HOW WE DECIDED
|Medically Reviewed by Dr. Gregory Minnis, DPT|
|Dr. Gregory Minnis is a physical therapist with an interest in orthopedic manual therapy. He graduated from the University of St. Augustine in Florida with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. His work experience includes orthopedic physical therapy, sports medicine, neurological rehab, advanced assessment and treatment of running injuries, and advanced treatment of the pelvic complex, spine, and extremities. He loves spending time outdoors biking, skiing, and surfing.|
Our Top Picks For Athletes
If you exercise a lot, you no doubt understand the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. It’s critical in terms of aiding in recovery, cognitive function, and efficiency, among other things. For example, a restful night’s sleep can improve your split-second decision-making process by 4-5%. It can also make workouts more efficient and improve your attention span. With that in mind, below is our top mattress picks for athletes.
- Editor’s Choice – Bear Hybrid
- Athletes Who Sleep Hot – Purple Hybrid
- Best For Heavy Athletes – WinkBed
- Newcomer Athlete Mattress – Spartan
- Chiropractor Endorsed – Casper Wave
What’s nice is that there are quite a few bed companies that are starting to market themselves to athletes and people that live an active lifestyle. But what’s important when it comes to a bed for an athlete specifically? And do athletes really need anything different than the average person? The answer is—as you probably expected—yes and no. Yes, in the sense that there are certain materials and designs that athletes (everyone, really) may actually benefit from. No, in the sense that the single most important thing is that you get a good night’s sleep and wake feeling rested, stress-free, and without additional pain brought on by your mattress.
However, there are a lot of factors to keep in mind when shopping for a new mattress. Keep reading to learn more about each bed.
|AT A GLANCE||PRICING||HEADLINE|
|Pillow Top Value Pick!||20% Off + Gift Code: SY20||Bear Hybrid is a pillow top mattress with a fluffy feel and pocketed coils for support. It’s backed by a 20-year warranty.|
|Unique||Free Gifts w/ Mattress Purchase||Purple Hybrid is a coil mattress that features a proprietary comfort layer called Hyper-Elastic Polymer. It’s a unique mattress thats comfortable and great for hot sleepers.|
|Pillow Top Popular Pick!||$300 Off Code: SLEEP300||WinkBed is a thick, durable hybrid mattress that includes a comfortable euro pillow top. In our opinion, it’s one of the best mattresses you can purchase online.|
|Soft Foam||25% Off Code: ANNIVERSARY25||Spartan is an upgraded hybrid mattress made for athletes and those with an active lifestyle.|
|Soft Foam||$200 Off Code: SLUMBERYARD||Casper Wave is a luxury mattress featuring an upgraded “Zoned Support Max” system and “Airscape” foam.|
What’s Important For Athletes In A New Bed?
As previously mentioned, the biggest factor is that you get great sleep. You don’t need a fancy bed to do that, but in some cases those fancy beds might help. On top of that, it’s important that you find the right mattress for you because selecting the wrong mattress could cause lower back pain, restless sleep, etc.. It’s not as simple as just getting a bed at Walmart and hoping it will work. You should actually think critically about how you sleep and your body type before you buy a new mattress.
With that out of the way, here are a few generals that hold true for a lot of athletes. You probably sleep hotter at night. You might twitch or move a lot in your sleep. If you’re a professional athlete, you probably allow your body to wake you up in the morning, rather than relying on alarm clocks. And then the most obvious point of all, sleep is hyper-critical for you (probably more so than the average Joe). Purple actually has an infographic that talks specifically about the importance of sleep for athletes. It’s pretty interesting and is probably worth perusing.
Bear Hybrid is the best mattress that Bear makes, in our opinion. It offers a great balance between pressure relief and support. It’s softer, but is still a durable, well-made mattress. It’s ideal for back, stomach, side, and combination sleepers.
However, the one thing that makes Bear stand out, as it relates to athletes, is their Celliant cover, which is on both the Bear Mattress and Bear Hybrid. Celliant has actually been determined by the FDA to meet the criteria of being a medical device. According to Hologenix, the maker of Celliant, it can promote increased blood flow and recovery, improve energy levels, and help with getting more restful sleep.
We don’t have any scientific evidence to substantiate or disprove the claims related to health benefits, but we do happen to truly like Bear Hybrid and Bear Mattress. Jeff actually slept on a Bear mattress for over two years, so he’s very familiar with the bed and brand. He also swears by the Celliant cover.
We could talk your ear off about Bear Hybrid, but the bottom line is that it’s an incredibly nice mattress that won’t break the bank.
