Best Mattresses for Hot Sleepers From Consumer Reports' Tests

We tested more than 200 mattresses for heat retention in the lab. Here, the five top-performing models that will help you stay cool through the night.

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illustration of bed with cool waves above Illustration: Consumer Reports, iStock

A mattress that’s feels too hot can sabotage your efforts to get a good night’s sleep. Even with the thermostat at the ideal temperature, and seasonally appropriate bedding, you could still wake up sweating from a mattress that retains too much warmth. This is especially the case if you already tend to sleep hot.

Mattresses are made of layers of fabric, foam, and/or coils in different combinations. Some of these materials and constructions tend to retain more warmth than others.

“By saying ‘retaining warmth,’ we’re talking about a measurement of the insulating ability of the mattress,” says Chris Regan, who oversees Consumer Reports’ mattress tests. “Generally, if air can pass through a mattress easier, it will trap less body heat and insulate less.”

Our tests find you’re more likely to sleep warm on an all-foam mattress than an innerspring mattress, including hybrids, which combine foam layers over steel coils. This makes sense given that the coils provide more space for air to flow. But what about foam mattresses that tout gel layers, claiming a “cooler” sleep? Don’t count on it. “Despite the fact that foam mattresses might contain a layer of cooling gel foam,” Regan adds, “a larger percentage of them still retain warmth.”

How Consumer Reports Tests Mattresses

We use real test subjects to measure support, but when it comes to evaluating whether a mattress retains warmth, we rely on technology. We start by placing an 11x15-inch copper plate in the center of the mattress. The plate is insulated on all sides except the one that comes into contact with the mattress. Then we run an electrical current through the plate, which warms it to 98.6° F, simulating average body temperature.

More on Mattresses

In a temperature-controlled room over a 10-hour period, we note how much energy the copper plate uses to maintain 98.6° F. If a mattress doesn’t retain heat and allows for good air flow, more energy is needed to maintain the temperature of the copper plate. If the mattress retains heat, less energy is used. We then analyze that data and note in the Ratings & Specs section of our mattress ratings whether a mattress might feel hot when you sleep on it.

And as a complement to these findings, we also provide comfort and owner satisfaction ratings. These are based on multiple CR member surveys, and while they don’t zero in on whether a mattress sleeps hot per se, they do get at the user’s experience. We asked members to rate the comfort of their mattress for almost 70,000 mattresses purchased within the past decade, then used the data to generate ratings by brand and type of mattress. Owner satisfaction is based on a member’s overall judgment of factors such as firmness/softness, value, quality of sleep, and more.

For this article, our lead tester identified five of the best mattresses for hot sleepers from our ratings. But because mattress preferences vary widely from person to person, CR members might also want to explore more options in our comprehensive ratings of more than 250 mattresses. There you can filter for additional mattresses for hot sleepers by clicking on the “More Filters” tab near the top of the ratings page, and scrolling through the drop-down menu to check “No” under “Retains Warmth.” You can choose additional filters according to criteria that also matter to you, including sleeping position, mattress type, and price.

5 Best Mattresses for Hot Sleepers

All these mattresses earn CR’s recommendation after a rigorous series of lab tests. That means these mattresses not only retain less heat but also earn high marks for support and durability. Prices are for a queen-size mattress.

Tips for Buying a Mattress

Tossing and turning all night? Maybe it’s time for a new mattress. On the “Consumer 101” TV show, CR expert Chris Regan shares tips on what to look for when shopping for a mattress.

Headshot of CRO Home Editor Tanya Christian

Tanya A. Christian

I've spent more than a decade covering lifestyle, news, and policy. At Consumer Reports, I'm happy to sit at the intersection of these specialties, writing about appliances, product safety and advocacy, consumer fairness, and the best tools and products to help you spruce up your home. When I'm not putting pen to paper, I'm exploring new cultures through travel and taking on home makeover projects, one room at a time.