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If you love almost everything about your mattress but want to make small changes to customize your sleep environment, a mattress pad is worth considering. A mattress pad is a thin layer that sits on top of your current mattress, and is secured with elasticized straps or a skirt much like a fitted sheet. Not only does a mattress pad let you customize the feel of your mattress, but it also adds a layer of protection.
While a mattress pad does not necessarily change the overall firmness of your mattress, it can change certain qualities like temperature regulation. A cooling mattress pad actively or passively regulates temperature and prevents sleeping hot. Some are made with breathable materials, like cotton or wool, while others are infused with gel to draw heat away from the body and dissipate moisture. Certain styles use technology to actively cool down the surface of the mattress.
We’ll cover our top picks for the best cooling mattress pads and what to look for when shopping for one. We’ll also break down what type of cooling mattress pad is best, along with answers to frequently asked questions.
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The Slumber Cloud Nacreous Mattress Pad stands out with its proprietary Outlast technology, which is engineered for optimal temperature regulation. Outlast is a phase change material (PCM), which has the ability to absorb, store, and return heat.
The pad’s fabric lining is engineered to reduce heat and moisture buildup when you’re too hot, but it also releases heat if you start to get cold. Additional temperature-regulating technology is added to the top cover. The PCM technology may appeal to couples with differing temperature preferences, as the mattress pad is designed to adjust to each person’s unique needs.
The pad is available in the six standard mattress sizes, as well as split king. Shoppers can choose between blue and white, which differ slightly in fabrication. The blue model’s top fabric consists of 40% Outlast viscose and 60% cotton, while the top panel of the white pad features 100% lyocell. Both compositions are effective at regulating temperature.
The pad features a small amount of polyester fiberfill padding for greater breathability, without changing the overall feel of your mattress. Its elastic skirting has a 360-degree grip to ensure a snug fit, and the pad will fit mattresses with profiles between 5 inches and 20 inches.
The Nacreous Mattress Pad is hypoallergenic and machine-washable. It comes with a 60-day trial, and Slumber Cloud offers free shipping for all U.S. orders.
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The ViscoSoft Copper Pillow Top Mattress Pad has a breathable, heat-wicking design, with copper-infused fabric and down alternative fill. The copper threads are intended to prevent the buildup of bacteria and reduce odors in your sleeping environment. This model is hypoallergenic and machine-washable, making it a suitable choice for those with environmental sensitivities.
The pad features a deep pocket skirt that can accommodate mattresses up to 18 inches tall. Sturdy elastic helps promote a snug and secure fit, making the mattress pad less likely to shift throughout the night.
Because of its 750 grams per square meter (GSM) down alternative fiberfill, the pad has a plush feel. This can help soften a firm mattress and provide additional cushioning for the shoulders and hips.
The Copper Pillow Top Mattress Pad is backed by a 60-day return period and a 3-year warranty. ViscoSoft also provides free shipping for the mattress pad.
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The Saatva Organic Mattress Pad naturally wicks away moisture and heat for a cooler sleep environment. Cotton is lightweight and breathable and the Saatva Organic Mattress Pad uses 100 percent Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified cotton in its quilted construction. It is made without the use of chemicals or synthetic materials.
The 300 thread count of the Saatva Organic Mattress Pad is soft and breathable, allowing air to flow through the mattress pad. Organic cotton side panels with a wide elastic band secure the pad to the mattress. The pad can fit mattresses up to 16 inches thick, making it a great choice for those with higher mattress profiles. The mattress pad includes 0.75 inches of plush cotton fill, so it will add some softness to the mattress.
The Saatva Organic Mattress Pad is easy to clean as it can be machine washed on the gentle cycle and tumble dried. The mattress pad is available in standard sizes twin through California king. Saatva also offers an Upper-Flex option for the queen and king sizes, which corresponds to the Saatva Upper-Flex split top mattress.
Saatva offers a 45-day sleep trial for the Organic Mattress Pad and issues a full refund if you decide to return the pad. The company asks that any bedding is washed before returning. The Organic Mattress Pad is covered by a 1-year limited warranty.
