Do Cooling Mattresses Work?

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Anyone who has ever tossed and turned in sweat-soaked sheets all night can tell you: temperature plays a critical role in the quality of your sleep. If you’re struggling with sleeping hot and wondering how to sleep cooler, a cooling mattress may be the answer.

What Are Cooling Mattresses?

If you’re struggling to sleep well because of hot flashes, night sweats, hot summer nights, or a mattress causing you to overheat, a cooling mattress could help you get more restful, restorative sleep. 

A hand pushes into a soft mattress.

How Do Cooling Mattresses Work?

Cooling mattresses draw heat away from your body or lower your body temperature through specially selected or technologically advanced materials. 

Some cooling mattresses allow you to set your ideal temperature and use integrated apps and smart technology to help heat and cool the mattress, automatically adjusting and optimizing your temperature throughout the night. Others use natural materials that encourage airflow and breathability.

Cooling Mattress Materials

As many as 41% of American adults report issues with night sweats, so it’s no wonder that mattress manufacturers are looking at innovative materials and technology to help you sleep cooler. Some of the cooling mattress materials you can find today include:


Celliant is a cooling mattress material using technology that enhances your sleep and recovery. Celliant works by regulating body temperature by transforming your body heat into infrared energy.


Tencel is a human-made, natural fiber created using wood pulp fibers from sustainably harvested bamboo, eucalyptus, oak, or birch trees. Tencel brings breathability and cooling properties to your bedding; it’s 50% more breathable than cotton. For those who tend to sleep hot, Tencel in sheets and bedding can help keep you cool during the night by allowing heat and moisture to escape, unlike synthetic fabrics.


Lycra is a material commonly used in sports apparel. Take a look at your yoga pants and other athletic wear, and you’re sure to see Lycra listed as a material. This synthetic material wicks moisture away from your body and moves freely. Lycra is a material you’ll often see used (alone or blended) on cooling mattress covers to help pull moisture away from your body as you sleep. 

Phase Change Material

Phase change materials (PCMs) switch between liquid, solid, or vapor based on their temperature to regulate your body temperature, keeping you comfy and cool throughout the night. Phase change materials are popular in various products because they can absorb and release large amounts of energy while maintaining a consistent temperature.

Copper Infusions

Some mattress manufacturers are infusing copper into memory foam mattresses and mattress covers. Copper has incredible conductive properties—heat is drawn to it like a magnet. Copper-infused cooling mattresses put that natural conductive action to work to pull heat away from your body and regulate your body temperature.

Nectar Premier Copper - Construction

Gel Infusions

The biggest complaint against memory foam mattresses is sleeping hot. Memory foam mattresses have been upgraded to counteract that complaint, using gel-infused memory foam to help you sleep cooler. Gelled microbeads are infused with memory foam mattresses to help regulate body temperature and provide a cooler solution to typical memory foam mattresses.

Graphite Infusions

Graphite has been used to regulate the temperature in devices like computers and phones, and now it’s making its way into bedding, primarily in memory foam mattresses. As you sink into the foam, the graphite particles move closer together, allowing them to transfer heat through the foam and dissipate it quickly.

Ventilated Memory Foam

Ventilated foam encourages air flow in a similar manner as an innerspring or latex mattress. By adding ventilation cut-outs to the memory foam, the airflow helps keep your body cooler than a solid block of memory foam. Some ventilated memory foam mattresses may also incorporate additional cooling elements, such as the cooling infusions mentioned above.

Natural Latex

Unlike memory foam mattresses that trap heat against your skin, natural latex doesn’t trap body heat and is a breathable mattress material that can be beneficial for people who tend to sleep hot. Many natural latex mattresses also include breathable, temperature-regulating materials such as organic cotton or wool, and may also include innerspring construction and ventilated latex layers to help encourage airflow for a cooler night’s sleep.

Cooling Mattress Benefits

Even if you don’t sleep hot or sweat at night, the technology and materials used in a cooling mattress may benefit you and your sleeping partner. Here are a few of the reasons people are shopping for cooling mattresses:

Improved Sleep Quality

Your body temperature is one factor that sends sleep-wake signals to your brain to prepare you for bed. If your body gets too hot at night, sleep disruptions can follow. While one night of restless sleep may not be a cause for concern, a pattern of sleep deficiency can be a serious problem. Sleep deficiency has been linked to health issues including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, obesity, and depression. In addition, you have a higher risk of injury, falls, and accidents when you’re sleep deficient. 

A cooling mattress can help regulate your body temperature so you can sleep well and feel well, too.

Better Sleep for Couples

Sleeping with a partner? It seems like there’s always one person who sleeps hotter than a furnace, and that person is paired with someone who is a chronic ice cube. A cooling mattress might be the best mattress for couples; it can help you and your partner sleep equally well at night.

Some cooling mattresses are technologically advanced enough for two partners to set their own individual comfort temperature ranges throughout the night. Others utilize materials that help regulate body temperature, so you and your partner can both sleep comfortably, whether you sleep alone or together.


Energy Bill Savings

When your mattress is helping you sleep cooler at night, you won’t be tempted to drop the thermostat to sub-zero temperatures just to get comfortable. Invest in a cooling mattress that won’t cause you to overheat and breathable bedding made from cotton, linen, and wool. The savings from regulating your temperature from the bed (and not the thermostat) may even offset the cost of your new cooling mattress.

Fewer Occurrences of Night Sweats

If you suffer from night sweats or hot flashes, you may be willing to try anything to reduce the instances and severity of these sleep disturbances. Good news! Researchers found that sleeping on a cooling mattress or cooling mattress pad helped reduce night sweats and hot flashes by half (52% reduction) within eight weeks. 

