Why Memory Foam Mattresses Heat Up and How to Make Them Cool

Written by: Andjela Kastratovic
Updated: 10/02/2023

Does this scenario sound familiar? You wake up in the middle of the night feeling hot, and there’s no way to cool down. It’s like your whole bed is on fire. 

If you have a memory foam mattress, it might be the culprit. 

Memory foam mattresses trap heat, but a suitable temperature is essential for sleep quality. But don’t worry, because we’ve got you covered. 

In this article, we’ll explain why memory foam gets hot and what you can do to sleep cooler. 

Let’s dive in! 

What Is Memory Foam?

Memory foam, a product born from NASA’s viscoelastic material, has evolved from aircraft cushioning to a staple in our homes, especially mattresses and pillows. 

Memory foam mattresses are made with high-density polyfoam support cores and comfortable memory foam layers on top. They contour your body perfectly, making them an excellent choice for side and back sleepers. 

A memory foam mattress is an excellent choice if you’re a back pain sufferer looking for pressure relief or a couple who needs a mattress with solid motion isolation. It’s hypoallergenic, so it’s great for people with allergies.

However, a memory foam mattress has some disadvantages. It can be very heavy, and not everyone likes the sinking feeling the material gives. 

Are Memory Foam Mattresses Hot to Sleep On?

Traditional memory foam mattresses are notorious for trapping heat, making them a horrible choice for hot sleepers. 

Why does that happen? 

Your memory foam mattress turns into a body heat trap because of its dense and energy-absorbent structure. Also, the material is less breathable than other types of mattresses, making you sleep hot. 

How the foam layers contour to the body can make sleeping on a memory foam bed even hotter. 

Nowadays, manufacturers use copper, graphite, or gel to prevent heat retention, creating a cooler and more comfortable sleeping experience. 

Why Temperature Is Important for Sleep

Maintaining the right temperature during sleep is crucial for a restful night, and studies indicate that the ideal sleep temperature for adults is between 60 and 67°F. 

Environmental and psychological factors have an impact on the circadian rhythm, which controls our sleep. As we get ready for sleep, our core body temperature naturally drops, triggering the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone.

If your bedroom is too warm, this temperature drop is delayed, affecting sleep quality. In addition, overheating during sleep can lead to grogginess, immune system issues, memory problems, and other health issues. 

How to Make a Memory Foam Mattress Cooler

Sleep is crucial for your well-being, and memory foam mattresses can make you sleep hot and uncomfortable. Luckily, there are some tips and tricks to make your memory foam mattress sleep cooler. 

Mattress Toppers

Mattress toppers are thin layers of materials like memory foam, polyfoam, latex, and more. They’re usually used to make a mattress more comfortable, make your bed softer and firmer, offer more pressure relief, and make you sleep cooler. 

Opt for a cooling mattress topper with gel-infused foam, gel beads, latex, or other breathable materials to keep your sleep temperature in check. Some even feature phase-change materials or temperature-controlled water tubes.

If you prefer a natural touch, consider wool or cotton toppers for improved air circulation and moisture-wicking. Toppers are a budget-friendly solution to make your mattress cooler and more comfortable without without having to buy a new mattress.

Mattress Pads

Mattress pads are similar to mattress toppers; although they’re much thinner, they can still add a certain level of comfort to your mattress and help you sleep cooler. 

Opt for a breathable mattress pad crafted from cooling materials like natural cotton. Some pads even have moisture-wicking qualities, keeping your memory foam bed cooler. 

While a mattress topper offers more material for comfort, a mattress pad is a more budget-friendly option to upgrade your mattress. They may be thinner, but mattress pads can significantly improve your sleeping experience when made from temperature-regulating materials. 

Cooling Sheets

Start with cooling bedding—opt for breathable materials like high-quality cotton or linen and look for moisture-wicking properties to keep sweat at bay. Avoid dense materials that retain heat, like flannel or polyester. 

Natural fibers like wool, cotton, bamboo, and Tencel, or synthetic materials designed to regulate temperature, are your best bet if you’re looking for cooling sheets. Thread count also matters! Linen is cool at 100–200, while Egyptian cotton is best at 200–350.

Also, use less bedding during the summer months to improve air circulation and help you sleep cooler.

Cooling Pillows

You should also pick the right pillow if you want to sleep cool! Many pillows are made from traditional memory foam, but you should avoid those. 

When your head overheats, it affects your whole body’s comfort. Look for pillows with lightweight, breathable designs featuring cool materials like cotton or linen covers. 

Instead of memory foam, look for fillings like latex, buckwheat, down alternatives, or shredded foam. However, some memory foam pillows come equipped with cooling technologies such as copper or gel memory foam or cooling panels, which can be a good and cool choice.

Remember to pick the correct loft and firmness to match your sleeping preferences! 

Breathable Bed Frame

The bed frame and mattress foundations also significantly impact how you sleep. Some bed frames don’t offer the breathability that a memory foam mattress needs to cool off. 

However, memory foam beds are usually best on platform beds and firm, supportive boards that tend to trap warm air. Luckily, there are other mattress foundations you can go for, and they’ll still support your mattress. 

