All about cooling mattress toppers

Our body temperature naturally starts to drop before bedtime. In an ideal world, once we’re in bed and falling off into a blissful slumber, our bodies remain at least one to two degrees cooler than they are when we’re up and about during the day. This temperature drop helps us stay in a deep, restful sleep.

For people who tend to heat up when they sleep, getting a good night’s rest can be a struggle. This problem can be made worse by certain mattresses that trap heat. Older memory foam mattresses are a common culprit (newer ones are designed with cooling in mind), but any mattress can sleep hot if it’s not designed for good airflow.

Whether you’re hoping to cool down your current mattress or want to ensure temperature control for your new one, cooling mattress toppers are a lifesaver for people who sleep hot. The best cooling mattress toppers will generate airflow and distribute heat away from the sleeper. They’re typically made of cotton, wool, or other fibers, as well as memory foam injected with a cooling gel.

Which cooling mattress topper works best? That all depends on individual sleeper preference, as well as allergies and other factors. In this guide, we’ll provide reviews of several different cooling mattress toppers to help you choose the best one for your sleep style.

We should note that this guide is specifically for cooling mattress toppers and not for all-around mattress toppers that can make your mattress softer or more firm. To learn more about other types of mattress toppers, see our guide to the Best Mattress Toppers.

Read on to learn more about cooling mattress toppers, or go straight to our picks for the Best Cooling Mattress Toppers.

What to look for in a cooling mattress topper

One of the first things to consider when looking for the best cooling mattress toppers is the material with which the product is made. Cotton, wool, and polyester fiber-filled cooling mattress toppers tend to be softer and more plush – great for side sleepers but perhaps not the best choice for those who need firm support for their back.

The existence of cooling memory foam mattress toppers may seem like a contradiction to some, given memory foam’s reputation for sleeping hot. New memory foam technology combines the foam with gel that helps distribute heat away from your body. Some feature a single layer of gel, while others have the gel evenly distributed throughout the foam. Unlike an older dense memory foam mattress, many of the cooling memory foam mattress toppers are carefully designed with air channels that provide airflow for continuous comfort. These cooling gel mattress toppers are especially nice for those who love the memory foam feel but find they sleep too hot.

Some consumers mistakenly assume that the addition of a cooling mattress topper will automatically make their bed softer. In fact, this is not the case. Just as mattresses are made with comfort layers that are made from materials that provide varying levels of support, so are mattress toppers. Some – like most cooling memory foam mattress toppers – are designed to provide softness and comfort for people who sleep on their sides. Others are constructed of materials that position the sleeper up above the mattress surface in order to allow ample airflow but do not greatly change the overall firmness level of the mattress beneath.

Another common misunderstanding about cooling mattress toppers is that they’ll make the sleeper cold at night. Many cooling mattress toppers are engineered not only to trap heat and pull it away from your body – they’re also designed to release it back when your body temperature drops too low. Because some sleepers have a problem with their body temperature fluctuating wildly throughout the night, these types of mattress toppers are helpful at keeping things nice and steady with no sweating or shivering.

To find the best cooling mattress topper, consumers should carefully examine a product’s description to see if it’s a good fit for their preferred sleep position as well as to ensure that they aren’t allergic to any of the materials. They should also be willing to pay a little more for a high-quality mattress topper to ensure that it will maintain its integrity through use and being washed, as well as maintaining its fit and elasticity.

Pros and cons of cooling mattress toppers

Like any mattress or type of bedding, cooling mattress toppers have their pros and cons. Benefits and drawbacks depend on what product you choose as well as your own personal sleep preferences. Here are some of the aspects that consumers like about their cooling mattress toppers, as well as some of the things they dislike.

Pros:

  • Temperature: A cooling mattress topper is a quick and easy way to provide a layer of airflow to an otherwise dense, sweltering-hot mattress.
  • Affordability: If your current mattress sleeps hot, it’s much less expensive to purchase a cooling mattress topper than to replace your mattress entirely.
  • Lower energy bills: Sleepers often find that after installing a cooling mattress topper, they don’t have to run the air conditioner as much at night.
  • Plushness: If your mattress needs an additional layer of softness and pressure-point relief, a cooling mattress topper can provide it.

Cons:

  • Loss of elasticity: Many cooling mattress toppers are held in place with an elastic skirt that can loosen over time, allowing the topper to shift.
  • Standard sizes: Consumers with beds that aren’t a traditional size may have trouble finding mattress toppers that will fit.
  • Exaggerated claims: Some manufacturers insist that their mattress toppers are cooling when they aren’t designed to be so, leading to disappointed customers.

What type of sleeper should consider a cooling mattress topper?

A cooling mattress topper is a great idea for anyone who suffers from waking up hot and sweaty. When researching the best cooling mattress toppers to determine if you should get one, a number of factors will come into play – things like sleep position, plushness preference, the weather where you live, and medical conditions such as menopause.

Side, back, and stomach sleepers

For example, side sleepers will get better rest on a cooling memory foam mattress topper because it’s softer and much thicker. Back sleepers tend to need a decent amount of spinal support, so a thinner product works best for them. The same is true for stomach sleepers who need a firm sleeping surface to keep their backs from curving as they sleep.

Sleepers who want added plushness

Depending on the type of cooling mattress topper you choose, some of them have the added benefit of creating a layer of plushness where there was none before. For sleepers who have found their current mattress to be lacking but who were afraid of adding on a traditional mattress topper for fear of burning up at night, this is a huge plus.

