The Best Mattresses for Athletes
Our top picks for mattresses that aid in recovery, reduce joint pain, and keep your spine in alignment.
Oct 11th, 2022 •
Whether you’re an athlete or just enjoy staying active, you can appreciate how rest and rejuvenation are essential to staying healthy, energized, and injury-free. To help you improve your sleep game, we’ve compared dozens of mattress brands and models to compile a list of the best mattresses for athletes.
Compare our selections, pick up some pro tips in our buying guide, and get the information you need to take your rest and recovery gameplan to the next level.
Best Mattresses for Athletes: Our Top Picks
- Editor’s Choice – Brooklyn Spartan
- Best Mattress for Side Sleepers – Bear Elite Hybrid
- Best Mattress for Back Pain – DreamCloud
- Best Mattress for Heavyweight Athletes – WinkBed Plus
- Best Mattress for Back Sleepers – Puffy Lux Hybrid
- Best Memory Foam Alternative – Purple
- Best Budget Mattress – Molecule 1
Note: Athletes come in all shapes and sizes. All the featured mattresses are available in California king size (72″x84″), which can accommodate sleepers up to 7 feet tall.
Why You Can Trust Mattress Advisor
We hold ourselves to the highest standards of integrity in our product reviews and other content by incorporating real customer feedback, empirical testing, and objective evaluations. Our results and recommendations are never influenced by the commission we may receive from brands, and products we receive are never guaranteed a positive review.
- Great for hot sleepers
- Three firmness options
- Good for any sleeping position
Available in plush, medium, and firm
The Spartan mattress is a luxury hybrid made by Brooklyn Bedding specifically for athletes and active people. The materials in the Brooklyn Spartan, including its FDA-approved Nanobionic® technology, are designed to disperse your body heat while you sleep for quicker muscle recovery.
Other materials used in the Brooklyn Spartan that make it ideal for athletes include its pressure-relieving Energex™ foam and TitanCool™ foam. We give the Spartan a 9/10 Mattress Advisor score for cooling, which makes it a great option for people who sleep hot.
This versatile foam/pocketed coil hybrid also offers a choice of three firmness levels—soft, medium, and firm—so you can pick which one works best for your body type and sleeping position.
Read our full Brooklyn Spartan mattress review.
Bear Elite Hybrid
Best Mattress for Side Sleepers
- The side sleeping position
- Restless sleepers
- Couples and co-sleepers
Luxury plush, luxury firm, and extra firm
To ensure that their shoulders, hips, and lower back are gently cradled as they sleep, side sleepers need a mattress with outstanding pressure relief. The Bear Elite Hybrid scores 9/10 for pressure relief in our sleep lab, and even better for spine alignment (9.5/10).
Based on its testing performance, this foam-innerspring hybrid should do a great job of supporting pressure-sensitive areas and keeping your spine in a neutral alignment. It also has a cover made with PCM Fabric and Celliant fiber to promote recovery and cooling, along with a 2-inch layer of copper-infused memory foam.
If you’re curious about the brand’s pedigree, Bear is endorsed by athletes from professional women’s soccer, Major League Baseball, Olympic fencing, and more.
Read our full Bear Elite Hybrid mattress review.
Best Mattress for Back Pain
- Good for back and hip pain
- Highly responsive
- Superior edge support
The DreamCloud mattress has three of the key ingredients of a good mattress for back pain, beginning with firmness. It’s a 6.5/10 medium-firm, which should be just firm enough to keep you from sinking in too deeply without feeling stiff.
As for the other two factors, the DreamCloud earns 9/10 Mattress Advisor scores in both pressure relief and spine alignment. Its performance in those categories are encouraging signs for athletes who need to maintain a healthy, neutral alignment while minimizing pressure on their lower back and hips.
The DreamCloud is also a solid choice for people who sleep hot, thanks in part to its 8.5/10 cooling score.
Read our full DreamCloud mattress review.
