Does memory foam get hot?
Memory foam mattresses are specially designed to support your body while you sleep in areas and positions that regular, coiled spring mattresses do not.
Memory foam mattresses adapt to the natural heat of your sleeping body and have been shown to have benefits for both the physical and psychological wellbeing of the sleeper.
As well as the direct physical benefits, memory foam can also help to improve overall sleep quality which, in turn, can improve everything from digestion and mood to reaction times and general cognitive faculties.
However, whilst most people do not report overheating and are only aware of the many benefits of memory foam, 15% of users claim that their memory foam mattress can make them too hot at night. There are many fixes for this problem and we are going to take a look at some of them.
In this article, we will explore why memory foam gets hot, what you can do about it, and what the overall benefits are of using a memory foam mattress or topper.
Does memory foam get hot?
Memory foam uses the natural heat of your body to adjust to your shape while you sleep. Because memory foam stores the heat to remain malleable, it can get hot at night and some users report that they feel them overheat.
Although storing heat is a crucial part of how memory foam works, there are many things you can do to ensure you stay cool whilst reaping the many benefits of a memory foam mattress or a mattress topper.
So let’s jump in and take a look at why it is that memory foam gets hot.
Why does memory foam get hot?
Memory foam uses a special visco-elastic material to offer support to areas of the body that would be unsupported in a regular coiled spring bed. Viscous substances, such as honey, become more fluid when they are warm. So the memory foam responds to the natural heat of your sleeping body to soften the viscous substance and adjust to your resting position. Over time, the memory foam learns your sleeping habits and sets to your natural resting position, hence the name “memory foam”.
Viscous substances move with greater fluidity when they are heated up or warm. Similarly, the visco-elastic foam of a memory foam mattress moves when it is warmed by the natural body heat of the sleeper. So the human warmth causes the visco-foam mattress to shift beneath you and adapt to the shape of your body.
A regular spring mattress sinks on heavy points of contact, such as the hips and the head, which can leave large parts of the body unsupported. A memory foam mattress, on the other hand, adapts to your sleeping habits and ensures that the entire body is fully supported. This has many benefits including a sounder night’s sleep for most sleepers and more support for people with joint or chronic pain.
The viscous substance within the memory foam mattress reacts to your heat to adjust itself, but it then stores some of that heat in the process. Memory foam is also filled with disconnected air bubbles, which limits the airflow within the mattress. For these reasons, it is perfectly normal for memory foam mattresses to get hot while you sleep.
For some sleepers, particularly those who are naturally warm or are light sleepers, this can result in slightly less comfortable sleep. Though it is important to remember that, for most people, the physical and psychological benefits of memory foam far outweigh the drawbacks.
Cooler types of memory foam
Not all memory foam mattresses lead to a night of overheated sleep. There are several memory foam mattresses on the market that are recommended for hot sleepers, and even people who are prone to night sweats.
To help combat an overheated bed, there are two types of memory foam mattresses you can find that will encourage airflow and make for an altogether cooler sleep.
- Gel memory foam mattress. A gel-infused memory foam mattress is filled with gel beads that bond with the foam to increase the airflow rate within the mattress. More airflow results in a cooler bed and a sounder sleep for warm sleepers.
- Aircool memory foam mattress. An aircool memory foam mattress uses a layered structure of ventilated foams to increase the airflow and cool your bed and your body whilst you sleep.
How to make memory foam cooler
If you already have a traditional memory foam mattress or a mattress topper and it is not a cooling type, there are still many things you can do to reduce the temperature of your bed and your bedroom.
A cooling pad, or mattress pad as they are sometimes known, is a thin topper that lies between you and the mattress. The cooling pad is made of breathable material and absorbs and expells any excess body heat. Of course, this can mean that the memory foam takes longer to warm up and adjust, but once the two reach equilibrium, you can rest both comfortably and coolly.
The bed frame
Bed frames can make a big difference in the temperature of the bed. If your bed frame is built on a solid foundation, then air can get trapped beneath it. In turn, this means the hot air rises up through the mattress to the rest of your body.
A bed that is sustained by slats, on the other hand, allows for much more airflow and does not keep air trapped beneath you that warms while you sleep. So consider changing the bases or frame of your bed if you find you get too hot at night on your memory foam mattress.
Many people are unaware of just how important pillows are in keeping you cool at night. The head is the warmest part of the body and the rest of the body will lower or raise its temperature to keep in sync with the head. So a specially designed pillow that uses cooling technology to reduce the temperature of your head will also work to lower the temperature of the rest of your body.
Natural fibre pillows – such as those filled with bamboo, feather, latex, or cotton – are the coolest fillers. There are also copper-infused pillows that improve airflow as well as specially designed cooling pillows that use other breathable materials to keep the airflow moving in the pillow while you sleep.
Covers, sheets, and duvets
Thick and heavy bedsheets can also cause temperature issues for hot sleepers, especially during the warmer months of the year. While you can, of course, choose lighter covers, there are also materials such as Egyptian cotton that can improve the breathability of your bedding and reduce your body temperature. There are also a variety of cooling sheets available that help to remove moisture and sweat from the skin to reduce heat retention.
Bedroom temperature and pyjamas
A simple open window, ceiling fan, or even air-con, can lead to a much better night’s sleep for anyone who gets hot as they slumber. You may also try wearing looser fitting or cooling pyjamas and nightwear or even none at all!
What are the benefits of memory foam?
Although some people can overheat when sleeping on a memory foam mattress, there are still many benefits to memory foam. Here, we will take a look at just some of them.
- Comfort. The first and most obvious benefit of memory foam and the reason more and more people are opting for it over a spring mattress is that it is incredibly comfortable to sleep on. A memory foam mattress takes the pressure off your spine and cushions your entire body, which makes for a more comfortable sleep from day one.
- Alleviates pain. Of course, memory foam does not cure all pain, but many users with joint pain or chronic pain report their symptoms to have improved upon using memory foam. Memory foam can correct poor sleep posture and help with realignment, which, in some cases, lie at the root of long term pain conditions. This is especially true for sufferers of hip, neck, and back pain.
- Good for allergies. Sleeping can be one of the worst times for people with allergies, with close contact with dust mites being a key culprit. Most memory foam mattresses are hypoallergenic and dust-mite resistant, which is great for anyone with allergies or respiratory problems.
- Improves respiration. Memory foam can also help to improve your respiration and air circulation as you sleep. In turn, this can benefit a number of things such as metabolic rate, blood pressure, and overall mood.
- Long lifespan. Memory foam mattresses don’t need to be flipped every couple of years or sag in the middle over time. They last much longer than regular spring beds and some can even have warranties lasting up to 25 years.
So, if you are overheating at night in your memory foam bed, or if you are a hot sleeper looking to buy a new mattress, don’t be deterred by the heat of memory foam. Try some of our tips and tricks for a cooler, better rested night’s sleep.