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A common issue that adult sleepers experience during the night is sleeping hot. Our body temperature lowers when we sleep, and the heat we lose goes directly into the mattress that absorbs it. Because of this, it is essential to have a mattress model that will adequately distribute heat. Specific models hold less body heat and provide the perfect cooling feeling for the sleeper, while others can absorb more body heat and make the bed extremely warm for sleep.
Memory foam mattresses are among the models that retain too much heat. Owners often complain that their memory foam beds are too hot for sleeping. The uncomfortably warm or hot mattress decreases the quality of sleep, which can leave you feeling tired and unrested when you get up in the morning. Unfortunately, there is no way for you to change the temperature of the memory foam or even change the amount of body heat they retain. However, what you can do is make your sleep surface cooler with a mattress topper and pads, or pillows and sheets that are designed for this issue specifically. Many products will keep you cool and adjust the temperature of your bedroom. In the next part, we will take a look at those products.
The Reason Why Memory Foam Mattresses Sleep Hot
There are a couple of causes of heat retention. One is the structure of the material – memory foam is essentially a synthetic material with excessive heat retention. Models with memory foam need to provide adequate support to the sleeper, and because of that, they are typically very dense and provide less airflow. The denser the model, the less airflow, which means that it traps more heat making the bed very warm.
The second reason is the specific conforming properties of memory foam. They conform to the body to relieve pressure points. The mattress cradles around you, molding to your body and trapping you in a heated mattress. To cool down, your body needs air-to-skin contact, which you do not have with memory foam. It prevents proper thermoregulation of your body. Thermoregulation is a natural body process that is associated with temperature changes during the night. Our body temperature is regulated with the balance of heat gain, production, absorption, and loss. Through our core and shell temperature, our body and brain regulate heat production. When we sleep, both core and shell temperature, oscillate during the whole night, and during non-REM sleep, both of them fall, and the heat is released from our bodies into the mattress. When the mattress retains this heat, it raises our temperature when it should be lower, and that affects our sleep quality. There have also been studies about temperature manipulation that showed its influence on our sleep quality and duration. The optimal temperature for sleep is from 15.5 to 19 degrees Celsius, which is from 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bedroom Temperature Control
Before discussing different products, you can use to cool off during the night, let’s see what you can do to maintain a steady temperature in the bedroom.
First of all, you need to wear breathable clothes for sleep. It means that you should wear clothes made from wool, cotton, or other natural fibers that will help you sleep cooler. Avoid synthetic fabrics like polyester or even try sleeping naked. Sleeping naked has a positive effect on sleep, health, appearance, mood, and relationships. Wearing clothes like a shirt and trousers, pajamas or even underwear can interfere with your body temperature and disrupt your sleep.
Another way to control the room temperature is to maintain consistent airflow by opening windows that will produce airflow in a room. But you need to watch out for the noise that can come from the outside. Noise is a great contributor to sleep disruption, so many sleepers prefer using a fan instead of opening a window. Fans can sometimes make noise as well, thus placing small fans on low settings and near the bed is a good option. However, using a fan during warm periods of the year is counterproductive. The best solution would be to get a two-way window fan. It will bring outside air in and push the warm air out. Putting an ice pack or frozen water in a plastic bottle or bag in front of the fan could also help.
Putting your memory foam mattress in a bed frame can help improve its airflow. Metal and wood frames have evenly spaced slats that can help your bed with its flawed airflow. A wet cloth or towel can also provide relief. Many individuals place a wet hand towel or washcloth on their chest or head while they are sleeping to provide a temporary cool down effect. Even though it is a temporary effect, it is long enough to help them fall asleep. Avoid having any lights and electronics near the bed because they can help with heating up the bed. If you need lights or any other electronics near the bed, make sure you turn them off 20 to 30 minutes before going to bed and falling asleep.
Mattress Pads and Toppers
Mattress pad, protector or top are often referred to like they are the same thing, but these are items with different functions. A protector or pad is a thin layer designed to be a barrier between the mattress and the sleeper, while a topper is a thick layer that adds a couple of inches to the mattress. Simply put, a topper is much thicker than a protector or pad. And toppers are much more expensive.
Many toppers and pads are made with elasticized edges. These edges can be put over the edges of the mattress, similar to a fitted sheet. Both toppers and pads have the same functions, even though toppers are thicker than pads. Toppers and pads that are made from natural fibers like cotton and wool are the best options for your memory foam mattress because they are very breathable and soft. Toppers can also be stuffed with feathers or natural down. These toppers also create a cool sleep surface, but the materials are considered to be too soft. Latex toppers are widespread, but the majority of sleepers claim that latex still traps heat, creating the same or similar conditions as memory foam. The same goes for waterproof toppers.
Organic Cotton Mattress Protector by Avocado Green
- 100% GOTS organic cotton
- Breathable, luxury materials
- Sustainably made
- Elastic perimeter
We have chosen the Avocado Green Organic Cotton Mattress Protector as one of the best cooling mattress toppers or pads. It is manufactured and sourced sustainably, and made from natural materials. It is bundled in an organic cotton cover and filled with organic, absorbent cotton. The whole pad is very soft and naturally breathable with an increased airflow between the mattress and your body. And there is no off-gassing due to the natural materials in the pad. The pad also has a couple of certifications, among which are Fair Trade, MADE SAFE®, Vegan Certified and GREENGUARD Gold.
