You need to get good sleep every night to maintain your physical health, and rest is also a key factor in your mental health. There are several things that can affect your ability to sleep deeply and long enough each night. One of them is temperature. Medical experts indicate that the optimal sleeping temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, it can be difficult to maintain this temperature in a warm climate or if you share a bed with a partner. If you experience hot flashes, they can wake you up at night and make it difficult to fall back to sleep.
While maintaining a cool temperature in your bedroom can help promote good sleep, some types of mattresses and bedding can trap body heat, making you too hot for comfort. A cooling mattress pad can be a good solution. There are several different styles, but they all work to pull excess heat away from your body and dissipate it. Some powered models allow you to set your desired temperature and maintain it using water or air circulation.
What Is A Mattress Pad?
A mattress pad sits on top of your mattress (usually under the fitted sheet) and can perform several different functions. Some mattress pads are intended to protect the mattress from moisture, wear and tear, and stains. These are usually thin and waterproof. Others are slightly thicker and can make your bed more comfortable, especially if you have a very firm mattress.
You can also find cooling pads that are designed to help regulate your body temperature. They may be made of sweat-wicking or stay-cool material, and some powered options actually have channels inside that circulate air or water. A cooling pad can be a great addition to your bed if you experience hot flashes, live in a warm climate, or have a mattress that retains heat (such as memory foam).
What Causes Hot Flashes?
A hot flash is a sudden feeling of intense warmth that’s usually located in your upper body. Sometimes hot flashes also include an accelerated heartbeat, flushing in the face and neck, and the feeling of anxiety. Some people experience hot flashes so severe that they sweat and then feel chilled after the hot flash stops.
There are several different medical conditions that can cause hot flashes, but one of the most common is menopause. Many women experience hot flashes over several years during menopause, though the frequency and duration can vary widely. When hot flashes happen at night (sometimes called night sweats) they may disrupt sleep, leading to other health issues.
Hot Flashes and Sleep
Unfortunately, if you’re dealing with hot flashes, you’ve probably already noticed how it affects your sleep. While hot flashes can occur during the day or night, nighttime episodes can mean waking up throughout the night or waking up tired in the morning, not to mention the discomfort of falling asleep during those unpleasant sensations of excess body heat.
Since hot flashes during the night are often a symptom of a different problem, the best way of treating hot flashes is to treat the underlying cause. However, in the meantime, there are a few options for prevention and relief of this frustrating symptom.
Hot Flash Prevention
Hot flashes can be devastating -interruptions to sleep and interferences to your daily life can make this a burdensome problem to live with. While some people may resort to medication to control their night sweats, some lifestyle changes can make your hot flashes less severe or less common. You might want to try these first.
Small changes to your day-to-day routine can decrease the severity of your hot flashes and make a huge difference in your overall quality of life. These changes can range from dietary restrictions to buying clothing made of different materials, so it’s worth it to find the changes that work for you and your individual needs.
Adding one to two servings of soy to your diet could be beneficial for some women dealing with menopause-related hot flashes. Preliminary studies have shown eating soybean isoflavones regularly can reduce the frequency of hot flashes by a fifth.
You should avoid eating spicy foods, drinking alcohol, or drinking caffeinated beverages, as these are known to worsen the symptoms associated with hot flashes and menopause. Foods that cause excess stomach acids, such as tomatoes, citrus, and chocolate, can also irritate GERD, which is often correlated with night sweats.
Another lifestyle change to consider is losing weight through diet or exercise if you are overweight. Studies have shown that being overweight or obese can increase the frequency and severity of hot flashes in women. Not only that, but women who have lost weight due to exercise or diet have seen dramatic reversals of their previous hot flash symptoms and report improvements to their condition at twice the rate of women who aren’t actively losing weight.
Your clothing choices can affect your heat levels, too. When looking for pajamas or work outfits, try to find breathable options that won’t trap heat in your body. Wearing clothing in layers can be useful, too, for the added option of removing layers when a hot flash begins.
Hypnotherapy, acupuncture, and meditation have all been proven useful for reducing hot flash episodes. Some evidence suggests that hypnotherapy, or hypnosis used for health-related purposes, can improve hot flash symptoms caused by menopause.
Meditation has also been studied as a surprising method of decreasing the severity of hot flashes. Studies conducted on meditation reported a 40% decrease in the average severity of hot flashes in women who meditated over a span of just three months.
Medications used to manage hot flash symptoms vary depending on the underlying cause at fault. Some non-hormonal medications work well for hot flashes unrelated to menopause, and these medicines present fewer long-term risks than hormonal treatments. However, hormonal medications work great for women experiencing menopause, as they can help to buffer the decline in estrogen and progesterone causing your symptoms.
