Why Your Memory Foam Mattress Is Hot and How To Fix It

At the end of a long day, the only thing we want to do is get into our comfortable, soft bed. It’s all fine and dandy until you start getting comfortable only to notice that it’s getting hot. No, it’s not you having hot flashes, it’s actually your mattress. Memory foam mattresses are notorious for their abilities to hold onto heat. Not all of them are like this, however, but if you do have one that does make you sweat while you’re on it, there are ways to cool your bed down.

What Is Memory Foam?

sleeping on memory foam

Most types of this foam are made from a material called viscoelastic. It is both absorbent and soft while molding to your body in response to pressure and heat. These are meant to evenly distribute body weight so not to create pressure points while relieving pain. When you have painful areas in your body, they give off more heat and the mattress responds to this by molding itself to you. Today, this kind of foam is made in different firmnesses to better accommodate different pain areas.

Types of Memory Foam

If you’re new to the foam scene or you’re just looking for something new, here are some of the different types of memory foam available. Some of them will hold more heat than others, it just depends on what they are made foam.


Traditional foam first started to make its grand appearance in the 1990s. They quickly took the place of innerspring mattresses, but they came with a price. However, they are fantastic for cradling your body, increasing blood circulation, and reducing certain stress points on your body. These also offer antimicrobial features, which means that the likelihood of dust mites and other bugs making their way into the mattress is slim to none. The only downfall to these is that they tend to sleep hot, which can be fixed easily with a cooling mattress topper.

Air Cooling Memory Foam

Since one of the biggest complaints about memory foam is the amount of heat accumulation they have. Manufacturers decided to eliminate the heat issue altogether by producing cooling foam. It works by allowing air to flow through the mattress through open cells. Still, there are some mattresses that still retain some amounts of heat.

Gel Memory Foam

This is very similar to traditional  foam in that it stops motion transfer and it cradles pressure points over your body. These gel foams are also antimicrobial. They are also generally infused with gel beads and are more durable than traditional foam as well. A lot of people tend to favor these because they have the great ability to ease aches and pains. These mattresses also absorb body heat very well, keeping you cooler than most traditional mattresses.

Plant Based

This is one of the most overlooked types of memory foam there is, it’s also one of the most breathable. These types of mattresses are made from eco-friendly materials and are free from common chemicals found in other types of foams. If you pair one of these up with another cooling element, it’s sure to have your temperature regulated quite well.

How Your Bed Gets So Hot

It’s strange to think that with all of this technology, we still suffer from extremely warm beds. In order for memory foam to work properly, it has to mold to your body using the heat coming off of you. The level of heat can cause you to feel like you’re encased in it, leaving you sweaty and uncomfortable. In a lot of industries, the foam is used as an insulator. In the mattress industry, the foam material needs to be dense enough to support and allow air circulation between your mattress and your body. The higher the density, the higher the heat is going to be. You could always invest in a new mattress, but it can get expensive.

Your overall body heat can be an issue as well. If you sleep with a partner, you may also overheat because now you have two bodies creating heat. So, what’s the solution if not a new mattress?


Wool? Yes, you read that right. You can invest in a wool mattress protector for a number of reasons. The wool is extremely effective when it comes to keeping you cool. It’s breathable and natural. It does a great job of absorbing moisture and regulating temperature. You can also sleep in wool bedding such as duvets and pillows. All of the wool will help keep moisture away, helping you to feel less clammy and hot.

Create Air Space

You can’t change the way air flows through the mattress, but you sure can change the airflow under the mattress. Air can get trapped under it, keeping your body heat up and rising. This is going to increase your discomfort. If your bed has a solid foundation, such as plywood, there’s the reason why your mattress gets so hot- there’s no circulation. The best advice we can give is to replace what’s under your bed. You can use slats rather than solid wood or you can exchange your frame for one that will allow airflow. Also, if you opt for a more firm mattress, there’s more opportunity for ventilation.

Cooling Pads & Toppers

This is probably one of the easiest ways to make your bed feel cooler. There are specially designed toppers and cooling pads meant to keep your body cool. The Slumber Cloud nacreous mattress pad is an ideal solution. It’s affordable and lightweight. It slides right over your mattress like a sheet. It uses special Outlast viscose fabric. It manages the microclimate under your covers, keeping you cool all night long.

If you would rather have something that adds more padding to your bed, opt for something like the extra plush bamboo topper. Bamboo is also a natural moisture wicking material meant to regulate body temperature. You can also find other bedding options such as sheets, pillowcases, duvets, and more for cooling you down while you sleep.


Memory foam mattresses are amongst one of the most comfortable sleeping surfaces you can bring into your bedroom. There are so many different kinds and variations that it can be so hard to decide that you don’t even take heat retention into consideration. Be sure to keep your room at around 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the optimal sleeping temperature for a good night’s sleep, and it won’t have you sweating on the bed. You can also follow the tips and tricks above to help you with the situation. If you know anybody who may be suffering from this inconvenience, share this article with them.

Photo credit:; Garna Zarina/Shutterstock

Frequently Asked Questions

Will the type of sheets on a memory foam bed help with staying cool?

If you’re finding your memory foam mattress is holding in too much heat and making your nights very uncomfortable, you don’t necessarily have to switch out your mattress for a new one. Consider changing the sheets you are using. If you currently favor polyester or silk sheets, they typically trap body heat and can makes matters worse. Try replacing them with sheets made from cooler, breathable materials such as cotton, linen, or bamboo. As well, if you typically purchase sheets with a high thread count, look for ones that have a lower thread count, as these provide better airflow and can keep you cooler.

Can a gel mattress topper get hard in the cold?

One of the best ways to manage the heat that results in sleeping on a memory foam mattress is to purchase a mattress topper infused with cooling gel. While this will help make you feel more comfortable if you are a hot sleeper, it’s important to remember that memory foam in general is sensitive to temperature and reacts not only to your body temperature, but to the temperature in the room as well. If it gets too cold in your bedroom, the gel in your topper can become hard and uncomfortable. The good news is that as you lay on the mattress topper, your body heat will soften it up, creating a balance that should be comfortable.

How does a cooling memory foam mattress work?

If you are interested in a memory foam bed and know that you are a hot sleeper, you may want to choose a mattress with cooling memory foam. How does this make a difference? This type of foam mattress uses temperature-regulating materials, such as gels to draw heat away from your body to give you a cooler sleep. Because of this, your body temperature remains lower throughout the night and will improve your comfort level and sleep quality.

What kind of bed frame is best to reduce heat retention when sleeping on a memory foam mattress?

What you put your memory foam mattress on can affect how hot or cold the mattress will be, so it’s important to choose the right bed frame. If your goal is to cool the mattress and reduce heat retention, an open, supportive bed frame such as a slatted one is a good option. The slats allow air to circulate through the base layers of the mattress, minimizing the overall heat that could get trapped in the foam layers. If you go with this type of bed frame, make sure the slats are no further than 2.75 inches apart so the frame can properly support the weight of the mattress.