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Which Mattresses Sleep Hot?
Important if overheating is an issue for you

Last updated on September 6, 2019

Most people do not have an issue with 'sleeping hot' but for those that do, mattress construction and features that promote cooling and airflow may be priorities.

If you don't know what 'sleeping hot' feels like, then you probably don't have a problem with it. For those who do, it means restless sleep, throwing covers on and off, and waking up in a sweat.

Environmental factors like ambient room temperature play a roll, plus medications and hormonal changes (like menopause) are two more reasons you might find yourself overheating in bed. Another is a new partner that just seems to emanate heat, making you hot too.

Your mattress might exacerbate or conversely -- help alleviate -- the problem, depending on its construction and features.

What Type of Mattress Sleeps the Coolest?

Innerspring and hybrid mattresses (with pocketed steel coils) are generally the best choice for sleeping coolest. After all, steel springs are surrounded by air, which can freely flow in and out of the bed, allowing hot air to escape and cooler air to enter.

Even among innerspring beds, though, certain features can inhibit air flow. Some beds may have a foam perimeter. Hybrid beds may have a relatively small coil base topped with layers of dense foam. Both of these can potentially trap heat rather than release it.

But overall, if you are concerned about feeling cool, start your search with an innerspring or hybrid bed. 

Shallower cushioning means more air exposure

Regardless of the type of construction, you are bound to feel cooler on a mattress that allows more of your body to be exposed to air. To contrast, beds with deep cushioning (allowing you to sink in deeply) will naturally hugged your body more closely and allow for somewhat less exposure to air.

Cushioning depth is a personal preference; some like a bed they really sink into, while others prefer a feeling of floating on top of a mattress. But if you have concerned about overheating, look for a bed with shallower cushioning.

In our GoodBed Expert Reviews, we classify cushioning on a 1-10 scale, with 1 being very shallow cushioning depth, and 10 being very deep.

Below: Here's what different cushioning depths look like compared with our 16-lb. bowling ball. The top mattress has shallower cushioning while the lower bed has deeper cushioning.

Comparing Cushioning Depth

Why Can Foam Beds Feel Hot?

While the spring unit in an innerspring bed allows for lots of air circulation, the opposite is true of the foams used in so many mattresses today, and that's part of why they can feel hot. A chunk of foam is a dense piece of material, and better high-quality foams have even higher density, meaning even less space for air flow.

Again--in our experience, only a small subset of people will have an issue with overheating in the first place, so if you don't have this issue, we don't think there's any need to limit your mattress search to exclude foam mattresses.

That said, foam, including memory foam, can allow the body to sink more deeply into a bed, allowing for less airflow in general.

Cooling Features to Consider

Manufacturers of foam and memory foam beds, however, have been busy introducing features to combat sleeping hot.

Unfortunately, there's no scientific way to tell how much these features help, or whether they help at all, for a person that already sleeps hot.

We cover most of these in our article on "Memory Foam and Sleeping Hot" but there are two main cooling features you'll see paired with foam.

Gel flecks in the foam. Most commonly, you'll see memory foam flecked with bits of gel. Gel is a known heat conductor, so the intention is for the gel to help draw heat from the body.

Phase-change coatings. Some manufacturers spray a chemical coating on the top of the mattress intended to make it feel cool to the touch. In our tests, some of these produced more of a noticeable cooling aspect than others. However, keep in mind that they will be covered by your sheets and other bedding, which could reduce the effect.

Below: Use of gel and phase-change coatings in mattresses and pillows

Cooling Features

Which Mattress Feels Coolest?

In our reviews, we give mattresses a "stays cool" rating from 1 to 10 based on its construction, features to promote air flow and cooling, and cushioning depth. Our testing staff, however, does not have a known issue of sleeping hot, so we are unable to say definitively that a bed will or will not make you feel hot if you have an existing issue of overheating.

Generally, beds that are given the best "Stays Cool" scores have innerspring or pocketed coil construction, along with features in their foams and/or covers intended to regulate heat.

Here are some mattresses that have impressed in this respect:

Find the Right Bed

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