A cooling mattress topper

8 Leading Mattress-Cooling Technologies Explained & Compared

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A 2014 poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that temperature was one of the main factors leading to poor sleep in both adults and children.

While the report did not specify the source of temperature-related problems, for most people, it’s the mattress — specifically, a hot mattress.

Many people sleep on memory foam mattresses, which are notorious for trapping heat and making it difficult to fall asleep.

Luckily, it’s an easily solvable problem, regardless of which mattress you are sleeping on. There are some excellent cooling technologies today that can help you sleep more comfortably.

Here are the eight leading ones. Some are integrated into mattresses while others are stand-alone solutions.

1. Gel Foam

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This is perhaps the most common cooling technique used in memory foam mattresses.

Gel integrated into the mattress increases heat dissipation. The gel can be added in the form of beads or as a thin gel layer near the top of the mattress.

The cooling capability depends a lot on the type of gel.

The thermal gel has the limited cooling ability. Once it picks up your body temperature, it stops being very helpful.

Phase change gel, on the other hand, keeps the mattress within a specific comfortable temperature range.

2. Open-cell Foam

open cell foam

Most memory foam mattresses today are made from open-cell foam, a type of foam that consists of partially open cells.

This design allows better ventilation within the mattress and thus better dissipation of heat.

Another advantage of open-cell foam is that it feels softer and has better pressure relief.

The use of open-cell foam keeps the mattress relatively cool most of the times, but it has limits. In summer, it may not keep up with the rising temperatures.

Couples sharing a bed and individuals with hot flashes may also not be satisfied with the mattress’ cooling performance.

3. Convoluted Foam

convoluted foam

Convoluted foam has a structure like that of an egg tray. The top layer of the mattress has tray-like contours on one side that allow airflow. This helps dissipate heat and sweat.

When appropriately designed, convoluted foam can be quite effective at keeping the mattress cool.

4. Perforated Foam

Perforated foam

Perforated foam is another technique for improving airflow within the mattress. The foam has holes that increase ventilation and reduce the amount of heat trapped in the mattress.

Like convoluted foam, perforated foam can be quite effective, especially when paired with breathable bedding, including the mattress cover and sheets.

These perforations can also change the feel of the mattress, making it more contouring and adding some bounce.

5. Pocket Coils

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Pocket coil mattresses don’t have the coils just for cooling. It’s only one of the benefits to sleep on this type of mattress.

The coils provide a layer of free airflow, where heat and moisture can escape from the mattress.

Pocket coil mattress is very good at cooling even when paired with memory foam.

6. Phase Change Materials

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This is one of the most effective cooling techniques. Phase change materials or PCMs, are able to maintain the mattress within a tight temperature range.

If the mattress gets too hot, they absorb heat; and if the mattress gets too cold, they release heat.

So if you struggle with a cold mattress as well as a hot one, look for a mattress with PCMs.

PCMs are usually integrated into the mattress foam near the top. They can also be added to the mattress cover for improved cooling performance.

You mustn’t use a mattress protector or sheets with poor breathability as that can reduce the ability of the PCMs to keep you comfortable.

7. Cooling Pads/Toppers

A cooling pad is a great choice if your current mattress sleeps hot, but you don’t want to buy a new one yet.

Cooling pads and toppers are made from materials like latex foam, perforated memory foam, or gel foam.

They may also contain a breathable cover made from bamboo or cotton to help with cooling and moisture-wicking.

8. Air and Water Cooling Systems

Air or water-cooled systems provide the best mattress cooling performance. With most air/water cooled systems, you can set a temperature and maintain it all night.

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Air-cooled systems like the BedJet work by forcing cooled air underneath your sheets and comforter, which provides an all-over body experience. Most can also warm the bed.

Chilipad Bucket - Cooling Temperature & Warming Mattress Pad - New 2014 Model - Perfect Sleep, CP500, White, 1, 1

Water-cooled systems like the ChiliPad work by forcing cooled water through a series of tubes embedded in a pad underneath your body.  Water is the most precise way to cool your body, but these systems can only cool or warm your mattress surface.

Check our reviews of the best bed-cooling systems including the BedJet, Ooler and ChiliPad.

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