Best Cooling Mattress for Hot Sleepers
No one likes feeling stuck to their sheets or waking up from a night sweat. It may be nice to feel cozy, but it’s not nice to feel hot when you’re trying to fall asleep.
Sleeping warm isn’t just uncomfortable; it actually interferes with your sleep. Our body temperature is intricately involved with our sleep-wake cycles. It fluctuates during the day, cooling down at night as our body prepares for sleep. To sleep well, your body needs to be in a cool environment. This is why sleep experts recommend setting your bedroom thermostat to a cool mid-60s degrees Fahrenheit.
Unfortunately, some of us are prone to sleeping hot. So-called “hot sleepers” may sleep hot for a physical reason, such as higher body mass index (BMI) or menopause, or they may simply be one of those people who tend to “run hot.”
Our Top Cool Mattress Picks
|GhostBed||Latex Hybrid||Medium Firm||$895|
|WinkBed with coolControl Base||Hybrid||Soft, Medium Firm, Firm||$1,299|
|Zenhaven||All-Latex||Medium Soft, Medium Firm||$1,899|
|Helix||Hybrid||Varies, Soft to Very Firm||$995|
*All prices listed are for Queen mattresses.
What components make up the best cooling mattress?
Mattress manufacturers know people don’t like to sleep hot. That’s why they take care to include more or less of certain components in the mattress to assist with temperature regulation.
However, some mattresses are worse for hot sleepers than others, simply due to the nature of their construction.
Below we’ll review the various components of a mattress and how they rate at heat retention. You want ones with low heat retention, but high heat transfer, indicating the bed’s ability to distribute heat throughout the mattress to provide a cool, uniform sleep surface. If you’re a hot sleeper, keep an eye out for these materials as you shop for your new mattress.
- Coils: Coils are the main support component used in traditional innerspring beds, as well as many hybrid mattresses. There are various types of coil construction, and all rate well for heat transfer. Individually wrapped pocket coils tend to provide the most contour of all coil types. With a coil support core, there is a lot of room for air to circulate around them, enabling better air flow and temperature regulation. The larger the coil component in the mattress, the likelier it is to stay cool.
- Latex: Latex foams are sourced from rubber trees. All-latex foam is organic, hypoallergenic, and naturally breathable. However, beds can also be made of synthetic latex foam produced from man made materials – these are less breathable than organic latex. Latex foams are typically perforated as well, further enabling air flow and circulation.
- Gel-infused foams: Gel is often touted as a cooling element, which is why you’ll see it in many mattresses as well as foam pillows. The gel works similar to water, absorbing heat without radiating it back out. The heat transfer ability of a gel-infused foam depends in large part on how much gel it contains. The more gel beads in the foam, the cooler the mattress.
- Basic memory foam: Traditional memory foam mattresses are notorious for trapping heat. Memory foam is popular for its ability to contour to the body, but the reason it can do that is because it responds to body heat. When pressure (and heat) from your body is applied to the foam, it reacts by conforming and enveloping around you, further trapping heat.
- Advanced memory foam: Because memory foam gets such a bad rap for trapping heat, manufacturers have developed new iterations that maintain its contouring ability but with less heat retention. Open-cell memory foam provides better air circulation. Copper- and graphite-infused memory foams also help disperse heat.
- Basic poly foam: When it comes to temperature, polyfoam offers a middle ground between latex and memory foam. It’s cooler than memory foam but hotter than latex. Polyfoam has an open-cell structure which facilitates air circulation. However, the density of polyfoam alters its capacity for heat regulation – the denser the polyfoam, the hotter the mattress. Hot sleepers should look out for mattresses with high-density polyfoams in the support layers.
- Advanced polyfoam: Designers offer advanced polyfoam as a better alternative for temperature regulation than regular polyfoam, but it still isn’t recommended for hot sleepers.
If you’re a hot sleeper, it’s not just important that the mattress you choose contain cooling components; where these components lie within the bed itself also matters. The typical mattress contains at least three layers, all enclosed within a cover. You want to have cooling components placed closest to the mattress surface, as that’s where they’ll have the most impact on your own body temperature.
