The Bear Mattress is a great blend of springs, memory foam, and gel to provide comfort and support for all sized and style sleepers, even if a few of their marketing items are BS, it is a rather expensive bed, and what makes it great for sleep provides a quirk for sexy times.
My wife and I have lived together for about 8 years now. The first thing we bought as we moved into our first apartment was a bed. We bought a Cal King with basic frame and box springs and spent about $1200. So not top of the line by any means, but we certainly didn’t cheap out. We did the typical bed shopping experience where we went to every location and laid down on the beds, rolled over, and went “This one is fine” or “this is terrible!”, before settling on our middle of the road Serta bed from a nearby store.
About 7 years later, I’ve packed on about 50 lbs. (hopefully mostly muscle), we’ve had a kid, we’ve moved to a house, and we are of course 7 years older. The lack of recovery from hard workouts (and my wife is a nurse) that comes from late nights of a teething child can leave your bones and back a little less than ideal. We figured, while beds are supposed to last approximately 10 years, if we were going to be getting less than ideal sleep for a while, we wanted to maximize what we did get. Thus, we started looking around.
Shopping For a Bed in the Digital Age
Shopping for a bed today doesn’t have to be like it used to be. In fact, my wife and I completely skipped the stores and went online for research. Lets be real, laying down on a bed for 6 seconds doesn’t give you any idea how it’ll perform where it matters. So what is a product reviewer meant to do to find a bed? I started reading reviews, of course!
There are a number of online sites dedicated to reviews for beds, all of which do things a little differently, but they focus on some of the same ideas. How does the bed “feel”? Support in various areas? Materials? Construction? Perceived longevity of the bed? How does it handle during adult time? You know, the important stuff! Some get really detailed and do heat maps and all kinds of tricky stuff.
I also happened on a review by Evan Centopani, a professional bodybuilder sponsored by Animal who happens to do a lot of the same things I do (grow his own produce, buy local meats, etc.). So while Evan is on another level than I am, his thoughts and ideas certainly helped put together some useful information.
There is a new wave of beds coming out specifically targeted at the athletes and weekend warriors of the world, those of us trying to squeak every last ounce of progress out of our days to try and hit that new PR. These beds come with all kinds of interesting marketing information around various combinations of springs, foam, gel, certain types of minerals and compounds to increase blood flow, decrease body heat and more. Rich Froning even has a certified bed with his stamp of approval on it.
Almost, but no cigar
I started looking heavily at the Big Fig, which was Evan’s choice. After years of trying beds and feeling either like they had plenty of support but were uncomfortable, or lacked support but were super comfy, he found what he thought was the perfect combo for a 270+lb bodybuilder. The Big Fig is made for people up to 500lbs, and two of them at that, so supporting even the largest of athletes shouldn’t be a problem. With that, the Big Fig has a LIFETIME warranty. That is certainly one way to stand behind your product.
One big issue with the Big Fig. My wife weighs about 145lbs at 5ft 6. So she is weighing a solid 100lbs less than I am. Most of the reviews online and feedback on the Big Fig strongly recommend anyone under the 220lb mark to find another bed. Where the bed shines for larger people, it essentially requires it to be ultra-stiff for anyone lighter.
That said, the Big Fig’s overall construction of being springs, with memory foam, and then gel, was intriguing. If it worked for Evan, I just needed to find something that would be a good compromise for me and my wife.
Enter, the BEAR Mattress
BEAR offers two different mattresses as of writing this review, one includes springs and one does not. Reading Evan’s thoughts over the years, we were sold on the hybrid bed without much effort. Looking at reviews online the feedback was that the BEAR worked for all weights, sizes, and sleepers. It had great remarks from multiple sources, and was on sale at the time we bought it. Fate!
But you aren’t here for me to reiterate that 10 other sites said the bed was good. You are here to see what my thoughts are. So after about 6 months of use, here are my thoughts.
My Thoughts on the BEAR
When we ordered the bed I didn’t have much thought into how different the bed would be compared to our current bed. Again, we paid decent money so I didn’t think it would be too different.
The box arrived. Yes, they ship a Cal King bed with springs in a box of about 4.5 feet tall and 2 feet by 2 feet wide. Simply cut the box open and the bed is vacuum packed in a package with some basic instructions. Lay it down where you want, open the vacuum seal, and it unfolds and does its thing in a few short minutes. I believe they say give it a few hours to fully unpack, but we definitely laid down on it right away. Super simple unpacking process.
