How to Make a Memory Foam Mattress Cooler

Do you love the cradling feel of memory foam but hate the way it retains heat? Follow these tips for sleeping cool on a memory foam mattress to have the best of both worlds.

By Nicole Gleichmann

Sep 27th, 2022

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Do you fall asleep just fine but wake up feeling overheated? It can happen to anyone, but the chances are probably higher with those of us who have a memory foam mattress.

Fortunately, you have options to keep things from getting too hot for comfort. Just follow a few simple tips and you can make sleeping on memory foam a cooler experience.

Why Memory Foam Sleeps Hot

The synthetic material known as memory foam was originally designed by NASA to cushion the shock of acceleration and deceleration. The result was a dense material that does an exceptional job at molding to warm objects that come into contact with it, which explains why memory foam feels like it wraps snugly around your body.

Those NASA engineers didn’t envision using this material for mattresses, though, and it also has a less useful quality—memory foam tends to absorb and retain heat.

It’s estimated that 15% of memory foam mattress users feel that their beds sleep too hot. While it’s a small percentage, it still represents a large number of people who are dealing with the heat retention properties of memory foam.

Tips for Sleeping Cool on Memory Foam

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help ensure a cooler night while sleeping on memory foam.

1. Get a Cooling Memory Foam Mattress

Some of today’s best mattresses for hot sleepers are memory foam products, or hybrid mattresses that combine foam with innersprings or latex. Technological advances have made modern memory foam more breathable than earlier versions of the material.

One of your best options is a mattress with gel-infused memory foam. These beds use beads of cooling gel to absorb and diffuse body heat instead of letting it stay trapped in the mattress.

2. Cool Your Sleep Environment

Turn down your thermostat, open a window, or turn on a fan to increase air circulation. A light breeze can help to dry out perspiration on your skin and keep your body at the right temperature. Maintaining a comfortable sleep environment is useful year-round, and even more important for sleeping cool in the summertime.

If you have a smart thermostat, put it to work. Keep track of when you wake up feeling hot and program your thermostat to cool down a degree or two shortly before that time.

3. Use Cooling Accessories

It’s not just the mattress itself that affects your temperature throughout the night. The bedding materials around it will either add to heat retention or detract from it. Consider adding:

Remember that toppers are thicker than mattress pads and as a result are usually more expensive (but more effective).

4. Choose the Right Mattress Foundation

Memory foam mattresses are fairly flexible when it comes to foundations and frames. You can even put it on the floor. However, not all options are not equal in terms of airflow.

If your mattress is on a flat, solid foundation, the heat will have nowhere to go. With a slatted foundation, either wood or metal, the space between the slats increases the ability for heat to escape.

5. Dress (or Undress) for Success

There are two optimal choices of nighttime attire for hot sleepers: clothing made of cool fabrics or no clothing at all.

If you choose the path of modesty, go for a light, breathable fabric like cotton or bamboo. Fortunately, today’s best sleepwear offers far more than wool pajamas.

On the other hand, sleeping in the nude offers its own advantages. Your body is much better at regulating its temperature, a process known as thermoregulation, when you aren’t adding an extra layer of material that can trap heat.

Reduce Electronics

Lights (when on) or even computer chargers can emit heat into your bedroom. Before bed, be sure to turn off all lights and unplug any bigger chargers.

When to Consider Buying A New Mattress

If you’ve tried to cool down your memory foam mattress and are not achieving the results you want, it may be time to purchase a new mattress.

Buying a mattress online is easier than ever before. Our experts have tested over 1,500 mattresses, and we’re thrilled to provide unbiased reviews to the public.

If you are still committed to memory foam, we recommend looking for one that uses a cooling material in its construction, such as gel, copper, or graphite infusions, Phase Change Material, or Celliant.

If you have decided that memory foam is not the best option for you, hybrid and latex mattresses are fantastic mattress types for hot sleepers due to their respective constructions. Hybrid mattresses contain coils which allow for airflow, and latex mattresses often have perforations in the material which make the mattress more breathable.

Use Tools and Tips to Stay Cool at Night

By following the tips we’ve outlined here, even the hottest sleeper may be able to sleep more comfortably on a memory foam mattress. With the right products and the right strategy, you can enjoy the pressure-relieving benefits of memory foam while sleeping much cooler.

FAQs

Claims about the cooling properties of gel foam don’t have the backing of scientific studies, at least not yet. At the same time, some mattress companies have enough confidence to say that their gel-infused mattresses sleep cooler by several degrees. Casper, for example, says the Wave Hybrid Snow mattress sleeps “six degrees cooler for at least 12 hours” thanks in part to a foam layer that includes gel pods.

If you sweat at night, it might not be entirely the fault of the mattress. The human body uses thermoregulation to try and keep your core temperature in sync with the ambient temperature around you, which is what makes us sweat to stay cool and shiver to stay warm. Although memory foam does tend to retain heat, the temperature in your bedroom, a lack of ventilation, or even running a fever could also contribute to feeling overheated.

Heat from another body sleeping next to you—whether it’s your partner or the smaller body of your child or your pet—means more heat for your mattress to absorb. Memory foam’s inherent heat-retaining properties can make the effect even more pronounced.

If you’re sharing a bed, don’t be afraid to stake out some personal space for the sake of comfort. Consider getting a bigger mattress or have your animals or kids sleep somewhere else.