sleeper, you shouldn’t be disturbed by the bed shifting with the tossing and turning.
There are a wide variety of cooling technologies used in mattresses today to prevent you from overheating while you sleep; these include gel-infused foams, Celliant® fabric, and Copper. Let’s take a closer look at those materials below:
- Gel-Infused Foams: Cooling gel and gel beads draw heat away from your body and out of the mattress, keeping your temperature neutral. Unfortunately, cheaper gel foams can absorb the heat from your body and take on the temperature of the rest of the bed, doing almost the opposite of what it’s designed to do, so be wary before choosing gel-infused foams.
- Celliant® Fabric: Celliant® fabric has been FDA-determined to promote more restful sleep than other alternative textiles. Celliant® contains 13 thermoreactive minerals; these recycle the body heat you naturally emit while you sleep into infrared light. Infrared light is reabsorbed by the body and penetrates muscle tissue, which increases local blood flow. Increased local blood flow should keep your temperature regulated and prevent you from waking up hot.
- Copper: Copper is a highly conductive material, which acts as a magnet for heat. Copper absorbs and dissipates body heat in the mattress to keep the bed feeling cool. Copper also reduces inflammation and eases sore joints— especially important for athletes. Plus, Copper is naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial, so you can sleep soundly knowing your bed is germ-free.
Lastly, technologies that ease aches and pains can contribute to undisturbed sleep. Far Infrared Rays technology, or FIR, is thought to be one of the most effective technologies for pain relief. Whether it’s minor joint pain, stiffness, or chronic back pain, FIR can reduce, or even eliminate, recurring aches. It does this by penetrating deep in the skin and increasing oxygen flow & circulation throughout your whole body.
2. Zoned Support & Pressure Relief
Finding a mattress that will provide healthy support for your muscles to rest and recover is critical to athletes. Many mattresses today include a layer that has been specifically designed to offer targeted pressure relief and nurture a healthy spine. That said, there are plenty of beds that lack in this support layer, too. When doing research, look for information regarding how the mattress is tailored to maintain your spine’s natural curvature and ease pressure and tension.
To properly support your body, a mattress should be firmer around your neck, torso, and feet, and softer in areas like your hips and shoulders; this fosters your body’s natural alignment and diminishes aches and pains. Athletes should also look for a mattress with extra support in the middle of the mattress, too, because it prevents your torso from sinking in the bed.
3. Quality of Materials
A new mattress is an investment in better sleep— so when it comes time to drop a couple of hundred, or thousand, dollars on a bed, you want to make sure it’ll last. Buying a well-made bed with high-quality materials is a sure way to know you’re getting the best mattress for the money.
Most mattress brands will offer transparent information about how their beds are made and the materials inside of them. If you’re struggling to find that information, ask. If a retailer shies away from disclosing this pertinent information, it’s a reliable sign you should shop with a different brand.
Mattresses are made from a wide range of materials, when looking at foam beds, check the density of the top layer; when assessing latex, look at how it’s made and if it’s 100% natural, or a synthetic blend; for innerspring beds, look at what the steels coils are made from, are they steel or a cheapy metal? Don’t forget to consider the cover of the mattress as well and the fabrics in the cover, as they can play a big role in the overall comfort of the bed.
What’s the Best Mattress for Athletes?
It’s recommended that athletes get 8 to 10 hours of restful sleep because their bodies need more time to recover. Skipping out on Zzz’s can lead to decreased performance, slower reaction times, impaired cognitive functioning, amongst other things. To play your best, you have to get proper rest. In this next section, we’ll be discussing our recommended mattresses for athletes.
Spartan – Brooklyn Bedding
Brooklyn Bedding is one of the largest mattress manufacturers in the US. They make a variety of different mattresses, but one, in particular, is designed specifically for athletes: the Spartan. Brooklyn Bedding even advertises this bed as delivering “extreme recovery for the extreme athlete in all of us.”
The Spartan is a hybrid bed and combines poly-foam, memory foam, and an innerspring coil system. Below, we’ll touch on what makes the Spartan great for athletes.
Brooklyn Bedding sews Far Infrared Ray technology directly into the cover of their Spartan bed. When you sleep, this technology recycles your body heat into energy waves. Your body can then absorb these energy waves that aid in muscle recovery and eliminating pain.
The first layer of their beds is Copper-infused poly-foam, referred to as CopperFlex™. They design this layer to be more responsive than memory foam, so it should prevent you from sinking in the bed. The Copper in this layer is absorbed by your body to eliminate aches, pains, and stiff joints. Don’t forget, Copper also works to keep your bed cool and germ-free at night.
Below the layer of Copper-infused foam lies two layers of foam in place to work as a transition between the softer CopperFlex™ foam above and this bed’s pocketed coil layer below. The top layer of foam is poly-foam while the layer below is gel-infused memory foam. Including memory foam this far deep into the bed allows for deep compression and pressure relief. Though this foam is gel-infused, this gel won’t do much to eliminate heat that far away from your body. Brooklyn Bedding does infuse their TitanCool™ technology in between these layers, though, which is designed to keep your body at an ideal 88 degrees while you sleep. Overall, these layers contribute to the overall quality of the bed, giving it more durability and preventing premature sagging.
Below the layers of foam lies an 8-inch pocketed coil system, made of 1,189 individually pocketed coils. Because these coils are pocketed and move independently of each other, they should isolate motion quite well, calling for undisturbed sleep— even if you share the bed with a restless sleeper.
Last but not least, Brooklyn Bedding includes a 1-inch layer of high-density poly-foam as the base layer of their mattress. This layer is in place to offer reinforced support to the coils and foam layers above, improving the Spartan’s durability and, hopefully, prolonging its lifespan.
If you buy a Spartan, it comes with a 10-year warranty and 120-night sleep trial.
Bear Hybrid Mattress
Bear sells two different mattresses, their memory foam flagship model and their newest hybrid model. Their hybrid bed is advertised as a “Luxury Hybrid Designed for Athletes,” meant to ease pain and help you wake up refreshed every day. When you buy a Bear bed, it comes with free shipping, a 100-night sleep trial, and a 20-year warranty. Plus, they use “green” materials in their beds, making them ideal to consumers looking to buy an eco-friendly mattress.
Below, we’ll break down the layers of this mattress and explain how it’s designed to foster better sleep for athletes:
The cover of the Bear is Celliant® fabric, which recycles your body heat to infrared energy to keep your temperature cool while you sleep. Quilted in this cover is gel-infused, plush poly-foam, giving the cover of this bed a luxurious feel. The gel in the foam works in conjunction with the Celliant® to keep you cool and prevent you from waking up uncomfortably warm.
The top layer of this bed is Bear’s original Premium Comfort Foam, a poly-foam designed to have the same effects of memory foam. When you lay on this bed, this layer should mold and cradle your body, cushioning pressure points and relieving pain.
Next, is the pocketed coil system of this bed. The pocketed coils give the bed a bouncier feel and help suspend the sleeper on the surface of the mattress. As we mentioned with the Spartan, the pocketed coils of this layer will prevent motion from transferring through the bed— contributing to undisturbed sleep.
The last layer of the Bear Hybrid is a thin layer of high-density poly-foam in place to give the bed reinforced structural and edge support.
Did You Find Your Next Bed?
All three of these mattresses are great options for athletes. Before you decide on one, do further research to look for the model most compatible with your sleep needs. Don’t forget to take advantage of sleep trials. Fortunately, risk-free sleep trials allow us to try your new mattress in our home while deciding if it’s right for you, helping you choose the best mattress for you.