Updated September 11, 2020Athletes need more sleep than the average person. An average adult needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night, while athletes need at least 10 hours of sleep when training or competing in a major sporting event. Without proper sleep, athletes may face slower reaction times and poor motor skills— setbacks that hinder training and could result in injury.In this article we provide a list of our favorite mattresses for athletes and offer a guide on what athletes should look for in their ideal mattress.Best Mattress for AthletesBest Overall Mattress for Athletes: Zoma MattressBest Memory Foam Mattress: Amerisleep AS3Best Budget Mattress: Vaya MattressOur Top Mattress RecommendationView on ZomaRead Zoma customer reviewsZoma Highlights100-night sleep trial10-Year WarrantyDesigned for faster recoveryTriangulex™ technology promotes healthy postureComes in King, Queen, Twin, Full, and SplitsOur Runner-UpView on AmerisleepRead AS3 customer reviewsAS3 Highlights100-night sleep trial20-Year WarrantyDesigned to reduce pain pointsHeat reducing mattress coverComes in King, Queen, Twin, Full, and SplitsBest Mattresses for AthletesMattressHighlightsPrice (Queen)Zoma MattressTriangulex™, Reactiv™, and Support+ combine to improve sleep for optimal athletic performance.$699Amerisleep AS3Features plant-based memory foam and HIVE® technology to boost recovery and promote healthier sleep.$1049Vaya MattressAffordable mattress designed to facilitate comfortable sleep for all sleep styles and body types.$595BearGraphite-infused gel memory foam provides above-average cooling to reduce inflammation.$890LuxiSwitchable layers offers a customizable mattress for the versatile athlete.$1189Purple® HybridSmart Comfort Grid™ adjusts to any sleep position and body type while remaining cool at night.$1599PerformaSleepCopper-infused gel memory foam regulates body temperature and improves blood circulation.$875Sleepenvie HunterGel-infused memory foam pulls heat away from the body and evenly disperses it.$6891. Zoma Mattress The Zoma Mattress is 11 inches thick with 2 inches of Triangulex™, 2 inches of Reactiv™, and 7 inches of Support+. The cover is made of a polyester blend that wicks away moisture and heat.The Zoma Mattress was specifically designed for athletes and those who lead an active lifestyle. The Triangulex™ special foam comfort layer has a 5 zone support system topped with cooling gel. Triangulex™ provides deeper compression to heavier sections of the body, like the shoulders and hips and softer support to the head, back, and legs. Cooling gel pulls heat away from the body to improve muscle recovery and reduce inflammation after a hard workout.Reactiv™ has a latex-like feel, enabling easier movement at night and preventing heavy sinkage. Reactiv™ is the transitional layer between the Triangulex™ comfort layer and the Support+ layer. The sturdy Support+ reinforces the top layers and prevents sagging.The Zoma Mattress provides excellent pressure relief while maintaining healthy spinal alignment. On top of being an excellent mattress for athletes, it’s one of the best mattresses for back pain, too. This mattress comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.2. Amerisleep AS3 Next on our list is the Amerisleep AS3, a memory foam mattress with medium firmness. We like the AS3 for athletes because it’s equipped with HIVE® technology to promote healthy sleep positions and eliminate pain and soreness.The AS3, like all Amerisleep mattresses, has a soft, breathable cover that increases airflow around the mattress. This circulation prevents you from overheating and allows you to get undisturbed rest. The cover is also removable and machine washable for easy cleaning.The first layer of the AS3 is 3 inches of pressure-relieving Bio-Pur®, a plant-based memory foam. Bio-Pur® is more breathable than traditional memory foam, so it works in tandem with the breathable cover to keep you sleeping comfortably. When you lay on the AS3, this layer contours to your body to alleviate pain and offer instant comfort.Next is the 2-inch Affinity layer with HIVE® technology. HIVE® is a surface modification technology designed to offer dynamic support. Underneath your torso, head, and feet, HIVE® feels firmer and prevents uncomfortable sinkage; whereas HIVE® is softer under your shoulders and hips to allow for deeper compression and pressure relief. Not only is this mattress great for athletes, but it’s also an excellent choice for side sleepers.The last layer of the AS3 is 7 inches of sturdy Bio-Core® serving as the base. Bio-Core® reinforces the two layers above and prevents sagging and wear and tear.The Amerisleep AS3 comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a lengthy 20-year warranty.3. Vaya