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5 Tips to Make a Memory Foam Mattress Sleep Cooler

Sleeping hot on your memory foam mattress? Use these tips to cool down.

Feeling a memory foam mattress that retains heat
Aleksey Tugolukov/EyeEm/Getty Images

Memory foam is one of the most popular materials used in mattresses today. Sleepers like the hugging, pressure-relieving feel of a memory foam bed, and it's great at isolating motion if you sleep with a tossy-turny partner. However, one of its biggest downfalls is its tendency to retain heat. Due to the viscous, dense nature of the material, your body heat gets trapped within and cannot escape. In turn, the bed feels warm beneath you and can be a huge buzz-kill for your sleep. 

To combat memory foam and its heat-trapping dependencies, consider the five tips below. 

1. Try a cooling mattress topper

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The goal is to make your mattress feel more breathable to allow for increased airflow. A cooling mattress topper with a perforated surface can do the trick, such as latex foam toppers. Latex foam, besides being durable and supportive, is also great at not retaining heat. It's a light and airy foam with nowhere for heat to be trapped inside, a stark difference from dense memory foam. 

2. Cooling sheets and pillows

There is such a thing as cooling pillows and sheets. Some cooling pillows feel cool to the touch, or they provide such great airflow that it's much better at preventing heat from getting trapped inside. I have yet to see cooling sheets that actually feel cold, but there are breathable sheets you can buy that are airy and wick moisture away. 

3. Keep your mattress by your air vents and use AC

Interestingly enough, memory foam is a temperature-sensitive material that changes characteristics depending on how hot or cold your bedroom is. It softens up in the heat and gets firmer in the cold. The softer a mattress is, the more it engulfs your body in the foam. This makes you feel warmer because you're essentially wrapped in a foam blanket. A firmer mattress allows you to sleep more on top of the bed and a little cooler. 

So if you sleep on your back, stomach or are a heavier individual and prefer a firmer bed, doing all this with the air conditioning on may help. 

4. Sleep in breathable pajamas  

Help combat a warm mattress with extra breathable pajamas. Natural materials that are light and airy will be much more comfortable to sleep in than silk, polyester or fleece pajamas. Ditch your flannels or sweatpants for cooler materials like:

  • Supima cotton
  • Organic cotton
  • Bamboo 
  • Linen 
  • Stretch-knit

If you sleep hot, it's recommended you don't sleep in the nude. While it seems like a smart option in hindsight (less clothes equals cooler body), there is no fabric to absorb or wick moisture away, leaving sweat all over your sheets. The only thing worse than a hot sleeping surface is a damp and hot sleeping surface. 

5. Buy a new mattress

If you can't get your memory foam mattress to sleep cooler and it's continuously disrupting your sleep, it might be a sign to upgrade to a new mattress. There are beds made with gel memory foam that help regulate temperature better than traditional memory foam mattresses. 

You can also avoid memory foam and consider a poly foam, latex foam or proprietary foam mattress. Polyfoam has an open-cell structure, allowing for more airflow inside. Latex foam is one of the best materials at not retaining heat, and it has holes throughout to increase airflow. On the other hand, the Purple mattresses are a haven for hot sleepers. They're made with a unique, gel-like and breathable material that prevents heat retention and promotes airflow. The beds are really popular among the online mattress community, although very different from anything you're used to.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.