Best type of lambswool mattress pad/topper for cooling

Hi Phoenix, I’ve been poring over all the lambswool information and I’m just lost!
I’m trying to decide on a lambswool mattress pad. The most important criteria is cooling. I can’t figure out whether a 1.5" loft/pile would be cooler than a 1", or would it be more likely to matt down? Or a 3"? Perhaps the density is a more important factor? Is there an advantage to the ones that are encased in cotton rather than the lambswool that’s exposed?
I got my so called dream bed, a $$$ Tempurpedic about 5 years ago, and soon discovered it was too hot. After a ton of research, I got a cooling gel foam topper, which was no help. I then added a lamb’s wool topper (~1", I think), which seemed to help for awhile. It’s been washed a few times, but seems to be permanently mashed down now.

Some months ago I realized that the bed seemed low and I replaced the foam pad with one I knew to be better, but the bed was still low where I always sleep, and I finally realized that the Tempurpedic had permanently sunken in. God, I hate this bed! I think I’ll want to get a diffenent mattress sometime in the next year or two, but I can’t face that challenge yet.
I’ve now heard about nacreous pads (not convinced) and bed cooling fans…I might try a fan, but I want to get a new lambswool pad first, because I think it’s the most likely to help. There’s also a Comfort Tech™ Celliant™ Mattress Pad by SleepBetter…??? It’s rated 5 stars by 6 people, not a large sample…
I’ve read reviews where people say their lambswool is too firm(!), or that it’s too soft and doesn’t add any padding…I would hope for something in between. I have Fibromyalgia, which I think is part of the reason the sheets underneath feel like they’re on fire when I lie on my back, which is how I pefer to sleep. It’s a little cooler to lie on my left side, but then my hip aches after a while, so I don’t know if there’s a density that would help this.
Do you have a suggestion as to what might be the best option (loft, density) for cooling? Is there an advantage to the ones that are not washable? I apologize for all the questions…I just don’t know if I can make it through another L.A. summer… Thank you!

Hi Miserably Melting,

There is more information about wool toppers and how they compare to various foam toppers (at least in very general terms) in post #8 here and in posts #3 and #6 here and there are some additional comments about wool toppers and a list of some of the better sources I’m aware of in post #3 here.

While it’s not always possible to to track down temperature regulation issues for any particular person on a specific mattress because there are so many variables involved (including your room temperature and humidity, your sheets and bedding and bedclothes, your mattress protector or any mattress pads you are using, and where you are in the “oven to iceberg” range) and some people can sleep warmer on mattresses that most people are generally fine with … there is more about tracking down a potential cause or causes for temperature regulation issues (at least to the degree possible for a specific mattress) in post #2 here and the posts it links to that may be helpful (including more information about the wool fleece toppers vs toppers that use wool batting).

Your mattress protector could also be playing a noticeable role in your sleeping temperature and there is more about the pros and cons of different types of mattress protectors and some examples of each of them in post #89 here.

Other variables that can affect your sleeping temperature besides the mattress itself would be the type of sheets you are using, your blankets, your room environment, and the bedclothes that you sleep in.

If all you are looking for is additional temperature regulation then a wool quilted mattress protector or a relatively thin mattress pad (in the range of an inch or so) would usually be enough but I would keep in mind that memory foam (or gel memory foam) can sleep warmer for some people than other types of foam materials … even with a wool topper. The only way to know for certain whether any mattress protector, mattress pad, or mattress topper will be “temperature regulating enough” for you will be based on your own personal experience because some people can sleep warmer on a mattress/topper combination that other people would be fine with.

Wool will compress by about 30% of its thickness as you sleep on it over time and this will happen faster in the areas you sleep more often or under the heavier parts of the body than it will in the areas that you sleep on less or under areas of your body that are lighter. It will tend to even out over time as you spend more time on the areas that you sleep on less often and they “catch” up to the areas that you sleep on more often over the course of the first few months (up to about 6 months or so) but it shouldn’t have a significant effect on the comfort or support of the mattress. I would make a point of sleeping in different areas of the mattress initially and also rotating the topper from time to time to help with the process.

If a wool topper can be washed (and many can’t) I would also make sure to carefully follow any washing instructions to help prevent the wool from felting.

If you have visible impressions or soft spots in a mattress then a topper normally won’t be an effective solution because it will just “follow” any soft spots or impressions underneath it. I would also check to make sure that the support system under your mattress is completely flat and doesn’t flex under the mattress because this can sometimes be the cause of any impressions in the sleeping surface as well. You can check this by putting your mattress on the floor to see if it makes any difference and if it does then it would “point to” your support system being part of the cause for any visible impressions or soft spots.

Some of the suggestions in post #4 here may be helpful as well if your mattress is too soft or there are visible impressions or soft spots in your mattress.

Thermal conductive materials or phase change materials can help to some degree with temperature when you first go to sleep at night but once the temperature equalizes the benefits don’t generally tend to last over the complete course of the night.

I don’t have any personal experience with Celliant but I have heard some good feedback about it from some people who have (and retailers that sell products with Celliant fabrics) and as you mentioned there is some science behind the claims. I certainly wouldn’t expect miracles and many people may not notice anything that they can specifically describe but you can read a little more about how it works here.

