All about cooling mattresses
Feeling overheated can really get in the way of a good night’s sleep. Being uncomfortably hot and sweaty can make it difficult to nod off, and can lead to less restful sleep, with people tossing and turning throughout the night. Hot mattresses are a major issue for people in warm climates or homes, heavier people, or those who simply tend to sleep hot.
Fortunately, modern mattress manufacturers recognize that sleeping cool is a priority for consumers, and many mattresses today claim to have various cooling properties. Knowing how effective a mattress is likely to be at keeping you cool means knowing what to look for in its design.
Cooling mattresses can help keep sleepers comfortable in a variety of ways. These include:
- Ventilated construction to allow for air flow
- Copper or other heat-conducting metals
- Gels to absorb heat
- Natural, breathable fibers
- Other specialized materials
In this page, we’ll discuss how different materials and constructions work. We’ll provide tips for people shopping for cooling mattresses and discuss our picks for the best cooling mattresses for a variety of needs, sleep styles, and budgets.
What to look for in a cooling mattress
There are cooling mattresses across a wide variety of support cores–including innerspring, latex, and foam–but the techniques used to keep each type cool are somewhat different.
Despite the development of new materials, mattresses with a support core of metal coils are still very common, and they have the greatest natural cooling abilities. The reason for this is that air can travel freely between coils, instead of being trapped in denser materials, such as foam.
However, most innerspring mattresses are topped with comfort layers composed of varying materials, and can still sleep hot, depending on what those materials are. Look for comfort layers with breathable latex, natural fibers, or gel-infused foam to ensure you’re taking advantage of innerspring’s cooling potential.
As a rule, memory foam mattresses tend to sleep hotter than other alternatives. The contouring properties of memory foam make some sleepers feel cradled, but they also tend to absorb heat, which can be stifling for people who tend to sleep hot.
Recently however, memory foam manufacturers have responded to concerns over heat absorption by infusing some foams with cooling gels or other heat-conducting materials, such as copper or graphite.
Latex has the advantage of being a poor heat conductor, meaning it resists growing hot or cold. This is especially true for natural latex, and tends to decrease the more a latex is blended with synthetic materials.
As you can see from the photograph, latex mattresses are also generally aerated, allowing for airflow which increases responsiveness and counteracts the density of the material.
It’s important to note that a mattress’ cooling abilities are not solely a function of its support core. An innerspring mattress can sleep hot and a memory foam mattress can sleep cool. It largely depends on the materials used for the comfort layers:
- Natural fibers: Organic materials such as cotton, wool, and bamboo are naturally breathable and can wick away moisture more effectively than synthetic mattress toppers and covers.
- Copper and graphite: Some mattresses infuse these materials into their foams to diffuse excess heat, which can be effective, provided there is enough of it to make a noticeable difference in temperature.
- Gels: Many mattresses feature a layer of gel-infused foam, which can absorb large amounts of heat. However, others include only a small amount of gel in the form of “beads,” which quickly reach their heat absorption capacity and do little to keep a mattress cool.
Pros and cons of cooling mattresses
A cooling air mattress can be a great investment that helps you sleep better, or it can be a disappointing purchase that fails to live up to its promises. The difference is usually what your expectations are and the amount of research you’re willing to do to find the right mattress.
- More comfortable, restful sleep: When a cooling mattress works as it should, it can significantly improve your quality of sleep, so you wake up feeling more refreshed.
- New innovations: There has never been a better time to consider a cooling mattress, since manufacturers have developed new techniques and materials that offer greater relief than in the past.
- Enhanced durability: Cooling mattresses can last longer than the alternatives, because they prevent sleepers from sweating, which can damage a mattress.
- False advertising: Any mattress can claim to be “cooling,” so it takes some research to differentiate between real value and empty promises.
- More expensive: Cooling materials typically come with a higher price tag, which makes it all the more important to be confident in the product.
- Not a cure-all: For people who consistently sleep hot, even the best cooling mattress may be only a partial solution, to be used in combination with cooling mattress toppers and cooling pillows.
Who should consider a cooling mattress?
There are many reasons why certain people get uncomfortably hot in bed, but whatever the cause, a cooling mattress can help, provided it’s also giving sleepers the comfort and support they need.
- Heavier sleepers: People who weigh over 200 lbs or more often benefit from cooling mattresses, as heavier people are more likely to overheat.
- People with back pain: Sleeping cool can prevent unnecessary tossing and turning, which can exacerbate back pain.
- People who sleep hot: Some people simply tend to overheat in their sleep, and regardless of the reason, cooling mattresses can provide relief.
- People in hot homes or climates: Even a person who doesn’t normally sleep hot can benefit from a cooling mattress if their overall environment is uncomfortably warm.
- Couples: Double the people in a bed equals twice the heat, so a cooling mattress can keep both partners comfortable. However, if one partner tends to sleep hot and the other sleeps cold, it’s worth considering a “temperature neutral” bed like Purple, rather than one with active cooling properties.
The best cooling mattresses for hot sleepers
While any mattress can claim to be cooling, mattresses that actually keep you cool back up those claims with effective materials and construction, and a reputation for satisfied customers. In choosing the best cooling mattresses, we’ve combined our own research and consumer reviews. Remember, there are cooling mattresses in a variety of support cores, so be sure to choose one that gives you the overall sleep experience you need.