Purple makes some of the best mattresses that money can buy, if you’re open to a completely new concept. While Purple beds use some familiar materials such as poly foam and coils, their distinguishing characteristic is the company’s proprietary Hyper-Elastic Polymer, which forms the top layer on their mattresses. It’s not for everyone, but we happen to love the material. It’s responsive, durable, and very comfortable, but also allows for great pressure relief and airflow.
As such, regardless of whether you choose the Original Purple or one of the Purple Hybrid beds,you will not heat up at night. Since Hyper-Elastic Polymer doesn’t have much surface area, it lets in large amounts of air so you don’t heat up, but you also don’t feel cold. You can read our Purple Mattress Comparison post to learn more about the differences between the beds, but in general, if you’re heavier (250 lb or more) you should look only at the Purple Hybrid models, as they use coils for a support system rather than poly foam.
You can learn more about Hyper-Elastic Polymer and check pricing for the beds on Purple.com.
We would be genuinely surprised if you didn’t like WinkBed. Not only does it look great, but it’s very comfortable and comes in three different firmness levels. They even have a Plus version that’s for extra heavy people. These are quality beds, made in America, that look like they should cost way more than they do.
WinkBed is a 15″ thick mattress with two layers of coils (pocketed coils and micro-coils) and a plant-based tencel fiber cover. It honestly looks a cut above most online mattresses and is one of the most durable mattresses you can buy online, alongside perhaps Saatva and Big Fig. All things considered, it really is hard to do any better than WinkBed.
WinkBed might not be the cheapest brand out there, but they sure make nice mattresses.
The Spartan mattress is incredibly comfortable—one of the most comfortable—and is the type of bed that you want to get lost in. It truly feels like you’re laying on a fluffy, supportive cloud. To say that it’s dangerously comfortable would be an understatement.
The Spartan also features a cover that has Far Infrared Rays (FIR) technology, which like Celliant is designed to help with recovery and restful sleep. You can read more about FIR on BrooklynBedding.com.
As for the construction of the rest of the bed, it starts with 8″ pocketed coils—a king size bed has something like 1,189 coils in total. This translates into a bed that’s not lacking in the support or bounce department. It also has a small amount of memory foam and two layers of proprietary foams called TitanFlex and CopperFlex, which are designed to (among other things) offer great pressure relief.
If we had to give it the edge for one type of sleeper, we’d say it’s perhaps best for side sleepers, though, we think back and stomach sleepers will find the bed enjoyable as well. Overall, it’s just comfortable and supportive with an x-factor thrown in—that being the FIR cover.
If you’re looking for a differentiated bed that can accommodate different weights and sleeping positions, you may want to look into the Casper Wave Hybrid. The mattress is made with a combination of pocketed coils, memory foam, latex foam and perforated polyfoam.
What makes this mattress interesting is that it uses a Zoned Support Framework to provide more support under your midsection, where you carry the majority of your weight. On the top and bottom third, the bed offers more pressure relief. The whole goal here is to ensure your spine stays in proper alignment throughout the night.
The Wave is a thick, hybrid bed that will be comfortable for people who sleep on their side, back, stomach, or a combination of the three throughout the night. Bottom line, if you want a comfortable mattress from a big name name brand, Casper Wave is hard to beat.
All in all, we’ve been pleasantly surprised by Casper Wave, and we get a lot of confidence out of the fact that the American Chiropractic Association has endorsed the bed. So far, we haven’t see any other bed that has the same seal of approval. We’ve seen others that get kudos from individual chiropractors, but nothing that’s backed by such a large industry group.
Overview of Shipping, Returns, etc.
Let’s cover a few policy items that you’ll see apply to most of the beds on this list. First, all of the brands on this list offer free shipping for their mattress. The bed will either ship via FedEx/UPS/DHL or be delivered by a local delivery firm, which is what we call White Glove Delivery.
In the case that the bed is compressed in a box, you should take it out and unroll it and if it’s an all-foam bed, allow about 24-72 hours for it to fully expand and take shape. If the bed is shipped with White Glove Delivery, the delivery men will set it up for you and it should be good to go from the outset. They will typically even remove your old bed for free.
From this point on, most brands will give you 100 nights (if not more) to test their bed. This allows you to see if it’s the mattress for you. If you like it and want to keep it, great, do that. If you want to return it, most will offer completely free returns where you get 100% of your money back (as long as you’re within the test period). And if you do keep the bed, you will see a warranty of at least 10 years. So that’s just a quick overview. If you read our full reviews of each bed we will point out all of the specifications of the mattress.