The right sheet can cool off the bed and provide a rest that you need. Moisture-wicking sheets are designed to reduce heat retention and absorb sweat from the sleeper’s body. Cooling sheets are a great bedroom staple for individuals that want to sleep without any problems during the night. And sheets that are made from high-quality cotton have also proven to have great cooling abilities. For covering the whole mattress, fitted sheets are a great option, just as long as you match the measurements of the bed and sheets. If the sheets get loose during the night, you will wake up without a layer of barrier between the memory foam and the bed.
As for cooling sheets, they are essentially an excellent option for cooling down your memory foam bed. They absorb the sweat and sleepers can sleep dry and cool during the night. Apart from that, cooling sheets keep sleepers cool during the summer and warm during the winter. And of course, there are many nature-friendly cooling sheets for environmentally-friendly shoppers.
Parachute Linen Sheets
- Six sizes and eight colors
- Linen is a naturally lightweight and cool material
- Oeko-Tex Standard 100-certified
- Made from 100% European flax
Linen is a fabric that has always been a solution to warm temperatures and climates. It is very lightweight and cool on touch, so any sheet made from it would be a great option for cooling down a memory foam mattress. We have chosen Parachute Linen Sheets as one of the best cooling sheets you can find. They are made entirely from European flax, with hollow fibers mean linen as a natural insulator that will keep you warm in the winter, but at the same time cool in the summer. The Parachute Linen Sheets are available in eight different colors and six different sizes, with an Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification.
Pillows are an essential part of any bed. Having the right pillow can improve your sleeping conditions by providing excellent support for your head and neck, and giving you a perfect sleep temperature. These pillows don’t retain heat from the body, but instead, they lower the overall body temperature starting from the head. Models made from natural materials like cotton, buckwheat, bamboo, or feathers sleep the coolest. Latex can also sleep cool, but there have been many cases of latex creating a heat trap, so they are not reliable. The same goes for synthetic materials like polyester.
Memory foam pillows share the same qualities as memory foam mattresses. They sleep the warmest because of heat retention. However, pillows made of shredded memory foam are cooler. And gel memory foam models claim that they sleep much cooler because of the infused gel beads.
Talalay Latex Pillow by Brooklyn
- Made from entirely natural Talalay Latex
- Naturally breathable
- Offers excellent support and contouring
- Available in high or low loft
The Talalay Latex Pillow made by Brooklyn is our choice for the best cooling pillow. Made from entirely natural Talalay latex that is derived from trees, the model provides excellent support, responsiveness, and a night of more refreshing sleep. The pillow is very breathable with the ability to conform closely to the body without trapping the sleeper. The Talalay Latex Pillow can be found in low or high loft levels, giving you options to choose the right fit for you. And it also comes with an antimicrobial and moisture-wicking cover that will make your sleep environment better and healthier.
Other Cooling Products
Apart from the already mentioned products that help you sleep cooler, there are also products that help you control the temperature of your bed. They use many technologies to provide a stable sleep surface that you can adjust to your temperature needs. From entire sleep systems with smart temperature control to simple mattress pads with cooling and heating properties, you have a range of options to choose from to ensure you will have a comfortable sleep experience. To help you choose, we’ve singled out a couple of products.
- Dual-zone available for Queen, King, and California King
- Mattress pad with built-in temperature regulation
- Control temperature manually or with remote
The Chilipad by Chili Technologies is essentially a mattress pad, but with a built-in temperature regulation system. You can simply fill the control unit of the pad, set the temperature between 55 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit and the water will go through tubes within the pad. It is available in seven sizes, out of which three are dual-zone and great options for couples.
- Single or dual units available
- Climate control system that uses air-technology
- Control with phone, tablet or remote
Bedjet is a system that controls the climate. You can use with your current mattress by adding the hose attachment under the sheets or at the foot of the bed with a clip. When you attach it, you can set the desired temperature with a remote or an app, and the air will go into your bed right away. It is available as a single and dual unit, with a system that has 60-day sleep trial and a 24-month warranty.
Eight Sleep Pod
- A personalized temperature for each side of the bed
- App supplies sleep data and tips
- Smart bed tracks sleep and regulates temperature
The Eight Sleep Pod is a smart bed that can track your sleep with AI technology that will regulate your temperature based on the collected data. It has a layer of Active Grid and four layers of premium foam. The layers circulate the cooled or heated water while tracking the biometrics. You can even have personalized regulation of the temperature on each side of the bed.
If none of these options can help you with your memory foam mattress, it might be time to think about a new mattress. A memory foam model does not fit everybody’s options, so instead, you might want to find a mattress made from a different material that sleeps cooler. There are many types that retain less heat. One of those is innerspring that has excellent airflow and construction that will let you sleep cool. Latex models are also a good option, and they are very similar to memory foam beds. Hybrid mattresses have coils that promote airflow with their comfort layer of memory foam.
- Three firmness options
- Phase-change cover that absorbs heat
- Copper-infused foam that improves temperature regulation
- 120-day sleep trial
The Brooklyn Bedding’s Aurora mattress was designed to address the temperature regulation problems. The cover made is from phase-change material that will absorb heat until the body reaches optimal temperature. The top layer of this hybrid model has copper incorporated that additionally helps the temperature and improves the blood flow as well. The whole mattress is very supportive and comfortable, with pocket coils and high-density foam. And the Aurora is available in three different firmness options: firm, medium and soft.
For those of you who sleep hot, a memory foam mattress is not a good option. But, if you already have a memory foam model, then you can try using a cooling topper, pad, sheets or pillows to help you maintain stable body temperature during the night.
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Iva is an art historian and an art lover who always had a passion for writing and sleep! When she is not researching and testing new mattresses on the market, you can find her binge-watching TV shows, eating tons of junk food or playing with her dog Bart.