MattressThe Vaya is another go-to mattress for athletes looking to improve their sleep because it contains contouring yet breathable layers, so it promotes a cooler, more comfortable night’s rest. Plus, at $595 for a queen, the Vaya is a budget-friendly option, as well.We like the Vaya Mattress because its foams are both contouring and adaptable like memory foam but lifting and responsive like latex. If you share the mattress with a partner, you won’t have to worry about motion transfer since these layers isolate movement; and if you’re a hot sleeper, you can goodbye to night sweats as these layers are airy and cooling.The first layer of this mattress is 3 inches of Vaya Comfort Foam to offer cushioning pressure relief. This layer contours to your body and adapts to your every movement to keep you sleeping comfortably all night long. And you’ll never overheat on this top comfort layer, either!Next, the core of the mattress is made with sturdy poly-foam to reinforce the layers and sleeper above. The sturdy core foam of the Vaya Mattress effectively resists sagging to remain lump-free for years. Plus, Vaya backs their bed with a 10-year warranty.Vaya Sleep sells their affordable mattress online-only, so they offer free shipping and a 100-night sleep trial with every purchase. If you don’t totally love the Vaya, they even offer free returns, too.4. Bear The Bear mattress is 10 inches tall and contains 2 inches of graphite-gel memory foam, 3 inches of responsive poly-foam, and 5 inches of high-density foam. The polyester blend cover includes FDA-determined Celliant® technology.By infusing graphite into gel memory foam, Bear offers a layer with above-average cooling. Graphite is normally used to cool down high-powered machines like PCs, but when infused with gel, it effectively pulls heat away from the body and regulates temperature all night.Further cooling is provided through the Celliant®-infused cover. Celliant® pulls heat from the body, transforms it into infrared energy, which is then reabsorbed back into the body. Celliant® technology may even improve blood flow and muscle recovery— a major plus for hard-working athletes.The Bear mattress has excellent motion isolation because of its pure foam design (foam isolates motion, preventing it from traveling across the sleep surface) and is a great option for side and back sleepers. The mattress comes with a 120-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.5. Luxi Adjustable The Luxi Adjustable mattress is 11 inches tall and consists of 1.5 inches of foam pillars, 1.5 inches of transitional foam, 3.5 inches of Luxitex foam, and 3.5 inches of base support foam. The quilted rayon cover includes a 1-inch memory foam pillow top.The layer of foam pillars makes up Luxi’s special Shape Match Technology— foam pillars collapse against heavier sections of the body to relieve pressure and hold up against lighter pressure from the head, back, and legs. The Shape Match Technology ensures that support remains consistent across the surface of the bed.Another feature unique to the Luxi is the adjustable layers. Each mattress arrives set at a medium feel, but if the customer feels the mattress is too soft or too firm, they simply need to unzip the mattress cover and rearrange the foam layers. With each mattress purchase, Luxi includes a 1000 night pledge which states that during the first 1000 nights of ownership, if the customer is struggling to find the perfect feel, Luxi will provide a free consultation to customize the mattress.The Luxi Adjustable mattress is a good choice for side and back sleepers because of its supportive properties to the lower back and pressure-relieving comfort in the hips and shoulders. This mattress includes a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.6. Purple® Hybrid The Purple® Hybrid mattress is 10.5 inches thick and contains 2 inches of Hyper-Elastic Polymer™, 1 inch of poly-foam, and 7.5 inches of pocketed coils. The mattress cover is made from a special blend of Lycra®, viscose, and polyester.Hyper-Elastic Polymer™ is a unique material available only through Purple®. This gel-like substance easily adapts to any body type and sleep position, offering consistent comfort and support. The Purple Hybrid is a great option for couples, especially with differing sleep preferences. The Hyper-Elastic Polymer™ is formed into their Smart Comfort Grid™ system allowing for better airflow and reducing the risk of overheating.The Purple® Hybrid mattress minimizes motion transfer while relieving pressure points. The mattress comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.7. PerformaSleep The PerformaSleep mattress is 11 inches thick and contains 2 inches of CopperCool™, 2 inches of Enersorb™, and 7 inches of high-density foam. The