Best for Heavyweight Athletes
- Designed for people 250+ lbs
- Extra-firm firmness (8/10)
- Excellent durability
From football to basketball to martial arts, some of the greatest athletes are also some of the biggest. The PLUS firmness option available with the WinkBed gives athletes and active people weighing 250 lbs or more a mattress built with larger frames in mind.
This durable hybrid mattress includes layers of high-density foam and reinforced steel pocket springs. The design also has several comfort features, such as a core-supporting LumbarLayer, a zoned latex support layer, and a cooling Tencel cover.
Since every athlete knows the importance of endurance, remember that the WinkBed Plus stands behind its claims of durability with a lifetime warranty.
Read our full WinkBed Plus mattress review.
Puffy Lux Hybrid
Best Mattress for Back Sleepers
- Recommended for back sleepers
- Medium-firm firmness (6/10)
- Lifetime warranty and 101-night sleep trial
Medium-Firm - 6/10
Restorative sleep is essential for athletes, regardless of their sleeping position. For those who sleep on their backs, the Puffy Lux Hybrid checks the boxes for firmness level (6/10) and spine alignment (an 8/10 score in Mattress Advisor testing).
If a vigorous workout regimen means your core body temperature runs hot, the Puffy Lux Hybrid’s Cooling Cloud Foam Layer is designed to circulate air and wick away moisture. The cooling properties are augmented by a layer of heat-resistant ClimateComfort Memory Foam.
Puffy also offers a lifetime warranty, so you can spend less time worrying about the shape of your mattress and more time concentrating on keeping yourself in shape.
Read our full Puffy Lux Hybrid mattress review.
Best Memory Foam Alternative
- Uses hyper-elastic polymer material
- Medium-firm firmness (6.5/10)
- Exceptional spine alignment
Made with a proprietary material called hyper-elastic polymer, the Purple mattress offers athletes and people with active lifestyles an intriguing alternative to traditional memory foam.
Designed with Smart Grid Technology™ crafted to deliver “push back” to support the sleeper, the Purple mattress is great for spine alignment. It earns a near-perfect spine alignment score of 9.5/10, along with 8.5/10 for pressure relief. In fact, many customers who own the Purple have claimed it helps relieve back and neck pain.
In addition to the Smart Comfort Grid layer, the Purple includes a Plush Comfort Foam layer and a Support Foam layer. It’s topped by a soft and stretchy cover designed for breathability.
Read our full Purple mattress review.
Best Budget Mattress
- Queen size starts at $899
- Great for pressure relief
- 365-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty
The Molecule 1 could be a great fit for the athlete with talent to spare but less than $1,000 to spend on a mattress. You can get a queen size for $899—and look forward to a 365-night sleep trial and a limited lifetime warranty.
In the Mattress Advisor sleep lab, the Molecule 1 earns high marks for pressure relief (9/10) and spine alignment (8.5/10). We can’t say the same about its cooling score (6.5/10 score), which is low even for an all-foam mattress.
Featuring eco-friendly foam and designed for recovery, the Molecule 1 earned the praises of athletes including Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson. All in all, it’s a fairly good option for athletes on a budget.
Read our full Molecule 1 mattress review.
How to Choose the Best Mattress for an Athlete
You probably pay close attention to your gym routine, your diet, and maybe even your Body Mass Index. But you might be overlooking one of the most important performance tools in your toolbox: your mattress.
The right mattress can have a major effect on the quality and duration of your sleep. Some experts have suggested that athletes need 10 hours of sleep a night, compared with the 7-9 hours recommended for the average person. (Tom Brady has been known to go to bed at 9 p.m. and LeBron James and Steph Curry sleep 8-9 hours per night, in addition to daily naps.)
Even if you don’t throw perfect spirals or drain 3-pointers for a living, we can help you figure out how to choose the right mattress for your active lifestyle.
- What Athletes Need in a Mattress
- Which Types of Mattresses are Good for Athletes?
