A few months ago I made a significant change in my training. It wasn’t anything obvious like a new squat cycle or nutrition plan. Instead, it was an effortless change that I thought could make a big difference in my recovery—I got a new mattress, specifically a Bear Mattress.

I love to train. I’ve played competitive sports all my life—basketball, running, cycling and for the last few years, CrossFit. I’m in my late 30’s now, and while waking up with a tight lower back was a reoccurring issue even in my 20’s, it was now becoming a more frequent occurrence.

I’ve always known that improved sleep equals improved recovery. I’m probably in the minority but getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night is the easy part for me. However, I also know that improved sleep comes not only from getting the right amount (most research shows we should get at least 7-9 hours every night) but from the quality of sleep we get. Proper sleep promotes muscle recovery, increases reaction times, agility, endurance, and our overall mood when we train. One of the most critical aspects of quality sleep centers on comfort—specifically, the comfort of the mattress you’re sleeping on. A poor mattress can actually cause your muscles to tighten throughout the night and disrupt the quality of your sleep. Admittedly, my 12-year-old mattress was probably way past its prime.

I’d never heard of Bear Mattress before my search, but a little Googling for “athlete mattress” and I found them at the top of the organic list. ‘The Best Sleep for Your Active Lifestyle,’ that’s their tagline. A bit of marketing, I know, but hey, I’m active, I need a new mattress, and the reviews were stellar.

I’ve been sleeping on my Bear Mattress for about 4 months now. I wanted to test the bed out for long enough to get a quality review, so here goes:

Bear Mattress is constructed as a ‘medium firm’ feel mattress. This was a welcome change, though much different then what I had become accustomed to my old mattress. It’s built with a responsive foam that contours to your body and different sleeping positions. This was my favorite thing about the Bear Mattress, and what I believe helped with my recovery the most. Lay on your back and you’ll feel yourself sink in just enough to be properly aligned, conforming for pain and pressure relief. The best way to describe it: It’s firm, but cuddles you just enough to aid recovery.

If you sleep next to someone who tends to move around a lot at night, Bear Mattress will bring a lot of joy to your life as its ability to isolate motion is phenomenal.

Another great feature of the mattress is its cooling graphite-gel memory foam that regulates body temperature while you sleep. With my old mattress, I often found myself waking up covered in sweat as if I were in mid-workout (that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but sweaty nonetheless). While it still happens from time to time, it’s now much more of a rare occurrence. The mattress’ ability to keep my body at an even temperature is definitely noticeable.

One of the most touted features of the Bear Mattress is the breathable Celliant® cover. Taken from the Bear Mattress website: “Celliant® is the most established and clinically tested infrared textile in the industry, and it’s in every Bear Mattress.” “Celliant is clinically proven to enhance tissue oxygen levels and improve athletic performance to heighten your physical well-being when it counts the most.” So, what do I think of the Celliant® cover? Well, it’s tough to say “I felt that Celliant® cover working last night.” However, what I can say is that the last four months I’ve noticed an improvement in my recovery—specifically, how much lower back pain I wake up with—or lack there-of. The overall quality of sleep is definitely improved. I recommend Bear Mattress to any athlete searching for a new mattress.

Bear Mattress is priced between $540-$940. Bear Mattress offers a 100-night risk-free trial. They’re available in Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, and California king sizes. Head to bearmattress.com to learn more.

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