Memory foam is a good insulator, and that’s nice in the winter or for people who like to be cozy warm when they sleep. But what about keeping cool in the summer months, or people who have trouble sleeping because they get too warm at night?
All memory foam is composed of thousands of tiny cells with an open wall structure. Think of a sponge and the way they can soak up water. Sponges can soak up water because they have an open wall cell structure. Similarly, there are tiny holes in the cell walls of memory foam that allow air to flow between cells. This is what allows memory foam to conform so well to your body.
A lot of mattress sellers say that memory foam is cool because it has an open wall cell structure. And that’s true. Memory foam dissipates heat because it passes heat away from your body while you sleep. But still memory foam mattresses are warmer than traditional innerspring beds that everyone is used to sleeping on.
Some memory foam mattresses have “air flow” channels cut into the top surface or interior of the mattresses that allows air to move or “bellow” when you move about on the mattress. The idea is that this will allow heat to pass away from your body and keep you cooler. I agree with this concept, and I understand why it should work, but I’ve slept on a lot of beds in deciding which ones to sell in our store, and I’ve honestly not seen any difference in the warmth / coolness of mattresses with air flow channels.
The main thing that makes traditional innerspring mattresses cooler is a top layer of fiber fill. Fiber filling does a great job of preventing heat build up, promoting airflow, and whisking away heat from your body. Fiber fill is the polyester, Americore, or Dacron fiber batting which is quilted into the top of a mattress. It is super soft and comfortable, and does an excellent job keeping you cool, but is not as good as memory foam at reducing pressure points.
Memory foam is a superior pressure reduction material. For best performance, you want your body to be as close to the mattress as possible. A “tight top” memory foam mattress has a top layer of memory foam and then a mattress cover over it. The mattress cover is all that’s between you and the memory foam.
For better heat reduction, you can get a memory foam bed with a CoolMax, Bamboo, or Aloe Vera Cover. These special materials will wick heat and moisture away from your body.
A pillow top layer of fiber quilted into the top cover can also help keep you cool. This type of memory foam mattress will keep you much cooler because it has a highly breathable airflow layer right next to your skin.
If you’re ready to go high tech and splurge a little, the heating and cooling mattress pad by Chilipad is a sure fire (or maybe “sure ice”) solution to regulating your body tempurature at night. And it comes in a his / hers side too!