Is Your Mattress Ruining Your Workout?

The right mattress can help you recover from aches and pains quickly. Consider "bouncy" instead of memory foam.

Photo: Matthew Brookes / Trunk Archive

Most mattresses get you comfortable in one position and keep you there—if you're sunk into a six-inch-thick piece of foam, it's not going to be easy for your body to shift and adjust throughout the night. But according to some experts, this cozy, cocoonlike effect may actually be the cause of your aches and pains—and maybe even your less-than-stellar workout results. Their theory: The slight shifts and adjustments your body naturally makes throughout the night keep blood flowing to muscles and joints so they recover from tough workouts more quickly.

"One of the most common types of injury is what we call a static strain—the most classic example of which are the postural issues caused from sitting at a desk all day," says Dr. Tarek Adra, a chiropractor and acupuncturist in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. "Similarly, patients who come to me with morning back and neck pain are getting stuck in positions that their bodies don't like overnight because their mattresses don't allow for the small adjustments that the brain is telling the body to make."

Ever awaken to find a hand or an arm has fallen asleep? Same thing. "Sleeping limbs result from lack of blood flow, and when blood flow decreases, lactic-acid production increases, causing soreness and slowing muscle recovery," says Adra, who had been experiencing similar symptoms. His research led him to the Somnium. Hailed as "the fitness mattress," it's actually conducive to movement. Clinical studies are in the works, and top influencers—from professional athletes to M.D.'s—are increasingly championing the message.

"The plastic modules inside are almost like mini trampolines: You push on them and they bounce back," says Adra, who is quick to add that he's not on the Somnium payroll, but rather an avid fan who happens to have the right credentials. "With a bouncier mattress, you're going to promote that movement in a much easier way. It's the exact opposite concept of memory foam, which, when pushed, continues to absorb your pressure."

Should a mattress be the next piece of at-home fitness equipment you purchase? Perhaps. Better sleep on it. ($3,600 for a king; available at

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Q by Equinox is the daily blog of the luxury fitness brand. Check back here weekly for new posts that tap into Q's stable of world-class trainers and experts to keep up with all things health and well-being.

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