While finding a high-quality mattress is essential for all individuals, it is even more vital for athletes. The importance of sleep for athletes cannot be underestimated. Numerous studies have been done on the relationship between athletes and sleep and have come to the conclusion that there is a direct link between strong athletic performance and healthy sleep habits. While those athletes with healthy sleep habits are more likely to perform better, the opposite is also true as there is a link between athletes and sleep deprivation as well. When an athlete does not get the quality or quantity of sleep that they need, their reaction times and physical abilities can be impaired as a result. Finding the right mattress is extremely important for an athlete to get the high-quality sleep they need to maintain optimal performance. To help you understand the basics of athletes and sleep, we have put together a foundational guide that delves into the importance of sleep for athletes and the best mattresses for athletes. Keep reading to learn more about natural mattress options that can take your rest days to the next level.
The Importance of Sleep for Athletes
Sleep is extremely important for all individuals as it is a time that allows the body to rest and recover. Before delving into how this process is specifically important for athletes, it is important to first have an understanding of the main stages of sleep and what happens to the body as it sleeps. The standard sleep pattern is comprised of two main stages: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM). NREM sleep accounts for seventy-five percent of the sleep an average person will get during the night. As you sleep, your body will undergo a cycle that will repeat itself approximately every ninety minutes. In the first stage, the body is between being awake and falling asleep and is in a state of light sleep. As the body moved towards the second stage of sleep, it becomes disengaged from its surroundings, the body temperature begins to drop slightly, and the breathing and heart rate is regular. From there, the body moves to stages three and four, which are the deepest and most restorative sleep. During these phases of the sleep cycle, the breathing becomes slower, muscles are relaxed, the blood supply to muscles increases and tissue growth and repair occurs. During these phases, energy is restored and hormones, such as growth hormone, are released to the body. All of these stages are NREM sleep. REM sleep accounts for twenty-five percent of the night and generally first occurs approximately ninety minutes after falling asleep and recurs every ninety minutes throughout the night. REM sleep supports daytime performance by providing energy to the brain and body. REM sleep is characterized by the eyes darting back and forth and an active brain state as well as the occurrence of dreams. During REM sleep, the body is immobile and relaxed as the muscle has turned off. With this understanding of a normal sleep cycle in mind, it is now possible to explore why this fundamental bodily process is so vital for athletic performance.
When an athlete does not get the sleep their body needs to relax, recover, and repair, it can manifest itself in a number of adverse side effects, such as slower reaction times, diminished motor skills, and lengthier recovery times. All of these side effects can have a tremendous impact on athletic performance. When a body does not get the sleep it needs, it is called sleep deprivation. The lack of sleep associated with sleep deprivation may be chronic or acute in nature. Sleep deprivation has a noticeable impact on the chemistry of the body. A part of the bodily processes that occur during sleep is the regulation of hormones. One hormone the body regulates the production of while we sleep is cortisol, which is a stress hormone. When an athlete experiences a lack of sleep, it can cause cortisol levels to rise. When the body receives a higher amount of cortisol, it can inhibit the body’s ability to produce carbohydrates and glycogen, which provide athletes with energy during high-endurance activities. Over time, this can make the body less and less able to perform at the level it normally would with adequate sleep.
It is important to keep in mind that athletes often require more sleep than non-athletes. This need for sleep is even more vital before and after major athletic events, which can be taxing on the body. The standard sleep recommendation for the average, adult male or female is seven to nine hours of sleep to function properly. For an adult athlete, this number increases to ten hours of sleep needed per night when training or competing regularly. Sleeping this much will allow the body the time it needs for physical recovery and optimal athletic performance. In addition to getting more sleep, it is also recommended that athletes maintain a consistent sleep schedule that allows them to get the necessary amounts of NREM and REM sleep during the night. During REM sleep, cortisol levels within the body are regulated. During NREM sleep, cellular division and regeneration occur, which is vital for proper muscle recovery. With this understanding of the importance of sleep for athletes in mind, it is now possible to explore some of the best mattresses for athletes.