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The Brooklyn Bedding Cooling Mattress Protector has a cool to the touch feel and breathable construction. The mattress protector improves the overall breathability of the mattress and draws heat away from the body. It resists dust mites and other allergens.
The company’s TitanCool technology is infused in the surface of the Cooling Mattress Protector. This phase change material (PCM) increases the conductivity of the protector and draws heat away from the body. The breathable elastic fabrication increases airflow.
Shoppers who want an easy to clean mattress pad will appreciate that the Brooklyn Bedding Cooling Mattress Protector can be machine washed in cool or warm water and tumble dried on a low setting. The mattress pad adds a layer of protection to the mattress, reducing normal wear and tear. The waterproof fabrication prevents spills from staining the mattress below.
The Brooklyn Bedding Cooling Mattress Protector is a thin cover, so sleepers should not expect it to add softness or change the firmness of the mattress. It is ideal for shoppers who want to protect their mattress from spills and stains while improving its overall breathability.
Brooklyn Bedding offers a 30-day sleep trial for the Cooling Mattress Protector.
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The Cozy Earth Bamboo Mattress Pad is a lightweight model with a thin profile. The breathable viscose derived from bamboo is particularly suitable for hot sleepers or those living in humid climates, as it helps wick away moisture and regulate temperature.
The pad is hypoallergenic. Cozy Earth sources bamboo from USDA-certified organic farms, which means that it is free of chemicals and pesticides. The company does not use dyes, and the pad is a natural white color. The bamboo-derived viscose is highly breathable, which helps the mattress pad prevent the buildup of moisture and bacteria.
The pad is available in twin, queen, king, and California king sizes and fits mattresses up to 20 inches deep. It has a strong elastic band to help keep the mattress pad in place. In order to preserve the mattress pad’s structural integrity and soft feel, it should be machine washed on the delicate setting.
Cozy Earth offers free shipping and returns for U.S. orders. The Bamboo Mattress Pad is backed by a 100-night trial and a 10-year warranty.
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Unlike mattress pads that passively regulate temperature, the Chili Ooler Mattress Pad actively customizes the temperature of the bed with a hydronic pad and control unit. This gives sleepers the option of setting a temperature for the bed between 55 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit for personalized comfort.
The hi-loft jacquard knit of the mattress pad has a Tencel lyocell surface for breathability. The pad also features an energy-reflective waterproof polyester bottom. The hydronic pad is 0.375 inches thick and includes 0.125-inch tubing with leak-proof connectors. Water flows through the channels and adjusts the temperature of the pad.
The Ooler Mattress Pad is controlled by an attached unit with a water tank. The control unit has a low profile so it can fit underneath the bed. It auto-cleans with a UV light. There is variable ambient noise, which can be adjusted on the control unit.
The Ooler Sleep System can be optimized for one or two sleepers. It is available in sizes half queen, half king, half California king, queen, king, and California king. The half sizes are designed for one sleeper and cover half of the mattress. Whole sizes cover the entire mattress and include two control units. This is beneficial for couples with differing comfort preferences, as each side can be individually adjusted.
The mattress pad pairs with a smartphone app for temperature control, customizable schedules, and notifications. Sleepers can set the Warm Awake feature in lieu of an alarm clock. This option warms the bed slowly to wake you up naturally. The Ooler Sleep System has been shown to improve sleep quality and reduce sweating for hot sleepers.
Chili offers a 30-night sleep trial for the Ooler Sleep System, though the customer is responsible for any shipping costs in the event of a return. The company covers the Ooler Sleep System with a 2-year limited warranty.
Sometimes, companies use misleading terminology or overstate the features of a mattress pad, which can make it difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. Additionally, every shopper has unique needs and preferences. What works for one person may not work for another.
Focusing on the following features will help narrow down the vast selection and differentiate between a mattress pad that suits your needs, and one that does not.
There are different types of cooling mattress pads available, each of which has benefits and drawbacks. We’ll break down what types are best at cooling here. Keep in mind that mattress pads enhance the features of your current mattress. Additional factors, including bedding, room temperature, and personal preferences, will also determine which mattress pad is best for you.