For example, memory foam mattresses are subpar at heat retention, but their contouring ability is unparalleled. As such, many sleepers enjoy the way they conform and envelop their body for support. Some hybrid mattresses aim to improve the heat retention issue by placing cooling gel foams, copper-infused layers, or more above the memory foam layer, thus providing a similar contour to a memory foam bed but with a much cooler sleep surface.
Alternately, hybrid mattresses may address the temperature problem by using an innerspring support core. However, if it is sandwiched between heavy foam layers, the cooling properties of the coil layer will likely be overshadowed.
How does a cover affect mattress cooling?
We mentioned above how the placement of the individual layers can affect the overall surface temperature of the mattress. Given that the mattress cover is the closest mattress layer touching the sleeper’s body, it should be of prime importance to hot sleepers
Mattresses tend to contain one of four cover materials:
- Non-quilted covers: Thinner covers facilitate better airflow. As the thinnest cover type, non-quilted covers tend to sleep quite cool.
- Quilted covers: Thicker covers tend to sleep hotter. Quilted covers tend to be thicker than non-quilted covers, especially if they contain poly foam or memory foam for additional comfort. As a result, they often sleep hotter.
- Phase change materials (PCMs): Covers containing PCMs are designed to absorb the sleeper’s body heat up to a certain temperature point, before distributing it throughout the mattress, enabling better temperature regulation while you sleep. This allows the mattress to stay cooler than a quilted cover, although not quite as cool as a non-quilted cover.
- Cooling fabrics: Just as manufacturers infuse copper, gel, or other cooling materials into their foams, they’ve found certain fibers can have a similar effect on the fabric used in the mattress cover. The three main cooling fabrics you’ll encounter include Celliant® fibers, Lyocell, and Lycra® Spandex. Celliant® is made from thermoreactive minerals designed to regulate body temperature and air circulation. Lyocell is made from cellulose, a thin material that sleeps cool. Lycra® Spandex may be familiar to athletes, as they see it in much of their clothing. Its moisture-wicking properties help provide relief for hot sleepers prone to night sweats.
Our Favorite Cooling Mattresses
Construction: The GhostBed is a 11-inch latex hybrid mattress. It’s composed of three layers: a polyfoam support core, a gel-infused memory foam comfort layer, a top comfort layer of perforated synthetic Dunlop latex, all within a woven polyester fabric cover. The GhostBed comes in a single firmness level, a 6.5 on a scale of 1 to 10.
Pros: Thanks to the inclusion of Dunlop latex, the GhostBed provides a bouncier mattress surface more suitable for sex than a comparable all-foam bed. Since it contains no innerspring coils, it also sleeps very quiet. The GhostBed comes with the standard online sleep trial of 101 nights, and is backed by a 20-year limited warranty.
Cons: While Medium Firm is the most popular firmness level, it may not be suitable for all sleepers. The GhostBed also has poor edge support, making it less desirable for couples or those who like to sit or stretch across all areas of the bed. Like many online mattress companies, the GhostBed is a newer mattress with a limited track record.
Why Choose GhostBed: The gel in the memory foam layer helps mediate the heat retention of the memory foam, and the perforated Dunlop latex also helps facilitate better airflow. The GhostBed is a good option for hot sleepers who like the feel of a memory foam bed, without the heat.
Construction: The WinkBed hybrid mattress features a TENCEL® cool fabric cover, 1 inch of gel foam, 1 inch of soft foam, a layer of pocketed microcoils, a lumbar support pad, another 2.4 inches of pocket coils, and 2 inches of support foam. The WinkBed is available in three firmness options: Soft, Luxury Firm, and Firm (a 4.5, 6.5, and 7.5, respectively, on a scale of 1 to 10). Additionally, the WinkBed offers a Plus (6.5) firmness option designed specifically for heavier sleepers weighing over 300 pounds.