The Best Bedding for Hot Flashes
Since many hot flashes occur at night, it’s crucial to have quality bedding that keeps you cool even during your worst episodes.
Here are some of the things you can consider switching out to stay cooler:
- Mattress Pad
While the addition of a cooling mattress pad will be the most useful for your hot flashes, changes to your other bedding could also have cooling benefits. Breathable fabrics such as cotton, linen, or silk allow for an even more heat-resistant sleep by providing natural moisture-wicking properties, so products made of these materials will be able to keep you cooler longer.
Sheets made of synthetic materials like polyester tend to trap heat, and they can aggravate your hot flashes. The same is true of blankets or quilts used on the bed, and the added weight has the potential to make your symptoms worse.
How The Right Mattress Pad Can Help With Hot Flashes
Even though most hot flashes only last a few minutes, they can be very intense and disruptive to sleep. Getting a cooling mattress topper or pad can help reduce the sleep issues caused by hot flashes. A good cooling mattress pad is made with breathable materials designed to stay cool and dissipate heat away from your body, which can reduce the intensity of a hot flash and help you return to a comfortable temperature sooner.
Best Cooling Mattress Pads For Hot Flashes
Are you ready to find the best cooling mattress topper to help with hot flashes? Read on to get our recommendations.
COMFORT BOOST Mattress Topper
The COMFORT BOOST mattress topper is a full 2 inches thick and overstuffed with a cooling synthetic down alternative. Square baffle stitching keeps the filling in place, and the elastic deep pocket design allows this topper to fit on just about any mattress. This pillowtop mattress pad has a breathable cotton cover that helps dissipate heat to keep you cool.
Bottom Line: This overstuffed mattress topper provides all the plush comfort of a fluffy pillow but is thick enough to offer support. Its breathable cotton cover and down-alternative filling help keep you cool, and it’s easy to toss the topper in the washing machine.
SLEEP ZONE Athlete-Grade Ergonomic Mattress Pad
This plush mattress pad features a soft brushed microfiber cover and is available in four different colors. The microfiber fabric holds the synthetic filling, which is made of “cooling fiber” that dries faster than cotton and helps pull moisture and heat away from your body. The entire pad is machine-washable, which makes it easy to keep clean.
Bottom Line: With its affordable price, different colors, cooling synthetic filling, and microfiber cover, this mattress pad is a good choice for those who want passive cooling.
Zen Bamboo Cooling Mattress Pad
This thin-profile cooling topper is made of a blend of bamboo-derived rayon and microfiber. The honeycomb stitching pattern helps keep the heat-dispersing filling in place, and the elastic pocket fits most mattresses. This cover is machine-washable. The description claims it protects the mattress from stains, but some reviewers say the pad isn’t waterproof or protective.
Bottom Line: If you like the feel of your mattress and don’t want to change it with a thick, fluffy topper, this cooling mattress pad is an affordable, easy-to-clean choice.
TEXARTIST Pillowtop Cooling Mattress Pad
If you like the look and feel of a pillowtop cover but don’t need something that will dramatically change the feel of your mattress, this mattress pad could be a good choice. It features an attractively low price point and has a 21-inch pocket that will fit most mattresses. The cotton cover holds polyester fibers designed to reduce heat.
Bottom Line: With its low price, easy care instructions, and deep pocket, this cotton and polyester mattress pad is a good choice to add a cooling effect to a comfortable mattress.
SUBRTEX Gel-Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper
This 3-inch tall memory foam pad features a removable bamboo cover that’s machine-washable. Bamboo is a breathable fabric that helps disperse body heat. The memory foam has built-in air holes for ventilation and is infused with cooling gel to help reduce heat even more.
Bottom Line: If you’re willing to pay more for a memory foam topper that doesn’t sleep too hot, this mattress pad, with its cooling gel, ventilated design, and bamboo cover, could be a great choice.
ChiliSleep Cube Sleep System Cooling and Heating Mattress Pad
This “sleep system” doesn’t just rely on cooling, breathable materials to reduce heat. It actively cools down the sleeping surface by circulating water through silicon micro-tubes inside the pad. You can set a precise temperature with the remote, and each side is adjustable, which is good for couples with different comfort preferences.
Bottom Line: If you sleep very hot or experience extreme night sweats and want an active cooling system, this mattress pad offers adjustable temperature control and is easy to maintain.
How To Choose A Cooling Mattress Pad For Hot Flashes
There are several things to consider when choosing a cooling mattress pad for hot flashes. Think about whether you need a significant cooling effect or simply something that will help regulate your body temperature comfortably. If you share a bed with a partner, you may want to try to find a solution that accommodates their temperature preferences also.
