A lot of mattresses these days come with some type of cooling technology.
The most common is cooling gel added to foam mattresses.
But there are many other technologies used to keep a mattress cool. The options today can be overwhelming.
In this guide, we explain the most popular mattress cooling technologies used in modern mattresses.
We also look at how well each technology works and what kind of sleeper they are most suitable for.
In this guide, we do not cover powered bed cooling systems like BedJet and ChiliSleep. These are available separately and work with any mattress. This guide only covers technologies built into the mattress.
We also don't cover cooling mattress pads and toppers, again because they are not integrated into a mattress.
Bed cooling systems and cooling mattress toppers are ideal if you want to cool down your current mattress.
But if you are shopping for a new mattress and want one that sleeps cool, this guide is for you.
Best Mattress Cooling Technologies
1. Cooling Gel
This is the most common type of cooling technology used in mattresses. Virtually every cooling foam mattress is gel-infused.
Cooling gel is added to foam, particularly memory foam, to make it cooler. It’s usually added in the form of microbeads.
Some mattresses incorporate a gel-only layer on top of the memory foam, which provides better cooling performance.
Cooling gel works by absorbing body heat and slowly releasing it into the environment. This, in turn, cools you down.
The biggest advantage of gel foam mattresses is that they are usually not any pricier compared to similar mattresses without gel. You don't have to spend a lot of money to get a gel-infused mattress.
On the downside, many gel mattresses do not stay cool the entire night. They’ll feel cool at first, but they get warmer as they absorb heat. At some point, the mattress starts feeling warm.
If your bedroom is warm, cooling gel also struggles to cool the bed.
Mattresses with a gel-only layer tend to stay cool for longer. Mattresses that contain gel alongside conductive materials like copper and graphite also have better cooling performance.
Bottom line: Gel mattresses are ideal for mild to average hot sleepers. They also work best in a bedroom that’s cooled by AC, a fan, or an open window.
2. Copper and Graphite Infused Foam
Cooling gel is not the only thing infused into mattresses to make them cooler. Some foam mattresses contain copper, graphite, or both.
Some mattresses also combine cooling gel with one of these materials.
The purpose of adding copper or graphite to a mattress is to improve heat conductivity. Instead of body heat being trapped in the mattress and making you hot, it is conducted away from the mattress and into the air.
Does it work?
Yes, it does but only to a fair degree. A copper or graphite infused mattress may still feel uncomfortably warm for some hot sleepers.
Bottomline: Copper and graphite infused mattresses work best for mild hot sleepers.
3. Open cell and Perforated Foam
Newer memory foam mattresses are not as hot as those from a couple of decades ago. They trap less heat and are more breathable.
One of the improvements that has been made is manufacturing memory foam with an open cell structure.
This creates air pockets inside the mattress that improve ventilation and cooling.
Some manufacturers also add holes to the sides or top of the memory foam to increase airflow. This is called perforated or ventilated foam.
Bottomline: Open cell and perforated memory foam is much cooler than traditional memory foam. A mattress with this type of foam is ideal for mild to average hot sleepers.
4. Convoluted Foam
Have you ever seen one of those egg crate mattress toppers whose surface resembles an egg tray? They are designed to improve cooling when placed on a mattress by allowing more airflow.
Convoluted foam mattresses work the same way. The top of one of the layers will have a convoluted or egg crate like structure that increases mattress ventilation and reduces heat retention.
Bottomline: A convoluted foam mattress does improve cooling, but it’s not enough on its own. It works best for mild to average hot sleepers.
5. Phase Change Material
Some of the best cooling mattresses are those with PCM or phase change material. The material is usually infused into the top foam layer, but it can also be added to the mattress cover.
Phase change materials maintain a constant temperature range, which keeps you from getting too hot or too cold.
As your body heat warms up the bed, the PCM melts and absorbs body heat, thus cooling you and the mattress. If you get too chilly, the PCM again changes phase. It solidifies and releases heat.
Bottomline: Phase change materials are highly effective at maintaining a comfortable temperature range. PCM-infused mattresses are great for all kinds of hot sleepers, even those who sleep extra hot. They are also great for anyone who experiences hot flashes in bed.
6. Coil Hybrid Construction
The main reason foam mattresses get hot is poor airflow. Body heat gets trapped and builds up within the dense foam.
Many cooling techniques like open cell foam and perforated foam work by improving mattress ventilation.