Pros: The TENCEL® fabric is an eco-friendly fabric made from botanical materials that’s designed to sleep cooler than linen and absorb moisture better than cotton. The TENCEL® cover and gel foam layer beneath it work together to provide a cool mattress surface. The WinkBed comes with a 101 night sleep trial, free shipping and returns, and a 10-year warranty. Hot sleepers may opt for the coolControl Base which lets sleepers adjust the temperature for each side of the mattress throughout the night. If you wake up hot on one side, just roll on to the other.
Cons: If you do choose to add the coolControl Base, it adds an additional $2,200 to the price tag of $1,299 for a Queen.
Why Choose WinkBed: If you’re a heavier sleeper, the WinkBed Plus can provide support while keeping you cool. Regardless of your weight, the WinkBed’s TENCEL® cover sleeps cooler than linen, and its moisture-wicking properties will help hot sleepers prone to night sweats. Add the coolControl Base, and you have the ultimate cooling mattress.
Construction: The Leesa bed is a mixed foam bed containing 6 inches of support foam, 2 inches of memory foam, and a top 2-inch layer of cooling Avena® foam. The Leesa mattress is available in a medium firmness level, around a 5 to 6 on a scale of 1 to 10. It comes with a 100-night sleep trial and free shipping, and is made in the USA.
Pros: The Leesa bed is an affordable foam option that’s designed to sleep cooler than comparable foam beds. It’s also very light and easy to move. The individual foam layers have a lower density, which helps the mattress sleep cooler.
Cons: However, those lower-density foams don’t last as long as heavier-density foams, so the Leesa bed may have a shorter lifespan. Also, while the medium firmness level is suitable for the majority of sleepers, it may not be comfortable for all, especially if they are above or below average weight.
Why Choose Leesa: The top Avena® foam is a hypoallergenic latex foam alternative. Given its inclusion in the top layer, it helps keep the overall mattress surface cool, while enabling the contour and comfort of a foam bed thanks to the memory foam layer beneath.
Construction: The Zenhaven bed is an all-latex mattress, composed of a 6-inch latex support core and a 3-inch latex comfort layer, encased in a 1-inch layer of New Zealand wool. The bed uses Talalay latex from America and organic New Zealand wool and cotton in the cover. The bed comes in two comfort layers, either of which can be accessed simply by flipping the mattress over.
Pros: As an 100% organic all-latex bed, the Zenhaven bed provides above-average breathability and durability, ensuring a cool sleep surface for a long time. The bed is projected to last 20 years, which is more than double the typical mattress lifespan. The organic cotton and wool in the cover also help provide additional breathability for hot sleepers. At 120-days, the sleep trial is longer than most.
Cons: However, the durability of latex does come with a hefty price tag, and Zenhaven does charge return and delivery fees. Latex is also a heavy material, so the bed is difficult to maneuver.
Why Choose Zenhaven: Latex beds are one of the most durable mattress options, and they provide superior support over an extended lifespan. For eco-minded sleepers who want a cool mattress, the Zenhaven is a compelling option.
Construction: The Helix hybrid mattress is made-to-order depending on the results of a shopper’s short sleep quiz. Based on their sleep quiz, the composition of the layers varies, as does the bed’s firmness. Helix provides multiple firmness levels, ranging from soft to very firm. Generally, each bed contains four layers: a 4-inch support foam layer, 2-inch transition foam layer, 2-inch pocketed microcoil layer, and a 2-inch dynamic foam comfort layer, all wrapped in a polyester cover. The Dynamic foam mimics the feel of both latex and memory foam.
Pros: The construction of the Helix bed keeps it quiet. Because sleepers can note preferences in their sleep quiz, Helix may vary the density in the foam layers to be more breathable and sleep cooler. The Helix Bed ships free, and comes with a 100-night risk-free sleep trial and 10-year warranty.
Cons: The polyester cover is not as breathable as other materials. Because the Helix bed does not contain true memory foam, it’s doesn’t offer quite as much contour as other hybrid mattresses. However, it may also sleep cooler as a result.
Why Choose Helix: Helix offers a customizable mattress for a significantly cheaper price tag. For hot sleepers who want to customize their mattress, while ensuring it meets their breathability and firmness requirements, Helix is a great option.