Opt for slatted bed frames to promote air circulation and avoid trapping body heat. These frames offer gaps, allowing air to move freely around and beneath the mattress. While slatted frames may become noisier over time, they significantly contribute to cooler sleep. 

Cooling Memory Foam Materials

Lastly, you can look for a new mattress. If you’re a fan of memory foam and want to maintain that level of comfort, we have some good news. 

Certain cooling technologies added to memory foam beds make them much cooler. For example, some cooling foams incorporate graphite, gel beads, or charcoal to enhance breathability and heat absorption. 

Gel-infused memory foam absorbs and dissipates body heat, while foam infused with copper and graphite aims for similar effects. Cheaper options for cooling mattresses may include charcoal and open-cell foam.

Other Ways to Keep Cool

It’s not just about the mattress. Making sure that your environment is cool and comfortable is also a big part of making sure you don’t overheat during sleep. 

It would help if you always had a glass of water on your bedside table to ensure you’re hydrated, and you can even try putting your bed sheets in the freezer for a while to cool them down before you’re off to bed. 

Here are some other things you should incorporate into your routine. 

Better Airflow

Focus on more air circulation in your bedroom to keep cool during the night. Open a window or use a circulating fan to ensure fresh air circulates. 

Your mattress benefits from this, especially if you have a bed foundation that boosts airflow, like a slatted bed frame. 

Heat can lead to discomfort, but you can improve the airflow in your bedroom by using ceiling fans, floor fans, or simply opening windows and letting some breeze in. 

Control the Temperature

Controlling room temperature is vital to ensuring an excellent night’s rest. If you have air conditioning, use it on hot nights. The ideal bedroom temperature is around 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit. 

However, be cautious of noise disruptions because they can also negatively impact your sleep and health. Experiment with your air conditioning settings, aiming for somewhere between 60 and 72 degrees to keep your body temperature low.


Your choice of sleepwear can significantly affect your body temperature while you sleep. Opt for breathable, lightweight materials like organic cotton or thin wool to stay cool. 

Some people even find sleeping in just underwear the most comfortable option. If you sleep hot, avoid heavy flannels or thick sweatpants; save those for the coldest nights. 

Instead, invest in lighter sleepwear made of natural fibers like bamboo, cotton, or linen. These materials help wick away moisture and keep you dry and cool, ensuring a more comfortable night’s sleep on your memory foam mattress.


Consider the impact of lights and electronics on sleeping cool during the night. Turn them off at least an hour before bedtime to reduce excess heat.

Bedside lamps, overhead lights, and electronic devices generate warmth. Powering them down well before sleep gives them enough time to cool down. 

This simple step, in addition to other cooling measures, contributes to cooler sleep. 

Should You Get a New Mattress?

It might be time to consider changing the entire mattress.

Look for one with excellent temperature control ratings, such as innerspring or hybrid mattresses known for better airflow than all-foam designs. However, you could also get modern memory foam mattresses with cooling technologies like gel-infused foam. 

But other mattress types offer great breathability:

  • Innerspring mattresses promote airflow, while 
  • Latex mattresses are cooling and eco-friendly. 
  • Hybrid mattresses combine memory foam or latex with innerspring cores, offering better cooling options. 

You could also switch to a bigger mattress, especially if you share your bed with a partner. 

Investing in a new cooling mattress can significantly improve your health and create a quality sleep environment. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Best Mattress for Hot Sleepers?

Those sleeping hot should opt for mattresses that are either breathable or made with cooling technologies. Look into plant-based foam options or hybrids blending memory foam with coils, or go for gel memory foam and open-cell foam. An innerspring mattress is very breathable, but it’s also firmer.

What Are the Disadvantages of Memory Foam Mattresses?

While comfortable and great at pressure relief, memory foam mattresses can absorb body heat, making some people feel too warm. Also, not everyone likes the sinking feeling that the material gives; some people like their mattresses to have more bounce.

Can Memory Foam Be Cool?

Yes, you can buy a cooling foam mattress! You can now find memory foam beds infused with cooling materials like gel foam, copper, or graphite, or those designed with an open-cell structure to improve airflow. 

These types of mattresses help dissipate body heat and keep you cool while providing regular memory foam support and pressure relief. 

Final Thoughts

There you have it! This is why memory foam mattresses can get so hot and what you can do to make them cooler. 

Remember, investing in a breathable mattress topper, choosing moisture-wicking covers, and improving the airflow in your bedroom can make a difference. Or you can get a new bed with gel or phase-change materials.

With these strategies, you’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep without breaking a sweat. 

Stay cool! 

Reviews written by:

Andjela Kastratovic - Co-editor

Anđela is a content writer by the day and an Illustrator by night. She loves anything creative, but sleep takes the cake – that’s why she enjoys writing for Anatomy of Sleep so much!

While in high school, she got accepted for her dream job – a ‘professional sleeper’. Her job was to test new mattresses from a local mattress brand and write reports on the quality of sleep. Ever since then, she’s been in love with reviewing mattresses and putting her compelling research into ultimate buyer’s guides. While not exploring the latest brands, she likes to illustrate and spend time with her dog and friends.