A coil hybrid mattress works the same way.
Coil hybrid mattresses are best known for their excellent support and responsiveness. They also sleep cooler than all-foam mattresses.
That’s because the coils at the core or base of the mattress improve airflow in and out of the mattress. This prevents heat from building up in the mattress.
Bottomline: Coil hybrid mattresses are great for all kinds of hot sleepers.
7. Latex Hybrid Construction
While hybrid mattresses typically refer to mattresses with foam and coils, latex and foam mattresses are also hybrid.
Natural latex mattresses are some of the coolest types of mattresses. Natural latex has excellent breathability.
But an all-latex mattress is pricey. A cheaper way to enjoy the cooling benefits of latex is getting a latex and foam hybrid mattress.
Even a thin layer of latex on top of memory foam keeps the mattress cool.
Some latex hybrid mattresses like the LUCID 12 Inch Latex Hybrid Mattress, include latex, foam and pocket coil for maximum cooling.
Bottomline: Latex hybrid mattresses are ideal for all types of hot sleepers.
Some luxury mattresses have a layer of natural or organic wool right beneath the cover. The wool adds a soft padding to the top of the mattress and acts as a natural fire retardant.
Wool also provides all-season temperature control. It’s a natural temperature regulator.
When you get hot, wool absorbs sweat from your skin, which cools you down. When you get cold, the wool changes its structure to trap air and act as an insulator to keep you warm.
Wool is also highly breathable, which provides additional cooling.
The downside of this cooling method is that mattresses with natural wool tend to be pricey.
Bottomline: Like, phase change material, wool in a mattress actively reacts to body temperature changes, keeping you warm and cool as necessary. It’s ideal for mild to extra hot sleepers.
9. Breathable Cover
Many mattresses are ditching the traditional polyester cover used to wrap mattresses. Polyester is not very breathable nor is it good at wicking sweat.
One of the most popular mattress cover fabrics is cotton. 100% cotton mattress covers are breathable and absorb sweat from your skin, which helps keep your body cool.
There are many other newer fabrics you’ll find in different mattresses. They include bamboo rayon, Tencel, and cashmere.
These fabrics are usually blended with cotton or polyester.
Bottomline: A breathable cover is not effective on its own. It works best when paired with a cool mattress. Start by looking for a cool mattress, and then make sure it has a breathable cover.
10. Built-in Bed Cooling System
Some companies are taking mattress cooling further than anyone has dared. They are integrating climate control systems into mattresses.
The best known brand to do this is Eight Sleep.
The Eight Sleep Pod mattress is an ordinary foam mattress wrapped in a high-tech cooling cover. The cover contains a network of tubes connected to a hub that you position next to the bed.
The hub cools water and pumps it into the mattress cover. The cool water absorbs body heat. Eight Sleep Pod can also keep the bed warm by circulating warm water.
You can adjust bed temperature using an app on your phone.
If you like your current mattress, there are plenty of other standalone bed cooling systems available including Sleep Number DualTemp, BedJet, and ChiliSleep’s OOLER and Cube systems. Even Eight Sleep offers their cooling cover separately for use with an existing mattress.
These systems work with any mattress. On the downside, they are expensive. The Eight Sleep Pod mattress costs more than twice the price of a similar size and quality foam mattress.
Bottomline: A water or air bed cooling system actively cools your bed, making it a great choice for all hot sleepers, people with night sweats, and those experiencing nightly hot flashes.
Other Bed Cooling Technologies & Tips
If your mattress sleeps hot but you are not ready to get a new mattress, there are a few ways and products that can make it cool.
This is just a quick summary. We’ve explained cooling tips and methods in more detail in this sleeping cool guide.
We’ve already mentioned bed cooling systems like BedJet above. They work really well, but they are pricey.
A cheaper option is a bed fan that you attach to the foot of the bed. It blows cool air directly under the sheets.
Another affordable option is a cooling mattress pad or topper. These are made with cooling materials like gel memory foam, wool, bamboo rayon, and cotton.
We also recommend upgrading your sheets to ones that are more breathable like linen, bamboo, Tencel, or organic cotton (look specifically for percale cotton sheets).
And if you have a heavy duvet, switch to a light summer duvet.
Other things you can try include a bedside fan, a portable AC, an evaporative cooler, or just opening the window in the evening when it’s cooler outside.