You may be thinking about buying a memory foam mattress because they can provide excellent contouring properties to alleviate pressure points, dampen movements so that couples can sleep undisturbed, and possibly even reduce back pain by promoting better posture and muscular relaxation.
However, due to the synthetic design of memory foam, you may be wondering if memory foam can make you overheat and sweat during the night.
Memory foam mattresses can make you sweat and become too hot during the night. This can be due to the materials retaining and reflecting your body heat back to you, impeding airflow, and contouring too closely to your skin.
However, not everyone is guaranteed to sleep hot or experience night sweats in a memory foam mattress due to the potential variations in health conditions, medications, and differences between individual body types.
Crucially, not all memory foam mattresses are the same – some designs may make you sweat and/or sleep hot more than others.
This article explains how a memory foam mattress can make you sweat and/or sleep hot; the 3 steps that you should follow to buy a cooling memory foam mattress, and how to cool down a memory foam mattress that already sleeps hot and is giving you night sweats.
Alternatively: if you’re looking for a high-quality cooling memory foam mattress, then I strongly recommend the hybrid version of the Puffy Lux – rated #1 here on my list of the best mattresses to buy online in 2020.
3 Ways a Memory Foam Mattress Makes You Sweat
Memory foam is derived from polyurethane foam and mixed with other chemicals to make it denser and more elastic than regular polyfoam .
These qualities allow the memory foam to soften in response to your body heat by altering the molecular arrangement of the material so that it can mould to your exact body shape to provide the adaptive support and pressure relief that memory foam is famous for.
However, the heat retaining properties of memory foam are the main reason why some people report sleeping hot and experiencing night sweats whilst sleeping in a memory foam mattress or on a memory foam topper.
Also, the denser the memory foam, the more likely it is to trap heat and cause you to sweat too much.
Below is a more in-depth look at how some memory foam mattresses are capable of causing you to overheat and potentially sweat more at night.
1: Reflective Heat
The reason why memory foam mattresses sleep hot is because the foam absorbs your body heat and retains it to an extent so that the foam can continually adjust to your exact body shape as you switch positions throughout the night.
Consequently, the heat is reflected from the surface of the mattress back to you – which can make it more challenging for your body to thermoregulate and stay asleep (you sleep better when you are slightly cooler) .
Naturally, as a consequence of overheating in your memory foam mattress, you may begin to sweat more as your body attempts to release heat and return to homeostasis.
2: Close Contouring
Unlike the upholstered layers of a traditional spring mattress, memory foam adapts and adheres to the contours of your body very closely.
This means that breathability can be impaired and lead to heat being trapped in the mattress – causing overheating and sweating.
Similarly, memory foam is not very good at wicking away moisture – meaning that your sweat is likely to soak the material and struggle to dissipate.
3: Lack of Through-Flow
Memory foam needs to have a higher density than regular polyfoam so that it can support your body weight and adapt to your shape.
However, this higher density also makes it harder for heat to escape from the foam and allow cooler ambient air to enter the mattress (unlike latex foam, which leverages a pinhole design to allow warm air to be pumped out of the mattress as you move around).
And because memory foam is designed to be highly adaptive, the airflow is cut off even more as your body weight crushes the material and the foam hugs tightly to your body.
This issue can be exacerbated when the memory foam mattress is placed on a solid base (such as the floor or a flat wooden base) because airflow and heat dissipation is further impaired.
3 Ways to Buy a Cooling Memory Foam Mattress
Have you yet to buy your new memory foam mattress?
Then the good news is that many modern memory foam mattresses are significantly better at keeping you cool and dry at night than the older, ‘traditional’ memory foam mattresses that first launched in the early ’90s.
Follow the 3 steps below to find a memory foam mattress that has all of the excellent pressure-relieving qualities without the drawbacks of making you overheat and sweat too much.
Alternatively: if you want to skip the hard work and just buy a quality cooling memory foam mattress, I strongly recommend the Puffy Lux – rated #1 on my list of the best mattresses to buy online (go for the hybrid option for maximum cooling capabilities).
1: Choose a Hybrid Design
Going for a hybrid design over an all-foam structure is the most effective step that you can take to ensure that your memory foam mattress sleeps cool.
Because by opting for a coil core, between 50-70% of the mattress becomes more aerated and better able to dissipate heat when compared to a solid polyfoam base.
And with memory foam still being present in the upper comfort layer, you’ll still be able to avail of the pressure-relieving qualities of the foam.
