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About 5% of mattress owners overall report that their mattress retains heat and, consequently, "sleeps hot." Mattress heat retention often results in excessive sweating, restlessness and poor sleep quality.
Nearly all mattresses can sleep hot, but some do so more than others due mainly to the type of comfort layer material used and the density of the material.
The chart below shows how mattress types compare on this issue based on over 16,000 owner experiences.
Keep in mind that the chart represents what is often, but not always, the case.
A particular brand, model or individual mattress may go against these findings somewhat.
About 8% of memory foam mattress owners report sleeping hot. An additional 10% report their bed being warm, but at most times not uncomfortably so. In other words, the clear majority of memory foam mattress owners report no heat problems.
Several mid- to high-priced memory foam mattresses now use memory foam that is infused with millions of gel beads. This gel foam is designed to breath better and sleep cooler. And based on limited owner experience data, it does reduce heat-trap complaints significantly – in some cases by as much as 30% or more. Nevertheless, some owners still find gel foam to sleep hot.
Different memory foam mattress brands / models can have different foam density. Mattresses with higher density foam tend to have at least two times the number of heat retention reports than do mattresses with lower density foam. High foam density appears to result in less air flow within the mattress and, consequently, greater heat buildup. Learn more about how density affects memory foam bed characteristics in the memory foam density comparison.
For how specific memory foam mattresses compare in density and their heat trap potential, see the memory foam mattress reviews - summary.
Latex beds are second only to memory foam beds in having the most complaints about heat buildup. Most complaints, however, are for all-latex beds as opposed to latex-over-foam beds or foam-over-latex beds.
For more information on the differences between the three types of latex mattresses, see latex mattress reviews – summary.
Air bed models with memory foam or latex comfort layers have a higher chance of retaining heat than those models without such layers.
Innerspring mattresses without memory foam and or latex have few complaints about heat. However, about 7% of owners of innerspring mattresses that contain memory foam and or latex report heat buildup.
Waterbeds do not have a sleeping hot / heat retention issue because the water inside keeps temperatures down.
In fact, if the beds don't have a heater to warm the water, there may be a sleeping "cold" issue especially in winter months.
Sleeping hot does not tend to be a noteworthy problem for futons. Models with memory foam may sleeper hot than models without.
Our findings are based on over 16,000 mattress owner experiences that were collected from diverse and credible sources. Learn more about our mattress research methodology and sources.
– Memory foam beds with higher-density foam are two to three times more likely than lower-density memory foam beds to trap heat and sleep hot. Lower-density memory foam beds tend to sleep no hotter than the average non-memory foam bed.
– All-latex mattresses are as likely to sleep hot as higher-density memory foam mattresses.
– Air beds and innerspring mattresses are more likely to sleep hot if they have a memory foam and or latex comfort layer.
IN THE NEWS: Sleep Like The Dead's research findings have appeared in such news publications as Barron's • Toronto Star • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Edmonton Journal • Woman's World • The Consumerist • The Gazette • Ottawa Citizen
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