Tencel™ cover has a soft feel and wicks away moisture.CopperCool™ is a copper-infused gel memory foam that pulls heat away to regulate body temperature, reduce inflammation, and improve blood circulation. Enersorb™ conforms to the body to relieve pressure without risk of heavy sinkage. Enersorb™ also isolates motion, preventing sleep disruptions due to movement.The PerformaSleep mattress is another great option specifically built for athletes to improve their sleep and enhance performance. The mattress comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.8. Sleepenvie Hunter The Sleepenvie Hunter mattress is 14 inches tall and consists of 2 inches of gel-infused memory foam, 2.95 inches of foam, 0.55 inches of foam, 7.5 inches of pocketed coils, and 1 inch of base foam. The cover is made from polyester knit and includes an inner rayon barrier as a fire retardant.Gel-infused memory foam absorbs and disperses body heat for even temperature regulation with less risk of overheating. Each foam layer is designed to conform to the body’s natural curves to relieve pressure and reduce aches and pains. The Sleepenvie Hunter mattress also includes thick, high-density foam edging to promote excellent edge support and prevent sleepers from rolling off the bed.The Sleepenvie Hunter mattress eases sore muscles from hard workouts and promotes more restorative sleep by regulating body temperature. The mattress includes a 100-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty.SEE ALSO: Mattress Size and Dimensions GuideThe Importance of Sleep for AthletesAthletes need up to 10 hours of sleep a night, especially after hard workouts or training sessions. Steady sleep schedules with adequate time spent in nREM and REM sleep cycles ensures athletes optimize their performance.Athletes need up to 10 hours of sleep a night, especially after hard workouts or training sessions.nREM and REM Sleep CyclesNon-rapid eye movement, or nREM is the sleep phase responsible for cell division and regeneration, a vital part of muscle recovery. 80% of sleep is spent in this cycle. REM, or deep sleep, accounts for important mental processing. During REM, the brain stores information learned during the day, like muscle memory. We spend about 90 minutes each night in REM sleep cycle.Effects of Poor SleepPoor sleep impacts athletic performance and could increase the risk of injury. These effects include:Increased Cortisol Levels Less sleep produces high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which slows down production of glycogen and carbohydrates, key components for creating energy and improving endurance.Poor Motor Skills Since the brain hasn’t had time to store information from the day’s activities, athletes have a slower reaction time, with less focus and impaired judgment.Less Energy Energy production occurs during REM sleep cycle. The less time spent in REM, the less energy is produced for the following day.Weight Gain Increased levels of cortisol mess with the production of both leptin and ghrelin, two chemicals responsible for storing and burning energy. Leptin tells the brain when the body is full, while ghrelin tells the brain when to eat. High levels of cortisol decrease the production of leptin and increase ghrelin levels— the body is more likely to feel hungry longer, with a delayed time to tell the brain when the body is full, resulting in weight gain.What Athletes Should Look For in a Mattress To find the best mattress, athletes need a bed that reduces recovery time and provides rejuvenating rest. Practicing healthy sleep hygiene won’t have an effect if athletes don’t have the right mattress to promote better sleep.Pressure ReliefA good mattress should provide excellent pressure relief. Pressure points can build up and become inflamed from sleeping on a too hard or too soft mattress. The amount of pressure buildup varies depending on your preferred sleep position.The conforming abilities of foam and latex give excellent pressure relief and provide deeper sleep— little to no pressure points help athletes feel more relaxed at night, improving muscle recovery with less risk of sleep disruptions.Cooling FeaturesMattresses with some type of cooling technologies, like gel foam or innerspring coils, not only regulate temperature and prevent overheating, but they also help the body get quality sleep, improve muscle recovery, and reduce inflammation.Consider cooling bedding made from organic textiles such as bamboo, cotton or Tencel.SupportSupport refers to the resistance and recovery time of a sleep surface when pressure is applied to it. Even, balanced support should align the spine and prevent sagging. Uneven or poor support causes more pressure points and pain, less sleep, and back problems.Motion IsolationMotion isolation