Sleep can be one of the more overlooked details when it comes to maintaining an active lifestyle. Perhaps the full athletic motto should be, “Work Hard, Play Hard, Sleep Well,” as a good night of sleep is crucial for rest and recovery. And, as you might imagine, athletes need more sleep than most to keep up with their body’s demands.
The best mattress for an athlete promotes sound sleep and faster recovery, soothes the aches of a daily workout, and prevents sleep disturbances that would keep them from the deeper stages of sleep. With the right mattress, a good bedroom environment, and a fixed sleep schedule, athletes can see a marked improvement in their daily performance.
Our Choice — Amerisleep AS3
The Amerisleep AS3 is our best mattress for athletes. Its balanced medium feel provides comfort to most sleepers. The mattress has three foam layers— 3 inches of Bio-Pur® foam, 2 inches of Affinity foam with HIVE® technology, and 7 inches of Bio-Core® foam.
Amerisleep Mattress Materials
Every Amerisleep mattress contains layers of breathable, responsive foam. Each mattress also includes a 100-night sleep trial period and a 20-year warranty.
Bio-Pur® foam is the top layer in every Amerisleep mattress. We cut back on the use of petroleum most memory foams are made with by partially replacing it with castor oil, a more sustainable and eco-friendly material. As a result, our Bio-Pur® foam is five times more breathable and ten times more responsive than traditional memory foam.
The thickness of the Bio-Pur® layer depends on the mattress model, with thicker layers providing a softer feel. The AS3 contains 3 inches of this pressure-relieving foam to offer adequate cushioning without feeling too soft.
Affinity Layer with HIVE® Technology
The AS3 contains 2 inches of Affinity with HIVE® technology. Our Affinity foam acts as a soft transition between the contouring Bio-Pur® and durable Bio-Core®.
HIVE® provides targeted support and comfort with hundreds of hexagonal cutouts. The cutouts are grouped more closely in the head, back, and feet areas for more support, while the cutouts in the shoulders and hips areas are spaced further apart for extra cushion and deep compression.
All Amerisleep mattresses have a bottom layer of Bio-Core® foam. Bio-Core® reinforces the softer foams above and prevents sagging. The durable support it offers is part of the reason we can offer a 20-year warranty.
Importance of Sleep For Athletes
Most people need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep, but athletes need more. In general, athletes should strive to get one extra hour of sleep each night. By getting 8 to 10 hours of shut-eye, an athlete spends more time recovering in the deep sleep and REM stages.
An athlete who doesn’t get enough sleep may face more serious consequences than simple exhaustion. A 2017 review noted sleep-deprived student-athletes face an increased risk of traumatic sports injuries, severe illnesses, and chronic diseases. A 2014 study observed that student-athletes who slept for less than 8 hours were 1.7 times as likely to experience a sports injury.
A 2011 study examined 11 Stanford University basketball players. The players tried to sleep at least 10 hours a night for 5 to 7 weeks after establishing a baseline with their normal sleep schedule. After weeks of clocking more sleep, the players’ free throw accuracy increased by 9 percent, and they reported better mental and physical health during practice and games.
Ultimately, if an athlete increases the amount of sleep they get, they may see their athletic performance improve.
What Athletes Need From A Mattress
There are other factors that can keep an athlete from getting a full night of sleep, but having the right mattress can make or break their sleep quality.
A good mattress for an athlete should help promote muscle recovery through pressure-relieving materials and zoned support.
A high-quality supportive mattress should have firmer areas around the neck and torso and softer areas for the hips and shoulders. This type of zoned support promotes the spine’s natural alignment and alleviates the aches and pains from a workout.
Our body temperature cools as it gets closer to bedtime, thanks to our circadian rhythm. Some scientists hypothesize that taking steps to lower our body temperatures can help us fall asleep and limit sleep disturbances.
An athlete’s core body temperature is more likely to run hot after a day of physical activity, so a mattress with cooling technology can help an athlete fall asleep. You can find cooling technology in the mattress or in an included cover.
