Few things are worse than waking up in a puddle of sweat.
Night sweats, tossing and turning, and waking up tired are all symptoms of overheating during the night. Sleeping hot is a huge barrier to getting a good night’s rest.
And summers just keep getting hotter, it seems! Sticking a foot out of the covers just won’t cut it anymore.
Allow us to present to you an affordable and effective solution: a cooling mattress topper. A couple inches of padding engineered to increase airflow and regulate temperature, all while increasing your comfort.
The last place you saw a mattress topper was probably in a college dorm. The technology has come a long way since those egg carton foam pads. A modern mattress topper can revitalize your sleep. A good mattress topper can change the whole sleeping experience.
Here, we will discuss passive cooling mattress toppers. There are active cooling toppers, sometimes called chilling mattress toppers. They use a fan to push cool air directly into your mattress topper. The passive cooling ones can work just as well while being silent and conserving electricity.
Let’s get started by examining the root of the problem!
It comes as no great surprise that a hot and humid room will keep you too warm and restless.
But that’s obvious. Nobody wants to sleep in a room with the climate of a jungle. Most people prefer a cooler ambient temperature. It makes snuggling up under the covers that much nicer.
In fact, your body goes through a warming and cooling cycle that is synced up with your circadian rhythm. Before sleep, your core temperatures drop a little as your blood gets pushed to extremities and vessels dilate a little. This allows the temperatures to equalize with your surroundings. The opposite happens right before you wake up – your body gets warmer.
However, you can inadvertently prevent yourself from cooling down.
Wearing synthetic or woolen pajamas traps more heat than simple cotton nightclothes. Consider sleeping in your underwear, or even naked, if you’re too warm.
Memory foam mattresses and toppers are notorious for being hot and muggy (looking at you, Tempurpedic). While memory foam can feel like sleeping on a cloud, it’s the kind of cloud that tends to swallow you up. When you’re sunk a few inches into a mattress, the heat can’t escape.
An often-overlooked contributor is the thread count of your sheets. Those luxurious 800-count sheets you sprung for are composed of tightly-woven fibers. Lower thread counts have more space between threads, allowing for quicker temperature transfer.
Contrary to common opinion, low thread counts don’t necessarily mean low quality sheets. The quality of the materials is a much greater influence on how soft it feels (and how well it stands up to the wash). You don’t have to compromise comfort for temperature control!
Mattresses are a pricey, long-term investment. It’s not feasible to buy a new one every time you have a problem getting to sleep or staying asleep.
Furthermore, some problems are seasonal. The same bed that feels sublime during the winter could very well feel like a furnace come summer. Does it make sense to buy a new mattress and switch it out every season or two?
That’s why mattress toppers have become so popular. They’re not just for college dorms anymore!
Mattress toppers represent a great balance of affordability and comfort customization. While they can’t completely replace a good mattress, toppers go a long way in shoring up shortcomings.
There are mattress toppers to address all kinds of issues: being overly hot or cold, adjusting firmness and softness, increasing circulation and breathability, and even providing spinal support.
As an added bonus, they’re very light and maneuverable compared to an actual mattress. People that might struggle handling a heavy mattress will be able to place it on their bed with ease.
A good mattress topper can eliminate the need for a nighttime fan or AC blast. Over a couple years, you can easily save enough money on electricity to make up for the cost of the topper!
Your comfort (and temperature) are dependent on a variety of factors. We break it down, so you can make an informed decision.
Like mattresses, mattress toppers are made out of a broad range of materials. The material determines the ultimate firmness, temperature regulation, and support.
Memory foam – Perhaps the most popular material for mattress toppers. It’s common knowledge that they provide excellent spinal support. You can expect a memory foam topper to be on the softer side, but they usually run pretty hot.
Most memory foam is form-fitting. That close contact prevents airflow, which traps heat next to your body. It’s also not great if you have trouble getting out of bed, since it has a tendency to swallow you up.
Memory foam has been around for a while and is probably cheaper than you might expect. Depending on the quality of the foam, it may or may not get permanent imprints over time.
Gel Foam – Occasionally called gel visco mattress toppers. It’s not too different from memory foam in form or function. The gel is engineered to dissipate heat quickly.
It’s newer technology than memory foam, and so tends to be more expensive.
The gel does lose effectiveness over time, though, usually before the natural lifespan of the mattress topper would end.
Latex – Natural latex rubber is among the best materials for cooling purposes. It has some of the same characteristics of memory foam (like relieving pressure from joints).
