Best Mattress Topper for Athletes

Last Updated May 16, 2023

If you're an athlete, then you know the importance of a good night's sleep. After all, you need to be well-rested in order to perform at your best. So what's the best way to ensure a good night's sleep? One option is to invest in a mattress topper. But how do you choose one? Here is a detailed buyer's guide about choosing the best mattress topper for athletes. Keep reading!

natural and organic latex mattress topper

Key Takeaways:

  • A mattress topper helps athletes by cushioning sensitive areas, aligning the spine, and reducing pressure points.
  • To assist in recovery and improving performance, athletes need quality mattress toppers with adequate support, right firmness, thickness, and cooling characteristics.
  • The best mattress topper firmness level for athletes is medium-firm.
  • Latex and memory foam are the most preferred mattress toppers for athletes.
  • Natural latex is the healthiest topper choice of all as it is free of toxic chemicals, has better cooling properties, and attracts fewer pests or dust mites.
best mattress topper for athletes

How does sleep affect athletic performance?

Did you know that athletic performance and physical recovery are both directly linked to sleep quality? Yes, you read it right! According to research, getting a great night's sleep has real benefits for athletes. Sleep is the time when the body repairs itself. Not getting enough sleep doesn't only make them feel tired the next day but also affects their level of performance.

Stanford conducted a study of men's basketball players who slept for 10 hours each night. The study found that the players had several positive results. The players ran faster, and their shooting improved. The improvement was 9% for both free throws and three-point shots. And the study concluded that optimal sleep is an important element in reaching peak athletic performance.

an athlete relaxing and stretching

Well-rested athletes are faster, energetic, and more reflexive than those who fail to get enough sleep. And that's why choosing the best sleep surfaces for athletes is so important.

The mattress you are sleeping on plays a significant role in determining your sleep quality. And it's even more crucial for active individuals to rest on a supportive mattress to get the rest they need to recover.

But what if the mattress isn't supportive enough? What if it makes athletes feel stiff and unrefreshed when they awake? We've got answers!

No matter how the sleep surface feels, it's always better for athletes to use an additional supportive layer on top of a mattress, like a mattress topper.

a tired athlete on a stationary bike

Types of mattress toppers for athletes

Some mattress toppers are better equipped to accommodate athletes than others. They help cushion sensitive areas, keep the spine well-aligned, and reduce pressure points all over the body. However, there are also other types that can make them wake up terribly in the morning. And that's why it's very important to invest in the right mattress topper for athletes.

Below we have given a breakdown of different types of mattress toppers available in the market so that you can choose the best option for you.

1. Latex mattress toppers

Natural latex mattress toppers are made from the sap of a rubber tree, and they have a variety of benefits. They're great in terms of cooling, responsiveness, and pressure relief. Plus, latex mattress toppers are available in different firmness settings, so you can find the perfect level of support for your body weight and sleep.

latex mattress topper for athletes

100% organic latex mattress toppers conform closely to sleepers' bodies without much sinkage and target the pressure points in sensitive areas. This is especially helpful for athletes because it helps to reduce pain and keep the body comfortable.

All-natural latex mattress toppers are the way to go if you want a durable and environmentally friendly option. They resist deep sagging and indentations better than other types of foam toppers, so you can sleep peacefully knowing your mattress will last a long time.

2. Memory foam mattress toppers

Memory foam mattress toppers are another popular type. Made using viscoelastic polyurethane material, memory foam contours completely to the sleeper's body, which means bye-bye aches and pains. So, whether you are an athlete who suffers from injuries or has pain in your heavy body parts, you'll feel better fast.

Even though they are good at relieving pressure, memory foam mattress toppers often sag with age and lose their properties. This means they are less durable and aren't long-lasting.

is a memory foam mattress topper good for athletes

Memory foam heats up at night, and so will the sleepers. The material's dense structure keeps air out and body heat trapped. And since athletes require a breathable sleep surface with cooling properties to recover properly, this one's not the best option. Also, memory foam is known to contain chemicals like formaldehyde that can impact overall health. So, a big NO for memory foam from our side.

