How to Make a Memory Foam Mattress Sleep Cooler: Our Pro Tips


Written by David Rubin

Expert Tested

Table of Contents

Many people prefer memory foam mattresses because of their close-conforming pressure relief. However, traditional memory foam’s tendency to trap heat can be a drawback.

Memory foam is a dense material that tends to restrict air circulation and prevent heat from dissipating. Since memory foam hugs the sleeper, it can effectively trap the sleeper’s own warmth against their body. A hot sleep environment can interrupt the sleep cycle and prevent individuals from getting adequate rest.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to create a cooler sleeping experience even with a memory foam mattress.

How to Sleep Cooler on a Memory Foam Mattress

While memory foam tends to retain heat, the right bed frame, bedding, and accessories can help counteract this effect. With better overall temperature regulation, you should be able to get a cooler, more comfortable night’s sleep on your memory foam mattress.

Cooling Mattress Toppers and Pads

A cooling topper or pad can help regulate a mattress’ surface temperature.

A topper is usually 1 to 4 inches of extra cushioning material that rests on top of the mattress, acting as an additional comfort layer. Mattress toppers can contain foam, latex, cotton, wool, feathers, or other materials.

Synthetic foam toppers designed for cooling often contain conductive materials, like gel or copper, that are intended to transfer heat away from the sleeper’s body. Latex toppers let air circulate more freely, letting heat dissipate. Wool is popular for its natural breathability and temperature regulation, so a wool mattress topper can also be an effective cooling solution.

Meanwhile, a mattress pad is a thin piece of fabric that’s placed between the mattress and fitted sheet to enhance the comfort and protect the surface. Those with breathable materials, like cotton, wool, and rayon, allow more heat to escape.

Cooling Sheets

Your sheets can influence the temperature of your sleep surface. Certain materials and weaves are more breathable than others. Cotton, rayon, and linen sheets tend to allow airflow. A percale weave is also usually lightweight and breathable enough to help regulate the temperature.

Cooling Pillows

Cooling pillows can help reduce heat buildup around the head and neck. Materials like cotton, linen, latex, buckwheat hulls, and down alternative typically let air circulate. Some foam pillows also incorporate special technology designed for cooling, such as phase change material, gel infusions, or copper infusions.

Cooling Comforters

If you sleep hot on your memory foam mattress, forgoing a comforter may be your best bet. For those who enjoy an extra layer, a cooling comforter could fit the bill. Lightweight comforters made from cotton, wool, down alternative, or Tencel frequently allow enough airflow to regulate the temperature.

Foundations and Bed Frames

If air cannot circulate around your memory foam mattress, it may become especially hot and stuffy. Those who tend to sleep hot should avoid placing their memory foam mattress directly on the floor. Using a breathable bed frame with a foundation or box spring can help reduce excessive heat and moisture buildup. Slatted frames are often ideal.

Other Ways to Keep Cool While Sleeping

Elements other than your sleep surface can also influence your overnight body temperature. Minor adjustments to your nightly habits can help you stay cooler.

Change Your PJs

Choose your pajamas with temperature control in mind. Cotton, linen, rayon, and other breathable materials are great options for sleepwear. Additionally, wearing shorts instead of pants or just sleeping in your underwear can help you stay cool.

Lower the Temperature

Reducing the room temperature by turning down the thermostat, using a fan, or opening a window during cooler weather can lessen the impact of a warm mattress.

Turn Off Lights

Avoid using bright lights in your room right before bedtime. Some overhead lights and lamps produce heat that may linger, especially in smaller bedrooms. While high-efficiency LED bulbs produce less heat than most alternatives, all lights give off some warmth when in use.

Try a Different Mattress Type

If you still sleep hot on your memory foam mattress despite making changes, you might want to consider a different type of mattress.

When shopping for a cooler mattress, consider the breathability of the materials. Innerspring and hybrid mattresses allow significant airflow through their coil cores, which limits heat buildup. Latex models also generally sleep cool thanks to their breathable materials and lighter contouring.

If you still prefer the feel of foam despite having a tendency to overheat, consider looking for options with gel infusions or other technologies designed to improve temperature regulation.

About The Author

David Rubin

Certified Sleep Science Coach, Director of Product Testing

David is a Certified Sleep Science Coach with a lifelong passion for well-being and health optimization. His interest in sleep developed with the arrival of his son, when sleep suddenly became a precious commodity.

  • POSITION: Side Sleeper
  • TEMPERATURE: Hot Sleeper

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