Are Latex Mattresses Hot or Cool? The Official Verdict

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Regular readers will know that I love my job - especially when that job involves sleeping!

I’ve happily covered many bedding and mattress topics over the years, but the mattress material I probably get the most questions about is latex.

In fact, one of the questions I get asked by TheRoundup readers almost daily is, are latex mattresses hot?

The quick answer is NO - or at least not necessarily. It depends on a few factors. Let me explain...

I’ve touched on the topic of latex in numerous articles, such as:

However, judging by how often I’m asked the question, I feel I should dedicate an entire article to the subject of whether a latex mattress sleeps hot or cold.

So, read on as I’ll answer the question once and for all…and maybe free up some space in my inbox at the same time! 😁

Latex Mattresses: The Definitive Hot Or Not Guide

Latex mattresses have been gaining in popularity over the last few years.

They’re often hailed as being more comfortable and durable than traditional spring mattresses and better for the environment.

But one of the things that people are most curious about when it comes to latex mattresses is whether they sleep hot or not.

After all, nobody wants to be stuck in a pool of sweat in the middle of the night.

So, do latex mattresses sleep hot? The answer is…it depends!

Many factors can affect how hot or cool a latex mattress sleeps, including:

  • Latex type
  • Firmness
  • Thickness
  • Cover material
  • Bedding material
  • Mattress ventilation

Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors to see how they can affect the temperature of a latex mattress.

Latex Type

natural latex

Latex is made from the milk of the rubber tree. When harvested ethically and sustainably, natural latex is a very eco-friendly product.

There are two main types of latex that are used in mattresses, Dunlop and Talalay:

Dunlop Latex

This is the original method for producing latex foam. It was developed in 1929, and the process remains unchanged to the present day. Dunlop latex is made in the following way:

  • Liquid latex extracted from the rubber tree is whipped into a frothy foam
  • The frothy foam is fully injected into a mold
  • The mold is placed into an oven and baked (vulcanization)
  • The vulcanized latex is extracted from the mold and given a thorough wash
  • The washed latex is then baked one final time to remove excess moisture

Talalay Latex

This newer method for producing latex foam is more complex. It was developed in the 1940s and has been tweaked over time:

  • Liquid latex extracted from the rubber tree is whipped into a frothy foam
  • The frothy foam is partially injected into a mold (leaving some mold space empty)
  • The mold is vacuum-sealed (causing the latex to expand and fill the mold)
  • The filled mold is quickly frozen to push carbon dioxide through the structure of the latex
  • The frozen mold is baked to vulcanize the latex
  • The latex is removed from the mold
  • Once washed and dried, it’s ready to be used

Talalay latex is often considered more breathable and cooler than Dunlop latex due to the open cell structure caused by the vacuum sealing and freezing steps.

So if you don't want your latex mattress hot to sleep on, Talalay is probably the way to go.

Firmness

Generally speaking, softer mattresses tend to sleep warmer than firmer mattresses.

This is because soft mattresses conform more to your body’s shape, which can restrict airflow and cause a build-up of heat.

If you’re looking for a latex mattress that sleeps cool, you might want to consider a firmer option.

Thickness

Thicker latex mattresses tend to sleep warmer than thinner ones because there’s more mass to absorb heat.

However, this general rule of thumb only really applies to solid slabs of latex. The cooling properties significantly change when you add cooling zones and ventilation air holes.

For example, a 14” latex mattress with precision-engineered ventilation air holes will be cooler than a basic 8” mattress made from a solid slab of latex.

Mattress Cover Material

Latex mattress covers made from sustainable fabric (such as organic cotton and linen) are more breathable than synthetic fibers like polyester, so they tend to be cooler.

Due to the solid one-piece design of many latex mattresses, some covers can be removed and washed using an eco-friendly detergent.

Bedding Material

In addition to the main cover that comes with your latex mattress, the bedding you add to your sleep sanctuary also plays a critical role in the sleep temperature of your latex mattress.

Eco-friendly bedding made from breathable fabrics helps keep you cool at night.

My favorite combination is cooling bamboo sheets and a lightweight wool comforter.

Mattress Ventilation

Mattresses made with open cell structure latex (or with many airflow perforations) tend to be cooler to sleep on.

An effective way to boost the ventilation capacity of your latex mattress is to use a slatted bed frame rather than a solid base. The slats allow cool air to flow into the mattress from underneath and also heat to dissipate out.

Latex Mattresses Vs. Memory Foam Mattresses

Latex and memory foam mattresses are often wrongly assumed to be the same.

Memory foam usually goes through more processes (using more chemicals) when being made. This results in a more toxic product that off-gasses more significantly.

