Sleep Too Hot or Cool? A Guide to Getting the Temperature Just Right

mattress that sleeps cool

At Unbox Mattress, we’re obsessed with getting the best night sleep. And while there are many, many reasons you’re not getting the best sleep you can,  your bedding is a part of that.

If your room is too hot, your body will struggle to keep your body temperature at a comfortable level. Too cold and you can’t sleep well. The climate or time of the year (hello summer) you live in can be a factor. Night sweats, hormonal changes, and even aging can make throw off your body temperature. 

It’s a challenge to find the right temperature for the best sleep. Here are some ways we’ve found to help.

Note: if you shop through our links we may earn a commission.

Sleep Issue: You Sleep Too Hot

Problem: You get hot and sweaty at night (and it’s not from sex). 

Sleeping too hot is one of the most common sleep issues. According to a survey by Sleeprate, 80% of people said they slept better during cooler months compared to summer months. And this sleep study says sleep is actually disturbed more with too much heat than with by being too cold. 

Solution #1: get a new mattress. If you normally don’t sleep hot, it could be your mattress. Memory foam heats up, softens up, sinks and traps body heat then cooks you all night long.

All foam mattresses with large sheets of foam stacked on each other don’t allow for airflow, which means you sleep hotter. Here’s the mattress we recommend if you sleep hot. This recommendation is based on tests by Consumer Reports on cooling beds as well as our own experience. 

Solution #2: If you sleep hot because you tend to be sweatier or you’re going through hot flashes (menopausal women), it may be more than your mattress. In that case, we recommend a bed fan or cooler. Products like a BedJet or Chilipad can cool you down fast – for a price.

The BedJet is a bed fan that recirculates cooler air on the ground or warms the air. Turn it on and you get cool within seconds.

The Chilipad is not a fan, rather it’s a mattress pad that circulates water through a network of tiny tubes. It has a temperature range between 55°- 110° F which covers just about anyone who sleeps hot. Sleep in a hot climate? Try using a Chilipad to cool down to 55°!

These products work well but they’re also more pricey. The next solution is less expensive (but may take longer to work or not work as well).

Simple&Opulence 100% Stone Washed Linen 4pcs Hollowed-Out Design Solid Sheet Set (Queen, Linen)Simple&Opulence 100% Stone Washed Linen 4pcs Hollowed-Out Design Solid Sheet Set (Queen, Linen)

Solution #3: Cooler blankets and bedding. 

To stay cool, you need a blanket that allows good airflow in and out of your sleep space. Trapped air heats up quickly which raises your body temperature. Look for a blanket with natural or synthetic venting structures.

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Blanket materials with good breathability include: Regular cotton, Egyptian cotton, Linen, Satin, Viscose, Rayon Blends (e.g., cotton & linen). We really love linen for the summer or just for cooling. Just be aware that even though it’s not the softest option, it softens up as you wash it.

Another thing that keeps you too hot: sweating. When you have wind to cool you off that’s not a bad thing. When it makes your bedding moist, it is.

A cooling blanket should be made of fabric with good absorption properties or hygroscopy. It will then “wick” or draw moisture from the air instead of trapping it next to you.

Here are some blankets with good absorbency: cotton, hemp, bamboo, flax linen, and microfibers.

We like Sheex brand performance sheets. They are sold with just the bottom sheet or just the top, so if you prefer not to sleep with a top sheet, you can just buy the fitted one. 

SHEEX – Original Performance Fitted Sheet, 1 (One) Fitted Sheet ONLY, Ultra-Soft Fabric Transfers Body Heat and Breathes Better Than Traditional Cotton, Ecru (Queen)SHEEX – Original Performance Fitted Sheet, 1 (One) Fitted Sheet ONLY, Ultra-Soft Fabric Transfers Body Heat and Breathes Better Than Traditional Cotton, Ecru (Queen)

 

Solution #3: a warm mist humidifier.

It’s easier to warm humid air. A warm mist humidifier can help make your room warmer without turning up the heat for the whole house. We like top fill models and ones with larger tanks so it’s easier to refill and you don’t have to refill it as often.

Venta is our favorite humidifier/air purifier/diffuser. It’s not a warm mist humidifier, it isn’t warm or cool. While this product is an investment but it’s one of those things you can’t live without once you have one. Plus, the Venta has the added benefit of being easy to clean. There are no filters to replace, it uses tap water, is easy to fill and you can add your favorite essential oil (like sleep-promoting lavender) to the water.

Sleep Issue: You Get Too Cold

Problem: you freeze most nights and spend hours trying to warm up so you can relax and fall asleep. Or you wake up freezing cold during the night.

This problem is easier to solve than sleeping hot. The ideal sleeping temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Most people say 65 degrees. Falling temperatures (like what happens when you go from being warmer to being cooler) help you fall asleep. However, anyone who’s been winter camping, knows if you’re too cold you won’t get great sleep either.

Fact: rooms between 60 and 68 degrees encourage the body to produce melatonin. Melatonin not only promotes sleep, it’s also a powerful anti-aging hormone.

Solution #1: the BedJet or Chilipad. This solution has the added benefit of working in too hot or too cold conditions. It’s more expensive but it works.

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Solution #2: a heated mattress pad.

If, like a lot of us, you get cold and someone you sleep in the same bed with gets too warm, a dual control heating mattress pad can help. These go underneath your sheets but that means they can’t be kicked off or fall off the bed.

We have this heated mattress pad (pictured below) and like how quick it heats up. You can set it for 1, 2 or 10 hour auto shut off times. There are no cords running underneath and you don’t have to plug in both sides for it to work.

After testing several brands of heated mattress pads, this is by far our favorite:

Newlifeelectronic Heated Mattress Pad, Electric Heating Bed Toppers with EasySet Control and Timer, Fast Heating Technology, Ultra-Fresh Anti-Bacteria Extra Comfort, White (King Size)Newlifeelectronic Heated Mattress Pad, Electric Heating Bed Toppers with EasySet Control and Timer, Fast Heating Technology, Ultra-Fresh Anti-Bacteria Extra Comfort, White (King Size)

 

 

Solution #3: an electric blanket.

Most electric blankets are made from polyester because which is naturally more flame-retardant and keeps its shape better after washings. Cotton is softer but less flame resistant. You can also get fleece heated blankets.

What to look for in an electric blanket

Thicker is better for warmth and if a blanket is too thin you risk being able to feel the wires through the blanket, which isn’t very cozy at all.

Your electric blanket or heated mattress pad can get stains and odors. So find one that has detachable controls (like the heated mattress pad pictured above). That way you can wash and dry it to keep it sanitary. Washing your blanket wrong can ruin it so be sure to check the instructions and follow them. Every heated blanket and mattress pad we link to in this article is machine washable. 

Look for an electric blanket that has the cord on the side, not down the middle so you can plug it into the nearest outlet. Is the cord long enough? Also, it’s easier to make the bed without dealing with the cord in the middle.

Your blanket’s controls should also be simple to see and use, even at night. If you sleep with someone else, dual controls are so helpful. Also, some blankets have one setting and others have many temperature settings to choose from. This one has 10. We prefer a digital readout rather than a dial because it’s tough to maneuver dials in your sleep. The one we linked to has a dimmer so as to not keep you awake.

If you haven’t found what you’re looking for, here are more bed cooling options. 

Does being too hot or cold affect your sleep? If so, how did you solve the problem? Let us know in the comments. 

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