The Best Cooling Features in Mattresses
With warmer weather upon us, staying cool at night is a big concern. Especially since for most people, being too hot is the enemy of good sleep. Research shows that excessive heat limits the ability of melatonin to put us to sleep and also diminishes the quality of rest when we do fall asleep because it makes it harder for us to regulate our own body temperatures. Indeed, body temperature may be more important than even light or sound when it comes to getting a good night's rest.
Mattress manufacturers have taken note and begun to incorporate all sorts of cooling technologies into their products. Here's a rundown of a few of the ways mattresses can keep you cool.
It seems simple, but air circulation is at the heart of most sleep-related cooling. That means making sure your sleep environment isn't too hot—the "ideal" temperature for sleeping is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Sleep Foundation—and also choosing a mattress that promotes healthy air flow. Innerspring mattresses, because of their open construction, sleep coolest; hybrid mattresses, which combine springs and foam, also do well on this score. Foams, especially memory foam, can trap heat close to the body, which is why a lot of the innovations in mattress cooling can be found in memory foam products.
Even within the foam category, some foams allow more air flow than others. Natural latex, for example, has an open cell structure that makes it cooler than synthetic versions. Some memory foams, such as those that contain plant-based ingredients like corn and soybean oil in place of some of the petroleum derivatives, can also sleep cooler than others.
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This polymer, which is a general term for any number of naturally derived compounds, works by effectively soaking up the thermal energy from your body and dispersing it throughout the surface of the mattress. Gel is typically infused into the memory foam or added as a layer near the surface to dissipate body heat.
This highly conductive form of carbon has been used to reduce heat in sensitive electronics for quite some time and has made its way more recently into mattresses, mattress toppers, and other sleep products. Graphite works as a cooling agent because, at a molecular level, it's stacked uniformly with large areas of space for heat to dissipate between its carbon discs.
Cotton's naturally porous structure makes it highly breathable, which is why it feels cool against your skin—and also why it's the most popular material for mattress covers and other bedding products. While some synthetic fabrics have similar cooling capabilities, many are made using chemicals or chemical processes. Organic cotton, on the other hand, is grown without any synthetic chemicals or fertilizers. Sleeping in cotton as well as sleeping on cotton is also a great way to stay cool in hot weather.
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Fans, chill pads, and other gadgets
If you're a really hot sleeper (or a woman dealing with menopause), you can find mattress accessories like electric cooling pads, bed fans, and even water-cooled devices. While gadgets are great, don't forget about simple, low-cost (or even free!) remedies: Getting plenty of fluids before you sleep, sleeping in the buff, turning on a ceiling fan, or temporarily moving to the lowest point in your home, where it's generally cooler.
Next, find out which items in your bedroom could be ruining your sleep and what to do about it.