Any athlete knows that staying fit and healthy is key to improving your performance, and being well-rested is an important part of that.
Sleep is a time when our bodies not only rest and relax, but also recover. We grow new cells as we sleep, and parts of our body that feel fatigued, injured, or achy can repair and recuperate.
That is why having a good night’s sleep before a big game, race, or competition can greatly impact your athletic performance.
And, getting a good night’s sleep after a tough training session can allow your body to recover more completely, allowing you to get back to building on your gains sooner.
Finding the best mattress for your body is imperative, and yet it is something that many athletes overlook.
But when you think about how many hours a night you spend lying in your bed, it makes total sense that the mattress you lie on should be top quality.
The right mattress will improve your sleeping posture, allow you to sleep better and for longer, and will help your body to recover from the rigors you put it through.
In this article, we list our top picks of the best mattresses for athletes, and offer a comprehensive buyer’s guide to what you should look out for when making your choice. Read on and rest easy…
Best For Staying Cool: Nectar Queen Mattress
Dimensions (L x W x H) – 80 x 60 x 12 inches
Weight – 71 pounds
Material – medium firm gel memory foam
We absolutely love this queen size mattress by Nectar because it will keep you cool even on the hottest summer nights.
Rather than waking up sweaty and clammy, the gel memory foam mattress has an open circulation system that allows air to pass in and out of it.
Speaking of the memory foam, this mattress has 5 well designed layers:
First, the stabilizing base foam for strength and durability; the dynamic support foam for absorbing your body weight.
Next is the gel-infused memory foam that contours mildly to your shape, and the quilted cooling layer beneath the surface that stops you from feeling like you are sleeping in a sauna.
- Minimal motion transfer means you can stay comfy even when you toss and turn
- Open circulation means you stay cool all night
- 5 layers of foam create great pressure relief
- Needs 72 hours to bounce back / re-inflate after being packaged and shipped
Also available at nectarsleep.com
Best For Spinal Alignment: Zinus Green Tea California King Mattress
Dimensions (L x W x H) – 84 x 72 x 12 inches
Weight – 78 pounds
Material – medium memory foam
This king sized mattress is made with high density foam with three separate layers, each helping to provide spinal alignment while keeping you cool and comfortable.
It features 8 zones of support, including 2 zones of edge support, 4 zones of neck support, and 2 zones of lumbar support.
If you are an athlete who has lots of weight bearing to do, then this mattress will provide your spine with some much-needed relief and support.
The material used in this mattress is called “Green Tea” and it is infused with natural ingredients such as green tea extract and vitamin E.
This formula provides excellent breathability and promotes skin health. And best of all, the mattress comes with a 10-year warranty against manufacturer defects.
- High Density Foam with three layers of targeted material
- 8 Zones Of Support for your whole body
- 3 inch memory foam for spinal alignment – crucial for restful sleep
- Green Tea infusion helps to keep mattress smelling and feeling fresh
- If you unzip the mattress cover to wash it, it is very difficult to get it back on again
Also available at zinus.com
Best For Front Sleepers: Serta 9 Inch Twin Mattress
Dimensions (L x W x H) – 74.5 x 38 x 9 inches
Weight – 41.9 pounds
Material – medium firm gel memory foam
This 9 inch offering from Serta is a firmer mattress, but still soft enough to feel good against your body.
With its 3 inch thick layer of memory foam, this twin size mattress offers a lot of comfort and support. It also has a nice level of bounce so you don’t sink into the mattress too quickly.
This mattress is made using Serta’s exclusive Comfort Edge technology, which creates a strong, supportive structure without adding unnecessary bulk or thickness.
The result is a mattress that feels both firm and soft at the same time.
If you sleep on your front, this increased firmness is great for preventing you from plunging face down into a squishy mattress.
You will be able to enjoy your much-needed deep sleep and allow your body to maximize the downtime.