The Best Mattresses for Athletes
Finding the right mattress can be difficult for any individual and this difficulty can increase for athletes because there are special considerations that must be accounted for. To accurately determine the best mattresses for athletes, it is first necessary to examine the various elements of looking at a mattress, as well as the various mattress types and their respective advantages and disadvantages for athletes. While there are many tips for injury recovery, getting quality sleep should always be top of the list.
Mattress Considerations for Athletes
When looking for a new performance mattress, it is important to keep several factors in mind to make sure you are making the ideal selection. Below are a handful of the top mattress considerations for athletes.
Support: The support of the mattress is determined by the support core layer(s), which are located below the comfort system. This supportive mechanism within the mattress is designed to withstand the sleeper’s weight by pushing back, which creates a level surface that allows the spine to remain flat. If the mattress does not have an adequate support system, it will begin to sag over time, which will make the mattress uneven and cause pain and pressure along the body.
Temperature: Each person sleeps differently, with some naturally sleeping hotter or warmer depending on their body composition and processes. Some mattresses can amplify these temperature variances to make the bed feel overly warm or cold. When the body temperature is not adequately regulated, it can negatively affect sleep. Be sure to select a mattress that will work well with your natural sleep temperature.
Firmness: The topmost layers of the mattress are known as the comfort layer(s). The composition of the comfort layer ranges from soft to firm, which is often rated on a numerical scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the most firm. The ideal firmness of the mattress is highly dependent on a myriad of factors including sleeping position, body weight, and pre-existing injuries.
Conforming: One term you may frequently see when looking for a mattress is the word “conforming.” Mattresses that are designed to adapt to the sleeper’s body will form a contoured impression within the bed that will alleviate pressure on the various pressure points along the neck, back, hips, and shoulders and will aid in aligning the spine. A mattress that conforms to the shape of the body will often be better suited to those who are looking to have pain and pressure alleviated from their body; however, be sure that the mattress does not allow you to sink too deeply within it as this can cause additional pressure and pain to occur.
Types of Mattresses: The Advantages and Disadvantages for Athletes
The variety of mattress types available can make choosing the right one for your lifestyle and body a daunting choice. As an athlete, it is of the utmost importance to select a mattress that will optimize the quality and quantity of your sleep so that your athletic performance is maximized. Below is a breakdown of some of the most popular mattress types available, as well as their respective benefits and drawbacks for athletes.
Memory foam is one of the most well-known and popular mattress types available. Memory foam is often comprised of a polyurethane-based foam. Memory foam mattresses sink and conform closely to the sleeper’s body and often come at a reasonable cost. Memory foam mattresses aid in keeping the spine straight and alleviating pressure in the neck, shoulders, hips, and back. However, traditional memory foam mattresses often sag with age and may lose these supportive properties. These mattresses also sleep very hot as they rely on body temperature to conform to the body. In recent years, polyurethane foam has come under criticism for the plethora of harsh chemicals that are contained within the foam and their impact on overall health. For an athlete, in particular, it is important to make sure that your environment is free of chemicals and irritants that could potentially impact your ability to perform.
Innerspring mattresses are one of the most widely sold types of beds and earn their name due to their composition utilizing steel coils as their support core. These steel coils are often reinforced with high-density foam layers. Innerspring mattresses are usually available in a variety of firmness options. However, innerspring mattresses tend to sag over time and lose their supportive qualities. In addition, innerspring mattresses often lack contouring materials in their comfort layer to provide conforming properties.
Choosing the Right Organic Mattress to Boost Your Athletic Performance
As an athlete, choosing the right mattress can have a tremendous impact on your career. Acute injuries or fatigue can be career ending for an athlete, and the potential to experience both is increased when the body is not getting adequate rest and recovery time. Getting less quality sleep than is needed negatively affects mental clarity, accuracy, and speed and increases the likelihood of experiencing an injury. After examining the science behind how sleep affects athletic performance, it is clear that athletes need a sleep solution designed to meet their needs. Essentia developed the ProCor mattress specifically to address the unique needs of athletes. The ProCor mattress is a custom sleep system specific to each athlete’s individual profiles. The ProCor bed nurtures the body, allowing it to heal and recalibrate. Featuring all six key elements needed for Wholebody Recovery, the ProCor is the best mattress for athletes.