If you’re tired of waking up in the middle of the night tangled in a knot of sweat-soaked sheets, a cooling mattress could help you sleep dryer, cooler, and more comfortably. Remember to dress that cooling mattress in breathable bedding for extra night sweat support.

Do Cooling Gel Memory Foam Mattresses Work?

If you need the contouring, pressure-relieving support of a memory foam mattress but can’t stand the idea of sleeping hot, a cooling gel memory foam mattress may provide the perfect compromise. 

Memory Foam vs Gel Memory Foam

When lying on a memory foam mattress, the foam will contour itself around your body, offering comfort, support, and pressure relief. Unfortunately, memory foam works by trapping your own body heat against you, which can result in a hotter sleeping environment.

Gel memory foam is a solution that can help your body sleep cooler without sacrificing the comfort of a memory foam mattress. Infusing the memory foam with cooling gel materials can help pull the heat away from your body and not trap your body heat up against you. 

  Gel Foam Memory Foam
Support ✔️ ✔️
Motion Isolation ✔️ ✔️
Available In Many Firmness Levels ✔️ ✔️
Pressure Relief ✔️ ✔️
Cooling ✔️  
Responsive ✔️  
Lower Cost   ✔️

Why Do We Sleep Hot?

Your body is constantly giving off heat. During the normal course of a 24-hour day, your internal temperature can fluctuate as your body prepares itself for various activities. One way your body prepares for sleep is by lowering your core temperature a degree or two before bed. 

When your body releases heat, it can either be released away from your body or trapped next to you. If your bedroom environment is cool, humidity levels aren’t too high, and your mattress, bedding, and bedclothes are breathable, you are more likely to sleep comfortably at night.

However, your environment and bedding are just one part of the sleep-cool equation. 

Other factors that may cause you to sleep hot include:

  • Pre-sleep activities such as exercise or vigorous sex
  • Food and beverages such as caffeine or alcohol
  • Sleeping with a partner (people or pets)
  • Hormonal changes
  • Infections
  • Illnesses

A man wipes his face as he sleeps

How to Stay Cool at Night

Wondering how to stay cool when sleeping? Once you’ve got a cooling mattress in place, a few adjustments to your bedding, environment, and sleep routine can help you get the cool, comfortable sleep you need.

Lower the Thermostat or Turn on a Fan

Research has shown us the best temperature to sleep in is around 65°F. If you are sleeping in the summer or in a location where the temperatures soar, lower the thermostat or turn on a fan to help reduce the temperature in your bedroom.

Wear Breathable Pajamas

Your body is working hard to self-regulate its temperature by releasing body heat. If you’re trapping that heat against you by donning sleep clothes made from a synthetic fabric, you’re guaranteed to sleep hot. Swap out your pajamas for breathable fabrics such as bamboo, cotton, and linen, or ditch the pajamas altogether and sleep naked.

Invest in Cooling Sheets and Bedding

Bedding made from synthetic fabrics can trap heat against your body. The best cooling sheets and most comfortable cooling comforters are made from natural breathable materials, such as cotton, bamboo, linen, and wool. 

Don’t forget to look at your pillow as a possible culprit for night sweats and overheating, as well. Swap out your old, soiled, or hot pillows for a pillow that will help you sleep cool.

Take a Bath or Shower Before Bed

You can help your body cool down before bed by taking a hot shower or bath one to two hours before bedtime. Research has shown that a hot shower or bath before bed will lower your core temperature and support a healthy circadian rhythm. Avoid a hot shower immediately before going to sleep; 90 minutes before bed is the best time to take that hot bath or shower to help you sleep better.


What is the best cooling mattress?

The best cooling mattresses will be designed with breathability, special cooling materials, and innovative cooling technology in mind. Most cooling mattresses work by helping to release body heat and wick it away from your body, avoiding the overheating that occurs when body heat gets trapped next to your skin all night.

What is the best cooling mattress topper?

Sometimes the secret to a cooler, more comfortable night’s sleep can be achieved by adding a cooling mattress topper to your existing mattress. Mattress toppers are a great, cost-effective way to increase the comfort of your existing mattress. Cooling mattress toppers work the same way as a cooling mattress: using materials and technology to help release heat away from your body.

Are cooling mattresses cold in winter?

A cooling mattress isn’t a refrigerated mattress; it won’t lower your own body temperature. Cooling mattresses simply won’t trap heat against you. You can continue to regulate your body temperature by choosing wool, cotton, and bamboo bedding.

Can you put a mattress protector on a cooling mattress?

Mattress protectors can help you preserve the life of any mattress, including a cooling mattress. You can find the best mattress protectors made from organic and breathable materials (yes, even waterproof ones!) to protect you against spills and accidents without trapping body heat or making you sleep hot.

How can I cool down my memory foam mattress?

If you have a memory foam mattress that is sleeping hot, there are some steps you can take to cool down at night. A cooling mattress topper is a cost-effective way to optimize your existing mattress without investing in a new bed. Breathable, cooling sheets, pillows, and bedding will also help your body release heat. Lastly, adjust the ambient temperature of your bedroom, lowering the thermostat to the ideal sleeping temperature to counteract the heating properties of memory foam.

Melissa Zimmerman

Melissa Zimmerman is a writer with a passion for sleep and wellness. When she's not researching and writing about health and wellness, you can find her reading books and spending time with her son and dogs in her Northern California home. Connect with Melissa at