The Importance of Sleeping Cool
Cooler temperature and darkness are signs to your brain to produce melatonin, the sleep hormone. Taking a warm bath before you go to bed can be helpful because your temperature drops by several degrees when you get out of the bath. If you regularly don't sleep well, one of the pillars of good sleep hygiene is to ensure you're not too warm.
Many sleep experts recommend your bedroom to be around 65 degrees, though each individual may prefer a little cooler or warmer. Whatever your preferred sleep temperature is, turning the temperature down before you go to bed can be part of your nightly routine that prepares your brain for sleep.
However, turning the temperature down won't prevent you from heating up during the night if your mattress makes you hot. Changing your mattress could be the key to waking up rested.
Foam Mattresses and Heat
Foam mattresses are a great development in the mattress space because they can give you a much softer surface to sleep on; this can be especially beneficial for those with low back or hip pain. And for those who prefer a firm mattress, foam mattresses can be firm as well. The issue with the original form of foam mattresses (polyurethane), is that it compresses and there's nowhere for body heat to escape. And that's compounded by the fact that foam mattresses (especially memory foam that contours to your body) wrap you up which creates more heat. Polyurethane foam mattresses are petroleum-based, which will retain and reflect heat, creating the hottest mattresses.
If you don't need a soft surface to sleep on, a traditional innerspring mattress may be a good choice for you, although innerspring mattresses transfer motion and the springs make them louder than any other mattress.
Many people opt for a hybrid mattress, which is an innerspring mattress with a foam top. 70% to 90% of a hybrid mattress is innerspring, which gives you support, and the other 10% to 30% is foam, which gives you a soft sleeping surface. Because there's a lot less foam than in a foam mattress, it sleeps a lot cooler. Innerspring mattresses have lots of space inside for heat to escape into.
Besides sleeping cooler, hybrids come with some other advantages:
- They tend to last longer.
- They offer more support for larger sleepers (more than 220 lbs).
- They are bouncier, which makes it easier to get out of bed, and are better for sex.
As mattresses evolve to sleep cooler, manufacturers are creating many combinations of different types of foam and other elements to help people sleep cooler.
Different Types of Foam
Latex is a natural product, with two different types of latex foam: Dunlop and Talalay. Talalay foam is springier and softer.
This is a cheaper foam that doesn't last as long and will off-gas chemicals. This foam will heat up significantly.
This foam became popular in the 1990s. It gives you pressure point support which is great for people who suffer from low back pain. But memory foam traps heat and reflects it back to the sleeper.
Open Cell Foam
Open cell foam is springier, so it won't cradle you as much as memory foam. This foam allows heat to escape, giving you the benefits of foam with less heat.
The gel incorporated into gel foam mattresses absorbs heat, sleeping cooler than other memory foam or polyurethane.
A mattress topper is a fitted sheet with a thick top that will give you an additional layer of several inches to make your mattress softer. These are a good option for people who aren't ready to invest in a new mattress.
Mattress toppers are often made of memory foam which will make you heat up. But some are made with copper, charcoal, gel, open cell foam, wool, or have some other method to diffuse heat, which will reduce the amount of heat that's retained.
Which Mattress is Right for You?
The best way to know what mattress is best for you is to sleep on different mattresses. Finding your own combination of support, softness, as well as coolness is unique to everyone. If you're able to travel, that's a great way to try out different mattresses. And the mattress industry has become very competitive and many companies now offer a in-home trial.
When making a decision on a cooling mattress, you will also want to consider how you sleep. Side sleepers, stomach sleepers, and back sleepers will have different needs. And though people rarely stay in one position all night, most spend more time in one position.
Best Cooling Mattresses
We’ve invested many hours of research to create this guide on the best cooling mattresses. We've also supplemented our research with an in-depth interview with a chiropractor who frequently helps patients with their sleeping positions and sleep-related back and neck pain. You can learn more about our review process here.
- When it comes to cooling, it's really hard to beat a Purple mattress.
- Its innovative grid system gives you great support and contouring but doesn't trap heat like memory foam.
- An innovative combination of the purple polymer grid and a hybrid mattress design with coil springs
- Purple's elastic polymer grid is one of the few innovations in the mattress industry for many years.
- The hybrid version of the Purple mattress makes it a great option for a wide variety of sleepers, especially those who didn't like the original Purple.
- Hypoallergenic and non-toxic materials
- Made in the USA
Best for Side Sleepers
- For a foam-based mattress, we found the AS3 to sleep quite cool, having used it in one of our writer's guest rooms for about a year.
- Innovative Refresh Cover is designed to convert body heat into infrared energy
- Unique Hive design provides different levels of firmness throughout the mattress to counter your body's center of gravity
- 12" thickness provides a plush feel typically found in much more expensive mattresses
- Exceptional warranty, trial, and return policy
- Copper-infused memory foam noticeably works in keeping you cool compared to less expensive foam mattresses
- A double-sided design enables you to test two different firmness options to see what works best for you.
- The use of copper also helps fight odor-causing bacteria.
- A Long 120-night trial and lifetime warranty make it a great value for money option with minimal risks
- Currently includes two free pillows with your mattress purchase (a great deal considering the mattress price under $1000
Best for Back Sleepers & Athletes
- The Zoma mattress is an excellent mattress for back sleeping that also keeps you cool thanks to an interesting combination of layers with different purposes
- Triangulex™ comfort layer provides zoned support providing extra support for your back and hips which enables this soft mattress to still keep you level, a characteristic missing from most soft foam-based mattresses.
- Reactiv™ layer counters the sinking in feeling typically associated with all form mattresses
- Respectable 10-year warranty, 100-night trial, and free returns
- Made in the USA with CertiPUR foam
Best Trial Period & Warranty
- The Nectar mattress is a great foam mattress that sleeps cool and is often discounted quite a lot
- Generally, great value when compared side by side to other name brand mattresses
- 3" soft comfort layer for contouring followed by a 2" firm support layer is a good combination we've seen work well in many foam mattresses
- One of our top picks for heavy sleepers
- Known for their marketing but also their incredible 365-night trial and their Forever Warranty
- Thick substantial mattress great for couples with minimal motion transfer
- Linenspa's 10" Hybrid mattress is an amazing value for money mattress that sleeps extremely cool due to its open and air coil spring base and its relatively thin comfort layer
- Among the cheapest mattresses that we recommend and stand behind and by far one of the cheapest mattresses with a true hybrid construction
- Many thickness and size options make it a great choice for guest rooms or kid's beds
- Softer than most hybrids enabling cool budget friend sleeping for many positions
Other Ways to Sleep Cool
There are several things you can do in addition to using a cooling mattress to sleep cooler:
- Drop the temperature - experiment with different temperatures to see what temperature works for you. A good way to do this is to document how well you slept at each temperature. Keep in mind there are many factors that can influence how you sleep, so you may want to do a few nights at each temperature to be more confident.
- ChiliPad - though not cheap, the ChiliPad sends cool water through a pad that you put underneath your fitted sheet, and you can control the temperature of the water.
- Use a fan - this is an easy way to keep cooler at night; it also has the benefit of adding white noise, which can help drown out exterior noise.
- Use lighter blankets - another inexpensive way to keep your temperature cooler while you sleep.
Cooling Mattress Frequently Asked Questions
Here are our answers to the most frequently asked questions about cooling mattresses.