Cooling & The Science of Body Heat

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Sleep is essential.  We need it to recharge, to stay healthy, and to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on a new day.   Poor body temperature regulation can cause you to wake up hot, interrupting your peaceful slumber.  Many people complain that they are too hot to sleep comfortably through the night. 

If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night feeling hot, sweaty, and clammy, you’re likely on the hunt for the right solution to help your body get the restorative sleep it needs.  Finding the best cooling mattress is one way to help your body better regulate its temperature to ensure you stay cool and comfortable for a restful night’s sleep.    

In the next few sections, we’ll share more information to help you understand just what is causing your body to get hot when you sleep and give some tips to help you stay cool at night.  We’ll also share our top picks for the best mattress for hot sleepers.  

Why Our Bodies Get Hot When We Sleep 

There are a number of factors that may cause your body to get too warm while you’re sleeping.  Even if you feel cool and comfortable when you drift off to sleep, your body’s temperature can change in the middle of the night, wake you up, and make it difficult to fall back asleep.  Below are some common culprits that often cause individuals to wake up hot when they’re sleeping. 

  • Room Temperature and Humidity:  If the room where you sleep is too hot or humid, it only makes sense that it can make your body feel too warm.  Most sleep experts recommend setting the thermostat to between 60- and 67-degrees Fahrenheit to create the ideal sleep environment. 

  • Mattress, Bedding, and Sleepwear:  What you’re sleeping in or on can have a huge impact on your body’s temperature.  Sleeping on a foam mattress that traps in heat and doesn’t allow for sufficient airflow is a common cause of feeling hot in the middle of the night.  Likewise, sheets or pajamas that aren’t breathable can also prevent air flow and cause your body to overheat. 

  • Hormones:  For women, hormones are a common contributor for increased temperature when sleeping.  Sweating increases on the days leading up to and during a menstrual cycle.  This phenomenon can be even more true at night.  Hormones also fluctuate during menopause, which can cause night sweats or hot flashes. 

  • Exercise:  Starting a new exercise routine can have a positive effect on your metabolism, but it may also have a negative impact on your body’s temperature regulating abilities.  This can be especially true if you’ve switched to a more intense exercise routine.  Avoid exercising right before bed and slowly make the switch to a more intense exercise program. 

  • Sleeping with a Partner:  Sharing a bed with a partner, child, or even a large pet means there is more body heat.  Overnight, the increased body heat from two (or more) bodies in the bed can cause you to become uncomfortable.  

Advantages of Sleeping Cool 

There are many benefits associated with staying cool while you sleep.  These advantages include relief from insomnia, an improved mood, a boost in your metabolism, and even a decreased risk of cancer. 

  • Insomnia relief:  When the body’s temperature becomes too high, it can cause individuals to have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.  Staying cooler while you sleep, thus, can help you fall asleep more quickly and sleep without waking up in the middle of the night to maximize your body’s regeneration. 

  • Improved mood:  When the body heats up too much while sleeping, production of cortisol is increased.  Cortisol is a stress hormone that can cause depression if overproduced in the body. 

  • Metabolism boost:  Staying cool when you sleep can even help improve your metabolism.  It can increase the brown fat, or good fat, that helps the body to burn calories.  More brown fat can improve the body’s’ metabolic health, reduce the risk of diabetes and other metabolic diseases, and facilitate weight loss. 

  • Decreased risk of cancer:  The body’s melatonin levels also increase when the body’s temperature is cooler during sleep.  An increase in the production of melatonin has been tied to a decreased risk of developing cancer.  This is because tumors are more likely to develop in blood with lower levels of melatonin, while higher levels of melatonin can actually inhibit the growth of tumors.  

The Best Cooling Mattresses 

Now that you know why your body gets hotter when you sleep and understand some of the advantages of sleeping cool, let’s look at some of the best cooling mattresses.  Each of our picks below uses special technology to help individuals better regulate their body temperature to prevent those middle-of-the-night wake-ups due to overheating.  

Cooling Features of This Mattress 

Minocasa combines its founders’ extensive experience in manufacturing and marketing home products with high-quality, innovative, certified materials, and smart designs to deliver the best sleep experience and the most comfortable, cozy feel to every bedroom. Their mattresses, pillows and bedding are made with high-end materials and manufactured in a responsible and environment-friendly manner.

Minocasa hybrid mattress ensures ultimate comfort thanks to gel infused memory foam and an individually wrapped pocket spring system. Effective temperature regulation, advanced pressure relief, CertiPUR-US and OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100 certifications all combine to bring the best value product to the market. Free shipping, easy setup and a 10-year limited warranty make it a breeze to join other happy customers in no time.    