- 9 inch mattress is shallower and firmer than other memory foam mattresses
- Double Serta foam core provides stability and durability
- Gel memory foam provides cooling and support for all body types
- 10 year warranty and 100 night sleep trial
*Loses some volume in first year
Also available at serta.com
Best For Light Sleepers: Simmons Hybrid Twin Mattress
Dimensions (L x W x H) – 76 x 40 x 10 inches
Weight – 65 pounds
Material – medium firmness, pocketed coil and gel memory foam
If you are a light sleeper who wakes up every time your partner rolls over, then this hybrid mattress from Simmons could be a winner for you.
Simmons’ hybrid mattress combines their pocketed coil construction with the benefits of their Gel Memory Foam.
The result is a plush, soft surface that conforms perfectly to your body. And the coils absorb motion, so you won’t be able to feel your partner turning.
This mattress is designed to give you a better night’s rest by providing the right amount of firmness and support.
It does not have any extra padding to make up for a lack of firmness; instead, it uses its pocketed coils to provide a stable foundation for your body.
The pocketed coils are encased within an additional layer of memory foam, creating a comfortable sleeping environment.
The Simmons Hybrid Twin mattress features a high density foam core that provides stability and durability, making it an ideal mattress for athletes.
- Pocketed coils provide stability and support
- Firm yet soft surface
- Great for side sleepers due to its depth
- Hybrid construction is great for all types of sleepers
- Cradles your body shape so you can sleep comfortably
- Doesn’t reliably expand to the full 10 inches
Also available at international.simmons.com
Best For Pressure Relief: MOLBLLY 14 Inch King Mattress
Dimensions (L x W x H) – 80 x 78 x 14 inches
Weight – 103 pounds
Material – Hybrid medium firm memory foam and pocketed springs
You will get hours of sleep with this plush, 14 inch king mattress by Molblly. It is very thick and heavy, but that makes it perfect for pressure relief.
The combination of a thick layer of memory foam and pocketed coils means that you will never sink into the mattress.
This mattress is best suited for those who like a softer bed, but still want to experience proper spinal alignment and comfort while they sleep.
With a thicker profile, this mattress is also ideal for people who need more space between themselves and their partner.
The pocketed springs will help to carry your body weight for you, so you can let your muscles fully relax and recuperate.
- Top layer of foam adapts to your body shape and relieves pressure points
- Isolated pocket springs reduce the motion caused by your partner
- 3D knitted cover is smooth and soft to sleep on
- The dense core provides stability for back and stomach sleepers
- Not great for heavier athletes as springs may be detectable
Also available at walmart.com
Best For Side and Back Sleepers: Lucid 12 Inch Plush Mattress
Dimensions (L x W x H) – 74 x 52.5 x 12 inches
Weight – 50 pounds
Material – plush gel-infused memory foam
Wow, we absolutely love this plush mattress by Lucid. We think it is one of the most beautiful mattresses in our review because it has such a unique design.
This mattress is made from premium materials and it feels luxurious. The plush gel-infused memory foam is incredibly soft, which is why it is so popular among side and back sleepers.
It is extremely supportive, which is why it works well for heavier individuals.
You won’t sink into this mattress at all, which is good news if you struggle with sinking or find yourself waking up feeling sore after a long day of training. It really is great for muscle recovery.
It has a bamboo and charcoal infused base which is hypoallergenic and breathable.
This helps keep your room cool during hot summer nights, and means that you won’t come out in any nasty allergies the morning of a comp.
- Plush, comfortable feel for hours of sleep
- Unique design
- Hypoallergenic mattress type smells great
- Breathable to keep you cool all year
- 100-night Sleep Trial
- May not work well for some people as sinkage can occur in certain positions
Also available at lucidmattress.com
Best Mattress For Athletes Buyer’s Guide
The type of mattress that you choose can really improve your athletic performance, and by the same token, a bad choice can actively inhibit your progress.
Quality sleep for athletes is incredibly important, as it takes care of your muscles, alignment, posture, and mindset.
Before you decide which mattress to go for, here are a few things that athletes should bear in mind…
A firm mattress is generally better than a soft mattress, as it allows your body to move freely without being restricted.
A firmer mattress is usually recommended for athletes who have problems sleeping due to pain or discomfort.
However, there are different types of firmness available, so make sure you know what you’re looking for before you buy.
