By Tom Waring

Times Staff Writer

Phil Carlitz, an 18-year-old high school senior from New Hope, is a runner and a marathon promoter who decided to pitch an idea to his mom a year ago.

Debbie Carlitz owns Chiromatic, a mattress company, and running is her favorite hobby.

The younger Carlitz figured runners and other workout aficionados needed a good night's sleep to recover from intense physical activity.

"He said, 'Mom, you should do a sports mattress,' " she recalled. "I said, 'You know, what a great idea.' "

The businesswoman went to her team of chiropractors and the technical engineers at her manufacturing facility in North Brunswick, N.J.

The patented Sports Mattress, which debuted last May, is for runners, golfers, swimmers, cyclists, skiers, tennis players and overall workout buffs.

"We spend a third of our lives on beds. I thought it was a good idea," Phil said.

Stuart Carlitz, Phil's dad, is the mattress manufacturer. The mattress support will provide optimal recovery, he said, whether people choose the firm or plush models. It is for everyone, he added, especially aging, health-conscious baby boomers.

The product will launch nationally in New York in March, but there was a local preview last week at the Newtown Athletic Club in Bucks County. The preview featured food, drinks, T-shirts, a tarot-card reader and, of course, the Sports Mattress.

For those who missed the event, they can visit the company's showroom at 826 Bustleton Pike in Feasterville.

According to a study at West Virginia University, 29 percent of the people studied reported improved sleep quality on the Sports Mattress. Ninety-six percent saw reduced back stiffness, while 34 percent experienced reduced back pain.

Debbie Carlitz thinks the mattress will be beneficial for anyone with stress.

"That's pretty much everybody," she said.

Chiropractor Jason Hagman believes Sports Mattress promotes better sleep and pressure-point reduction. Better sleep, he added, allows metabolic pathways to be stable, and better metabolism equals better performance.

All of the beds are custom-made and come in king, queen, full and twin sizes. The three comfort choices are plush, firm and pillow top.

Patented features include a dense quilting system that provides additional support in the middle third of the mattress, where a sleeping individual's lumbar region and most of his body weight are located. There's also an added layer of latex in that area of the mattress. Combined, they provide increased blood circulation.

In addition, there is a steel encasement around the perimeter of the mattress that offers extra support when someone sits on the edge and allows the sleeper to lie on the edge without rolling off.

"Every component of the bed is designed to provide a benefit," Debbie Carlitz said.

The typical pillow-top queen mattress and box spring sell for $2,185.

Ten percent of the sales will be donated to an orphanage in Thailand. Phil Carlitz, a student at Council Rock North, learned of the plight of refugees from Myanmar when he visited Thailand as part of a global community service program.

During the last two summers, he has helped organize a "Tribe-to-Tribe" marathon that has raised money for the children's education. His mother ran the marathon last summer.

The third marathon is set for July, but before that he is organizing a half-marathon scheduled for April at Tyler State Park in Newtown. He has a long-term goal of raising $250,000.

The ongoing effort won him a profile and a "Hero of Running" award in Runner's World magazine.

Debbie Carlitz is proud of her son and, based on early reaction to the mattress, expects the charity to benefit from brisk sales.

"Everyone who is sleeping on the bed is in love with it," she said. "We've gotten an incredible, incredible response."

Carlitz will work with sports physicians, trainers, chiropractors, marathon runners and others to promote the benefits of the Sports Mattress.

Among those endorsing the Sports Mattress are cyclist Eric Barlevav and Torri Counts, a dancer who has appeared on America's Got Talent and has been part of a Mariah Carey concert tour.

One local pitch man is Kevin Mongiori, a trainer at the Newtown Athletic Club. The 30-year-old is a former right-handed pitcher at Division I Pace University who underwent shoulder surgeries in 1999 and 2004.

Mongiori has long trained hard and adhered to a proper diet, but he didn't necessarily believe that rest was a key component of fitness.

After sleeping on his previous mattress, he'd have restless nights and wake up sore.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder has been sleeping on a king-size Sports Mattress since July. In that time, his back pain has gone away, and he estimates that his shoulder is 80 percent better. He talks up the mattress to his clients.

"It's helped me a lot," he said. "Now, I sleep through the night. I wake up refreshed and with no aches or pains. The benefits I've gotten are endless."

For more information, call 1-800-526-5116 or visit www.sportsmattress.com

Reporter Tom Waring can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twaring@bsmphilly.com