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A good night’s sleep is essential.

For athletes, studies show sleep can affect performance on the field, pitch, or court.

If you’re looking for a mattress to help you get good sleep, know that a high quality mattress should be:

  • supportive
  • comfortable
  • match your preferences

Athletes shopping for a mattress may want to consider a few additional factors such as their:

  • build
  • height
  • core temperature

When you’re shopping online for a mattress, always check the return and warranty policies carefully. You’ll also want to look for a mattress that’s easy to set up and offers a good refund policy if needed.

There are also sleep improvements you can add to your nighttime routine when you’re at home or on the road.

Let’s take a look.

Customer feedback and unbiased reviews were our main metrics when selecting these mattresses.

We made sure no mattress on our list averages less than 4 stars, and we carefully read hundreds of customer reviews to make sure we were reading honest feedback.

When choosing what to recommend, we also took into account:

  • recommendations from experts
  • industry awards and certifications
  • each brand’s customer support, such as returns, free trials, and warranties

Pricing guide

All prices listed are for queen-size mattresses.

We have indicated price as follows:

  • $ = under $1,200
  • $$ = $1,200–$2,000
  • $$$ = over $2,000

Best overall

Casper Wave Hybrid

  • Price: $$$
  • Height: 13 inches
  • Mattress type: hybrid
  • Firmness: medium
  • Good for: all sleeping positions

The Casper Wave Hybrid features five layers that include a design with zoned support and a layer of softer foam around the shoulder area to offer more support for the upper body.

The gel layer on top helps the foam stay temperature neutral for comfortable sleep. The layer of individual coils may better support sleepers with more weight than foam alone.


Starting at about $1,500 for a twin-size mattress, the Casper Wave Hybrid has a high price tag. Customers state the mattress feels durable, and they expect many years of use from it.

Buy the Casper Wave Hybrid online.

Best for runners

Layla Hybrid Mattress

  • Price: $
  • Height: 13 inches
  • Mattress type: hybrid
  • Firmness: dual, one firm side and one soft side
  • Good for: all sleeping types

Runners who need additional support at night, but aren’t happy with mattresses that are too soft or conforming to the body, may like the Layla Hybrid.

The mattress has a firm and soft side so you can choose what feels most comfortable. Other features include built-in pressure relief for sore muscles, which may help you recover faster after a long run.


The mattress has a cooling cover that features Thermo-Gel, which may help keep your body cooler and comfortable at night.

Buy the Layla Hybrid Mattress online.

Best cooling

Helix Midnight Luxe

  • Price: $$
  • Height: 12 inches
  • Mattress type: hybrid
  • Firmness: medium
  • Good for: side sleepers

The Helix Midnight Luxe includes a gel-infused top layer designed to be cool to the touch and keep you more comfortable throughout the night.

This mattress also features pillow top and memory foam layers, so athletes who prefer a firmer mattress may not like it. But it may work well for side sleepers.


Reviewers note the high price tag was worth the splurge and say although it was firm out of the box, the mattress felt softer after a few nights. They also appreciated the extended 15-year warranty.

Buy the Helix Midnight Luxe online.

Which mattress is right for you comes down to your personal preferences.

But when you’re shopping for a mattress, be sure to take into consideration whether it’s recommended for side, back, or stomach sleepers, depending on which you are.

Manufacturers often indicate this to help match their products with customers.

Look into the firmness of the mattress and choose one that matches your preference. (For example, if you’re a stomach sleeper, you may want a firmer mattress where your midsection won’t sink and weight is distributed evenly.)

If you tend to move around a lot at night and have a partner, choose a mattress that isn’t going to shift on their side, too.

If you’re ordering online, you may want to try out mattresses that interest you in a retail store so you can get an idea of your preferences before buying.

Most mattress brand websites have information about the manufacturing process and textiles used in every mattress. Information about chemical ingredients, such as formaldehyde used in some types of memory foam, may also be of interest to you.

If you’re looking for an organic mattress, certain brands cut through the hype.

If you just want one that doesn’t give off harsh chemical odors, you might need to read product information carefully. It’s also important to know that some materials and certifications mean more than others.

Buying a mattress can be a significant game-changer for your sleep quality and overall health.

There are lots of mattresses with free trials of 60, 90, and even 120 days or more, so take advantage of them. Be sure to look for one with a good warranty and return policy, too.

Studies show that sleep is crucial for any athlete to perform at their best.

Good sleep can improve performance, while poor sleep quality can actually hinder it, according to a 2017 study.

It’s easier for some people to get a good night’s sleep at home because they’re in an environment that they can control.

The benefit is in knowing that you’ll be on a comfortable mattress and you’re able to control the temperature and lighting to your preferred settings.

On the road, staying in hotels and other lodgings, it may be more of a challenge to get a good night’s rest.

The following tips may help:

  • Travel with your own pillow (or pillows).
  • Use earplugs and an eye mask to block out noise and light.
  • Avoid using electronics right before bed or keep them in another room if they’re distracting.
  • Limit caffeine or energy drinks later in the day because they can interfere with your sleep.
  • Try to avoid scheduling practices or training too late in the evening if they interfere with your sleep. This will give you more time to wind down before going to bed.

Here are 17 tips for where and whenever you need to get better sleep.

A mattress is a large investment. It’s important to do your research and choose the mattress that is right for you. Since comfort and support levels come down to personal preference, there are a variety of mattress options that may appeal to athletes.

When choosing a mattress, pay close attention to factors like the mattress firmness, height, and type.


Mattress firmness is typically scored on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest. You may see mattresses described as soft (3 to 5), medium (6 to 7), and firm (8 to 10). Medium to firm mattresses are best for athletes to encourage proper spinal alignment and prevent sinking.


