Memory Foam Too Hot -- New Topper or Start From Scratch?

Firstly, THANK YOU for this awesome website. Buying a new mattress is almost as stressful as buying a new home – the support is so greatly appreciated!

We currently have a Comforpedic (Simmons, can’t remember the exact model) we bought about 1.5 years ago. Though the firmness and “feel” is great (not as squishy as other memory foam mattresses we have tried), my husband is way too hot and miserable (I typically am freezing cold, but even I wind up getting too hot on this mattress by the time morning rolls around). I have read a large number of posts on this website (including the “Start here first”), so I feel like I am at least a little more familiar with the options out there. So here are my questions – Do we:

  1. Try to mitigate the heat by buying a new topper (natural fibers) and possibly a new protector (currently we have Protect-a-bed, which sounds like could be part of the heat problem)? The risk is that this won’t work and we will be out $200-$300 and then have to spend even more money on a new mattress anyway. Or,

  2. Bite the bullet and shop for a new mattress, which then leads to the scary question: which kind??? Latex looks VERY appealing (especially the ones coming from Ultimate Dreams / Brooklyn Bedding), but I am REALLY worried about the heat factor. We do not want to invest in a bed that is too hot, and then not be able to exchange it for a coil mattress if need be. I am thinking trying to find a vendor that sells both might be a good option just in case a Latex doesn’t work. We’ve checked out Ikea beds and thought they had potential, but are concerned about longevity (even though they have a 25 year warranty – that is very enticing). Should we skip latex altogether and go with a coil? Are the coils decent at RoomandBoard (you had recommended that store on a Baltimore area post)?They seem to have somewhat decent prices.

We are in the Baltimore Maryland area, so we can definitely look into the other places you listed on your previous Baltimore vendor post, but we are not totally opposed to ordering online either.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Phoenix will be along to answer soon, but as a person who definitely “sleeps hot” (on any type of mattress) I can say that memory foam was pretty awful for me in that regard. And it’s a known problem with memory foam–hence all the new “cool gel” hype you see. We recently purchased an all-latex mattress with the cotton-quilted-to-wool cover and I’m sleeping much more comfortably temperature-wise than ever before. I used to wake up in a sweat in the middle of the night, even on an “old school” innerspring mattress. Now, I do wake up a bit warm (but not sweaty)…and then I realize it’s 8 a.m. and time to get up any way. :slight_smile: So that’s one vote for latex definitely not sleeping hot, though of course your sheets and covers can also make a difference. I guess if I were you, and the mattress was super-comfy otherwise, I’d try a thin wool mattress pad, linen or cotton sheets with a not-too-high thread count (300), and maybe a lighter quilt. Hope this helps!

Hi MemFoamBlues,

I think I would probably hesitate to buy a whole new mattress that was only a year and a half old and otherwise was working well for me unless I had looked at and seriously considered other options first. Post #2 here along with post #29 here talks in more depth about regulating temperature and it could well be that making some other smaller changes (such as the protector you were mentioning) would solve the problem. The memory foam Simmons uses in the Comforpedic is a more breathable type (relative to other memory foams) so along with a few other adjustments may be enough without having to go through the frustration of buying a new mattress.

I would go layer by layer first of all and see which layers (that you could change) could be contributing to the problem. While you couldn’t change the foam or the quilting and ticking in the mattress … you could change both the protector and the type of sheets and bedding you were using (unless they were not contributing to the problem).

If your mattress is on the softer side and you are sinking in a little more than you would be with a firmer mattress and you have some “room to maneuver” in the pressure relief qualities of the mattress … then a protector that has a slight effect but not a significant effect on the memory foam (like the Dormeir) may be well worth considering.

You wouldn’t really be “out” the amount of a new protector because you could use it on any mattress you purchased and no matter what mattress you had it would be more breathable and temperature regulating than the protect-a-bed and would be an improvement. You wouldn’t be out the amount of the Dormeir so much (or another protector) as what you spent on the protect-a-bed and because you are more sensitive to heat issues changing to a different protector may be a good idea anyway regardless of mattress.

Latex as a category is the most breathable of the foams (Talalay more than Dunlop) so at least this would be an improvement but once again it’s only one of the parts that could affect temperature and the others could still cancel out its benefits.

Coils are the support component in the deeper parts of the mattress and they still have foam on top of them so it’s the foam or other materials in the top layers that will have the biggest effect on temperature … not whether it has an innerspring or some type of foam as the support layer. It can make some difference (depending on how much and what type of materials are above the coils) but not as much as the layers that are closer to your body which are the main layers that control temperature regulation.

