Memory foam is dense and thick with no breathability, so naturally, you overheat in summer. This can ruin your sleep quality, irritating you and anyone who shares your bed. Plus it can damage the mattress—night sweats aren’t fun, or clean.
Why Is Memory Foam So Hot?
According to the health experts at WebMD, heat retention is one of the main cons of memory foam—but it doesn’t take an expert to report this common woe.
Earlier, you learned that the foam’s density leads to some of the heat retention, but what are the other reasons?
The synthetic memory foam material has no way to breathe, so instead, it reflects body heat. Another flaw is that it can’t wick away moisture, leaving you moist and sweaty all night.
Even worse, memory foam isn’t absorbent, so you’ll feel your perspiration more than you would on another type of mattress.
You’re basically spending the night on a slick, body-temperature surface.
As you sleep, you sink deeper into your memory foam mattress and it essentially cradles you. Because of this, you have a hot material touching you on your back and sides, which can only work to raise your body temperature.
How To Stay Cool With Memory Foam
Despite the cradling and heat reflection, there are steps you can take to reduce the heat and be comfortable at night.
Change Your Bed Frame
Your memory foam will be even hotter if there’s no space under it for air to flow. Get yourself a slatted bed frame to help with this problem.
As you sleep, your body’s heat travels down through the mattress. It doesn’t move easily, but eventually, it’ll reach the other side. The heat can’t escape if the mattress is flat to a bed frame everywhere. The gaps in the slats give the hot air room to escape.
On top of that, if you have a cooling fan in your room, the air under your bed will be colder. The mattress bottom can reflect the cool air, and some may travel up through it, effectively making your mattress marginally cooler in the process.
However, this is one of the smallest changes you can make. Others work better, especially combined with changing your bed frame.
Use a Mattress Topper
There are many mattress toppers on the market, from cooling gel to basic ones that are made to keep you comfortable without a focus on cooling.
Anything that acts as a buffer between you and your mattress will suffice, but if you want a material that will help you cool down, definitely choose a gel, cotton or wool topper. The gel is optimized to cool you. Meanwhile, cotton and wool are natural materials that promote temperature regulation.
If you’re picking between wool and cotton though, choose wool. Not only is it cool, but it promises greater ease of sleep onset according to this study.
An alternate to a full mattress topper is a normal bedsheet, also known as a mattress protector. A fitted sheet made of natural, breathable materials can also help lower the temperature a bit—but it won’t be as effective as a topper made for cooling.
Buy a Cooling Blanket
If you’d rather tackle your heat issue from above, consider buying a cooling blanket. Cooling blankets are nothing fancy, they’re thin and made of bamboo, forming a pattern that allows air to pass through it easily. The blanket stays cooler than its environment, too, for additional cooling effects.
Use Wool Bedding
Using wool bedding will have a similar effect to using a cooling blanket. Although it’s thicker than bamboo, it’s still a highly breathable fabric that will let air circulate, keeping you cool and hopefully counteracting the heat in your mattress.
If you want specifics, merino wool is well-praised for its temperature control properties. As well as that, it wicks moisture and is ultra-soft.
Change Your Mattress
The most drastic change to rid yourself of your memory foam issues is to replace it entirely.
Consider a hybrid mattress instead. They have a layer of memory foam on top, but it’s usually thin, leaving the coils and padding inside to filter the heat down to the ground. It’ll be even cooler if the mattress is on slats.
If you really want to stick with memory foam there are a few fancier types of memory foam you can consider, too.
Breathable/Cooling Memory Foam
Manufacturers of more premium memory foam mattresses have started producing a breathable form of the substance. It’s more porous than regular memory foam, its surface covered in little holes that allow airflow through the mattress, cooling you down.
Some of the leading UK mattress retailers sell these cooling mattresses—in some cases, it’s the only type of memory foam they stock.
Gel Memory Foam
If you didn’t like the breathable memory foam mattress, consider memory foam: gel edition.
Many cooling mattress toppers are made of gel because it absorbs heat well and doesn’t reflect it. This helps you stay cool.
A gel memory foam mattress has all the properties of memory foam, including moulding to your shape and cradling your pressure points. It also has its gel properties, namely the cooling aspect.
This is the most common alternative to memory foam and breathable memory foam, however, it’s still not the coolest.
Plant-Based Memory Foam
People tend to ignore the plant-based option, despite it being eco-friendly, chemical-free and extremely breathable.
The breathability aspect is the stand out of plant-based mattresses in this instance. Like the gel option, it still acts as regular memory foam would, but with additional air circulation.
A plant-based memory foam mattress will some wool bedding or a cooling blanket, and you’re ready to have the coolest night of your life.
Though you should keep a warmer mattress topper and a heavier blanket handy for when winter comes around.
More Tips on Sleeping Cool
Changing and altering your bedding isn’t the only thing you can do to keep cool on summer nights. The video below provides more creative tricks to keep your body temperature down and your night comfortable.
Memory foam is a luxury, but heat-wise it’s a nightmare. If you follow the tips above you can remove the latter element from the equation. To reiterate:
- Get a slatted bed frame.
- Use a cooling mattress topper.
- Invest in a cooling or wool blanket.
- Change to a new type of memory foam mattress.
If you have any questions or would like to offer additional solutions, don’t hesitate to comment below.