3. Gel infused memory foam mattress toppers

Memory foam is a type of viscoelastic foam that contours to your body, providing support and pressure relief. Gel memory foam takes this one step further by adding tiny gel beads throughout the foam. These beads help to regulate temperature, keeping you cool and comfortable all night long.

is a gel memory foam mattress topper good for athletes

Gel infused memory foam is popular with athletes because it provides superior support and helps to reduce pain and stiffness. The material also has excellent pressure relief properties, which can help to improve blood circulation and prevent injuries.

Even though a gel infused topper is an ideal choice for athletes who are looking for a comfortable and supportive sleeping surface, it isn't 100% healthy and safe since it contains memory foam.

latex mattress

4. Feather mattress toppers

Ah, the feather mattress topper. So soft, so fluffy, so... comfy. It's no wonder they're so popular - who doesn't love sinking into a cloud of feathers at the end of a long day? But feather mattress toppers are more than just a feather-bedding luxury. They actually have some interesting benefits that make them worth considering if you're in the market for a new mattress topper.

is a feather mattress topper for athletes

For one thing, feather mattress toppers are great at regulating body temperature. So if you tend to get hot and sweaty at night, a feather topper can help keep you cool in the summer months. Conversely, if you tend to get cold easily, a feather topper can help keep you warm.

But are they good enough in providing the right support and pressure point relief for athletes? Well, they do provide to an extent; however, feather mattress toppers aren't as supportive as latex and memory foam.

5. Wool mattress toppers

Like latex, wool toppers are another healthiest and environmentally friendly way to achieve a great night's sleep. They are really good at regulating temperature, promoting a breathable sleep surface, which is, in fact, necessary for athletes.

is a wool mattress topper good for athletes

Athletes need a supportive sleep surface that can offer excellent pressure point relief to their tired body. But, wool mattress toppers aren't very supportive.

6. Hybrid mattress toppers

Hybrid mattress toppers combine the best features of two different types of materials, providing support and comfort. One of the most common type of hybrid topper is made with a combination of memory foam and down alternative.

7. Polyester mattress toppers

The last one on our list is polyester mattress toppers. Well, they are the most popular among synthetic materials, and yes, they have lots and lots of toxic chemicals embedded in them.

While polyester mattress toppers are excellent for athletes who need support, they are unfortunately not great for those who want to get a good night's sleep. That's because polyester is a synthetic material that tends to trap heat, making it uncomfortable to sleep on.

polyester mattress topper for athletes

What should athletes look for in a mattress topper?

For athletes, finding the right mattress topper can mean the difference between a good night's sleep and sub-par performance. Mattress toppers are designed to provide additional support and padding, and there are a few features that are particularly beneficial for athletes. Here are the top features that athletes should consider when choosing a mattress topper.

  • Firmness level

Before buying a mattress topper for athletes, think about what firmness level you want. There is a range of options to choose from, and it usually depends on personal preferences and needs. How you sleep can also affect what the best firmness level for you would be.

athletes should choose the right mattress topper firmness level

Since athletes tend to have taller, larger bodies that require more support, medium-firm mattress toppers are generally well suited for them.

Mattress toppers that are firmer can also help support the lower back. This can help prevent it from collapsing and make it more comfortable for athletes who often suffer from lower back pain.

If you are an athlete, it is always better to sleep on a surface that is not too soft or too firm. This can cause spinal misalignment and make you experience aches and pains all through the night.

best mattress topper firmness level for athletes
  • Pressure relief

Athletes need to get enough sleep in order to heal and restore their bodies. If a mattress topper isn't designed with pressure relief in mind, sleepers may wake up with pain in the heavy body parts like the hips, shoulders, back, and knees.

If a mattress topper is too firm or too soft, it won't be good for relieving pressure. Materials like natural latex or high-density memory foam can help relieve pressure and aid muscle recovery during sleep.

athletes need a pressure relieving mattress topper

  • Thickness

The thickness of a mattress topper affects how much comfort and support it provides. It also affects how easy (or difficult) it will be getting on and off the mattress.