Sleepers in warm and humid climates

Cooling mattress toppers are a fantastic addition to households in areas where the weather gets very hot and humid. Running the air conditioner full-blast 24 hours a day can get expensive, and purchasing a cooling mattress topper can help with energy savings at night. Most importantly, it can help you get a restful night’s sleep.

Sleepers with menopause

As people age, their sleep needs and comfort preferences change. Women who are experiencing menopausal symptoms, for example, often find cooling mattress toppers to be a relief from nighttime hot flashes. Good sleep can become elusive in the midst of that kind of hormonal flux and overheating at night is a common issue. A cooling mattress topper won’t necessarily prevent a run to stick one’s head in the freezer to cool down, but it can help with temperature control in between extreme hot flashes.

The best cooling mattress toppers

With so many cooling mattress toppers on the market, choosing one could take hours or even days of sifting through all the information. Is a cooling gel mattress topper the best, or is a basic egg carton style the way to go? It’s natural to have questions, and that’s why we did the hard work for you, compiling our own data and looking at hundreds of consumer reviews to bring you the best cooling mattress toppers on the market today. Regardless of your sleeping position or softness preference, we think you’ll find a mattress topper here that will have you sleeping soundly – and much cooler! – in no time at all.

Milliard Egg Crate Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

For those who need pressure-point relief, the Milliard Egg Crate Gel Memory Foam Cooling Mattress Topper provides body-contouring combined with temperature control. The egg crate design provides support as well as air flow for proper ventilation. In addition to that, this cooling mattress topper is perforated with aeration channels throughout. It’s also CertiPUR-US-certified, which means that the foam is manufactured without ozone depleters and contains no PBDEs, TECPP, TCEP, heavy metals, or formaldehyde.

The Millard Egg Crate Gel Memory Foam Cooling Mattress topper arrives in a vacuum-sealed package. Upon opening it and laying it flat, you’ll need to wait up to 96 hours for it to finish decompressing. This will also give it time to offgas, as this topper puts off a slight odor that completely dissipates within a few days up to a few weeks.

Materials:

  • Memory foam
  • Endothermic cooling gel

Highlights:

  • Responsiveness: Cooling mattress topper returns to its original shape quickly when weight is removed from it.
  • Durability: Unlike some mattress toppers that break down quickly with use, this product holds up well.
  • Support: Since this cooling memory foam mattress topper is only 2” thick, sleepers don’t find themselves sinking down deeply into it.
  • Density: Dense design assists with durability and support while still providing ample airflow.

Purchase your Milliard Egg Crate Gel Memory Foam Cooling Mattress Topper from Amazon.

ExceptionalSheets Extra Plush Cooling Topper

Sleepers who would like to cool their current mattress down a few degrees will enjoy the ExceptionalSheets Extra Plush Cooling Mattress Topper. Not only is this one of the best cooling mattress toppers we’ve found, it’s also been picked up by premier hotel chains such as Fairfield, Courtyard, and Omni.

ExceptionalSheets designed their cooling mattress pad with a bamboo cover that feels silky and adds plushness while providing  overall temperature control. Inside, the Revoloft Cluster Fiber Filling is spun into balls that provide airflow and help the pad hold its shape over time.

Materials:

  • Cover: Blended rayon from bamboo fabric
  • Filling: RevoLoft cluster fiber
  • Skirt: Polyester/nylon/spandex

Highlights:

  • Durability: The Revoloft Cluster Fiber Filling is specifically designed so that this mattress pad will hold up through use and repeated washes.
  • Support: While the ExceptionalSheets Extra Plush Cooling Topper does provide a layer of plushness, it’s not soft enough to change the firmness level of your current mattress.
  • Excellent temperature control: Unlike some “cooling” mattress toppers, this product has enough loft to allow airflow that truly keeps the sleeper cool throughout the night.
  • Hypoallergenic: The Revoloft filling gives the feel of a down mattress topper without any of the sneezing.

Visit Amazon to purchase your ExceptionalSheets Extra Plush Cooling Topper.

SleepBetter Iso-Cool Memory Foam Mattress Topper

The SleepBetter Iso-Cool Memory Foam Mattress Topper features a luxurious 300-thread count, 100% cotton cover with a 3-inch thick cooling memory foam filler. It’s an excellent cooling mattress topper for sleepers who enjoy memory foam but who have struggled with sleeping on an older memory foam mattress that lacks cooling technology. This cooling mattress topper features Outlast Adaptive Comfort Technology that traps heat when your body temperature rises and releases it if you get cold during the night, making it an excellent choice for sleepers with changing body temperatures.

The cover is quilted with 11 ounces per square yard of RichLoft polyester fiber fill. This provides additional airflow and comfort in a removable cover that’s easily machine washed and placed back over the memory foam layer.

Materials:

  • Cover: 300-thread count, 100% cotton
  • Filling: polyester fiber
  • Bottom layer: 3 inches of visco-elastic memory foam

Highlights:

  • Outlast Adaptive Comfort Technology: Traps excess heat from those who sleep hot and releases heat if their temperature drops below a certain level.  
  • Affordability: The softness and body contouring of an expensive memory foam mattress at a fraction of the price.
  • Easily washable: Cotton/polyester cover can be removed from the memory foam for washing.

You can purchase a SleepBetter Iso-Cool Memory Foam Topper at Amazon.