The longevity of a mattress will also be primarily dependent on the comfort layers of the mattress which are typically the weak link of a mattress. In most cases (with a few exceptions) the coils are more about performance than about durability although they could also have an effect as well especially with thinner comfort layers where the coils are subject to more compression and wear. Knowing the quality of the coils at Ikea would depend on knowing more information about them than they provide on their website but in most cases they use relatively lower coil counts in each category of coil (which is only one part of the quality and performance of a coil) and I would put them as a group in a more "budget quality " range. You can see some of my thoughts about the latex mattresses or latex hybrid mattresses there in post #3 here.

Warranties are very misleading and not really connected to the life of the mattress because they don’t cover the loss of comfort and support that is the main reason people need to replace a mattress. they only cover manufacturing defects which will generally happen in the first few years of ownership.

Again in most cases the coils are more about performance than durability but once again it would depend on knowing the specifics of the coils in a particular mattress. In most cases … I would be looking at the effect of the coils on PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and Personal preferences) rather than their effect on durability. As you can see in this article and in post #10 here … coil counting or comparing coils (other than with your body lying on the mattress) is mostly a waste of time unless you are also comparing the other specs that are part of the coil as well which in most cases you won’t be able to find out. I should also mention that RoomandBoard itself isn’t a “recommendation” but just a potential source of better quality/value mattresses but like every other retailer or manufacturer on the lists around the forum this is always dependent on your ability to find out the details of what is in a specific mattress you are looking at. They also carry some mattresses that use foam densities that are so low that I wouldn’t consider them. Everything always depends on the specific mattress.

But back to your original heat question … I would first identify all the layers above the mattress and whether you may be sinking more deeply into the foam in your mattress than other mattresses before deciding what to do next.

Hope this helps.


Thanks Sleepy1, for your positive review of latex mattresses. I am definitely going to keep it in mind for future mattress buying!

Phoenix, I really appreciate your advice to look at mattress pads and/or toppers first (then sheets, blankets, etc). A very appealing change in direction, since it would involve less headaches!

I am moving in the direction of Wool (because of the temperature regulating and wicking qualities), BUT also saw this bamboo one on

It’s in their “Temperature Regulating Pads” section of the site and gets near perfect reviews. The thing is, it is “Filled with plush synthetic” which seems to go against the whole “natural materials are more breathable” school of thought. Any thoughts on this?

OK, that was question #1. Question #2 is: Does loft make a difference with sleeping hot? e.g. Would a 3" wool mattress topper sleep warmer than a 1.5" mattress topper? We are looking to add a little softness to the mattress, but not at the expense of adding heat! These are the wool ones we are currently looking at: (1.5 inch, washable!) (looks fluffier, but hotter?) (.5 inch)

Thanks in advance! This website and your advice is invaluable!

Hi MemFoamBlues,

Synthetic fibers can be breathable initially when they are more lofted but they hold moisture inside the fibers rather than absorb moisture inside the fiber itself and they will also pack down over time and become less breathable. While they would help just because of the airflow through the fibers … I don’t believe it would be to the same degree as wool (which stores moisture inside the fiber away from the surface) and it will also not be as durable. It’s biggest benefit is cost (polyester fiber is much less costly). It would be an improvement over sleeping directly on memory foam but not as temperature regulating or durable as wool.

The simple answer to this would probably be the other way around. If you had a thicker layer of wool you will be sinking into more wool and less memory foam so if you were “surrounded” by more wool and less memory foam it would be cooler than being “surrounded” by a thinner layer of wool and then more memory foam underneath this. In other words it would depend on how much you were sinking into the mattress, what you were sinking into, and how closely it surrounded your body. The “tradeoff” though would be that a thicker layer of wool will have a greater effect on the memory foam underneath it in terms of how much and how quickly heat reached it and this would affect both the speed and degree which it becomes softer with body heat and the softness of the comfort layers. The wool would also be a little more resilient than the memory foam.

In most cases it’s a matter of balancing comfort with the cooling benefits of wool and the balance between the softness of the memory foam layers and the temperature of the wool is the tradeoff between them. More wool equals more temperature regulation to a point but more effect on the memory foam.

The wool fleece you are looking at will compress and “pack” more than wool batting inside a cotton or bamboo cover and a cotton cover will wick moisture into the wool better than sleeping directly on the wool itself (cotton wicks moisture better than wool but wool stores the moisture better than cotton and keeps it away from the body).

The .5" wool mattress pad from Sleep and Beyond has 4 lbs of wool (queen size) which is a little more than the Dormeir which I believe has 7.5 oz/yd which would be a little under 2 lbs in a queen size but it is designed more as a stretchy wool mattress protector and to have less effect on the layers below it than a mattress pad.

As in all things connected with mattresses and bedding … this is the “theory” but YMMV (your mileage may vary) :).

Hope this helps.