Common types of cooling technologies include:
- Gel memory foam: When cooling gels are added to the foam mixture as it’s being made, it creates gel memory foam. The gels draw heat away from your body and dispels it outside of the mattress.
- Copper: As a highly conductive metal, copper can absorb and dissipate body heat if added to a mattress. Copper can also keep away germs with its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.
- Bamboo: Bamboo has become a popular bedding material because it’s breathable, wicks away moisture, and is a sustainable resource.
Sleeping with breathable bedding, wearing light sleepwear, and keeping the bedroom’s temperature between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit can further promote a cool night of sleep.
This is hardly exclusive to athletes, as considering the quality of materials inside a mattress is a method any shopper can use to decide if a bed is right for them. A bed made with high-quality materials will last longer than one made with materials of lesser quality.
Most mattress brands are open about how their mattresses are made. If you cannot find it on the company website, ask customer service if they can tell you more. If they refuse to discuss their manufacturing process, we suggest moving on to a different brand.
And don’t shy away from doing a little bit of homework on a material’s quality. You can double-check certifications such as CertiPUR-US® online. And though they can be subjective, reading customer feedback and mattress reviews can give you more of an idea of what to expect. Look for reviews on the company website and on third-party websites.
Best and Worst Mattress Types for Athletes
Athletes have a few different choices when it comes to mattresses. The best mattress should ease pressure points, cool down hot sleepers, and have the durability to last a good few years.
Memory Foam Mattresses
Memory foam mattresses are rising in popularity as people learn more about the benefits they offer. The material contours completely to the body for full support and pressure relief, which prevents future aches and soothes existing ones.
Memory foam is also the best material on the market to prevent motion transfer, which can keep restless sleepers from waking themselves or others. Memory foam also makes no sound as a sleeper shifts about, further limiting sleep disturbances.
The downside to traditional memory foam is its tendency to overheat. The material’s dense structures keeps air out and body heat trapped. Most manufacturers solve this issue by adding cooling components such as gels, copper, or graphite.
Is a memory foam mattress good for an athlete?
Yes, a memory foam mattress is a good choice for most athletes. It fits itself to the body for pressure relief and provides excellent motion isolation. Athletes should look for one with cooling features, though, as traditional memory foam sleeps hot.
Latex mattresses are typically built in layers like memory foam mattresses, with a layer of latex on top and a supportive base of high-density foam or latex. The mattresses may use natural or synthetic latex. Natural latex is more durable and is made from rubber tree sap, while synthetic latex is made from organic chemical compounds.
Both synthetic and natural latex can feel like memory foam and respond to pressure similarly. However, latex is bouncier and naturally more cooler than traditional memory foam.
Is a latex mattress good for an athlete?
Yes, a latex mattress can help an athlete get a good night of sleep. Like memory foam, it shapes itself to the sleeper for pressure relief, and many latex mattresses are aerated for extra breathability. A natural latex mattress is resilient, and some last 15 years.
Innerspring mattresses remain popular, as they are inexpensive and carried in most mattress stores. The coils that support an innerspring let air easily pass through the mattress. An innerspring mattress typically has a thin comfort layer, often less than 2 inches thick, which means they offer a low amount of pressure relief and cannot fully conform to a body’s curves.
Is an innerspring mattress good for an athlete?
We do not recommend innerspring mattresses to athletes as they offer minimal pressure relief and their coils can start losing support in as little as five years. An athlete would do better sleeping on a more malleable and durable mattress.
A true hybrid mattress has a coil support layer and at least 2 inches of foam. Hybrids were created to address the issues of both innerspring and a memory foam mattresses, while highlighting their perks. The wrapped coils of a hybrid are meant to provide better motion isolation than an innerspring and more airflow than a memory foam mattress.
The foam layer or layers offer more contouring than an innerspring mattress, so these beds are great for people who need the pressure-relief of a foam bed but still want the bounce of an innerspring. Like an innerspring, a hybrid’s coils can sag, and these beds typically don’t last as long as all-foam mattresses.
Is a hybrid mattress good for an athlete?
