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Are memory foam mattresses hot?

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Memory foam mattresses offer excellent pressure relief, comfort, and support. But some memory foam mattresses may feel warmer to sleep on due to the density and softness of the material.

A memory foam mattress can help relieve pressure points, reduce tossing and turning and alleviate aches and pains. Memory foam contours to the body’s shape and helps distribute weight evenly.

But due to their dense nature, some traditional types of memory foam can retain heat, making them uncomfortably warm to sleep on. This can leave you feeling hot, sweaty, and clammy in the night.

Many manufacturers have introduced temperature-regulating features into their mattresses, such as cooling gels and breathable fabrics. This can help to keep the sleeping surface cooler to sleep on. But do these measures work? And if not, how can you make a memory foam mattress feel cooler to sleep on?

male hand pressing down on memory foam material

Do memory foam mattresses make you sleep hot?

Memory foam is a temperature-sensitive material that moulds and adapts to the body when weight is pressed against it. As the material reacts to body heat, it gradually softens as the body warms up. Then slowly returns to its original shape as pressure is removed.

Because of its dense cell structure, traditional memory foam retains heat. Memory foam conforms to the body, essentially hugging the user, which traps more body heat within the mattress. This can make the sleeping surface feel warmer to sleep on.

Other memory foam mattresses have a more open cell structure which allows the material to breathe so that heat can escape. This makes them feel cooler to sleep on. Some memory foam mattresses can also contain gel to provide a cooler sleeping environment. The gel is naturally hypoallergenic, breathable, and offers good pressure relief and body support.

It’s also worth highlighting that due to the removal of pressure, memory foam allows for better blood circulation, which can warm the body up.

Furthermore, some people may find memory foam warm to sleep on initially, especially when switching from a sprung mattress. But as the body adapts, they usually find them more comfortable to sleep on.

How to sleep cooler on a memory foam mattress

Many people perceive memory foam as the root cause for sleeping hot. But overheating in bed could be caused by a combination of factors.

If you’re finding memory foam hot, there are several ways to make your bed cooler so that you can sleep more comfortably.

Change your bedding and sleepwear

The bedding and sleepwear that you choose can impact how you sleep at night. Different fabrics retain heat more effectively than others. If you’re finding memory foam hot, you may find switching to lighter, cooler bedding can help.

Likewise, if you’re wearing thicker sleepwear, you may want to consider changing into something lightweight, loose and breathable. Or even try sleeping naked.

Bamboo, cotton, silk, and linen are materials renowned for their breathability and draw moisture away from the body. In contrast, synthetic materials like polyester are not breathable and tend to retain heat.

You could also try using a lower tog duvet or removing blankets or layers you come in contact with from your bed.

Ensure your bed base is well ventilated

Memory foam mattresses should always be paired with a well-ventilated bed base. This improves air circulation and prevents moisture build-up.

In particular, slatted bed frames provide excellent ventilation allowing air to circulate freely underneath. While solid or platform top bed bases may restrict airflow, allowing heat and moisture to build up. You should also avoid using a valance between your mattress and the base as this can also restrict airflow.

Sleeping with a partner

If you share a bed, your sleeping partner may be radiating more heat in bed than you are. The combined heat can make you feel warmer in bed, especially if you enjoy a cuddle.

Keep some sleeping space between you and your partner to improve the airflow. You could also consider upgrading to a bigger bed to ensure you both have more sleeping space and are less likely to disturb one another.

Improve ventilation in the bedroom

You can keep your bedroom well ventilated by opening windows and doors. But remember to close the curtains or lower the blinds during the day to prevent the warm air from coming into the room.

Consider a mattress protector or a mattress topper

A breathable mattress topper or protector can help you feel cooler on a memory foam mattress. Using a topper is a great way to enhance the comfort of a mattress. While a mattress protector protects against stains, spillages, and accidents.

Bear in mind that a memory foam mattress is designed to conform to the body’s shape. So placing anything too deep in-between you and the mattress may create a barrier where the memory foam does not perform as well.

Consider purchasing a new mattress

If you decide to replace your memory foam mattress or simply have reservations about buying one, there are several other types of mattresses you could consider.

Natural latex

Natura Latex is a durable and breathable material. Like memory foam, it moulds and contours to the body’s shape but is less heat retentive. It also has similar pressure relieving qualities.

Pocket spring

In a pocket spring mattress, each spring works independently to contour to the body’s shape. Pocket spring mattresses provide excellent support, ensuring each part of the body is supported correctly. Better-quality pocket spring mattresses often contain natural fillings which are soft, durable, and fully breathable.

Hybrid mattress

A hybrid mattress offers a ‘best of both worlds’ solution by combining different types of foams and spring units.

They tend to be less heat retentive than all-foam mattresses as the spring coils allow for better air circulation.

Final thoughts

Memory foam mattresses offer excellent pressure relief, comfort, and support. But some memory foam mattresses may feel warmer to sleep on due to the density and softness of the material.

If you’re looking for a new mattress and are naturally warm in bed, you may want to consider a pocket spring or natural latex mattress instead. Otherwise, many manufacturers offer an extended trial period on their mattresses, where you can try out a mattress and send it back if you find it uncomfortable. But remember to check the full terms and conditions beforehand.

Picture of About the author

About the author

Tony Brown is the founder and creator of The Bed Consultant. His career in the bed industry began in 2002. After graduating from university with a degree in Business Administration, Tony joined one of the largest independent furniture retailers in the UK as a bed consultant. Tony has helped thousands of customers find the perfect mattress.

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