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1. About 6% of mattress owners overall report that their mattress significantly retains heat and, consequently, "sleeps hot." Mattress heat retention often results in excessive sweating, restlessness and poor sleep quality.
3. To combat heat retention with your existing mattress, see temperature control.
Due to the fact that a person sinks in somewhat to a soft mattress, air flow around the sleeper is thereby restricted often resulting in greater heat trap potential.
By contrast, a person tends to sleep on top of a firm mattress thereby having greater air flow. However, highly conforming firmer mattresses, such as certain Tempur-Pedic models, have above-average heat trap potential due to their ability to mold around the sleeper.
Heavier people tend to have greater potential for sleeping hot. This appears to be due in part to the fact that heavier people sink farther into the mattress where there is less airflow.
Nearly all mattress types can sleep hot, but some do so more than others. 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 9% of memory foam mattress owners report sleeping hot. An additional 15% 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.
Keep in mind, however, that these numbers may be affected by the fact that memory foam is often known to sleep hot for some people. As a result, people who are naturally hot sleepers may avoid buying a memory foam bed in the first place – making the rate somewhat lower than it otherwise would be.
Owner experience data suggests that the main factors affecting memory foam heat retention are foam density and comfort layer / cover material.
Different memory foam mattress brands / models can have different foam density. Mattresses with higher foam density 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 allow less air flow through the foam and also envelopes the sleeper to a significant extent resulting in less heat dispersal. 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, see the memory foam mattress reviews - summary.
The composition of the comfort layer(s) of a memory foam mattress can affect its heat-trap potential. Gel memory foam, moisture-controlling fabric and other approaches can reduce heat retention in memory foam mattresses.
Gel Memory Foam
Many memory foam mattresses use memory foam that is infused with millions of gel beads. This gel foam is designed to sleep cooler longer than regular memory foam. Owner experience data shows it to reduce heat-trap complaints significantly for all memory foam densities – by as much as 30%. Nevertheless, about 6% of gel memory foam bed owners still find gel foam to sleep hot.
Moisture-Control Cover Material
Several memory foam mattresses use a moisture-wicking cover such as a Coolmax or Outlast fabric. The material can move perspiration away from the sleeper to evaporate allowing him or her to sleep cooler. Limited owner experience data suggests that such a cover reduces heat-trap complaints by about 12%.
Several Tempur-Pedic models (Breeze) use a material in the comfort layer designed to promote cooler sleep. Limited owner experience data shows that Breeze models reduce heat trap complaints by about 30% compared to similar non-Breeze Tempur-Pedic models.
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-hybrids.
For more information on the differences between these types of latex mattresses, see latex mattress reviews – summary.
Airbed models with a three-inch or thicker comfort layer have nearly twice the likelihood of retaining heat to a bothersome extent than those models with a less thick layer. Three-inch thick or thicker comfort layers in some cases consist partly or entirely of memory foam.
Innerspring mattresses without memory foam and or latex have relatively few complaints about heat. However, about 8% of owners of innerspring mattresses that contain at least two inches of memory foam and or latex (i.e., hybrids) report heat buildup.
Waterbeds do not have a sleeping hot / heat retention issue because the water inside keeps the temperature down. In fact, if the beds do not have a heater to warm the water, there may be a "sleeping cold" issue especially in cooler climates and winter months.
Sleeping hot does not tend to be a noteworthy problem for futons. Models with memory foam likely sleep hotter than models without.
Findings are based on over 22,300 mattress owner experiences 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.
– Airbeds and innerspring mattresses are more likely to sleep hot if they contain two inches or more of memory foam and or latex.
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