is a nice feature to look for in a mattress, especially for couples and restless sleepers. Little to no motion transfer prevents sleep disruptions from movement, ensuring a good night’s rest.Mattresses with the best motion isolation include memory foam and latex. Hybrids may have adequate motion isolation depending if the comfort layer is foam. Innersprings have the least amount of motion isolation because of its pure coil structure.Mattress TypeThe type of mattress an athlete chooses depends on personal preference. Each type of mattress has its own set of pros and cons.Memory FoamMemory foam reacts to body temperature— softening when heat and pressure is applied to it and bouncing back to its original shape when cool. Memory foam allows the body to slightly sink into the mattress, conforming and cushioning to relieve pressure points.A basic memory foam mattress almost always contains a memory foam comfort layer and a high-density poly-foam support layer. High-density foam provides an even sleep surface and prevents sagging.ProsConsConforms to your body to relieve pressure Excellent motion isolation with little to no noise Range of firmness optionsHeat retention Risk of saggingInnerspringAlso known as the “traditional bed,” innerspring mattresses have excellent air circulation due to the open structure of their coiled support systems. Innersprings also have a responsive bounce, making movement easier, but may reduce motion isolation which could lead to more sleep disruptions.An innerspring mattress contains a thin comfort layer made from foam or cotton and steel coil support. Some innerspring mattresses might include a pillow top for added comfort or the pillow top could stand as the only comfort layer.ProsConsSleeps cooler Range of firmness optionsNoisy Little contouring Risk of sagging Poor motion isolationLatexLatex mattresses usually come in two forms: synthetic and natural. Synthetic latex is created through a chemical process, while natural latex is extracted from rubber trees and whipped into a foam. There are two types of natural latex— Dunlop and Talalay. Dunlop latex is denser and more durable, while Talalay latex is softer with a zoned support through strategically-placed holes.A latex mattress contains a comfort layer of latex followed by either high-density foam or latex as the support layer.ProsConsSleeps cooler Body-contouring pressure relief Excellent motion isolation with little to no noise Range of firmness optionsRisk of sagging High price tag Bouncier feel than foamHybridA hybrid mattress combines the best of memory foam and innersprings into one perfect mattress. Hybrid mattresses offer the benefits of both, but they also present the same drawbacks.A basic hybrid mattress contains a 2-inch comfort layer of foam or latex and a coiled support system, usually made of pocketed coils.ProsConsBody-contouring pressure relief Good motion isolation Responsive bounce Range of firmness optionsHeat retention Risk of sagging Increase in pressure points Noise potential High price tagSleeping PositionYour favorite sleeping position plays a major role in the type of mattress you decide to buy. Athletes need a mattress to keep their spine in neutral alignment, but each sleep position requires a specific firmness level to achieve this. For example, a stomach sleeper needs a medium-firm to firm mattress, depending on their body weight— the firmer sleep surface prevents heavy sinking and keeps the body on top of the mattress with some contouring for pressure relief.Side SleepingSide sleeping is the most common and healthiest sleep position— athletes who sleep this way breathe easier and have a lower risk of developing sleep apnea. Sleeping on the right side, in particular, lowers the risk of acid reflux and removes pressure on vital organs like the heart and liver. Depending on body weight, athletes who sleep on their side need a soft to medium-firm mattress for extra cushioning to target pressure build-up in the shoulders and hips.Back SleepingBack sleeping enables athletes to naturally align the spine since the back has direct contact with the mattress sleep surface. Back sleepers need a medium to firm mattress, depending on body weight to keep the body on the surface; however, they also need a mattress that allows slight sinking of the hips to cushion the lower back and align the spine. There are some risks to back sleeping, including snoring and developing sleep apnea.Stomach SleepingStomach sleeping is one of the least common sleep positions. Athletes who sleep on their stomachs face more health risks, like back pain and neck strain. More weight is held in the midsection, and when athletes lie on their stomachs, gravity pulls that weight down, straightening the natural “S” curve of the spine resulting