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About 5% 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.
Nearly all mattresses can sleep hot, but some do so more than others due mainly to their material composition. (See Temperature Control for products designed to minimize sleeping hot.)
The chart below shows how mattress types compare on this issue based on over 18,400 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 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 have avoided buying a memory foam bed in the first place – making these numbers somewhat lower than they otherwise would be.
The main factors that can affect 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 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 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.
Several memory foam mattresses use memory foam that is infused with millions of gel beads. This gel foam is designed to breath better and 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.
Several memory foam mattresses use a moisture-wicking cover such as a Coolmax® fabric. The material can move perspiration away from the sleeper to evaporate allowing them to sleep cooler. Owner experience data suggests that such a cover reduces heat-trap complaints by about 10%.
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 20-30% compared to similar non-Breeze Tempur-Pedic models.
In addition, a small number of mattresses may use graphene- or diamond particle-infused foam to sleep cooler longer. Owner experience data regarding the effectiveness of these types is not currently available.
For additional products that may help minimize memory foam heat problems, see Temperature Control.
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.
Airbed 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 at least two inches of memory foam and or latex 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 don't 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 may sleep hotter than models without.
Our findings are based on over 19,300 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.
– Air beds and innerspring mattresses are more likely to sleep hot if they contain two inches or more of memory foam and or latex.
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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