- The Links Between Sleep and Performance
- Creating the Best Sleep Environment for Athletes
What Athletes Need in a Mattress
Athletes should look for similar things that anyone else should look for in a mattress: comfort and support. And these things can be different for different people. Just as you have your own individualized training routine, you’ll have your own personal preferences when it comes to selecting your mattress.
However, there are a few factors that can help you choose the best mattresses to aid in recovery and promote uninterrupted, quality sleep.
You’ll feel much more rested and much less achy when you wake up if you’re sleeping on a mattress that adequately supports your pressure points. An ideal mattress will evenly distribute your body weight so you’re not sinking in too deeply on heavier parts of your body, like your head, hips and shoulders. Pressure relief is something you’ll definitely want to pay attention to when it comes to recovering from injuries or alleviating back pain.
The ideal sleep posture has your spine following a gentle arc from the lower back to the shoulders—not rigidly straight and not curving too far in any direction. A healthy, neutral spine alignment is important for any sleeper, even those who exercise vigorously.
Scientific research has found that lower body temperature increases the likelihood of falling asleep and may even help promote deeper stages of sleep. There’s also evidence that people who are physically active have slightly higher body temperatures. So it’s important to find a mattress that’s going to help with temperature regulation, whether it’s through cooling features, design, or both.
Related: Best Mattresses for Hot Sleepers
The mattress firmness scale measures how soft or firm a mattress feels, from 1 (softest) to 10 (firmest). It might seem like the remedy for sprains and worn-out muscles would be the softest mattress possible, but too much softness can backfire. If the heavier parts of your body sink into the mattress too deeply, it could irritate pressure points and lead to poor spine alignment. Most athletes will probably sleep comfortably on a medium-firm mattress (6-7) or a firm mattress (7-8), depending on sleeping position and body size.
These are just a few of the qualities that we analyze in our review process. For a general overview of how to pick the best bed, check out our comprehensive Mattress Buying Guide.
Which Type of Mattress is Best for Athletes?
Since athletes and people with active lifestyles lead more physically rigorous lives than other folks, certain types of mattress materials and designs simply match up better.
Before we weigh in on which type of mattress would likely offer the best fit for an athlete, here’s an overview of each one’s pros and cons:
|Mattress Type||Strengths include:||Weaknesses include:|
Based on their pros and cons, here’s how we award the medals for mattress types (Gold, Silver, and Bronze):
Hybrid and Latex
Many hybrid and latex mattresses match up well with the needs and sleep profile of the typical athlete. Hybrids that combine layers of latex and/or foam with innerspring coils frequently offer a “best of both worlds” fusion that accentuates each material’s best qualities. As for latex, its signature bouncy responsiveness and natural cooling properties are major benefits.
Pressure relief is perhaps memory foam’s best quality. Due to their level of physical activity, it only makes sense that athletes would need gentle, cradling support for pressure-sensitive areas in the shoulders, hips, and lower back. Despite memory foam’s reputation for sleeping hot, innovations like gel-infused foam are designed to address the issue head-on.
The typical all-innerspring mattress simply won’t provide the same level of pressure relief as memory foam or latex. While some might love the classic springy feel of coils, they’re probably best for an athlete’s body as a side dish (as in a coil/latex or coil/foam hybrid) instead of the main course.
The Links Between Sleep and Athletic Performance
If you’ve ever tried to compete after a sleepless night, you already know that performing at your peak without adequate sleep can be a challenge. In this case, conventional wisdom is backed up by science.
According to orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist Dr. David Geier, discoveries about the sleep-performance connection continue to reveal themselves.
“While we’ve known for decades that sleep plays a key role in alertness, decision-making and reaction times, more light is being shed on its powerful influence over cardiovascular performance, endurance, and even injury prevention,” he says.
