You finally found the comfort your back needs in using a memory foam mattress. It’s like sleeping on a cloud, but then the sweats start and you furiously search for the answers to how to keep cool on a memory foam mattress.
All the while, the heat builds to unbearable sweatiness where you throw your duvet off you in plain discomfort.
Sweating is a common problem for memory foam mattress users, especially if you’re a hot sleeper. Dealing with sleep disruption every night may affect your everyday mood and work performance. If not dealt with soon, it can lead to health complications.
There are cooler memory foam mattress types, like those infused with gel that dissipates heat. However, if you’re one of those who invested in a traditional memory foam mattress that makes you sweat, there are still ways you can do to cool your mattress down. Let’s not let that investment go to waste!
Why is your Memory Foam Mattress Getting Hot?
First, let’s get into the history of memory foam and why it has heat-trapping properties. NASA first developed memory foam in the mid-1960s to help with shock absorption as astronauts leave and reenter the Earth’s atmosphere. It is a dense material that moulds perfectly to the body when they come into contact.
How does memory foam do this?
Memory foam is viscoelastic material which means having viscous and elastic properties. Viscous property means temperature affects its resistance to flow. Think of it as a jelly-like cold soup versus a hot soup that is more watery.
Related Read: Top Memory Foam Mattresses In The UK
The memory foam absorbs the body’s heat to soften and contour the body’s curves. You’ll notice that memory foam gets more flexible the longer you lie on it.
On the other hand, the elastic property means memory foam can go back to its original form after removing the force, like a rubber.
In a memory foam, it can be observed that it takes around 5 to 10 seconds to go back to its original shape. This phenomenon is called hysteresis and is why memory foam coined its name.
The foam remembers the force applied for 5 to 10 seconds before returning to the original shape.
With these properties, the downside of memory foam is it absorbs and tends to retain the body’s heat. Having viscous properties, it requires heat to do its job of being flexible.
Its dense structure also causes it not to ventilate as efficiently as spring mattresses with more airflow space. As the foam is compressed when you lie down, it results in poor air circulation and excessive heat retention. This trapped heat reflects on the sleeper during the night and results in overheating and sweating.
Why Is It Important To Regulate Temperature During Sleep?
Environment temperature is one of the most critical factors that affect our sleep. The study found that heat exposure increases wakefulness and decreases slow wave sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
Sleep disruption has both short-term and long-term consequences. Short-term problems can affect your day to day tasks, and symptoms include
- increased stress
- mood disorders
- Cognitive, memory, and performance deficits.
On the other hand, long-term consequences include
- cardiovascular disease
- weight-related issues
- metabolic issues
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus.
It may not seem serious in the short run, but sleep deprivation significantly affects overall health.
Tips and Tricks to Try to Cool Your Mattress
You’re lucky, as we will share a few tricks you can try to cool your mattress. Sometimes, memory foam mattresses need a slight upgrade for you to utilise their full potential. You can adjust the foundation, the beddings, or your sleeping environment.
Change Your Bed Foundation
Consider changing your bed frame or using a bed frame if you’re not using one. A solid platform, like the floor or bed frame with a solid plyboard, can restrict air circulation, leading to heat retention.
Image source: Wayfair
Using a bed foundation such as a bed frame with slats, box spring, or platform bed encourages airflow through the bottom and helps dissipate heat.
Change Your Beddings
Choosing suitable breathable pillows, sheets, blankets, mattress covers, and mattress toppers can significantly affect your quality of sleep.
The right pillow can set you up for a restful sleep. If your head starts to overheat, your brain reacts by telling you to produce sweat to release the heat and regulate your body’s temperature.
Sweating in the middle of the night will wake you and disturb sleep. So, choosing a breathable pillow with more breathable fillings like feathers and cotton helps increase air circulation to keep your head cool at night.
Pillowcases, Sheets, and Blankets
As fabulous as it seems, sleeping on a silk pillowcase and bed sheet just isn’t fabulous if you’re waking up on a sweaty, drenched pillow. Choosing cooling sheets with fabrics such as linen that have low thread counts help improve air circulation as they don’t trap heat.