Memory foam molds to the body's contours more than latex, resulting in a warmer sleep surface.

Memory foam also traps more ambient heat from the air around it, again resulting in a warmer sleep surface.

However, there are expectations. For example, some bamboo-infused memory foam mattresses sleep nice and cool.

Why Some People Sleep Hot

There are numerous reasons why some people sleep hot (regardless of what mattress they use), including:

  • Hormones: Women are more likely to experience night sweats due to hormonal changes during menopause
  • Pregnancy: Pregnant women often experience an increase in body temperature, which can result in night sweats
  • Medications: Certain medications (such as those used to treat anxiety and depression) can cause night sweats
  • Medical conditions: There are a number of medical conditions that can cause night sweats (such as hyperthyroidism and diabetes)
  • Weight: People who are overweight often sleep hot because they have more body mass, which results in more heat being generated

How To Sleep Cooler On Any Mattress

There are a few things you can do to sleep cool on any mattress, including:

  • Use a cooling pillow: A pillow that cools your neck and head and can help regulate your body heat and prevent night sweats. An organic kapok pillow is an excellent eco-friendly cooling choice.
  • Use a cooling mattress topper: A good quality mattress topper can help boost the cooling properties of any mattress. Even a memory foam mattress!
  • Sleep on your back: Sleeping on your back allows heat to dissipate from your body more effectively.
  • Wear light, breathable clothing: Wearing light, breathable clothing (such as bamboo pajamas or even sleeping naked! 😉) will help keep you cool at night.
  • Use a fan: A fan in your bedroom will help circulate air and keep you cool at night.
  • Keep your bedroom cool: Keeping your bedroom cool (between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit) will also help you sleep cooler. Turn the heating down and open a window.
  • Consider a hybrid latex mattress: A hybrid mattress consisting of latex and innerspring can be extra cooling. This is because the springs act like little bellows as you move. Increasing air circulation around the mattress and reducing body heat.
  • Use white bedding: White bedding absorbs less heat during the day, resulting in a cooler sleep environment.

Benefits Of Sleeping Cool

When we sleep cool, we sleep better.

Getting the right amount of quality sleep comes with numerous benefits, including:

  • Improved immunity
  • Lower stress levels
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Lower risk of chronic diseases
  • Improved mental health
  • Increased energy

Sleeping cool also aids your body in the production of two crucial hormones (HGH and melatonin):

  • Human Growth Hormone (HGH): HGH is a hormone responsible for cell regeneration, tissue growth, and muscle growth. Peak HGH production level is during REM sleep (when the body is at its coolest).
  • Melatonin: Melatonin is a hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycles (circadian rhythm). Its production increases in the evening as we prepare for sleep and decreases in the morning as we wake up. Sleeping cool can help increase melatonin production, which can improve sleep quality.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Natural Latex Mattresses Smell?

No, 100% natural latex mattresses do not smell. In fact, they are often lauded for their lack of chemical smell compared to other types of mattresses.

If your latex mattress does have an odor when first unpacked, follow the tips here to speed up the off-gassing process.

Is Latex Toxic?

No, natural latex is not considered toxic. If you are concerned about toxins in your latex mattress, look for one certified by the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS).

How Long Do Natural Latex Mattresses Last?

A natural latex mattress should last you at least eight to ten years and potentially much longer with proper care.

Don’t forget to flip or rotate it regularly as per the manufacturer's guidelines. Also, avoid extended exposure to sunlight and don't use heated blankets (both cause latex to dry out and deteriorate).

Are Natural Latex Mattresses Cooler Than Synthetic Latex Mattresses?

Yes, synthetic latex mattresses have properties similar to memory foam mattresses.

The Final Word

So, there you have it! An in-depth look into whether or not latex mattresses sleep hot.

As you can see, there is no simple answer. It depends on multiple different factors.

Latex mattresses are not inherently hot, but there are a few things you should keep in mind if you tend to sleep hot:

  • Make sure to choose a natural latex mattress that is made with breathable materials and has good ventilation
  • Keep your bedroom cool and well-ventilated
  • Consider using a cooling pillow and light, breathable bedding
  • Look for a firmer mattress made from Talalay natural latex encased in a natural fiber cover

Sleeping cool helps improve the quality of our sleep, which in turn has all sorts of positive effects on our physical and mental health.

So, sleeping cool is a great place to start if you're looking to boost your health!

Get In Touch

Do you have a natural latex mattress? How do you find it sleeps?

Do you find natural latex mattresses hot and prefer something else? Do you have any killer air circulation tips for when you’re sleeping hot? Drop me a line and let me know.

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James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.
James Miller
James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.

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