How We Compiled This Best Mattress List
We here at the Slumber Yard are constantly testing and thinking about mattresses. And we happen to all be pretty darn fit—we have runners, weightlifters, and athletes on our team. Many of us workout on a daily basis. We also consulted with a professional athlete, Amobi Okugo who plays in the MLS, and a chiropractor, Dr. Ranvir Sahota of Synapse Chiropractic. As such, we feel that we have a really good handle on what you should consider when looking for a bed. Of course, we are not doctors or chiropractors, so you should consult your physician before making any changes to your mattress. Having said that, we work extremely hard on all of our content and try to form a fair, unbiased, well-thought-out opinion of each bed and we do think this post (and all of our others) will be helpful for you. If you still need more details, however, make sure to check out all of our mattress reviews. We have spent many, many hours testing, researching, and working with various mattresses, so we do have a good idea of what to expect and recommend.
If You Sleep Hot at Night…
The first thing you should do is avoid proper memory foam like the plague. It heats up at night and so will you. Your best bet is to check out our Best Beds for Hot Sleepers list. Beyond that, you should be looking for coils, gel memory foam, latex, and or phase-change materials.
Coils/spring mattresses tend to last longer than their all-foam counterparts. Plus, they allow for a lot more airflow than foams generally do. If you’re heavier, as well, coils will provide better support, which is something you should seriously consider. For example, if you’re an NFL linebacker (that would be awesome), you probably shouldn’t get a 10” thick all-foam bed. You’ll break that thing down in a hurry. Instead, an innerspring or pocketed coil mattress is much more advisable.
Gel memory foam is essentially gel-infused memory foam, which helps to cool the mattress down. You may also see graphite-infused or copper-infused memory foam. They all do a pretty darn good job of cooling down the bed.
Natural latex foam is literally made from the sap of a rubber tree and is great in terms of cooling, responsiveness (i.e. no stuck feeling), and pressure relief. If you haven’t tried an entirely latex foam bed before, you should consider testing one in person. They are so responsive and bouncy that you’d expect the bed to have coils. Latex beds are durable, can be all-natural, and tend to outlast poly foam based mattresses, which can soften quite a bit over time.
As for phase-change materials, you’ll see them typically woven into the covers of a mattress. I won’t bore you with the specifics and science behind phase-change materials, but I will tell you that they typically feel cool to the touch and are great at cooling you down. For example, on the Brooklyn Bedding Aurora mattress, it’s so cool that it’s almost chilly. And the Cocoon Chill by Sealy is so cool that it almost feels wet.
Letting Your Body Wake You Up
This really comes down to you loving the mattress. It should be supremely comfortable to you, but perhaps not right away. All of these beds will soften over time, so the bed that you test on day one will not be the same bed that you sleep on a year out. Just know that you want a comfy bed, but you might want to go a hair firmer than you prefer to account for it softening over time.
You should know what type of sleeper you are, as well. For example, if you’re a strict side sleeper, you probably do want a bed that’s a little on the softer side to allow for more pressure relief. If you’re a back sleeper or stomach sleeper, you need a firmer mattress to keep proper spinal alignment. You should discuss this all with a medical professional, as they can best assess your posture and make recommendations in terms of firmness levels. I only mention it because it’s vitally important in the mattress selection process. You don’t want too firm of a mattress if you’re exclusively sleeping on your side, as you’ll wake up with nagging shoulder pain.
Given that you’re concerned with your well-being and physical fitness, you should make absolutely certain that your mattress has a few certifications. You may even look into a natural /organic mattress if you’re really concerned with chemicals, fire retardants, etc..
In regards to memory foam mattresses, you should be looking for the GREENGUARD Gold or CertiPUR-US certifications. Those ensure that the bed has little off-gassing, which is where the bed smells a little plastic-like from the manufacturing process. All of these beds will have a “new” smell, but it shouldn’t be nauseating.
|Can I test before I buy?||You can at mattress stores, however, with online beds there’s no need to try before you buy since they usually offer completely free shipping and returns.|
|What certifications should I be looking for?||You should be looking for the GREENGUARD Gold or CertiPUR-US certifications. There are others that you might be interested in such as GOTS, GOLS, and STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX.|
|What if I’m a hot sleeper?||We made sure to pick at least one bed on this list that’s fantastic for hot sleepers. Usually, you will want a bed that’s either (1) active cooling, (2) firm, or (3) has a gel-like material in the top layers.|
|How much should I spend on a new mattress?||For athletes, restful sleep is hyper-critical, so we’d suggest that you don’t “cheap out.” Get the mattress you want and just consider it an investment. For a queen size, we expect that you’ll pay between $1,000 and $2,500.|