2: Select Cooling Foams and Aerated Designs
Regardless of whether you go for a hybrid or all-foam design, you should look for memory foam that’s designed to be cooling or at the very least, is implemented into the mattress in a way that it encourages better airflow and heat dissipation.
Below is a list of the most effective types of cooling memory foam and aerated designs:
- Open celled foam – if a mattress manufacturer/brand says that they use ‘open-celled’ memory foam then this is good because it means that the foam is likely going to allow for better airflow and heat dissipation.
- Plant-based memory foam – plant-based memory foam replaces some of the petrochemicals with natural materials like soy, which may help to make the mattress more cooling according to some anecdotal reports.
- Gel foam layers – memory foam mattresses with an entire gel memory foam comfort layer may warm more slowly. However, you may find that this delayed warming effect doesn’t last for the duration of the night.
- Gel infusion – some brands may choose to infuse thermal gel beads into the upper comfort layer to make the mattress cool to the touch. Whilst other models may leverage phase-change gel which changes from a solid to a liquid in response to your body heat to help the mattress cool internally.
- Copper/graphite infusion – memory foam with copper and/or graphite infusions may help to dissipate heat.
- Perforations/air channels – memory foam mattresses with perforations and/or air channels can help to dissipate heat better than solid blocks of memory foam/polyfoam.
3: Use a Slatted Base
Using a slatted base with gaps of 2-3 inches between the slats (but not too wide, since gaps more than 3-4 inches may void the warranty) can help heat to escape and allow air to better flow through the mattress.
This contrasts with a solid base that in addition to trapping heat, can also cause moisture to build up and lead to mold growth under the mattress (which may make certain allergies worse).
7 Ways to Cool Down a Hot Memory Foam Mattress
Is your current memory foam mattress making you hot and sweaty?
Then try the following 7 ways to cool down your memory foam mattress and combat night sweats.
1: Switch Out the Base
As previously discussed, putting your memory foam mattress on a slatted frame can help to dissipate heat and allow for better airflow so that you can sleep cooler and sweat less.
If you currently have your memory foam mattress placed on the floor, then this is likely a large contributing factor to you sleeping hot because the dense memory foam plus the solid construct of the floor is going to maximally impede air circulation.
2: Remove Junk From Under the Bed
In addition to putting your memory foam mattress on an elevated, slatted frame, you should also clear away any junk from underneath the bed that’s contributing to trapping heat and blocking airflow.
3: Use a Cooling Bed Sheet Set
If you sweat excessively then you should specifically go for a bamboo sheet set because in addition to helping you to stay cool, the bamboo can help to wick away moisture.
‘Moisture-wicking’ means that rather than simply absorbing the moisture and letting it drench the sheet (like cotton does), the bamboo can push the liquid to the edge of the material where it can evaporate – helping to keep you dry and comfortable.
Conversely, you’ll want to avoid synthetic materials like polyester that can trap heat.
When it comes to pillows, opting for a pillow that lacks a solid fill can help to disperse heat.
Good options include pillows that contain buckwheat, microbeads, or (ironically) shredded memory foam.
4: Use a Wool Mattress Pad
A mattress pad is a thinner version of a mattress topper that attaches to the top of your mattress to alter the firmness and feel of the mattress.
However, a wool mattress pad can help to help to wick away moisture to keep you dry, and their breathability can also help with regulating your temperature by allowing heat to disperse and cooler ambient air to flow through.
There are also electric, cooling mattress pads available – such as the Chilipad Cube Mattress Pad – that can be manipulated by your smartphone, remote, or a dial to regulate your temperature.
5: Increase the Firmness
Firmer memory foam mattresses may conform less closely to your body and therefore trap less heat when compared to a softer memory foam mattress.
Also, if you have a ‘softer’ body type (as opposed to a skinny body type with a lower body fat percentage) then you may find that the memory foam in a soft mattress adheres to your skin even more closely.
You can firm up your current memory foam mattress by purchasing a firmer mattress topper.
However, it’s important to note that increasing the firmness can alter the comfort levels of your mattress.
With an increase in firmness often being associated with greater pressure on the hips and shoulders in the side sleeping position, but also better hip support when you sleep on your front.
6: Alter Your Sleeping Environment and Lifestyle
Beyond the mattress itself, you can try making the following environmental and lifestyle changes to reduce sweating and overheating in your memory foam mattress at night:
- Consult your doctor – if you’re experiencing night sweats and/or hot flashes at night for no apparent reason then you should talk to your doctor to find out if there’s an underlying health issue to blame.
