Contents of Article
- What Makes A Bed Sleep Cool?
- 3 Things To Look Out For In A Cooling Mattress
- Best To Worst Materials For Someone Who Sleeps Hot
- 5 Best Cooling Mattresses For People Who Sleep Hot
One of the most common complaints people have with their current mattress is that it gets far too hot throughout the night. It’s a problem that mattress manufacturers are well aware of. For decades now they have invested huge amounts of time, money, and resources into finding innovative ways to solve the issue once and for all.
Despite this, in 2018 it’s still possible to buy mattresses that sleep hot, even for normal sleepers. The problem only gets worse when the sleeper themselves is known to run hot throughout the night.
But luckily, in 2018 it’s possible to buy a mattress that sleeps cool, regardless of how hot you sleep…
Today we are going to be taking a look at the best cooling mattresses on the market. We’re going to explain what makes a mattress cool, things to look out for, and some materials to aim for (and avoid).
Let’s get started.
What Makes A Bed Sleep Cool?
So let’s start off this article by talking a little bit about what exactly determines if a mattress is going to sleep cool or hot.
In a nutshell, it comes down to the materials used, and the shapes they are formed into – but we’ll get into that in a little more detail later in the article.
There are two main culprits that cause the issue of overheating in the first place – body heat, and thermal regulation.
It will hopefully come as no surprise to you to learn that humans are warm-blooded animals. We consume a huge amount of calories every day (compared to cold-blooded animals) to heat up our blood. This is great for us during the day, as warm blood is what allows us to be active from the moment we wake up (instead of lying in the sun like a snake or a lizard).
However, at night, it’s not such a good thing – at least not in today’s modern world.
We’re heating our blood and producing body heat just as much at night as we are during the day (more or less). Heat transfers much more efficiently through a solid medium (like a mattress) than it does into the air. This means that throughout the night, most of our body heat is absorbed by the mattress, and over time, the mattress itself heats up.
The second culprit, thermal regulation, is what makes a mattress feel hot or cold to a sleeper.
The warmest part of a mattress is directly underneath the sleeper, it’s where all the body heat is being transferred. If a mattress is a good thermal regulator it is able to efficiently distribute this heat throughout the entire sleeping surface (and it results in a much cooler sensation for the sleeper). If it can’t do this, then hotspots form under the sleeper, and as a result, the mattress feels warmer to them.
3 Things To Look Out For In A Cooling Mattress
Let’s take a look at some of the features you should be looking for in a cool mattress.
We’re going to dedicate an entire section to this later in the article, but the number one thing that’s going to affect how hot or cold the sleeping surface is will be the material that it is made from.
Ventilation goes hand in hand with thermal regulation. These days most mattresses are designed to be layered products of solid blocks of material. While some materials naturally allow for ventilation, many of them don’t.
To get around this some of the better products on the market shape layers to have ventilation channels in them. This allows heat to be absorbed by the air inside the channels and then it is pushed out into the outside world by pressure changes caused by slight body movements.
Breathability goes hand in hand with ventilation, but it’s not the same thing. Breathability almost always refers to the outer cover of the mattress. Ideally, the material will allow for airflow in and out of the product with as little restriction as possible. This increases the rate of natural heat radiation, and it also allows for better ventilation.
Apart from ventilation, mattress manufacturers have devised all kinds of clever ways to promote better thermal regulation within their products. They’re material specific so we’ll mention them below – but keep an eye out for them, as they’re often quite effective.
Best To Worst Materials For Someone Who Sleeps Hot
In this section, we’ll run through the best to the worst materials in terms of thermal regulation.
Waterbeds have a whole bunch of issues that make them an unviable choice for many people, but as an interesting piece of trivia – they’re the coolest mattresses in the world. The water inside regulates heat better than any solid mattress material ever could.
Latex is widely regarded as being the best material in terms of thermal regulation. It’s a natural product that inherently distributes heat reasonably easily throughout the entire mattress. Latex is expensive, so most products only use latex as a top layer as a cool sleeping surface and use foams or springs below. Latex is regularly ventilated via unique and innovative shapes, or more commonly – machined ventilation channels.
Open Cell Memory Foam
Open cell memory foam is a reasonably advanced solution to the overheating problems that plague the reputation of traditional memory foam. Traditional memory foam is made up of countless small enclosed pockets (cells) of air. When the mattress begins to absorb heat, the air inside these cells begins to heat up too. As the cells are entirely closed, it cannot ventilate out into the room, and the mattress steadily increases in temperature.
As the name suggests, open-cell memory foam works by giving the cells a slight opening at one side. This allows the air that would have been trapped inside to flow out into the bedroom – resulting in a much cooler mattress.