The Purple mattress is notable for being “temperature neutral,” meaning it resists becoming hot or cold. It accomplishes this through its unique hyper-elastic polymer, which is technically a foam, but constructed as a grid, which allows for breathability. Purple is popular among couples and people with back pain for its high degree of motion isolation and relief of back pain. However, some customers have had issues with poor edge support, and complained that Purple’s sizes are smaller than standard mattresses.
- Great for couples: Purple is a good choice if one partner sleeps hot and the other sleeps cold, since it’s temperature neutral.
- Comprehensive sleep trial: Purple ships straight to your home, and allows for a 100-night sleep trial to make sure it’s the right choice for you. If purchased through Amazon, the trial period may be shorter.
- Hypoallergenic: Purple is constructed of non-toxic, food-grade materials, without the harmful chemicals used in some memory foams.
For more information on the pros and cons of Purple, check out our full review page.
The Bear Mattress is constructed of 10 inches of memory foam, with a gel-infused comfort layer designed to keep sleepers cool. Furthermore, the Bear Mattress is made with unusually responsive foam that gives it above-average bounce, and prevents that sinking feeling that hot sleepers often find stifling. Bear customers have praised the company’s quick deliveries, helpful customer service, and easy installation.
- Cooling construction: The Bear Mattress features a layer of cooling gel-infused foam, a cover designed to absorb body heat, and support that lets sleepers feel cradled, without feeling smothered.
- Competitive price: The Bear offers solid construction and a standard 10 year-warranty at a lower price point than many other cooling foam mattresses.
- Versatility: Moderate firmness and responsive foam makes this a good mattress for a variety of sleep styles, especially for couples with different needs.
To learn more about the Bear Mattress, visit our full Bear mattress review page.
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Loom & Leaf
Loom & Leaf is another memory foam mattress with a layer of cooling, gel-infused foam, which is 2 inches thick and constructed with holes to allow for greater air circulation. This mattress combines cooling properties with the feel of a traditional memory foam mattress, which offers good body contouring, high motion isolation, and very little bounce. Unlike many home delivery mattress companies, Loom & Leaf provides professional installation for free, a major advantage for customers uncomfortable moving a mattress by themselves. Loom & Leaf also comes with a higher-than-average 15-year warranty and 120-night sleep trial.
- Memory foam feel: Loom & Leaf is a good choice for sleepers who like the cradling of traditional memory foam, but don’t want to overheat.
- Free professional installation: Memory foam mattresses are heavy, and many customers appreciate the help with setup. Loom & Leaf offers free white glove delivery and mattress removal with all mattress purchases.
- No offgassing: Loom & Leaf doesn’t compress-wrap its mattresses for delivery, so they avoid the “new mattress smell” many customers find unpleasant.
For more information on Loom & Leaf, please visit our full Loom & Leaf mattress review page.
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The Amerisleep AS4 is a 12-inch memory foam mattress with a serious emphasis on cooling. The top layer of foam features an open-cell structure to help transfer heat away from the body. The Celliant-blend cover contains a cooling thermoreactive material that transforms and dissipates body heat, and the transition layer is made of a channeled foam designed to carry heat and moisture out of the mattress. The AS4 is described as medium-soft, making it a good choice for side and combination sleepers. Amerisleep has earned praise for its responsive customer service and its use of eco-friendly materials, which seek to replace petroleum products with plant-based elements whenever possible.
- Serious cooling: Every layer of the AS4 is designed with cooling in mind, from the cover to the open-cell foam.
- Worry-free warranty: The AS4 comes with a 100-night sleep trial and 20-year warranty, though customers ordering through Amazon should make sure those offers still apply.
- Soft support: The AS4 is the softest mattress on our list, which makes it a good choice for side sleepers, while back sleepers may need more support.
To learn more about the Amerisleep AS4, check out our full AS4 mattress review.
Casper designed the Wave to mimic high-end European mattresses, with an emphasis on firm yet plush support. The Wave keeps sleepers cool with its breathable outer cover and Casper’s open-cell Flo foam. The Wave also places its core of memory foam low in the mattress, which keeps sleepers from sinking into it or overheating. The company’s Hyper-Targeted Support eases pressure points and is particularly beneficial for sleepers with back pain. Users praise the Wave’s luxury feel, though it does come with a price point to match.
- Moderate memory foam qualities: The Casper Wave’s placement of its memory foam layer deep within the mattress gives it the body-conforming properties of traditional memory foam, without the quicksand feel.
- Removable cover: The cover zips on and off for easy cleaning, an advantage for people who perspire in their sleep.
- Good for people with back pain: The Wave’s design encourages spinal and hip alignment, and rates very high for comfort with back sleepers.
To learn more about the Casper Wave, visit our full Casper Wave review page.
Layla lists “cooling” as its number-one attribute, which it accomplishes by using two layers of copper-infused memory foam to draw heat away from the body (the company also appeals to people who believe in the medicinal benefits of copper). Layla also has Thermogel woven into its cover, which is cool to the touch and helps reduce heat build-up, at least initially. Layla is a flippable mattress, with one side firm and the other medium-soft, which allows customers to experiment with the support level right for them. Layla’s mattress is reasonably priced and gives customers a 120-night sleep trial.
- Copper-infused: Layla and its customers swear by the copper-infused gel’s cooling power.
- Soft and firm options: If you’re not sure which support level is right for you, or you just want to change it up, Layla’s flippability is a big plus.
- Budget-friendly: Layla is very affordable, especially among cooling mattresses.
For more information on the Layla, please visit our full Layla mattress review page.
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