Memory foam mattress pads react to heat and pressure to conform closely. This can restrict airflow around the body. These pads may also retain heat. This is especially the case for mattress pads made of traditional memory foam. Newer styles of memory foam often have an open-cell structure for better airflow. Memory foam can also be infused with copper or graphite to draw heat away from the body, or gel for additional cooling.
Polyfoam is less conforming than memory foam, which allows for better airflow around the body. There are many types of polyfoam, some of which regulate temperature better than others. Basic polyfoam may still retain heat, but is going to be less restrictive than memory foam. Like memory foam, advanced polyfoam can also have an open-cell structure, or be infused with copper, graphite, or gel.
A cooling gel mattress pad draws heat away from the body. Gel-infused foam dissipates heat and moisture to prevent overheating. Some gel foams are better than others. How well it performs depends on the type of gel used and how it is incorporated into the foam. Heat retention is still possible.
Latex is a natural material made from sap harvested from rubber trees. It is more breathable than synthetic foam and regulates temperature well. There are two types of natural latex: Dunlop and Talalay. Dunlop latex is more dense. Talalay latex is light and breathable, and it is often used to regulate temperature in mattresses. Latex can be aerated to maximize airflow and improve breathability.
Wool and cotton are natural fibers that wick away moisture and regulate temperature. Cotton is lightweight and breathable. It prevents moisture from building up in the mattress pad. This is beneficial for hot sleepers who are prone to sweating throughout the night.
Wool acts as natural insulation. The fibers absorb and retain heat in cooler months, and dissipate heat when it is warmer. This keeps sleepers comfortable throughout the year. Wool and cotton fill can also add softness to a mattress.
Standard mattress pads have two primary functions: to protect your mattress from spills and contaminants, and to slightly improve the comfort level of your mattress. These traits distinguish pads from mattress protectors, which offer stronger protection – most are 100% waterproof – but do not change the feel of the mattress very much. Pads also differ from mattress toppers, which protect the mattress to a minimal extent but will significantly adjust the feel of your sleep surface.
Cooling mattress pads perform a third function by regulating the surface temperature of the mattress to keep you comfortable while you sleep. Every cooling mattress pad has a unique design, but most fall into one of two categories: active cooling or passive cooling pads.
As their name suggests, active cooling pads are designed to actively cool your mattress. Many circulate air or water to maintain a steady, comfortable temperature across the mattress surface. These pads usually have dials or remotes, and may be programmed for specific temperature settings. Some newer models are also compatible with smartphone apps.
Passive cooling pads are constructed from breathable materials that draw heat away from your body without actively regulating the surface temperature. These materials include copper, gel, and phase change material. Breathable shell fabrics like cotton, Tencel, and rayon from bamboo can also enhance the pad’s cooling properties.
Most passive cooling pads can be washed and dried in any household machine. Specific care instructions vary, but these pads should usually be washed in cool or warm water on a delicate cycle and tumble dried on a low setting.
Cleaning instructions may differ for active cooling pads. Some should never be machine-washed or -dried because they contain fragile tubes, electrical parts, and other components that can be permanently damaged if exposed to water. Other cooling pads are washable in household machines, but you may be limited to delicate wash cycles and no-heat dryer settings. If your machine-washable active cooling pad includes a power cord, you should secure it with a rubber band to prevent damage to both the cord and your appliances.
These are general cleaning suggestions, and specific care instructions vary by pad. Whether you choose a passive or active cooling pad, always check the care tag before washing and drying it for the first time.
Some people sleep hot regardless of the season or local climate, and an uncomfortable temperature in bed may impact overall sleep quality. A cooling mattress pad can help maintain a comfortable temperature for hot sleepers and help them rest soundly throughout the night.
Even if you don’t need active or passive cooling to sleep comfortably, mattress pads also improve the feel of your sleep surface and protect the mattress from liquid damage and contaminants. Cooling mattress pads can be a worthwhile investment if you’re looking for bedding with any of these features.
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