Bear Performance Mattress Review

Can a Mattress Really Enhance an Active Lifestyle?

bear mattress
Laura Williams

I have sleep problems. In fact, I recently had a genetic profile done that indicated my genes actually make me more susceptible to sleep disturbances. Add to that my night owl tendencies, chronic low back pain, bed-sharing with two large dogs (and a husband) and my husband's work schedule that has him up at 5:30am, and I'm pretty much lucky to get five undisturbed hours of sleep. 

It's terrible. The whole cycle makes me unfocused and sluggish, which is a problem when trying to juggle writing a book and multiple freelance writing contracts, not to mention regular exercise.

And we all know how important sleep is to exercise performance

When Bear Mattress offered to end me one of their performance mattresses for review - mattresses that were clinically proven to improve sleep and reduce time awake during the night, I said "Yes, please." 

About the Company

Bear Mattress, like many up-and-coming mattress companies, has a web-first presence that cuts out the middle man of the typical mattress outlet. 

It may seem scary ordering a mattress online that you haven't test-driven in-store, but these mattress companies typically offer a 90 or 100-night risk-free, in-home trial. Bear Mattress, for instance, offers you 100 nights to test the mattress after you purchase it. If at any point you decide it's not for you, you can send it back, no questions asked, shipping included. Plus, by skipping the middle-man of the store, you get killer savings. Even their king-sized beds cost less than $1,000.

Sure, it's not cheap, but it's a lot less than other comparable performance-focused mattresses. For instance, Essentia performance mattresses start at $2,300 and go up significantly from there. 

My husband and I actually did this a year ago, buying a mattress from Casper. The process was seamless and easy, and my husband loved the mattress, so we kept it.


Unfortunately, I did not love the mattress - it was too firm for my liking and exacerbated my low back pain, sending me on a year of test-driving pillows and mattress pads to help improve my sleep.

Again, this is why I was thrilled to review the Bear Mattress. 

What Is a "Performance" Mattress? 

Whenever I hear the word "performance" attached to a sleep product, I raise my eyebrows a bit. It's not that it's a bad turn of phrase - in fact, I've loved practically every performance pillow, sheet set (and now mattress) that I've tried, but it always sounds a bit, well, marketed. It makes me ask the question, "How? How, exactly, does this qualify as a performance product?"

In the case of Bear Mattresses, the answer is clear: Celliant fabric

I'm not going to try to pretend I understand the fabric completely, because I can't quite wrap my mind around how mineral-infused fibers can somehow improve circulation and oxygenation, but I've read the studies, and it does seem to do exactly what it claims.

In fact, a preliminary sleep study performed in 2009 found that individuals who used a Celliant-fiber mattress cover for two weeks didn't spend as much time awake in bed after initially falling asleep, and experienced more restful sleep overall. Some of the participants also experienced a reduction in chronic low back pain. 

In addition to the Celliant-infused fabric used to cover the Bear Mattresses, each mattress also uses Graphite-Gel infused Memory Foam to enhance air flow and help you sleep cool. 

My Bear Mattress Review

For review purposes I received a Twin XL mattress. All the mattresses are designed the same, except for size, so it's a good representative of their company as a whole. The receiving and unboxing process was simple - simply open the box, remove the mattress and cut through the wrapping with the provided envelope-opener-like blade. The mattress unfolds and within a few minutes the foam (which has been compressed for shipping) expands and the mattress is ready to use. The picture provided shows the mattress shortly after I removed it from the box. 

My immediate impression after lying down on the mattress was, "Ahhhhhhh." As I said before, one of my biggest complaints about the mattress we bought from Casper was that the foam was too unforgiving. With my chronic low back and hip pain, I need memory foam that has some bounce and that will sufficiently cradle my body. This is particularly true since I tend to be a side and stomach sleeper. 

The Positive Sleep Experience

I love this mattress. Truly. When I sleep on this mattress, I sleep. I'm out like a light. I sleep hard and I feel rested, even if I don't get as many total hours of sleep as I'd like. 

That said, it didn't provide instant relief for my low back pain. Left to my own devices, I always seem to roll onto my stomach during the night, which inevitably causes my low back to hyperextend and begin to ache. The only way to counteract this is to sleep with a giant, full-body pillow that prevents me from rolling over. I was hoping I could ditch the body pillow with the help of the Bear Mattress, but unfortunately the mattress couldn't solve all my problems. I still needed my giant pillow to help protect my back. 

With the combined effect of my pillow and the new mattress, though, I slept better than I've slept probably in years. The comfort-level of the cushioning is five-star level comfort. And while I can't know whether my circulation and skin-oxygenation improved to enhance recovery, I can say confidently that the bed made me feel good. 

The Drawback

Remember how I said I share my bed with my dogs? Two large dogs? Well, they love the Bear Mattress as much as I do (if not more), and they wanted to share it with me every time I slept on it. This would have been fine with a larger bed, but the Twin XL size was too small for myself, two big dogs and a giant, full-body pillow. Looks like I'm going to be in the market to buy a king-sized Bear Mattress soon. 

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