Does Memory Foam Sleep Hot?

Explore whether or not memory foam really sleeps hot.

By Loren Bullock

Jan 27th, 2021

Memory foam is one of the most popular materials for sleep, whether it be a mattress, topper, or pillow. Being one of the most affordable mattress types, sleepers love the motion isolation, spinal alignment, pressure point relief, and cloud-like sleep experience that memory foam offers. But, there is always one rumor that gives memory foam a bad rep—it sleeps hot. Let’s explore that claim, and see whether or not this reputation is deserved.

What is Memory Foam Made of?

Memory foam is typically a blend of polyurethane and other chemicals that make it more dense. This density exists to aid the foam in keeping shape, which allows memory foam mattresses to last up to 10 years. Because of its raised viscosity, it is also called viscoelastic polyurethane foam. Memory foam is made react to body heat and conform to your body’s shape, giving it the wonderful supportive properties everyone loves in a mattress.

Why Does it Make You Hot?

Unfortunately, because of the density and heat recognition, memory foam tends to retain heat. The raised density means that there is less air circulation, so the heat has nowhere to go. It sits trapped in the mattress. And if you are sleeping with a partner—even worse. The softer the mattress, the more sink. The more sink, the more you are wrapped in a cocoon of your own body heat, making it hard for you to cool yourself down.

Related: Best cooling mattress

Accessories and Technology that Help You Sleep Cooler

Luckily, technology is on our side, so you can get the best of both worlds! These technologies, paired with the mattress sleep trials most companies offer, allow you leniency—you can have the alignment and support of memory foam without sleeping hot.


The first thing that comes to your mind when I say cooling memory foam is probably gel. Combining cooling gel and memory foam works two ways: gel layers and gel infusion. Gel layers are usually utilized in hybrid mattresses with memory foam layers. This type of gel is phase-changing gel which cools you down when heat is detected. Gel memory foam infusions are when the gel beads are mixed in with the memory foam instead of layering.

Gel memory foam works for a while, but over time the gel layer loses its effectiveness and traps heat just as much as memory foam.

Air Cooling Foam

Recently, mattress manufacturers have created memory foam with more airflow: appropriately named air cool memory foam. It responds to your body temperature, and as you get hot, that air gets released. This type of memory foam usually has better shape retention as well.


Cooling sheets are specially designed to have looser weaves and lower thread counts to make it so that air flows rather than gets trapped. They incorporate moisture-wicking technology to absorb sweat as quickly as it’s produced for a lower body temperature at night. There are also specially made comforters that are breathable and cool to the touch.


According to WebMD we lose 10% of the body’s heat through our heads, meaning traditional memory foam pillows trap that 10% and radiate it back. Cooling pillows, however, are designed to draw heat from the body, release a cooling effect, or both. Using materials such as activated charcoal or bamboo keep a cooling pillow, well cooling.

Mattress Toppers/Pads

Using a cooling mattress pad or topper can also offset the heat retention of a memory foam mattress. Cooling mattress pads use bamboo fibers and provide the airflow that memory foam mattresses do not. Cooling mattress toppers use natural latex, gel, or wool for a cool feel. They evenly spread heat so it doesn’t sit on one spot, providing a comfortable sleep.


People who sleep warm may just need a cool environment to accompany their sleep accessories. The ideal sleep temperature in your room should be between 60 and 67 degrees. If your mattress is making you feel hot, this temperature could seem higher. Using air conditioning or a bedroom fan could aid you in staying cool throughout the night.


Memory foam is considered one of the most favored sleep materials, but people worry that it sleeps hot. While the memory foam design is conducive in heat retention, certain technologies and sleep accessories assure that you get a cool night’s sleep with the memory foam mattress or pillow of your choice.