Other Things You’ll Love 

If the impressive cooling features of this mattress aren’t enough, there is even more you’re sure to love about it.  It offers a medium-plush feel with a firmness level between 5 and 6.  This firmness level allows the mattress to be supportive while still contouring to your body and alleviating pressure points.  

This perfect combination of firmness and contouring is made possible by the mattress’ 7-layer design.  We highlighted some of the layers that contribute to the cooling properties of this mattress above, but many of the layers also increase its overall comfort.  For example, beneath the cooling fiber on the mattress’ cover is a 1-inch layer of gel memory foam to enhance the mattress’ cushioned feel.    

The 3-inch layer of gel memory foam under the Ghost Ice Layer offers pressure point relief in addition to the cooling benefits mentioned above.  The next layer of the mattress is the exclusive Ghost Bounce Layer.  This layer is made from a proprietary material that contours to the body like memory foam does, while also offering the responsive benefits of latex.    

The final layer is a 7.5-inch-high density support layer to add durability to extend the mattress’ lifespan.  Combining these seven layers results in a 13-inch-tall mattress that is sure to meet or exceed your expectations.  The GhostBed Lux is available in twin, twin XL, full, queen, and king sizes.  It comes with a 101-night sleep trial and a 25-year warranty.  

Idle Hybrid Mattress  

Cooling Features of This Mattress 

Another top contender for the best cooling mattress is the Idle Hybrid Mattress.  This mattress features a 2-inch inner IDLE Cooling Buoyancy Foam layer.  Unlike typical memory foam mattresses, this layer is constructed without any viscoelastic chemicals that retain heat.  This feature allows the mattress to stay cooler and keep you more comfortable when you sleep.  

This hybrid mattress also has a 6-inch layer of individually-wrapped coils.  The coils allow for improved airflow throughout the mattress which can enhance your comfort overnight.  The mattress’ cover is made using special Thermocool fabric that can help cool you down if you get too warm or warm you up if you get too cold.  

Other Things You’ll Love 

Many mattresses wear out and don’t last very long.  The Idle Hybrid Mattress features a unique flippable design to allow you to get the biggest bang for your buck and extend the usable life of the mattress.  Idle Sleep allows you to choose a medium firmness level on both sides, a luxury-firm level on both sides, or one side with a medium firmness and one side with a luxury-firm level.  

This mattress is designed with comfort in mind.  A 1-inch layer of IDLE contouring foam is quilted into the cover to make it soft and allow it to conform different body shapes.  The 2-inch IDLE Cooling Buoyancy Foam layer, which helps individuals stay cool as they sleep, also offers better pressure relief than memory foam and reacts more quickly to position changes.  

If you sleep with a partner or pet, you’ll appreciate the layer of individually-wrapped coils.  These coils work to limit motion transfer to help individuals stay asleep even when others are shifting on the bed.  

This mattress is available in a wide range of sizes including twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king, and split king.  It comes with an 18-month risk-free trial, a lifetime warranty, free shipping, and free returns.  

Sweet Night Twilight Hybrid Mattress  

Cooling Features of This Mattress 

Next, you will want to take a look at the Twilight Hybrid Mattress from Sweet Night.  This mattress offers a variety of features that make it another top option for the best cooling mattress.  One cooling feature is Sweet Night’s Ice Neve technology that is integrated into the mattress’ gel top layer.  This technology enhances the mattress cooling effect by 50% by dissipating heating and keeping individuals comfortable as they sleep.    

This model also features pocketed coils for enhanced airflow and an OEKO-TEX certified fabric cover that pulls moisture and heat away from the body.    

Other Things You’ll Love 

Individuals who are looking to keep their body in alignment to alleviate back, neck, and hip pain will like this mattress.  It features a pocketed coil system that provides the right amount of support to each part of the body to keep it in alignment and relieve pain.  The pocketed coils also reduce the transfer of motion and enhance the edge support.  This feature makes it easier to get in and out of bed and provides a greater amount of usable space for partners sharing a bed.  

Triple-layered foam technology covers the pocketed coils to allow the mattress to conform to the body and provide pressure point relief.  All of the materials used in creating this mattress are non-carcinogenic and non-toxic; you rest easy knowing you’re protecting your health.  This mattress is available in full, queen, or king sizes with 10- or 12-inch heights.  Each purchase includes free shipping, free returns, and a 100-night risk-free trial.  

