26th August 2021
Guides & Advice
Do you struggle to get to sleep because of overheating and night sweats? Choosing the right mattress may help your body keep cooler and enable you to get a more restful night’s sleep.
Though most of us have trouble sleeping in the height of summer, many people have trouble being too hot at night all year round. We want to try and help if you have this issue, with choosing the right mattress for the best possible environment to sleep in.
There are many reasons why you may overheat in bed, and where hot weather is more of an obvious one, other factors may be less noticeable.
Exercising before bed could play a part in making you too hot, by increasing your core temperature and metabolism, as well as creating a shift in hormones, which can all lead to night sweats.
Just like exercising, eating too close to bedtime can also make you sweat and feel hot, however not drinking enough fluids will make you dehydrated, which in turn will increase your body temperature.
That being said, caffeine is also associated with high body temperatures, so skipping your bedtime cuppa could help keep you cool. See our guide for more food and drink to avoid before bed.
Therefore it’s important to exercise when there’s enough time to let your body temperature return to normal, as well as eating with plenty of time to give your digestive system a break before going to sleep, but still drinking enough water to keep well hydrated.
There are also many physical conditions that can prevent people from keeping cool in bed, such as chronic stress, heart disease, hormone disorders, neurological conditions, menopause and infections, which can all induce night sweats. Being on certain medications may also disrupt your body temperature, so you may want to check with your doctor if you feel this may be impacting your sleep.
Having a mattress material that retains heat or choosing heavy and thick bedding may also make your sleeping environment warmer. Sleeping on the wrong mattress can contribute to this too, but choosing the right one for you may help address some of these problems.
A cooling mattress can help hot sleepers get a better night’s sleep. If you have a health condition that causes you to heat up, a mattress won’t solve the problem, but it may help bring some relief and ease the discomfort.
Some features you should look for in a cooling mattress include:
There are also some mattresses that have electric-powered features that will keep cool water or air running through the mattress throughout the night. These may be more effort however than getting a mattress with cooling materials that doesn’t need to be plugged in.
These mattresses can keep your body temperature lower throughout the night, though they won’t solve all the problems of a hot sleeper, so don’t expect them to work complete magic.
There are many different materials to choose from in a mattress, but their suitability for hot sleepers can vary.
This is typically the type of material that keeps you the coolest, as the fabric can wick away moisture, keeping your body cool.
Cotton blends are great for cooling, as cotton is a great natural fibre that is used in both bedding, mattresses and sleepwear. It is great at absorbing moisture and being breathable for hot nights.
But if you have a material like hemp in your mattress, you’ll find this is up to ten times more absorbent than even cotton because hemp’s hollow structure is excellent at drawing away moisture from the body during the night, meaning you remain cool, fresh and undisturbed while you sleep.
Heat can get trapped more in synthetic fabrics like polyester, and it is one of the least breathable materials you can choose because it will retain more heat while you sleep.
This is possibly the worst mattress choice for hot sleepers, as foam is more dense and uses heat to mould to your body, which therefore means it retains more heat and can become a nightmare to sleep in if you’re prone to overheating.
These types of mattresses can be a lot more breathable and can create proper airflow through the springs, making pocket sprung mattresses less likely to retain heat.
The size of your mattress can also have an impact on your temperature, especially if you’re sharing a bed.
You need to make sure that you and your partner have enough space, and a larger mattress can create more airflow between you, and therefore make for a cooler night’s sleep.
When testing mattresses at your local stockist, both of you should test at the same time to ensure you are able to move apart during the night. Make sure you won’t have to sleep too close together, as this will make the bed a lot hotter.
If you find your mattress is too hot but would prefer a more accessible and cheaper option to purchasing a brand-new mattress, adding a cooling mattress topper could be a good alternative.
Cooling gel mattress toppers are available, which can slowly absorb heat or quickly transfer it away from your body, which enables you to keep cooler throughout the night. Some of the materials that can do this are copper and graphite, which the cooling topper will include to help conduct heat away from the person sleeping on top.
There are some cooling memory foam options available too, but these must be carefully looked into as most memory foam materials can make hot sleepers even more uncomfortable. Instead, look for mattress topper materials like cotton, wool and latex which are typically cooler.
There are also mattress toppers that run on electricity, that can reduce heat or even run temperature regulated water through the material, similar to an electric blanket.
As everyone is different, and could be overheating for different reasons, the best thing to do would be to look into the different styles of topper to see which would be a good fit for you.
Since so many different factors can contribute to overheating, hot sleepers should look into the reasons that they are having difficulty keeping cool during the night, and look to create the perfect sleeping environment.
For mattress type, the best fabrics are natural materials with moisture wicking properties, such as wool, which can absorb heat and moisture, or regulate airflow throughout the night. The best types of mattress layers to look for would be natural fibre or pocket sprung types, which are less dense and leave more room for airflow, enabling you to keep cool during the night.
Make sure that you and your partner test out the mattress properly too, so that you can make sure you aren’t too close during the night and have more room to breathe and keep cool.
Read our tips on how to sleep when it’s too hot, for further advice for those struggling to sleep due to the temperature.