However, unlike memory foam, it is excellent at retaining shape. It doesn’t give as much as memory foam, and springs back easily and quickly. It’s firmer, since it is essentially rubber, and that keeps channels of ventilation open.
Lastly, latex is a very clean material. It prevents dust and dust mites. It’s inhospitable to bacteria that generally like the warm, damp recesses of a bed.
Cloth – Between cotton and wool, cloth mattress toppers make up a good portion of toppers available on the market.
On one hand, cotton is a very light material which is handy since it doesn’t trap a lot of heat. It’s also machine washable, which is very convenient. It doesn’t take too much moisture to soak through, though.
Wool is soft, and usually rather warm. It has some moisture wicking ability, but if it gets wet it’ll stay wet.
While definitely among the cheaper options, cloth fabrics aren’t the best material in terms of cooling.
Bamboo – New to the scene, Bamboo is the wunderkind of mattress materials right now.
It’s quite eco-friendly. Bamboo is a weed, after all. It is also hypoallergenic, being resistant to the various dusts and pests that might inhabit a bed.
As for the feel, most people think it to be similar to memory foam. They would be correct, since most bamboo mattresses are in a style similar or identical to memory foam.
Most importantly for our purposes, it’s great at cooling you down. The fiber is very porous, which promotes airflow. It is also good at wicking moisture
Density, or how compact the material is, might not seem too impactful at first glance.
However, density is often related to airflow. A dense mattress or topper will absorb and store heat. Less dense ones have space between the fibers where air can flow and temperature can be regulated.
There’s a tradeoff, though. Dense materials are the best for providing support (and sometimes comfort). That’s why the super-dense memory foam is so highly touted.
Finding the right balance between support and coolness is a challenge!
Related to density, firmness is how hard or soft your mattress topper is.
In terms of heating and cooling, the relationship to firmness is clear. Soft materials keep you warmer. Firm beds will always be cooler.
The reason is because a soft surface causes the user to sink in. You are enveloped by the material. On a firm bed you are held above the mattress, which reduces the amount of your body in contact with the mattress. There is more airflow around your body, which ultimately keeps you cooler.
The most important factor when choosing a mattress topper is the effect it will have on your health. If you have known spinal or back problems, your doctor will no doubt have instruction for you regarding mattresses.
Likewise, people that are overweight or have issues with circulation in their skin might need a specific solution.
As far as mattress accessories go, there are three primary categories. The terms are sometimes used interchangeably, so we’ll clarify them here.
A mattress topper is a removable bedding that is thick enough to essentially replace the padding already on your mattress. They tend to be between one and three inches thick. In addition to changing the firmness and density, the materials used can adjust other limitations like back support or temperature regulation.
A mattress cover is pretty different. It’s not meant for the user at all. Instead, it is a fitted sheet simply meant to protect the mattress. It’ll usually be waterproof, but that’s about it.
Finally, a mattress pad is a combination of the two. It is a fitted sheet, sometimes waterproof, and usually has a little bit of cushioning. It doesn’t have the capacity to change your entire sleeping experience like a mattress topper, but sometimes that’s not necessary.
ExceptionalSheets Bamboo Mattress Pad Extra Plush
Pure Green 100% Natural Latex 2” Mattress Topper
Advanced Sleep Solutions Gel Memory Foam Topper
Keeping all of that in mind while you look for your cool mattress topper is tough. To make it easier, we reviewed dozens of toppers and selected the best ones.
The following mattress toppers are some of the best options for keeping cool during the night (without breaking the bank!).
Notice that each mattress topper uses a different material. Each of these products represents the best choice for that class of material.
Now that you’ve got an idea of the ideal mattress toppers, let's do an in-depth examination of each one!
Sure, ExceptionalSheets isn’t a very distinguished brand name. Don’t let that fool you! Their products are exceptional in every way.
The bamboo covering of this topper ensures that it is hypoallergenic. The unique fiber made from bamboo allows for space between threads, thus it cools more effectively. Of course, bamboo is eco-friendly and can be processed easily with minimal impact on the environment.
The secret weapon for this ExceptionSheets mattress topper is actually the filling – Revoloft. Revoloft is a new technology that mimics goose down without all the poking and loose feathers.
You couldn’t tell by laying on it, but the Revoloft fiber is structured as clusters. That allows for unimpeded airflow while still offering support.
This topper isn’t very thick - only about an inch. It’s not about the size though, it’s about how you use it. Purchasers agree unanimously that it is one of the coolest mattress toppers they’ve ever felt.