- Turn off electronics – items like laptops and TVs can increase the ambient room temperature (and the blue light may interfere with your sleep when exposed to it close to bedtime).
- Don’t exercise too late – going to the gym or exercising raises your core temperature which may make you sleep hot and sweaty at night if done within a few hours of bedtime.
7: Replace Your Mattress
If your current memory foam mattress is more than 5-7 years old then it may be making you sleep hot and sweaty due to sagging and body impressions that may be impeding airflow and trapping heat.
Check out my list of the best mattresses to buy online for some excellent deals on high-quality mattresses to save you some money.
I’m going to close out this post with the clear and concise answers to the most common questions related to memory foam mattresses making you sleep hot and sweaty.
Do All Memory Foam Mattresses Make You Sweat?
Not all memory foam mattresses will make you sweat the same – the presence of open-celled foams, plant-based foams, gel-foam, gel/copper/graphite infusions, and aerated designs can help to reduce your temperature which may also help you sweat less.
Do All Memory Foam Mattresses Make You Hot?
Not all memory foam mattresses will make you hot – going for a hybrid spring-memory foam design can help to dissipate heat and allow for better airflow when compared to an all-foam memory foam/polyfoam mattress.
What’s the Best Type of Mattress For Hot Sleepers?
The best type of mattress for hot sleepers is a hybrid spring mattress with Talalay latex in the top layer because this allows for maximum heat dissipation, air circulation, and temperature regulation.
What’s the Best Type of Mattress For Night Sweats?
The best type of mattress for night sweats is a hybrid spring latex mattress with wool in the outer quilting to help wick away moisture whilst allowing for heat dissipation and airflow (such as the Real Bed mattress).
Conclusion: Memory Foam Mattresses Differ
Whilst memory foam mattresses have a justifiably bad reputation when it comes to sleeping hot and causing night sweats, most high-quality modern memory foam mattresses are designed to be more cooling and better at wicking away moisture.
More specifically, if you want to buy a new memory foam mattress that’s less likely to cause overheating and sweating then I recommend going for a hybrid design to maximize airflow and looking for open-celled, plant-based memory foams – possibly with air channels and gel/copper/graphite infusions.
If you already have a memory foam mattress that sleeps hot, then I recommend putting it on a slatted base, clearing out junk from under the bed, using a wool mattress pad (great for reducing sweating), using a cooling bed sheet set, and/or making environmental/lifestyle changes.
Alternatively, you might like to replace your old memory foam mattress with a hybrid spring-latex design to maximize airflow and heat dissipation to help regulate your temperature and better control night sweats.
In which case, I recommend the Awara mattress – which also happens to be my #1 recommendation for restless sleepers too.
Click the button below to find out more about the Awara mattress and secure an amazing $300 discount now.
Sources and References
 Wikipedia – Memory Foam. Accessed 27/8/20.
 WebMD – What Happens to Your Body When You Sleep? Accessed 28/8/20.
No part of this post or website is intended to provide medical advice – please consult with a qualified professional if you require such guidance and/or before buying a mattress or sleep product based on your specific health needs.
Image Attribution and Licencing
Main image: ‘Classy Bedroom With Tray Ceiling and Shutters on Windows’ by PC Photography – used with permission under the terms of Canva’s One Design Use License Agreement.
Dan is the founder and head content creator at Bedroom Style Reviews.
He has been working as a professional online product reviewer since 2015 and was inspired to start this website when he ended up sleeping on a memory foam mattress that was too soft and gave him backache.
Through in-depth research and analysis, Dan’s goal with this website is to help others avoid such pitfalls by creating the best online resource for helping you find your ideal mattress, bedding, and bedroom furniture.
Dan is a qualified NVQ Level 2 Fitness Instructor with 6 years’ experience helping clients improve their health through diet, exercise, and proper sleep hygiene.
He also holds several college and university-level qualifications in health sciences, psychology, mathematics, art, and digital media creation – which helps him to publish well researched and informative product reviews as well as articles on sleep, health, wellbeing, and home decor.
Dan also has direct personal experience with insomnia, anxiety, misophonia (hypersensitivity to sounds), and pain from both acute and long-standing sporting injuries – he enjoys writing insightful articles around these subjects to help fellow sufferers of such conditions.
Learn more about Dan here.