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How to Find a Mattress That Retains Less Heat

CR highlights 4 top-performing models that sleep cool—and 4 more that excelled in our tests but retain warmth

You probably aren’t getting a restful night’s sleep if you wake up sweating or shivering. If you’re suffering from one extreme or the other, the problem could be your mattress.

Mattresses are made of layers of fabric, foam, batting, coils, and gel in different combinations and configurations, depending on the type. And some mattress materials tend to retain more warmth than others.

“You’re more likely to sleep warm on a foam mattress, even when compared to a hybrid innerspring, which we define as a combination of foam layers over metal springs,” says Chris Regan, who oversees Consumer Reports’ mattress tests. “And despite containing a layer of cooling gel foam, a larger percentage of the foam models still retain warmth.”

How We Test Mattresses

We use real test subjects to measure support, but when it comes to testing 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 in contact with the mattress. Then we run an electrical current through the plate, which warms it to 98.6° F, simulating average body temperature.

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 insulate well and dissipates heat, more energy is needed to maintain the temperature of the copper plate. If the mattress insulates well and retains heat, less energy is used.

More on Mattresses

We analyze that data and note in the Features & Specs section of our mattress ratings whether a mattress retains warmth. To make it easier to find one to your liking, you can sort by this factor using the arrow at the top of the column labeled “Retains Warmth.”

To get you started on the path to a better night’s sleep, we’ve identified four recommended mattresses from each side of the spectrum—four that will sleep cooler and four that insulate and sleep warmer. 

Mattresses That Sleep Cooler

These four recommended mattresses trapped very little heat in our tests for warmth retention.

Sealy Posturepedic Hybrid Elite Kelburn Innerspring Mattress
Price: $1,350
Overall Score: 79
What it’s made of: A metal-coil support structure padded by foam and topped with a gel memory foam layer.
CR’s take: Sleep cool with the Hybrid Elite Kelburn, an innerspring mattress that scored Very Good for petite, average, and large/tall side sleepers and petite and average back sleepers. Large/tall back sleepers might not be as satisfied when it comes to support. The model earned just Good in that particular test. This Sealy rated Excellent for its stability; you won’t feel your partner jostling you around on this mattress.

Duxiana Dux 1001 Innerspring Mattress
Price:
$4,950
Overall Score: 73
What it’s made of: Two layers of springs surrounded by latex and covered by an ample layer of cotton.
CR’s take: An innerspring that scored Very Good in our tests for petite and average side sleepers and petite and average back sleepers; Good for large/tall back sleepers; and Excellent for large/tall side sleepers, the Duxiana Dux 1001 may be a fine choice for sleeping cool—except for the high price.

Purple the Purple Foam Mattress
Price:
$1,000
Overall Score: 76
What it’s made of: A proprietary polymer layer surrounded by foam.
CR’s take: There are some foam beds that sleep cooler than normal, and the Purple mattress is a prime example. It resists bounciness and eases movement, and doesn’t retain warmth like some of its foam competitors. The Purple mattress offers Very Good support for petite and average side and back sleepers, and Good support for large/tall side and back sleepers. 

Sleep Number c2 Adjustable Air Mattress
Price:
$900
Overall Score: 81
What it’s made of: Air bladders encased in a layer of foam.
CR’s take: At a mere 32 pounds, the c2 adjustable air bed has roughly an inch of foam above its air bladders, making it less likely to retain heat. It scored Very Good for petite and average side sleepers and large/tall side and back sleepers, and Excellent for petite and average back sleepers. One word of caution: It’s extremely firm, scoring a 9 out of 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the firmest, so avoid it if you’re hoping for something more forgiving.

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