We threw down sheets and put it to the test. Initial thoughts were that the bed was fantastic. Exactly what we wanted in terms of lots of cushion and comfort at the top, but with the strong support from the springs. In other words, it felt good.
We were using the bed on box springs for the first several months and have since switched to a nicer frame. Not only for looks, but the frame seems to be much better for the bed than the old box springs.
So how does it perform?
For sleep purposes, we are still loving it. No gaps or issues with the bed feeling good one way or another, or needing extra pillows, or no pillows, or whatever. The bed is very forgiving in terms of side sleeping, back sleeping, diagonal sleeping, or just hogging the entire bed. One pillow or eight seems to work just fine. I’ve noticed less stiffness, though its not a miracle bed. I don’t hit a heavy squat session, then get woken up seven times by my daughter for her teeth, and wake up feeling like a champion. But when we get sleep, we certainly feel better in this bed than the previous one.
The bed has MUCH less disturbance between sleepers which is awesome, especially if one person has a different wake up schedule or is headed to check on the baby, you have a higher likelihood of falling right back asleep. I credit the memory foam for that, as it deadens the springs a lot. Very good combo there. It also does well not feeling like the edges are going to collapse on you. Very nice if your spouse seems to take up nine tenths of the bed each night.
The magical athlete stuff they toss out there around keeping you cooler is personally, a load of shit. If its 82 degrees at midnight at my house, no number of minerals injected in gel is going to somehow make me feel like it’s the middle of December. Until they figure out how to actually cool that gel down like an ice pack, I’m not buying their marketing BS here. We even tried cooler sheets, blankets, and pillow cases. I run warm, so all of that combined made very little difference.
My wife is often a side sleeper, and I’m a mix. I try to sleep on my back as I find it alleviates shoulder and trap issues I tend to have, but regardless of how we sleep, the bed doesn’t fight back. We REALLY found out how much we liked this bed for sleeping when we went on vacation earlier in the year. The bed was a typical bargain spring mattress that I nearly fell out of every time I rolled over. It made a ton of noise, was horribly uncomfortable, and if anyone moved the entire house woke up from the shock wave. Perfect example of, you don’t know what you got till it’s gone. As much as we enjoyed our vacation, we were literally hurting to get back to our bed. One of the biggest downsides of this bed, is when we take vacations we are scared about what bed we might get.
For sexy times, the bed does provide one issue. The top being so comfortable and deep, it makes it a pseudo ab workout to move into new positions, roll, or do anything a little more athletic. Not completely out of question, just much more difficult than our previous bed. Otherwise, the bed is great. Nice support for all your parts, knees, elbows, and whatever other angles or bends you end up in during your adult time. The bed remains silent, which is a plus for sleeping house mates, and the bed doesn’t have any weird dead spots or have trouble supporting both of you in a very tight spot together. And as I mentioned before, the edges holding fairly firm help you not tumble off the sides if things get a little crazy.
Overall, no regrets after 6 months of use. Can I honestly say it’s the best bed on the market? No. I’d have to test every other bed out there to give you that verdict. But plenty of other sites with more experience in beds agree with me that it is a top contender for athletes.
If you are a permanent solo sleeper weighing in at over 225lbs, or both you and your cohabitant are over that mark, take a look at The Big Fig. With a lifetime warranty, I don’t see how you could go wrong.
The biggest takeaway for me is I think Evan was correct in picking a hybrid bed. It seems to combine the benefits of springs, with the benefits of memory foam and gel, with almost no drawbacks. So no matter what bed you go for, I highly recommend that combination or something very close. A full memory foam bed would leave most heavier athletes drowning, and all springs doesn’t provide the soft cloud like feeling. Do some research on other sites as well, a simple Google search will point you in the right direction. You might get lost in the availability, as more and more options are coming out it seems like every month.
Regardless, I’d recommend the BEAR be at least on your shortlist of mattresses if you are in a similar situation as me and my wife. You are a solid 100lbs different in weight, you both live active lives and rely on your bodies to keep it together, and are not scared away by the almost $2k price tag. If you decide to buy the BEAR mattress, they seem to have a lot of good discount sales so keep an eye out for one. We saved about $200 when we bought ours. Bonus, is that BEAR offers a great initial testing process. If you hate it, send it back for no charge. Though I have no idea how you send it back, I assume they send someone to get it from you? Just don’t expect anything crazy with the heat reduction minerals and what not, and you and your body will likely be very happy with your purchase.