A mattress topper with 3 inches thickness is good for athletes because it might help cradle their body, relieve pressure points, and give them the right amount of support where they need it most.

choose the right mattress topper thickness for athletes

  • Cooling technology

Athletes often have a higher core body temperature. So, using a mattress topper with natural cooling technology like latex can help them fall asleep faster.

athletes should go for a mattress topper with natural cooling technology

Besides the factors mentioned above, it is important to look at the store or online site's return policy and warranty. Go for a mattress topper that you can sleep and try for 30 days and return if it's not the right fit. Also, look for the one with a 5-year warranty so that you're protected against defects and repairs.

Some materials used in mattress toppers 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. So, look for a mattress topper that has OEKO-TEX certification so you can be sure it doesn't involve toxic chemicals.

What is the best mattress topper for athletes?

To assist in recovery, athletes need mattress toppers with specific features. Pressure point alleviation and adequate support, as well as cooling characteristics, can help athletes get a good night's sleep while also promoting muscular recovery and improving performance.

morning cup of coffee on an athlete's bed

It's true that memory foam, gel infused memory foam, and polyurethane foam also offer great support and pressure relief as latex. However, since they absorb heat and make the sleepers extremely warm at night, they won't be the best option for athletes. Also, memory foam mattress toppers are made of petroleum-based compounds and involve so many chemicals during their production process.

Even though wool and feather mattress toppers give sleepers a soft, comfy, and fluffy feel, they aren't very supportive. These mattress toppers fail to offer the right amount of support required for body contouring and pressure relief.

That being said, a latex mattress topper can be an especially good fit. Latex mattress toppers offer a balance of comfort and support that can help prevent pain issues, especially in the torso and lumbar area.

It's also free of chemicals, so you can sleep peacefully knowing that your mattress topper is healthy and safe. Plus, latex mattress toppers are generally better at cooling than other types, so you'll stay comfortable even on hot summer nights. And because they're more durable, latex mattress toppers will last longer than other types.

an athlete relaxing comfortably on the best mattress topper

So, whether you're an athlete or just someone who likes to stay active, it's important to make sure you have a good quality mattress topper like latex. It might seem like an unnecessary expense, but trust us – it's worth it!


1. Are latex toppers any good for athletes?

A latex topper can make a big difference for athletes, both in terms of comfort and recovery. Latex is extremely durable, comfortable, and supportive, so it helps to reduce pressure points and minimize tossing and turning at night. And since it's naturally hypoallergenic, it's ideal for those athletes who suffer from allergies or asthma.

But perhaps most importantly, latex is highly resilient, so it helps to promote blood circulation and reduce muscle soreness. In other words, it's the perfect material for athletes who are looking to get a good night's sleep and perform at their best.

2. What is the difference between a mattress topper and a mattress protector?

Mattress toppers and mattress protectors aren't the same things.

A mattress topper is typically used to improve the feel and comfort of an existing mattress, while a mattress protector is designed to protect the mattress from spills and other accidents.

3. Mattress pads and mattress toppers - are they the same?

Mattress pads and mattress toppers may seem like they serve the same purpose, but they are actually quite different.

A mattress pad is a thin layer of fabric that is placed on top of the mattress. It is typically quilted or padded for extra comfort. A mattress topper, on the other hand, is a thicker layer of material that is placed on top of the mattress. It is usually made of foam, down, or feathers and provides an extra layer of cushioning. Mattress toppers are used to improve the overall comfort and feel of a mattress.

natural and organic pillows

4. What is the right mattress topper firmness level for athletes?

The best mattress topper for athletes is medium firm. This type of topper provides the right amount of support and firmness while also being soft enough to provide cushioning and comfort.

Medium-firm mattress toppers are also great for people who suffer from back pain or who need extra support for their joints.

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1. Best Firm Mattress Toppers 2023

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3. Best Pressure Relieving Mattress To Get Rid Of Aches and Pains

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4. How To Care For Your Latex Mattress Topper

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5. Is it safe to use a heated mattress pad on a latex mattress topper?

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If you still have any questions about the best mattress topper for athletes, don't hesitate to let us know in the comments.

Disclaimer: What is said in this article has been referenced from multiple sources and is intended only for educational and informational purposes. Please note that no content in this article is a substitute for professional advice from a qualified doctor or healthcare provider. Always consult an experienced doctor with any concerns you may have regarding a health condition or treatment, and never disregard any medical suggestions or delay in seeking treatment because of something you read here.


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