Have you ever been trying to get a good night of rest but find yourself tossing and turning because you are too hot to be comfortable? Chances are the answer is yes. If you are a hot sleeper, this can be a chronic issue that impedes the quality of your sleep if it is not addressed. In order to understand how temperature affects your sleep, it is important to understand the relationship between sleep and body temperature, as well as the environmental factors that can affect your temperature during sleep. From there, there are a number of different tips and tricks you can implement into your nightly sleep routine to help make sure that you get a restful night of sleep and aren’t stuck sweating in your sheets unable to get to sleep. To help you get a cooler night of sleep, we have compiled an introductory guide to the connection between sleep and body temperature, environmental factors that can be contributing to your hot sleeping, and cooling tips to help you get a restful night of sleep.
The Relationship Between Body Temperature and Sleep
Many people do not realize that there is a direct connection between body temperature and sleep. During the day, your body temperature is held between roughly 98.6-100.4 degrees by your circadian rhythm. However, this temperature can shift when you sleep dropping as low as 96 degrees for periods of times. The reason for this shift in temperature is that human beings, and many other mammals, lose much of their ability to regulate their body temperature when they are asleep.
In addition to this correlation between sleep and body temperature, there is another direct relationship in how body temperature affects sleep. The lower your body temperature is, the more sleep you subsequently become. As you fall into a deeper sleep, your body temperature will continue to decrease accordingly. In addition to an initial dip in body temperature when you first fall asleep, as your body continues in its sleep cycle and reaches Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, the body ceases to produce its own heat. This means that to maintain a restful night of sleep, it is important that your surrounding environment is supporting an ideal temperature for facilitating sleep. Ideally, your surrounding environment will keep your body warm enough that you do not wake up from being cold but will ensure your body temperature is low enough to remain in a restful sleep cycle.
Environmental Factors That Can Contribute to Hot Sleeping
Your body temperature as you sleep is significantly affected by your surrounding environment. Many individuals unknowingly cause their body temperature to rise as they sleep due to environmental factors. One of the most common environmental factors that contribute to hot sleeping is keeping the room you are sleeping in too hot. If you are a hot sleeper, it is important that the room you are sleeping in be kept cool. In addition, many people cover their bed with blankets and comforters that are too thick, which can create a hot environment that will raise your body temperature. Hot sleepers should pare down their bedding to thinner, breathable fabrics to help promote air circulation that will have a cooling effect on the body.
Another environmental factor that many individuals do not realize can contribute to hot sleeping is the material your mattress and pillows are made out of. Mattresses and pillows that are made out of polyurethane memory foam can sometimes lead to an increase in body temperature for sleepers. In addition, electronics are another environmental source that can promote an increase in hot sleeping because of the blue light they produce. As your body’s circadian rhythm attempts to lull you to sleep, the blue light emitted by electronic screens has the ability to interfere with melatonin levels in the body. The blue light of electronic screens can sometimes cause melatonin levels to decrease if viewed too closely or for an extended period of time, which can affect your body temperature as you sleep and your sleep quality. These are just a handful of different environmental factors that are capable of causing your body temperature to rise and may negatively affect your sleep patterns.
Cooling Tips for a Restful Night of Sleep
If you find yourself too hot at night to get a comfortable, restful night of sleep, then it is important that you take proactive measures to help improve your sleep. Sleep is extremely important in order to have ideal mental clarity and for your body to function correctly. We have put together a number of different cooling tips to implement into your nightly routine to help reduce your body temperature and get a cool, restful night of sleep.
Choose Your Pajamas Carefully
If you are a hot sleeper, it is important that you pick the right types of pajamas to sleep in to help reduce your body temperature and promote cooling air circulation. Target pajamas that are made from light, breathable fabrics like cotton and that have a loose fit. Looser fitting pajamas will allow more air to travel in between the fabric and your body, which helps to keep your body temperature cooler throughout the night. However, if you experience night sweats, then it may be better to try a lightweight clothing, which will wick moisture away from the skin. If you are a hot sleeper, avoid pajamas made from fabrics like flannel, wool, and fleece, which can promote overheating.
