The comforting hug of an all-foam bed is the key to a good night’s sleep for many people, and the best mattress for these sleepers is a mattress made with memory foam webbing. But one of the most lingering questions we are often asked is: Are memory foam mattresses hot?
The short answer is, yes, memory foam can retain heat. Fortunately, many manufacturers have made great strides in developing cooling foams (and gels) to help you sleep more comfortably while still enjoying the comfort of these beds.
The best memory foam mattresses are often some of the most affordable on the market, adding to their popularity, and these innovative cooling technologies are now rippling through at an affordable price.
Here we explain how some memory foam mattresses are warm and how you can ensure a cooler night’s sleep on a mattress.
What is memory foam?
Memory foam is made from a material called viscoelastic and was originally designed by NASA for use as padding in airplane seats. It is used in the medical sector and has now spread to consumer products like mattresses.
A typical all-foam bed contains a memory foam comfort system combined with a high density polyfoam support core.
The contour effect makes these mattresses particularly suitable for side and back sleepers, as they help keep the spine aligned and relieve pressure on the shoulders, hips and back.
The memory foam also absorbs movement, preventing movement from spreading across the mattress, making them great for co-sharers. Finally, the material being naturally hypoallergenic, people with allergies generally turn to it.
Are memory foam mattresses warm for sleeping?
Traditional memory foam mattresses first appeared in the 1990s and quickly gained popularity for their ability to cradle the body and provide excellent pressure relief.
But these mattresses were definitely warm, and there are several reasons memory foam retains body heat. One is the structure of the material – dense foam has less air circulation than other materials but is necessary for structure.
A second reason is the way memory foam conforms to the contours of the body. This can trap heat and interfere with your body’s ability to thermoregulate its temperature.
Fortunately, technology has evolved and recent innovations mean that you no longer need to sleep warm to reap the benefits of memory foam for the body.
Why is temperature important for sleeping?
Studies have shown that humans tend to sleep better in cooler temperatures, with the ideal range for adults being between 60-67 ° F.
Our sleep cycle is regulated by our circadian rhythm, which is based on the sun’s cycle of light and dark and is inspired by environmental and personal factors. While our core body temperature is around 98.6 ° F (37 ° C), it fluctuates around 2 ° at night.
Body temperature begins to drop about two hours before sleep, which triggers the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone. And during sleep, the body temperature continues to drop.
So if your bedroom is too hot, your temperature will not start to drop. This not only affects the onset of sleep, but also the quality of sleep, your amount of uninterrupted sleep, and the time spent in different stages of sleep.
This leads to dizziness and over time can negatively impact your immune system, memory, and even lead to specific health issues.
Memory foam cooling materials
As mentioned earlier, modern memory foam mattresses offer many innovative ways to help you stay cool while you sleep. This includes the use of open cell foam, which allows air to flow more freely through the mattress.
Another innovation is gel memory foam. This one is usually infused with gel beads to absorb body heat, helping you sleep cooler on a memory foam mattress. In fact, a few of the all-foam models in our best cooling mattress guide use gel infused foam.
Different manufacturers have developed techniques to prevent their foam from getting hot. For example, the mattress in a box brand Casper uses their own AirScape technology. Here, thousands of perforations in the foam keep body heat away from you while you sleep.
Casper has also developed a powerful cooling system called Snow Technology – read our Casper Wave Hybrid Snow mattress review to find out more.
Tempur-Pedic Breeze Line (from $ 3,799), meanwhile, uses phase-change technology to keep you cool, with its ProBreeze mattress helping you feel 3 degrees cooler than your bedroom at night. Its LuxeBreeze promises to keep you 8 degrees cool, but it’s one of the more expensive cold beds you can find.
At the much cheaper end of the scale, the Tuft & Needle Original mattress (from $ 645) contains charcoal and gel embedded in the open cell foam, all of which combine for a cool night’s sleep. Finally, Layla’s Double Firmness Memory Foam Mattress is infused with copper particles to prevent overheating.
Whichever design you choose, modern technology means you don’t have to overheat on a memory foam mattress.
How to sleep cool on a memory foam mattress
While the type of mattress you sleep on makes a huge difference in how warm you get in bed, it’s not the only thing to consider. In addition to your bedroom environment, your bed frame and bedding can make a big difference in how cool or warm you sleep.
So don’t forget to consider:
- The type of mattress
- Your bed frame (platform, sofa, slatted base, etc.)
- Your duvet and pillow
- Your mattress topper and protection
1. Choose a cooling foam mattress – They are designed to help you stay comfortably cool all night long, without having to remove all of your blankets.
Some use innovative materials (as shown above) to create a temperature regulating surface, while others are made with foam infused with materials such as graphite, gel or charcoal to enhance breathability.
2. Rethink your bed frame – Increase the airflow of your mattress by making sure you have the correct bed frame underneath. Slatted bed frames reduce heat retention as the spaces facilitate air circulation.
A sturdy sofa or box spring will retain more heat. The downside of a slatted base? Over time it will get louder which might affect your sleep in a different way!
3. Invest in breathable bedding – For warm sleepers, it is definitely worth the investment in cooling bedding. If your sheets are too dense or thick, or made from artificial fabrics such as polyester, they are likely to retain heat.
Instead, choose natural fibers such as wool, cotton, bamboo or Tencel, or synthetic materials specially designed to regulate the temperature. Our guides to the best duvets and pillows will point you in the right direction.
4. Add a refreshing mattress topper – If you want to add extra comfort, cooling or support to your existing mattress, using one of the best mattress toppers is instant. But the right mattress topper can also help cool a memory foam mattress that sleeps a little warm.
Cooling mattress toppers are made with infused foam to help regulate your temperature and release heat from your body. Most come with moisture-wicking covers that can be removed and washed, making your sleeping space more hygienic.
3 refreshing memory foam mattresses to consider
Do you sleep warm but don’t know where to start looking for a new bed? The following three options cover a range of prices and should hopefully give you the perfect solution …
Are Memory Foam Mattresses Hot: Conclusion
While traditional all-foam beds retain heat – and some cheaper memory foam mattresses are warm for sleeping – overall, great strides have been made in making these beds cooler.
Brands like Nectar, Casper, Tempur-Pedic, GhostBed, and Cocoon by Sealy are pushing the boundaries of how to make this popular material cooler for naps.
So you don’t need to run a mile now if you sleep warm but want a full foam bed – if you’re looking for one that focuses on breathability and cooling, you’ll be on the right track.
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