While it’s easy to focus on what goes on in the gym, perhaps the most neglected facet of fitness takes place between the sheets. Catching adequate zzz’s is your best opportunity to recover from your workouts, repair muscle tissue and, believe it or not, make gains. Get a good night’s sleep, and studies show you’ll also improve your reaction time, muscle memory and motor skills (translation: ready to bring your A-game).
Recognizing athletes’ specific recovery needs, companies have hit the lab to develop a mattress that’ll put in the work when it matters most. Below are three of the latest athlete-focused brands, and how they held up against 30 days of tough workouts (CrossFit WODs included).
3 Mattresses Built Just for Athletes
Best for: Staying cool in your sleep
The better you sleep, the better you recover, so Performasleep’s approach is to give athletes the best chances at both. That begins with comfort, or three layers of increasingly dense memory foam. The top two inches feature a cushy gel foam layer that’s infused with copper (aka CopperCool gel, which is said to have “rejuvenating properties”). It also acts as a conductor, moving heat away from the body while you sleep. (According to research, not only is sleep initiated by lowering body temperature, but cooler conditions can also facilitate entry into deep sleep.) Beneath that: two inches of denser foam support the spine, while seven inches of extra-firm foam forms the base. The result is a mattress that feels more stable than a traditional spring mattress, but with a pillowy soft upper.
The verdict: Comfortably cool, restful sleep. After a month of testing, we couldn’t verify any specific rejuvenating effects other than a good night’s sleep. But one thing that’s certain: No waking up with night sweats! (performasleep.com; $525-$975)
Best for: Getting your blood flowing
Like the PerformaSleep mattress, Bear uses a supportive three-layer memory foam that’s soft up top, but dense enough below to keep you supported. (This will also keep you from bugging your partner when you move around). Its top layer is infused with graphite gel for optimal cooling. The upper layer is also made of threads treated with thermoreactive minerals (called Celliant technology) that converts your body heat into infrared light, which is then reflected back to your body. Why should you care? Because some studies (albeit small and short-term) have linked infrared light to better circulation and cell recovery. That theoretically ramps up your body’s ability to recover while you sleep.
The verdict: After 30 days, this tester (with a history of waking mid-sleep) reported sleeping through the night on a regular basis. (“Seriously, I didn’t even move – my Kindle was still on my chest when I woke up.”). He also reported a distinct lack of soreness, even during periods of elevated activity. “It took a week or so to realize that I wasn’t waking up sore anymore. I was even walking around normally after leg day; that’s definitely a first.” (bearmattress.com; $500-$950)
3. ReST Bed
Best for: Getting fully customized cushioning
Ready for a legit upgrade? The ReST Bed comes with a Samsung tablet for each sleeper that acts as a remote control for his or her side of the bed. Here’s how it works: Four small, whisper-quiet pumps let users customize how much support they get for five zones: head, shoulder, lumbar, hips and legs. Users can adjust the mattress manually via the tablet (think: softening the hip and leg sections for extra cushioning post-leg day), or they can trust the bed to do all the work via the automatic setting. That means when you move, the mattress adds support where you need it (i.e. adjusting when you turn on your side by softening the shoulder and hip area). Roll back onto your back, and the bed adjusts for that position as well.
Bonus: This smart mattress also tracks how often you move in your sleep, what position you’re in, and for how long, so you can review your sleep stats and improve your zzz’s. Plus, ReST will automatically upload the new features to your bed’s app, so the bed will constantly upgrade as more features are developed.
The verdict: While we couldn’t get a bed to test, early reviews of the smart features are positive. The price can be prohibitive, but if you take your recovery very seriously, you might want to consider laying your head (and achy muscles) right here. (restperformance.com; $2,799-$5,798)
Tried any of these mattresses? Share your thoughts below!
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