The standard mattress height or thickness is 8 to 12 inches, though mattresses can be as tall as 18 inches thick.

Athletes may want to opt for a mattress that is 11 inches thick or more. This leaves plenty of room for a sturdy base and comfort layer that is several inches thick. This helps prevent sinking for people with taller, larger bodies. It also makes it easier to get in and out of bed.


Of the main types of mattresses — memory foam, innerspring, and hybrid — memory foam can be a great choice for athletes. The foam contours to your body to provide support and pressure relief. Many are also made with cooling materials to keep your body more comfortable at night.

Once you’ve narrowed down the criteria that’s important to you, pay close attention to the store or online site’s return policy and warranty. Look for a mattress that you can try for at least 30 days and return if it’s not the right fit. Aim for a 10-year warranty to protect your purchase against defects and repairs.

Some materials commonly used in mattresses have been linked to health issues. Try to avoid off-gassing harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, benzene, and flame retardants. During sleep, you may breathe in those chemicals. Look for a mattress that has OEKO-TEX certification to ensure it’s made without harmful chemicals.

If you have allergies, hypoallergenic materials may be important to you. Some mattresses are resistant to allergens like dust mites, mold, and mildew and are better for people with asthma and allergies.

Sleep is essential for athletes and non-athletes alike. Poor sleep can affect mental performance like attention and concentration, and in a similar way, lack of sleep can affect an athlete’s sports performance.

Choosing the right mattress can improve overall sleep quality. According to a small 2015 study, memory foam mattresses were found to decrease pain and the time it takes to fall asleep.

Better sleep can also reduce the risk of injury in athletes. Increased sleep time in athletes helps fight fatigue and improve mood, reaction time, and performance.

Sleep is especially important for muscle recovery and growth. During sleep, there’s an increase of blood supply, oxygen, and nutrients that becomes available to the muscles. Growth hormone is secreted during the first few hours of sleep, helping to build muscle mass. The relaxation that occurs during sleep also helps relieve tension and reduce pain in athletes.

A mattress can affect sleep quality and duration. Many people have difficulty falling and staying asleep, and having a comfortable, supportive sleep environment can make a difference.

When choosing the best mattress for athletes, find the sweet spot not only for firmness but also for thickness. This is also referred to as the height of a mattress.

While most standard mattresses are 8 to 12 inches tall, athletes can opt for a mattress up to 18 inches.

A mattress is divided into two main layers: a base layer and a comfort layer. The base layer is the foundation of the mattress, providing ample support and durability. More than half of your mattress thickness should be this supportive layer.

The top layer is designed for comfort. This is the soft upper layer where you rest. The comfort layer is usually made from cotton, wool, or memory foam for a plush sleeping environment.

Many mattresses are made with materials that are breathable and cooling for a comfortable night’s sleep. This part of your mattress should be 2 to 4 inches thick and is usually smaller than the support layer.

For athletes, a taller mattress is recommended. The added support and durability is a plus for athletes with larger, taller bodies. A balance of comfort and support is ideal to encourage spinal alignment and prevent sinking. This also increases the distance from the ground to the bed, making it easier for taller athletes to get in and out of bed.

There is a range of mattress firmness levels to choose from, and this usually comes down to personal preferences and needs. How you sleep can also affect the ideal mattress firmness level for you.

Medium-firm and firm mattresses are generally well suited for athletes, who tend to have taller, larger bodies that require more support. This level of support prevents sinking, which is more common with softer mattresses that have a plush top layer.

Firmer mattresses also help support the lower back and prevent it from collapsing. Low back pain is a common complaint of athletes, and a firm mattress that offers pressure relief may help. For back sleepers, a firm mattress helps keep your spine properly aligned.

Mattresses that are too soft or too firm can cause discomfort, improper spine alignment, and lower back pain. You may need to try a few different firmness levels before finding the one that is just right for your liking.

The ideal sleep environment is cool, dark, and quiet. You should feel physically comfortable in your bedroom. Limit exposure to technology in your bedroom, which can create light and sound that interfere with your sleep. The bright light emitted from your devices can also hinder your sleep.

To improve sleep quality, stick to a sleep schedule. The body has an internal clock, and consistently waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day helps reinforce it.

If you have a consistent sleep routine throughout the week, you’ll likely have an easier time falling asleep and waking up. This results in longer sleep duration, improved sleep quality, and increased alertness in the morning.

Before bedtime, athletes should avoid coffee, energy drinks, and other caffeinated beverages. Similarly, alcohol should be avoided before bed, as alcohol can disrupt sleep.

In general, athletes need more sleep than non-athletes. Athletes should aim for 8 to 10 hours of sleep, so establish a wind-down routine, consistent sleep schedule, and comfortable sleep environment.

What mattress is best for muscle pain?

Athletes who regularly experience sore muscles and muscle pain need a mattress that doesn’t cause muscle strain. A medium-firm or firm mattress supports the spine and bones, placing less stress on the muscles. This allows the muscles to rest, recover, and become rejuvenated overnight.

What type of mattress do athletes use?

Memory foam and hybrid mattresses are popular among athletes. The foam contours to your body, providing pressure relief and support, while hybrid mattresses provide a bit more support than memory foam. Mattresses that are medium firm or firm and 11 inches thick or greater are recommended for athletes.

What type of mattress is best for back pain?

A mattress that encourages proper spine alignment can help alleviate back pain. Sleeping on your back allows for the best spinal positioning, and sleeping on a medium or firm mattress can take the pressure off the low back. Soft mattresses that you sink into are not recommended, as this can move the spine out of neutral alignment.

We all need sleep in order to perform at our best.

If you’ve changed your mattress and still can’t sleep well at night, talk with a doctor.

They may have additional recommendations to explore that can help you get the rest you need.