Cooling Gel Memory Foam
Cooling gel memory foam takes a different approach to keeping cool. When the memory foam is being made a special kind of gel that is an excellent thermal conductor is added to the mix. When body heat enters the mattress, some of it is absorbed by this gel which quickly distributes it throughout the entire surface of the mattress.
While this in itself does not make the overall average temperature of the mattress cooler, it removes the hotspots underneath the sleeper – which results in a much cooler sensation.
Traditional Memory Foam
Standard memory foam is about as bad as you can get when it comes to thermal regulation. The closed cells we talked about above are exceptionally good at retaining their heat, which results in one of the warmest sleeping surfaces on the market.
It’s worth pointing out that products which use traditional memory foam as a middle or bottom layer can still provide a very cool night’s sleep – it’s the top layer that counts. Because of this, hot sleepers should do everything they can to avoid products that have a traditional memory foam top layer.
5 Best Cooling Mattresses For People Who Sleep Hot
So now we know why mattresses sleep hot, and the best (and worst) materials in terms of thermal regulation. Let’s take a look at what we think are the best 5 products on the market for warm sleepers.
The Purple mattress is widely regarded as being one of the coolest (and most comfortable) products on the market. It’s made from a unique material called hyperelastic polymer which has been specifically designed to be a “memory foam killer”. The material has similar contouring properties to memory foam, but on its own, it’s not as supportive.
However, Purple manufacture their hyperelastic polymer in a grid pattern called “the comfort grid”. This allows for contouring properties that are at least as good as (or maybe even better than) a high-quality memory foam.
As hyperelastic polymer is a naturally excellent thermal regulator it’s already going to provide a cool night’s sleep, but combined with the ventilation of the grid layout – it’s a super cool winner.
The Layla mattress takes an extremely innovative approach to thermal conductivity which provides excellent results. Instead of using traditional cooling gel to cool down their product they have actually infused the memory foam with real copper particles (you can’t feel them). Cooling gel is great at transferring heat, but as we learned in high school chemistry – there are few things that transfer heat better than a metal.
This incredible level of heat distribution means that hotspots are eliminated before they even begin to form, and it’s one of the coolest memory foam products on the market.
The Bear mattress does a similar thing to the Layla mattress above in terms of cooling, they just use a different material. Graphite is an excellent natural thermal conductor, and it has been infused all throughout the memory foam. However, bear go one step further than Layla – they’ve made their memory foam open cell too.
Creating open cell graphite infused memory foam is almost certainly quite a tough task, it must have taken the researchers at Bear quite some time to figure the process out. However, despite this, it still remains on the market at a very reasonable price point – especially when you consider how cool the sleeping surface is.
The Nectar mattress is a little bit more traditional than the Bear and the Layla in some respects. It uses traditional cooling gel memory foam instead of infusing it with graphite or copper. However, the Nectar does have a unique trick or two up its sleeve.
The most notable thing about the product is that it uses two separate layers of cooling gel memory foam, which is pretty unusual. Most products only make the top layer of foam that’s in contact with the body gel infused to save money on production costs. The second gel infusion in the Nectar means that heat has more surface area to distribute easily across resulting in a much lower overall average temperature.
As an added bonus the Nectar has a super breathable (and super soft) Tencel cover to provide excellent levels of ventilation and natural heat dissipation into the bedroom.
The final product we’re recommending for hot sleepers today is the excellent Lull mattress. It combines several standard features together to create a product that is much cooler than the sum of its parts.
The top layer of memory foam is the most interesting (and is where all the magic happens). It’s a kind of foam called viscoelastic memory foam which is a different compound to traditional memory foam (it’s better at thermal regulation and it’s more supportive). Lull have then proceeded to add some of the most advanced “standard” cooling gel into the mix and have made the memory foam open cell at the same time.
The end result is a mattress that distributes heat extremely efficiently and allows for ventilation out of the mattress on an incredible scale. It’s an extremely cool sleeping surface that even the hottest sleepers will be able to get a good night’s sleep on.
So there you have it, everything you ever wanted to know (and perhaps a little more) about the science behind hot and cool mattresses.
With a little bit of research, there is absolutely no reason that anyone in 2018 needs to be suffering from uncomfortable nights tossing and turning due to a warm mattress.
Many of the products on this page are reasonably priced, and there should be something on here within most budgets. If they cost a little more than you were hoping to spend, then try and remember that there’s no other object in your home that’s worthy of a little extra investment in than a mattress.
You’re going to spend 7 or 8 hours a day using it (pretty much) every day for the next 10, 15, or even 20 years. If that’s not worth an extra few hundred dollars up front, then we don’t know what is.