Last Updated on January 10, 2023
While memory foam mattresses have a lot of benefits, from reducing joint pain to improving posture, they can also be extremely warm during the hotter months of the year. Visco-elastic polymers in memory foam react to the body heat of the sleeper, which means that you sink into your foam mattress more than you would with other bedding.
The foam in a memory foam mattress also suffers from a higher level of heat retention than you would typically get from spring mattresses. This makes it a lot tougher for memory foam mattress owners to get a night of uninterrupted sleep when their body temperatures are too high.
If you find memory foam too hot for a comfortable sleep, but still want all the benefits of contouring mattress pads, here’s all you need to know about how to keep cool on a memory foam mattress.
Sleep and Temperature: What You Need to Know
To enjoy a stress-free night of sleep on your new mattress, you need to ensure that your body temperature stays at the right level. A moisture-wicking mattress design can help to prevent your rest from being ruined by a sweaty and uncomfortable experience.
Ideally, you’ll need to keep your temperature at around 65 degrees Fahrenheit for the best night’s sleep. This should help to prevent you from overheating or waking up too regularly because of the heat in your bedding.
Unfortunately, while a memory foam mattress might be a popular choice among people for comfort, the materials can often struggle with things like air circulation and absorbing moisture. Heat accumulation is one of the most common problems for any sleeper with memory foam.
Why Do Memory Foam Mattresses Make You Hot?
A memory foam mattress with a set of high thread count cotton sheets and a delightful pillow can give you the cosiest sleeping environment around. Unfortunately, though memory foam offers excellent support and comfort, it also has a unique structure that retains your body heat.
If you’re warm when you go to bed, then your memory foam will naturally absorb that heat into the structure of the foam to make it softer. The more you settle into the sleep surface of your bedding, the warmer you feel.
Standard mattresses that are made from memory foam also struggle with a lack of breathable materials. There’s not a great deal of airflow available when your bed moulds to your body. This means that you’re going to struggle to get a good level of circulation as you sleep. Dense materials hold your body shape and, therefore, your heat close.
Do Memory Foam Mattresses Get Hard When Cold?
One of the things that make memory foam mattresses so warm, is the fact that the materials adapt according to your blood circulation and body heat. In cooler environments, memory foam will be more rigid and inflexible, allowing you to stay at the top of the bed for longer. The unique reaction to heat is one of the ways that your mattress will maintain its shape.
However, the hotter it gets at night, the more your memory foam mattress will adapt to your body heat, allowing you to sink into the foam, which only increases your temperature more, to the point where you’re uncomfortably hot. Fortunately, we have found 5 simple ways to cool a memory foam mattress down.
1. Use a Cooling Mattress Protector
A mattress protector is a good product to have with a hot memory foam bed because it can help to absorb moisture and pull it away from the foam beneath. Wicking away moisture is crucial for preserving the long life of your memory foam mattress.
A wool mattress protector could be a good choice for winter, as it helps to get rid of excess moisture while keeping your bed breathable. However, if a wool mattress protector doesn’t appeal to you, there are plenty of other cooling mattress covers out there that can help to keep you cool.
Wash your mattress protector regularly to keep it in the best condition.
2. Use a Bed Fan
If you’re keen to experiment with some cooling technologies, but you don’t want to listen to your air conditioning unit all night, a bed fan could be the ideal choice. Designed to help you sleep in the heat, this gadget is designed to work within your bed frame to make your mattress cooler. You can use these fans underneath your body and the mattress base layer to keep the bed at the right temperature.
Depending on the time of year, you can use the same product to avoid night sweats and cool down hot memory foam or add extra heat to your mattress when you’re cold. There are certain mattress pad cooler options that allow you to adjust your mattress temperature on each side according to your preferences. This is ideal if you sleep with a partner.
3. Buy a Cooling Mattress Topper
If your memory foam mattress seems to have a significant problem with heat retention, you might even be tempted to buy a new mattress. However, before you start throwing away your whole bed, consider using a topper to make your mattress cooler.