Having said that … I would be somewhat skeptical about any temperature regulation benefits from Celliant.


Hi Phoenix,
Thank you for all the information and links. I had read some of the posts and articles before, but I almost think I know what to get now. It sounds like it’s better to go with the encased layered wool topper, rather than a Snugfleece type. Do the layered toppers need an extra protective layer (stretch knit cotton protector) besides the sheet, particularly if you sleep in the nude?
Assuming that most of them that are at least 2" thick have equal cooling properties, is a thicker one more likely to relieve the pain of pressure points? That is, does comfort increase proportionally with thickness?
I’m wondering if Surroundewe’s Standard in a queen that’s 4.5"/20# would be more effective than their Economy 2"/14#? The Standard sounds like an excellent value at $509 for 4.5"…even the Ultimate at $669 for 6-7" and 25#…is more better?
I’m also considering:
~the 3" Shepherd’s Dream that says it compresses between 30% to 40% within the first 6 months of regular use, making it closer to 2 inches.
~the Sugarloaf 2.5" is economical, but is it thick enough?
~the Soaring Heart toppers are $733 for the 2" and $994 for the 4" on sale…even if these are high quality and money is no object, is it worth it, or is there an equivalent quality that is a better value?
~Cozy Pure’s Wooluptuous 3" is mid-range, starting with 5"–3 layers of loft wool(?)…#?
~Holy Lamb’s U;timate is 2.5-3" and 14#
-St Peter’s uses “higher densities of wool filling which is tufted to maintain the loft”, and is more economical, but I don’t know how thick the 10# pad is.
I had leveled out the depesssion in the Tempurpedic mattress fairly well with some other pieces of foam, and that’s topped by a 3" 4 # density visco elastic memory foam pad, so it’s reasonably even for now. I believe the base is solid, but the Tempurpedic weighs a ton and we can even lift it, let alone move it. I know I should try to get another mattress within the next year or so, but that’s an entirely different topic. The Surroundewe Standard or Ultimate sound like excellent choices, but I guess I’m wondering if money were no object, would you go all out?

Hi Miserably Melting,

It would really be a matter of preference depending on how much the protector affects the feel of the topper or toppers. With a foam topper I would lean towards using the topper under a protector to help protect it from the moisture and the body oils that we release each night which can affect the useful life of the foam but but you can air out wool toppers in sunlight which can “refresh” the wool and activate it’s natural self cleansing and deodorizing properties (from the lanolin) so it would be much more of a preference choice. Having the protector on top would maximize protection for the wool topper and having it underneath would maximize the feel of the wool topper.

“Comfort” is very subjective and different people will have very different definitions or opinions about what they consider to be “comfortable”. While I can certainly help with “how” to choose … It’s not possible to make specific suggestions or recommendations for either a mattress, manufacturers/retailers, or combinations of materials or components because the first “rule” of mattress shopping is to always remember that you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress or a mattress/topper combination and there are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved that are unique to each person to use a formula or for anyone to be able to predict or make a specific suggestion or recommendation about which mattress or topper or combination of materials and components would be the best “match” for you in terms of “comfort”, firmness, or PPP or how a mattress will “feel” to you or compare to another mattress based on specs (either yours or a mattress), sleeping positions, health conditions, or “theory at a distance” that can possibly be more reliable than your own careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in step 4 of the tutorial) or your own personal sleeping experience (see mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here).

Thicker wool toppers will tend to feel softer than thinner wool toppers if you put them on a floor but wool toppers aren’t as a soft foam topper and on a mattress (vs a hard floor) a wool topper can tend to firm up very soft foam layers underneath it or soften up firmer foam layers underneath it.

All the layers and components in a mattress or mattress/topper combination (including the cover and quilting) will affect the feel and performance of every other layer above and below it and the mattress “as a whole” to different degrees so what you feel on a mattress is the combined effect of all the layers and the “mattress as a whole” more than the effects of just a single layer or component but in very general terms the properties and firmness of materials and components that are closer to the top surface of a sleeping system will tend to have a bigger effect on the overall “feel” and firmness of a mattress than materials that are deeper in the sleeping system, thicker layers or toppers will contribute more of their feel and firmness to the overall sleeping system than thinner layers, and a thinner layer or topper would “allow” more of the feel and properties of the layer underneath it to “come through” than a thicker layer or topper.

I or some of the more knowledgeable members of the site can help you to narrow down your options, help you focus on better quality/value choices that are available to you either locally or online, help you identify any lower quality materials or weak links in a mattress or topper, act as a fact check, answer many of the specific questions you may have along the way that don’t involve what you will “feel” on a mattress or mattress/topper combination, and help with “how” to choose but only you can decide which specific mattress, manufacturer, or combination of materials, components, or toppers is “best for you” regardless of the name of the manufacturer on the label or whether anyone else (including me) would have the same criteria or circumstances or would make the same choice.

Once you have had the chance to talk with the manufacturers and retailers that you are considering on the phone about the specific toppers they have available I would choose the one that you are most attracted to based on all the parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you (including the price of course and making sure that you are comfortable with the options you have available after a purchase to exchange or return the topper just in case the choice you make doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for).