Firmness in mattresses is measured between 1 and 10 with 1 being very soft and 10 being very firm. In general, it is advised that athletes sleep on a mattress with a firmness level of 6 or 7.
Memory Foam vs Latex Mattresses:
There are two main types of mattress available, latex and memory foam. Both are excellent options, but each comes with its own pros and cons.
Latex mattresses are typically cheaper than memory foam ones, but they are also less durable. They tend to wear down over time, meaning that they need replacing more often.
This is particularly true when you consider that latex mattresses don’t breathe like memory foams do.
Memory foam beds are much more expensive than latex ones, but they last longer and provide superior support. They are also more comfortable, which is why many athletes prefer them.
Hybrid mattresses combine both a layer (or layers of memory foam) with pocketed springs and coils. They are often expensive but offer greater versatility than other mattress types.
If you are a side sleeper, then you will probably be best suited to a medium-soft mattress.
If you are a back sleeper, then you might want something firmer to support your spine and create a balance of comfort and resistance.
If you are a stomach sleeper, you will be best suited to a firm mattress that doesn’t swallow you up.
Combination sleepers tend to roll around to many different sleep positions. You may benefit from trying out a hybrid model.
These are designed to offer a marriage of both firmness levels. These mattresses help to reduce pressure points and alleviate uncomfortable sensations.
100-night Sleep Trial:
It’s always worth trying a new product before buying it, especially if it’s something as important as a mattress.
You could be putting yourself at risk of injury if you’re not getting the right amount of support, or worse, if you’re not sleeping comfortably.
To find out whether a particular mattress will suit you, you can trial it first by sleeping on it for a 100-night sleep trial and seeing how your back, shoulders and general body feels.
Look out for mattresses that offer a breathable cover and ventilated foam. These mattresses allow air to circulate through the mattress, keeping you cool while you sleep.
A good way to check this is to look at the ventilation holes on the top cover. The number of holes should be proportional to the size of the mattress.
Mattresses should keep you warm enough during winter months, but cold enough during summer months. Look for a mattress that has been tested to ensure that it keeps you at the correct temperature throughout the year.
You’ll want to make sure that the material used in making the mattress is strong enough to withstand regular use. Look for mattresses that have been tested to ensure that they won’t break under normal usage.
This is one area that cannot be compromised on, as your sleep quality is totally dependent on your comfort level.
Comfort level will also aid muscle recovery, offer excellent pressure relief, and help you maintain a neutral alignment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Type Of Mattresses Do Professional Athletes Use?
Professional athletes use memory foam mattresses because they are very durable, long-lasting, and comfortable.
How Does A Memory Foam Mattress Differ From An Orthopedic Mattress?
Orthopedic mattresses are usually made from either latex or memory foam. They are more rigid and supportive than standard memory foams.
What Type Of Mattress Is Best For Back Pain?
Back pain sufferers should consider purchasing a firm mattress with high density foam layers. This helps to relieve pressure points and offers great support.
Can I Get A Memory Foam Mattress Without Having To Buy A Whole Box Spring?
Yes, you can purchase a memory foam mattress separately from the box springs. However, you will need to take into consideration the weight of the mattress when choosing the appropriate box spring.
What Should Athletes Look For In A Mattress?
Look for a mattress that provides adequate support, relieves pressure points, and offers a cooling effect.
Which Mattress Is Best For Side Sleepers?
Side sleepers should look for a mattress that offers proper support and allows them to lie flat.
Is There Any Benefit To Using A Waterbed Instead Of A Conventional Mattress?
Water beds provide a soft surface which is ideal for those who suffer from arthritis or other joint problems. Water beds are also beneficial for people who prefer to sleep on their sides.
What Is The Difference Between A Traditional Mattress And A Pillowtop Mattress?
Pillowtop mattresses are designed to give you a better night’s rest. Pillows are placed underneath the mattress to provide additional support.
The most important thing to remember when buying a new mattress is to try it out before you buy it! You don’t want to wake up the next day feeling like you’ve got a sore back.
And as every athlete is different, your personal preference will be the most important factor of all. Sleep well!