OKiEasy Hybrid Mattress  

Cooling Features of This Mattress 

OKiOKi developed a special Ice Yarn cover for their mattresses.  In addition to being hypoallergenic, this exclusive material is also designed to help regulate the body’s temperature and keep individuals from getting too hot when they sleep.  The cool-to-the-touch fabric will help ensure you are comfortable when falling asleep and keep you sleeping peacefully all night long.  

The pocketed coils add to the cooling properties of this mattress as well.  They help maximize airflow and prevent heat from being retained by the mattress.  

Other Things You’ll Love 

This mattress’ cooling capabilities are just one of its many selling points.  You’ll also discover that this is a very comfortable mattress that is ideal for side sleepers or individuals who change their sleep position overnight.  The mattress is very responsive whether you sleep on your back, your side, your stomach or a combination of all three throughout the night.    

No matter what sleeping position you prefer, the individually-wrapped coils offer support to keep the spine aligned and allow the mattress to contour to each individual’s body.  They also work to isolate motion transfer to help one partner stay asleep if the other is moving around.  The top 2-inch layer of memory foam on the mattress provides cushioning pressure point relief.   

Other Tips for Staying Cool While Sleeping 

Investing in a cooling mattress is one of the best ways to help your body regulate its temperature and prevent it from getting too hot when you sleep.  Some other ideas you can try instead of, or in addition to, purchasing a cooling mattress include:  

  • Setting the thermostat to a lower temperature:  The ideal temperature for sleeping is between 60- and 67-degrees Fahrenheit.  Before heading to bed, turn the thermostat down to ensure a sound night’s sleep. 

  • Purchasing breathable bedding:  Breathable sheets are essential for staying cool when you sleep.  Cotton sheets will allow more air to flow around your body to prevent you from overheating.  Avoid thicker sheets, such as flannel, as they will have the opposite effect and can trap the heat that your body lets off, causing you to overheat. 

  • Sleeping in cooler clothing:  When choosing pajamas look for loose and breathable cotton materials.  Choose to wear a minimal amount of clothing, or even none at all, to keep your body cooler as you sleep. 

  • Purchasing a cooling mattress topper:  The best cooling mattress topper offers an affordable solution to keep you cooler while you sleep.  Mattress toppers are made from different materials, such as gel memory foam, latex, or wool, that pull heat away from a body.   

  • Blocking sunlight from your room:  If too much sunlight is entering your bedroom during the early morning hours, then it will cause the room’s temperature to increase.  Use blinds or even blackout curtains to keep the light and heat out of the room. 

  • Taking a warm bath before bed:  Despite what you may think, taking a warm bath or shower before heading to bed can help cool you down.  Once you get out of the bath or shower, the cooler air in the bedroom can help your body regulate its temperature and make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. 

  • Using a fan:   The cooling breeze from a fan can help create an ideal sleep environment.  If you don’t have an air conditioner, consider using a box fan or tower fan to create a cross-breeze by placing it on the opposite side of an open window. 

  • Using a bed fan:  In addition to cooling the room down using a standard fan, you can also use a bed fan to enjoy cool airflow directly onto the bed.  These fans are designed with a special nozzle that connects to a mattress and helps distribute air throughout the mattress to keep sleepers cooler overnight. 

  • Trying a cooling mat:  Gel cooling mats can be placed over a mattress to help control the body’s temperature.  These mats work by pulling heat away from the body to keep it from getting too hot.  You can also find cooling mats that are designed to be placed on a pillow to keep your head cooler when you sleep.  

Frequently Asked Questions  

How does a cooling mattress work? 

There are a variety of cooling mattresses on the market.  Different mattresses feature unique materials and technologies to keep individuals cool as they sleep.  These can include gel- or graphite-infused memory foam to draw heat away from individuals, covers made from breathable or phase-change materials, and individually-wrapped coil layers to allow for greater airflow.  

Does a cooling mattress help you sleep better? 

Yes, in many cases a cooling mattress can help individuals sleep better.  It can allow for a deeper and more restful sleep and prevent instances of waking up due to being too warm.  The body also releases more melatonin when it is cooler, which can aid in falling asleep and staying asleep.  

How can you cool down a mattress? 

If purchasing a new cooling mattress isn’t a possibility right now, there are a few steps you can take to make your current mattress feel cooler.  Replacing your sheets with ones that are lightweight and breathable is a simple change that can make a big difference.  Breathable sheets allow for greater airflow around your body and can prevent heat from getting trapped and making you too hot overnight.    

Another idea to consider is to look for one of the best cooling mattress topper options.  Cooling mattress toppers are less expensive than purchasing a whole new mattress, but they offer many of the same benefits by pulling heat away from the body. 

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