Here’s a look at some of the connections between sleep and athletic performance:
Exercise has many proven benefits, but it can also have unintended consequences for your sleep cycle. Intense exercise has been shown to reduce the time spent in deep sleep (REM sleep) while increasing the duration of light sleep. Deep sleep is when the body produces human growth hormone (HGH), which regulates processes including:
- Muscle recovery
- Repair of muscle tissue
- Bone strength
To overcome this catch-22, athletes need to maintain good sleep hygiene and keep their sleep cycle from becoming unbalanced.
Recovery from Injury
If you’ve ever had an extended hospital stay, you know how much doctors encourage their patients to rest. Turns out they’re not just being bossy. Increased sleep can speed the healing process, which is something that many athletes rely on to help them recover from sprains, sore joints, and worse.
In addition to purely physical factors, sleep affects your ability to learn new skills and keep cognitive functions at a high level. Poor sleep is also potentially harmful to your mental health, since it increases your risk for depression and other mood disorders.
In other words: If you aren’t getting healthy, restorative sleep, you might have trouble learning a playbook, reading a defense, and maintaining your composure during crunch time.
Creating the Best Sleep Environment for Athletes
Maintaining an ideal sleeping environment is a critical component of healthy sleep hygiene. Although the best habits and techniques are universal, some apply to athletes in particular since their daily lives involve a high level of physical exertion and a need for optimal performance.
- Avoid strenuous exercise close to bedtime. Training is essential, but so is timing it correctly. An intense workout in the evening hours can leave your brain stimulated at the very time it should be in wind-down mode for sleep.
- Try some easy stretching. Yes, we just talked about exercise late in the day, but the key word is “strenuous.” Some light stretches shortly before bedtime can relax your mind and work the kinks out of your muscles and ligaments.
- Limit your after-dinner caloric intake. Experts say you should eat your final meal of the day 3-4 hours before you go to sleep. That late-night protein shake will engage the digestive process instead of letting those muscles rest.
- Keep your sleeping space cool. Physically active people tend to have a higher-than-average body temperature, so try to keep your bedroom at the best temperature for sleep. If a thermostat at sub-70 degrees isn’t ideal for your utility budget, you can accessorize your mattress with cooling sheets or a cooling mattress topper.
Recap: Our Best Mattresses for Athletes
Here’s a recap of our top-rated picks for the best mattresses for athletes:
|Mattress||Award||Mattress Advisor Score|
|Brooklyn Spartan||Editor’s Choice||8.9/10|
|Bear Elite Hybrid||Best for Side Sleepers||8.9/10|
|DreamCloud||Best for Back Pain||9.0/10|
|WinkBed Plus||Best for Heavyweight Athletes||8.2/10|
|Puffy Lux Hybrid||Best for Back Sleepers||8.3/10|
|Purple||Best Memory Foam Alternative||8.4/10|
|Molecule 1||Best Budget Mattress||8.4/10|
What kind of mattress is best for athletes?
Based on the unique needs of an athletic lifestyle, the ideal mattress would be a hybrid bed that uses a combination of latex foam or memory foam coupled with a core innerspring layer. The latex or memory foam would supply pressure relief and responsiveness while the coils provide sturdy support and airflow. See the mattress types section above for more details.
Are firm mattresses better for athletes?
In some cases, yes. A firmer mattress can help prevent you from sinking too far into the surface and putting extra pressure on your hips, lower back, shoulder, and neck. At the same time, be wary of going to extremes. Most people who weigh less than 230 lbs should do fine on a medium-firm mattress, particularly side sleepers. Larger people and stomach sleepers might sleep better on a firm mattress. See the firmness section above for more details.
Sleeping on the Keto Diet
The keto diet can bring many changes to your body. Follow these 4 tips to ensure your sleep quality isn’t sacrificed.
Sleep and Weight Gain
Learn how simply getting a good night’s sleep could be the best way to help you control your weight and keep it under control.
Sleep and Fitness
Learn how different types of workouts affect your sleep quality. We spoke with experts on yoga, hot yoga, barre, pilates, CrossFit, bodybuilding, and HIIT workouts to explore the connections.