Create Your Own Breeze
Bedrooms temperature should be set for between 65 and 72 degrees. Placing a fan in your room will also help to create air circulation that will cool your room down without the high price tag of air conditioning. Depending on where you live, there may or may not be a cooling nighttime breeze you can use to your advantage throughout the night to help you keep cool. If you do live somewhere where it is cooler outside, open a window and place a fan in front of it positioned towards the bed to help create a cross-breeze that will boost the airflow in your room and drive your body temperature down. Don’t be afraid to have a few fans places strategically throughout your room while your sleep to help keep you cool, especially during the warmer summer months.
Lose the Lights
Many people do not realize that light bulbs emit heat, which can cause the temperature in the room the rise. Even environmentally-friendly light bulbs produce heat, so be sure to turn your lights off when you want to start cooling down for the night before sleep, especially during the summer months when it stays light out for longer. Utilize natural light instead and embrace the darkness while you sleep to get a cooler night of sleep.
Repurpose Your Hot Water Bottle
If you own a hot water bottle, it can help you to keep warm during the cold months, but did you know you can also use it to stay cool while you sleep during the warmer months? Simply fill your hot water bottle with room temperature water and stick it in the freezer until it is completely frozen. From there, use it as you would a hot water bottle, but it will function as an ice pack driving your temperature down instead of causing it to rise. This can be a cost-effective method to keep your utility charges down so that you aren’t relying solely on air conditioning to keep you cool as you sleep.
Take a Cold Shower
How you feel when you lay down to go to sleep at night can have a tremendous impact on your quality of sleep. If you lay down for bed with a layer of sweat on your skin that is making you feel damp and warm, chances are that you will not get a restful night of sleep. To combat this, take a cold shower each night before you go to sleep. This will help clean the sweat off of your body from the day, and the cold water will help to decrease your core body temperature, which will better prepare you to get a cool, relaxing night of sleep. This shower does not need to be long or drawn out, just long enough to get your feeling cool, clean, and ready to rest.
Turn Off Your Electronics
If you want to get a cool night of sleep, be sure to unplug your electronics at night before you go to sleep. Similar to light bulbs, electronics and other small appliances can emit heat even when they are turned off, which can drive the temperature up. In addition, you will likely be able to fall asleep much easier without the presence of electronics since many individuals find that using electronics before bed affects their ability to get a restful night of sleep due to the blue light it emits.
Drink a Glass of Cold Water Before Bed
Hot sleepers often find themselves tossing and turning throughout the night. In some cases, tossing, turning, and sweating at night may occur as a result of dehydration. To prevent this, be sure to drink a glass of cold water before bed. Not only will the cool water help to reduce your body temperature, but it will also hydrate you so you can get a better night of sleep. Keep in mind that just one eight-ounce glass of water should do the trick. Otherwise, you may end up having to get up in the middle of the night to use the restroom, which could further disrupt your sleep pattern.
Invest in High-Quality, Breathable Bedding
If you are a hot sleeper, just as you need to be judicious in choosing the right clothing to sleep in, you must also be thoughtful about what bedding you sleep on. The bedding you sleep on is an important factor in staying cool throughout the night and getting a better night of sleep. When selecting sheets, look for high-quality cotton sheets since they will be much more breathable than other fabrics like flannel, polyester, satin, fleece, and lycra. Essentia’s organic sheets & mattresses are made from high-quality certified organic cotton that is supremely soft and will help to promote airflow to keep you cool throughout the night. Once you have found the right sheets, the next step is to find the right mattress.
When looking for the right mattress, target an all-natural mattress that is made from cooling components that will help you to sleep cooler throughout the night. Essentia’s mattresses are made using the world’s only natural memory foam that helps you to sleep cool during the night. The latex-based natural memory foam pulls heat away from the body and out through the mattress, it has been proven that you can sleep up to seven degrees cooler than your body temperature on an Essentia mattress over an eight-hour sleep cycle. While many mattresses that use memory foam can promote hot sleeping, natural mattresses promote a cool night of sleep because of their unique engineering, design and conscientiously chosen materials. The natural elements used to make Essentia’s mattresses sleep cooler than other materials, which will help you to get the cool night of sleep you are looking for.