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Mattress Ratings > Mattress Type Comparison

Mattresses and Sleeping Hot / Heat Retention

Unbiased Comparison, Analysis Based on 22,439 Owner Experiences

June 15, 2016

What You Need To Know

1. About 7% of mattress owners overall report that their mattress significantly and regularly retains heat and, consequently, sleeps hot.

2. Mattress heat retention often results in excessive sweating, restlessness and poor sleep quality.

3. The main factors that can affect heat retention include mattress firmness, sleeper weight, mattress type, and comfort layer composition.

4. To combat heat problems in regard to your current mattress, see temperature control.


Mattress Firmness and Heat Retention

Due to the fact that a person sinks significantly into 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.

mattress firmness heat comparison


Sleeper Weight / Size and Heat Retention

Heavier people tend to have greater potential for sleeping hot. This appears to be due to the fact that a heavy person sinks farther into the mattress where there is less airflow. It may also be due to the fact that a heavier person expends more energy when moving compared to a lighter person and this expenditure often creates more body heat.

person weight mattress heat comparison


Sleeping Hot / Heat Retention by Mattress Type

Nearly all mattress types can sleep hot, but some do so more than others. Keep in mind that the following chart represents what is often, but not always, the case. A particular brand, model or individual mattress may go against these findings somewhat.

mattress sleeping hot comparison

Memory Foam

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.

Memory Foam Density

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 it may also envelop 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.

memory foam density heat comparison

For how specific memory foam mattresses compare in density, see the memory foam mattress reviews - summary.

Comfort Layer / Material

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-Infused Memory Foam
Many memory foam mattresses use memory foam infused with millions of gel beads. This gel-infused 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-infused foam to sleep hot.

gel memory foam vs non

Moisture-Control Cover Material
Several memory foam mattresses use a moisture-wicking cover such as a Coolmax or Outlast fabric. The material allows perspiration to quickly evaporate allowing for cooler sleep. Limited owner experience data suggests that such a cover reduces heat-trap complaints by about 12%.

coolmax vs non chart

Other Approaches
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 at least 30% compared to similar non-Breeze Tempur-Pedic models.

Hybrid

Hybrid mattresses are typically regarded as spring-based mattresses with at least two inches of memory foam in the comfort layer. About 8% of owners report heat buildup likely due to the presence of the memory foam.

Latex

Latex mattresses are second only to memory foam / hybrid beds for having the most complaints regarding heat buildup. Most complaints, however, are for all-latex beds as opposed to latex-hybrids.

latex mattress heat comparison

For more information on the differences between these types of latex mattresses, see latex mattress reviews – summary.

Air

Airbeds 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.

air bed heat comparison

Innerspring

Innerspring mattresses without any memory foam and or latex have relatively few heat-related complaints.

Water

Waterbeds do not have a significant sleeping hot 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 during winter months.

Futon

Sleeping hot does not tend to be a noteworthy problem for futon mattresses. Models with memory foam likely sleep hotter than models without.

About our unbiased mattress research

Findings are based on over 22,400 mattress owner experiences collected from diverse and credible sources. Learn more about our mattress research methodology and sources.

Remember

– 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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