Hybrids are great options for athletes because unlike innersprings, they still contain layers of foam to offer pressure-relief and close contouring. These beds have more bounce than a typical memory foam or latex mattress, but because many hybrids have pocketed coils, they can still limit motion transfer. Plus, hybrids are great options for especially hot sleepers because the gaps between the coils allow for airflow through the mattress.
Best and Worst Sleeping Positions for Athletes
After you’ve thought about the types of mattresses you can choose from, you’ll want to consider your preferred sleeping position. Each sleeping position needs a different mix of support and comfort to eliminate gaps between the body and the mattress, meaning your preferred sleep style can dictate how firm or soft your bed should be.
Side sleeping is the most common and arguably the healthiest position— it opens up the airways for better breathing, reduces pressure on the heart, and promotes better blood flow. However, the position can increase pressure on the shoulders and hips, making a medium to plush mattress essential for pressure relief.
A good mattress for side sleepers is soft to medium in firmness to provide the gentle give needed to wake up without any soreness or aches. A second pillow between the knees can keep the spine better aligned and reduce pressure on the legs.
Back sleeping is another healthy position, as lying down on the back evenly distributes body weight and keeps the spine supported. Back sleepers may find themselves snoring, however, as gravity can push down soft tissues at the back of the throat or cause the tongue to fall back, blocking the sleeper’s airway.
A medium to firm mattress for back sleepers provides the pressure relief and back support to maintain healthy alignment and prevent pain. Back sleepers can raise their knees with a wedge pillow or bolster pillow while they sleep to further prevent pressure from building up into lower back pain.
Stomach sleeping is the least healthy sleep position because of the great amount of stress it places on the spine. Sleeping on the stomach can cause gravity to push the torso down into the mattress, stretching the spine out of its natural curve. Stomach sleepers are more likely to wake up with back pain and neck pain from having to keep their head to the side for hours to breathe.
We recommend switching to side or back sleeping, but for those who can’t feel comfortable in any other position, a firm mattress can prevent the worst effects of stomach sleeping. A second pillow under the abdomen can act as an additional protective measure.
Combination sleepers toss and turn in the night, moving throughout different sleeping positions as they do so. Combination sleepers can experience the best and worst of each sleeping position, such as neutral spinal alignment and improved breathing, but also snoring and built-up pressure.
A medium to medium-firm mattress can suit most sleeping positions, making it a good choice for combination sleepers. Combination sleepers can also try training themselves to sleep only on their side or back and shop for their new sleeping position.
Mattress prices range from less than $100 to more than $3000. Setting a budget before you start shopping will help keep you focused on the best mattress for you.
For a high-quality queen mattress, we recommend a budget between $1200 to $1500. Side sleepers may have to budget closer to $2000, as the extra cushioning they need for better sleep takes more material to make.
If you can, avoid mattresses priced under $300. Often, these mattresses are made of low-quality materials and their support may give out within a couple of years. Buying a more expensive mattress that will last 7 to 10 years gives you more value for your dollar.
Sleep Trial, Warranty, and Return Policy
A good mattress should always come with a sleep trial, warranty, and return policy. The three are a reassurance of the product’s quality.
A sleep trial is the time period a customer is given to try out their new mattress. Most sleep trials last between 90 to 120 nights.
Warranties protect a mattress owner against manufacturing defects and a certain depth of sagging, typically an inch or more. It does not protect against standard wear and tear or owner carelessness. Many mattresses come with a 10-year warranty, although some mattresses come with one lasting 20 or more years. A few even have lifetime warranties.
If you cannot buy a mattress with a sleep trial, a good return policy can be the next best thing. Some companies will not take a mattress back if it’s been opened, while others while not take it back if it’s been damaged. Reading through the return policy before buying can save you from a lot of hassle later on.
Other Sleeping Tips
We know a good night’s sleep relies on more than just finding the best mattress for your sleep needs. And since it’s crucial athletes get deep, restorative sleep so they can to perform well, we have a few more tips to share.
- Start a sleep routine and stick to it. Yes, this means no sleeping in late on weekends.