It is available for every standard size of mattress, and some of the more uncommon ones.
The item description does say that it is machine washable, but that might not be entirely true. Most of the negative reviews say that washing ruined the mattress topper. Some say it tore in the washer. Others complained of the fiber filling bunching up.
That’s not necessarily a deal breaker. You may not need to wash your topper, especially if it protected by a cover.
Furthermore, some people complain that it looks or feels cheap even as it works effectively. That might be due to the characteristics of the materials used. If your mattress topper is hidden under sheets anyway, does it matter?
With a 30-day money-back guarantee, you’re not taking on too much risk. That return period is somewhat shorter than the industry average, though.
Latex often conjures images of rubber, but it’s not quite the same. It’s more like the conforming comfort of memory foam, but you don’t sink in. It has a lot more support.
That’s what the Pure Green mattress topper is all about. It contours to your body without sacrificing firmness. It also retains its shape indefinitely. You’ll never have to worry about indentations where you sleep.
It has open cell technology: air channels run through the topper to promote airflow. Assuming your bedroom is cool, it will help maintain a similar temperature in your bed.
If the brand name “Pure Green” didn’t tip you off, the bed is eco-friendly and uses only natural materials. Pure Green is known for its extensive testing and rigorous standards, so you can be assured of a quality product.
This mattress topper is available in thicknesses of one, two, and three inches. The thicker the topper, the more significant the change will be.
Many users reported improved sleep and comfort after only a single night!
It’s firm. Maybe too firm.
Most of the negative reviews of this product are people surprised about how firm it is. It’s not memory foam; it’s latex rubber. If you prefer a soft bed, you might wanna skip this mattress topper.
Similarly, some people thought it felt springy. While it’s not a defining characteristic of the bed, if you are sensitive to that sensation, give this a pass.
There also appears to be some quality control issues. Although it represents a tiny minority of the reviews, some purchasers received damaged toppers.
The first thing you’ll about this mattress topper is the cool blue color which perfectly describes the way you’ll sleep!
As a modified memory foam mattress, you can expect it to provide back support. It claims to relieve pressure points and help muscles relax. By all accounts, it does these things very well!
If you or your partner are notorious for moving around constantly while sleeping, this is a great choice. The foam minimizes motion transfer so you can sleep uninterrupted. I probably still wouldn’t jump on the bed while a glass of wine rests on it, though.
Note the softness factor. It’s of medium softness, as is normal for memory foam.
Of course, we’re all here because we don’t want to sleep hot. This mattress topper features an open cell structure with gel that transfer heat efficiently. It does a great job offsetting the natural heat capture of memory foam.
Many of the reviews specifically say that it eliminated waking up from hot flashes!
This mattress has a 60-day money-back guarantee, which is plenty of time to form an opinion. It also has a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty.
The complaints regarding this topper are few and varied, so they’re probably not common problems. It’s worth being aware, though, so you aren’t caught by surprise.
Some people have had issues with a weird chemical smell. That is not unheard of for memory foam. Rest assured though, it is CertiPUR-US® certified foam without any harsh chemicals or heavy metals.
While always a matter of personal preference, some people think that the foam was softer than described. Apparently, they sunk all the way to the mattress! Two inches is normally pretty hefty, but apparently it might not be enough considering the softness.
We’ve discussed factors to consider when choosing a mattress topper, as well as some of the best ones on the market. You’re ready to make a decision.
You’re here for the best cooling mattress topper. Of the three we discussed, the ExceptionalSheets Bamboo Plush is the coolest. The bamboo fiber is great for allowing air flow, and the Revoloft filling amplifies the effect.
The other two mattress toppers are strong contenders, though! Just be aware that the latex relies more heavily on having a cool ambient temperature. It’s heat neutral, so it slowly adjusts to its surroundings.
While temperature regulation is our main concern, the firmness of a mattress topper is hugely important. It does no good to be a comfortable temperature if you can’t get in a comfortable position!
The firmest mattress topper is definitely the Pure Green 100% Natural Latex. On the other end of the spectrum, Advanced Sleep Solutions Gel Memory Foam is quite soft. The ExceptionalSheets Bamboo Plush is somewhere in the middle, but it leans towards the soft side.
If you’re not sure which mattress topper will suit your tastes, take advantage of their refund policy! Each of these manufacturers offers the mattress topper in different thicknesses. The difference between one and two inches of topper is significant.
With this knowledge and these recommendations, you’re well on your way to cooler nights and better sleep.