So, it’s 9:30 am and I’m still in bed. I put a memory foam cool gel mattress topper on my bed last night and it’s highly unlikely that I will leave the bedroom today. #illwritefromhere #amwriting #rainysaturday
— Kris Bryant 🏳️🌈 has a new book out – SCENT #wlw (@KrisBryant2014) June 22, 2019
Mattress toppers are an excellent way to make all kinds of mattress designs last longer. A gel-infused mattress topper can help to regulate your body heat and reduce night sweats while offering a higher level of pressure relief too.
Because gel-infused toppers are designed to ensure you stay cool, you don’t have to worry about the gel beads in the material soaking up heat too quickly. Just remember that gel memory foam toppers can have a higher price point than standard wool protectors.
4. Change Other Parts of Your Bed
Your mattress isn’t the only thing that contributes to your body temperature while you’re in bed. If you’re looking for cooling technology that doesn’t require you to change your mattress, consider cooling sheets that are designed to wick away sweat and heat. There are sheets out there to suit all kinds of beds, including some made with wool, and cotton.
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You might also decide to update your wool bedding set with some cooling pillows too. Your pillow can retain a lot of heat through the night, making your bed feel more uncomfortable. A pillow with built-in cooling capabilities will reduce the number of steps you need to take to keep your bed cool. The great thing about using a pillow to reduce night sweats instead of getting a new mattress is that it is independent of the sleeper and won’t affect your partner if they sleep perfectly fine.
Don’t forget to consider the base material of your frame too. Some beds are more likely to retain heat – such as those without slats.
5. Adjust Your Nighttime Routine
For sleepers who want to get the best results from their bedding products, it’s important to have a good nighttime routine. Choose a set of cooling sleepwear that adhere to your body shape well when you’re in bed. Find a material and thread count that doesn’t feel too excessive against your skin.
You might even decide that you want to sleep naked, as there are a lot of benefits to avoiding bed clothes entirely. You could reduce your night sweats and find that you wake up through the night less often too.
Before you settle down into your bed, consider washing with cool water, or having a cool shower to help you relax. You could also turn the air conditioner on in your bedroom before going to bed. Just make sure that the conditioner isn’t blocked by your bed frame.
Enjoy a Chill Sleeping Experience
A memory foam mattress combined with the right bed frame can deliver a wonderful night’s sleep. However, it’s important to think about the heat implications of foam before you jump into buying this kind of bedding. While gel memory foam and memory foam mattresses with unique circulation materials can reduce the heat you feel, these beds are still often warmer than their spring counterparts.
Now that you know how to keep cool on a memory foam mattress, you no longer have to worry about heat disrupting your sleep. However, if the weather’s particularly hot and humid, you can also consider some of these tips:
- Change the thermostat before you go to sleep, aiming for the 65 degrees Fahrenheit range.
- Avoid sleepwear that makes you feel warm or uncomfortable.
- Turn off electronics or anything else that might heat up your room.
- Take a glass of water with you to bed so you can stay hydrated.
- Don’t work out or have hot baths before sleep.
- Try to meditate and relax before bed.
If you’re concerned that you won’t be able to enjoy a good night’s sleep even with these tips, maybe you could consider a gel foam memory foam mattress topper instead of a full mattress?
We hope this guide has brought you one step closer to knowing how to keep cool on a memory foam mattress, but if you have any other tips or tricks then let us know in the comments.
Rebekah is a writer who loves to explore new products and find hacks that make life easier. She has a knack for all things home improvement, health and fitness. So you’ll often find her on Pinterest or browsing Houzz for ideas.
She’s always looking for the next thing to fix up around the house or what gadget might be just right for her lifestyle. Rebekah enjoys exploring new recipes, taking care of her family, and making sure she stays healthy with regular workouts at the gym.