- Avoid caffeine six hours before bedtime. And turn off your electronics at least two hours before bedtime.
- Keep your room dark. We even recommend turning your alarm clock over so the light it emits doesn’t disturb your sleep. Blackout curtains and eye masks can help, too.
- Make sure your bedroom is quiet. If needed, wear a pair of earplugs.
- Set your thermostat between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It can take a bit of trial-and-error to find your ideal temperature— if you’re waking up too hot or too cold, adjust the thermostat by a couple of degrees.
If sleep eludes you for more than 20 minutes, don’t get frustrated. Instead, get out of bed and do a relaxing activity like reading a book. Keep the lights dim, though, as bright light may wake you up even more.
Watching the clock and thinking about how you should be asleep can stress you out and make it more difficult to fall asleep. If this is an issue, turn your clock face away from you to take your mind off the time.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best cooling mattress?
An innerspring is naturally breathable, but most innerspring mattresses cannot contour to an athlete’s body for adequate pressure relief after an active day. A breathable memory foam mattress or a latex mattress are better choices for an athlete who wants a cooling mattress.
Is a firm mattress good for a bad back?
No, a firm mattress is not the best mattress firmness to soothe back pain. A 2015 review compared soft, medium-firm, firm, and self-adjusted mattresses, and concluded the best mattresses for back pain were medium-firm, as these offer comfort and promote neutral spinal alignment.
Can memory foam hurt your back?
Memory foam is one of the best mattress materials to soothe and prevent back pain. However, if you choose a firmness of memory foam that’s unsuited to your sleep style, such as an extremely soft bed for a back sleeper, you may wake up in pain. To avoid this, we recommend a mattress with a long sleep trial, to make mattress exchanges and returns easier.
Why is Amerisleep best for athletes?
We recommend our Amerisleep mattresses for athletes because they’re built with pressure-relieving memory foam and a dynamic support system to facilitate healthy recovery.
Instead of using traditional, heat-trapping memory foams in our beds, we use proprietary Bio-Pur®, a plant-based memory foam, to offer all of the benefits of a memory foam mattress without the risk of heat retention. Plus, we incorporate HIVE® technology into each of our mattresses besides the AS1 to offer full-body support. HIVE® offers firm support under your head, torso, and feet to maintain neutral spinal alignment; but is softer under your shoulders and hips to allow adequate pressure relief and prevent pain.
Which Amerisleep mattress is best for athletes?
We recommend our AS3 mattress for athletes because it’s compatible with the majority of sleeping positions (so it’ll be comfortable no matter how much you toss or turn) and it offers a healthy balance of comfort and support.
Do Amerisleep mattresses prevent back pain?
HIVE® technology, found in each of our mattresses except the AS1, is engineered to alleviate pain (and prevent new pains from forming!). HIVE® does this by offering healthy, full-body support. HIVE® is softer under your shoulders and hips to allow for deep compression and pain relief, but is softer under your feet, torso, and head to maintain proper spinal alignment.
How long is the Amerisleep sleep trial?
We offer a 100-night sleep trial with each of our mattresses. If you find your bed is not a fit for you, give us a call and we can initiate an exchange or process a return for you free of charge.
How much does an Amerisleep mattress cost?
In total, we offer eight mattress models: five memory foam mattresses and three hybrids. Our mattresses vary in price from $999 to $2099 for queen sizes.
Do Amerisleep mattresses enhance recovery?
Our Amerisleep mattresses enhance recovery by promoting undisturbed sleep and offering healthy support for your body to refresh and rejuvenate. Waking up overheated can hinder deep sleep and make it harder to wake up feeling refreshed, our plant-based memory foams offset heat retention and keep you cool and comfortable all night long. Plus, the inclusion of HIVE® in each of our mattresses (besides the AS1) contributes to a healthy, speedy recovery.
Quality Sleep For Athletes
A night of restful sleep is just as important for a high-performing athlete as a nutritious diet or regular workouts. Insufficient sleep can mean a lackluster performance and an increased likelihood of injury. With the right mattress and good sleep habits, you can enjoy all the benefits of an active lifestyle.