You might also want to steer clear from insulating comforters and duvets if you’re a hot sleeper or during hot summer months, as these trap our body heat.
Mattress protectors are used to protect and prevent stains on the mattress, especially if you live with pets and/or kids, leading to more accidental spillages. Mattress protectors are usually waterproof or use a thick fabric to provide an additional layer of protection to the mattress.
Related Read: How To Clean A Memory Foam Mattress?
However, the downside to these waterproof materials is that they are not breathable and impede the mattress’s airflow. If you need a mattress cover for your memory foam mattress, consider using a breathable fabric like cotton and wool.
Using a mattress pad or toppers is also effective to cool down your mattress. Mattress pads are available containing cooling gels that help dissipate body heat. Natural materials like cotton and wool can also improve air circulation between your skin and the mattress.
Change Your Sleeping Environment
Your sleeping environment can also significantly affect your sleep. Here are some factors that you can consider:
We all know that sleeping in a too hot or cold room is not that comfortable. You’ll end up tossing and turning all night. One study concluded that maximum sleeping time is reached when your body is at a neutral temperature. This is 30-32°C (86-90°F) without wearing clothing or 16-19°C (61-66°F) wearing clothes and a duvet.
In hotter weather, there are some steps you can do to get close to the optimal temperature for sleep:
- Adjust your thermostat. If you have an adjustable thermostat in the room, take advantage of it for maximum sleep comfortability. You can set it to the thermoneutral temperature of 16-19°C (61-66°F) if you’re wearing clothing and using a blanket.
- Open your windows. Allowing air circulation can improve the ambient and body temperature.
- Use an electric fan. If the wind is not prominent in your area, use an electric fan to increase air circulation in the room. Some people also put ice on a tray in front of a fan to cool the air.
- Open the attic hatch. In the day, hot air accumulates in the ceiling. You can try opening your attic’s hatch, if you have one, to allow the hot air to go.
Lights and electronics
If you’re the type to sleep with television or lights on, you might want to reconsider. It disrupts your sleep with the light and heat is produced by some lights. If you can’t sleep without lights or television, consider having it on a timer so that they turn off when you’re in your deep sleep.
The last thing you want is to get all sweaty in your silk pyjamas. Fabrics like cotton, bamboo, or linen are recommended for breathable sleepwear. Also, make sure to wear loose-fitting ones so you’ll get comfy and allow breathability.
You may wonder why you need to hydrate before sleeping. During hotter nights, our body sweats more to release heat and help the body regulate its temperature.
One study found that dehydration affected the sleep duration of adults. Compared to normal 8-hour sleep, dehydrated adults slept for only 6 hours.
So make sure you stay hydration before going to bed and keep a glass of water by the bed in case you wake up feeling dehydrated.
If All Else Fails, Consider a New Mattress
You spent a lot on that expensive memory foam mattress. But sometimes, it’s just not suitable for you. If the body contouring has drawn you to a memory foam mattress, you should consider a hybrid mattress.
A hybrid mattress provides the same effect a memory foam mattress provides but with a cooler base or foundation. Its support layer consists of springs, so there is enough space for ventilation. Hybrid mattresses also come with top layers infused with gel to help with the cooling.
Tip: Most mattress sellers now offer free trial periods of up to 200 days, so you can try out the bed and see if it suits you.
A memory foam mattress is a significant investment you decided to spend on because of its benefits on back comfort and pressure relief.
However, if the heat concerns you, you can try the tips we have shared to help increase ventilation and aid in cooler temperatures. Sleep deprivation is not something to shut one’s eyes to as it can lead to serious health problems, both short-term and long-term.
Medic, G., Wille, M., & Hemels, M. E. (2017). Short- and long-term health consequences of sleep disruption. Nature and science of sleep, 9, 151–161. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5449130/
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Rosinger AY, Chang AM, Buxton OM, Li J, Wu S, Gao X. Short sleep duration is associated with inadequate hydration: cross-cultural evidence from US and Chinese adults. Sleep. 2019 Feb 1;42(2). doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsy210. PMID: 30395316. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30395316/