in back pain. Also, stomach sleepers twist their head to the side to breathe better, but holding this unnatural position for hours at a time puts a lot of pressure on the spine, causing neck strain.Athletes need a medium-firm to firm bed (depending on their body weight) to prevent the hips from sinking and throwing off spinal alignment.Body WeightLike sleeping position, body weight plays a large role in choosing the right mattress. Bodyweight is divided into three categories— light, average, and heavy. Lightweights (less than 130 pounds) need a mattress with a soft to medium firmness; a surface soft enough to allow the body to sink into the mattress to relieve pressure.Average weights (between 130 to 230 pounds) require a medium-soft to medium-firm mattress to prevent heavy sinking but allow for body-contouring. Heavyweights (230 pounds or more) need a medium to firm mattress to maintain consistent support without sagging.Sleep Trials, Warranties, and Return PoliciesFeatures to help reassure customers of a sound purchase include sleep trials, warranties, and return policies. Read the details of each to know what to expect from a mattress company, especially bed-in-a-box brands. Online mattresses usually provide extended sleep trials with longer warranties because customers don’t get the chance to try out their bed before buying.Sleep TrialSleep trials are a period of time mattress companies give customers to try out their new bed within the comfort of their own home. This trial period usually lasts between 90 to 120 nights. Sleep trials are a great way to test out a new mattress, especially since it takes about 30 days for the body to adjust to a new sleep surface.If the customer is not happy with their new mattress during their sleep trial, the company will arrange to pick up and donate the bed before issuing a full refund.WarrantyWarranties protect against manufacturing defects, like sagging greater than 1 inch (although the depth specifications vary across brands). Before buying a new bed, check to see if a warranty is included and what sections are non prorated versus prorated. Non prorated means customers won’t have to pay shipping and handling costs for a repair or mattress replacement. Prorated refers to the percentage of the original price tag customers will need to pay for a repair or replacement.Return PolicyIf a sleep trial isn’t offered, a return policy is the next best option. Return policies last about 30 days— about the time it takes for the body to adjust to a new mattress. Return policies are shorter than sleep trials but can be just as effective. If the customer isn’t satisfied with the bed, companies will arrange to pick up the mattress before issuing a full refund.Other Things to ConsiderWhat mattress do pro athletes use?Many pro athletes find comfort on memory foam mattresses because they contour to the body to ease sore muscles and eliminate aches and pains. These beds are often built with cooling technologies and zoned support layers to offer a unique sleep experience and truly deliver better rest. Apart from memory foam beds, many athletes also love hybrids for their combination of cushioning comfort and responsive bounce.What is the best mattress for back pain?We recommend medium-firm and medium mattresses for sleepers with back pain. We also suggest those with back pain look for a memory foam or hybrid mattress to enjoy the benefits of pressure-relieving foam layers. What’s even more beneficial for sleepers with back pain, though, is zoned support. Look for mattresses designed to facilitate healthy alignment while also preventing pressure buildup.What if my mattress is too firm?Adding a mattress topper will alter the feel of the sleep surface, softening firmer mattresses or lending support to softer beds.How do you cool down a hot mattress?Using low thread count cotton bed sheets and switching pajamas to a lighter, breathable fabric can improve cooling at night. Keeping a window open or turning on a fan at night can also help sleepers stay cool by circulating air.Is it better to sleep on a hard or soft mattress?It depends on your body weight and favored sleep position; for example, a lightweight side sleeper would be more comfortable on a soft mattress, but a heavyweight stomach sleeper would prefer a firm mattress.ConclusionAthletes require specific features in their mattresses to aid in recovery. Like everyone else, they also need a bed to keep the spine in neutral alignment while relieving pressure points, no matter the sleep position. Pressure point relief combined with cooling features can not only provide a restful sleep, but it can accelerate blood flow and improve muscle recovery, key features for optimal performance.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.