What To Consider When Buying A Cooling Mattress Pad
There are several things to think about before choosing a mattress topper or pad for your bed. You might want one that stays cool but also helps reduce back pain or pressure points from sleeping on your side. Don’t forget to think about the cleaning requirements of the mattress pad as well.
If your primary goal in getting a mattress pad is to help keep yourself cool while you’re sleeping, you need to look at the cooling properties of any option you’re considering. First, decide if you want a mattress topper or pad that passively or actively cools. Passive cooling comes from a ventilated design, cool-to-the-touch fabric, gel, and breathable materials that dissipate heat.
A mattress pad with active cooling is powered and uses internal circulation of air or water to reduce the temperature. Some models even let you set the desired temperature with an attached thermostat or your smartphone. However, these products require access to a power source and may be loud during operation, which could disrupt your sleep.
Materials and Thickness
Some mattress pads are very thin, especially those made of cooling “phase change” materials or gel. Pillowtop-style toppers are generally a few inches thick and provide a soft, cushiony feeling along with cooling properties. If you choose a mattress topper made of memory foam infused with cooling gel, you can find one that’s firm and supportive, which can help reduce back pain due to a mattress that’s too soft.
The thicker your mattress pad is, the more it will change how your sleeping surface feels. Thicker mattress toppers also need to include more cooling features, because when you sink down into a plush topper, your body heat can become trapped around you.
Types Of Mattress Pads For Hot Flashes
You can find several different types of mattress pads with unique features and cooling elements. Here are some options to consider.
Some of the best cooling mattress toppers are made of natural or synthetic filling inside a fabric cover. These pillowtop styles offer a plush, cloud-like sleeping surface that many people find comfortable. Most have a quilted design that helps to keep the filling in place.
If you want to add a pillowtop mattress pad to your bed, look for cooling features like breathable fabrics. Cotton, bamboo, and some synthetic materials are breathable and help dissipate heat away from your body. These materials can also help wick away sweat, which can prevent you from becoming chilled after a hot flash. Wool and cotton filling can help regulate temperature, as can most synthetic fillings.
You can find countless mattress toppers and pads made of memory foam. This unique material adapts to heat and pressure, so it conforms to the curves of your body when you lie down. Memory foam offers several benefits, including a customized sleep surface that hugs your body and eliminates pressure points. Many people find that a memory foam topper can reduce pain by keeping the spine in proper alignment during sleep.
However, memory foam can also sleep very hot. It tends to retain heat, and the contoured surface holds that heat right next to your skin. For a cooler feeling, look for features like gel, graphite, or copper, which are conductive materials that move heat away from the body. Some memory foam toppers are also ventilated for better airflow.
While not as dense or supportive as memory foam, traditional polyfoam also tends to regulate temperature better because it doesn’t trap as much body heat. Many polyfoam covers have a wavy egg carton design on the sleep surface, which promotes airflow for additional cooling. Polyfoam is usually less expensive than memory foam.
However, there are some potential downsides to polyfoam. It’s usually less durable than memory foam and might need to be replaced more often. It also doesn’t provide customized support because it doesn’t contour around your body like memory foam does. Polyfoam mattress pads are usually best for occasional use.
Powered Sleep Systems
If you consistently sleep hot, live in a warm climate, or have intense hot flashes, you may want to consider a mattress pad with active cooling. These pads are usually fairly thin and made of fabric with tiny channels inside. These channels are full of air or water. When the pad is plugged in and turned on, it circulates the water or air in the channels, effectively moving heat away from your body to maintain a cool temperature.
Most powered cooling systems allow you to set a specific temperature with a remote, attached thermostat, or even a smartphone app. Some styles have two controls, so people who share a bed can personalize the temperature on their side.
When Should You Buy A Cooling Mattress Pad?High-quality sleep is an essential part of your physical and mental health. If you are experiencing hot flashes that are disrupting your sleep, it’s a good idea to find a solution as soon as possible. Most cooling mattress pads are reasonably priced, so you may be able to try a couple of different styles to find the one that works best for you.
Commonly Asked Questions About Mattress Pads
Do you still have questions about mattress pads? Here are some expert answers.
Do cooling mattress pads work?
It’s a good idea to read mattress topper reviews before choosing a mattress pad to make sure the product you’re thinking of will do what you want it to. There are mattress pads that passively cool with features like ventilation, breathable covers, and cooling gel. You can also find models that actively cool by circulating air or water through channels inside the mattress pad.
What type of mattress pad is best for hot flashes?
Every person is different, so it may take a while to determine which products or methods can help with your hot flashes. Some types of mattress pads can address multiple issues. For example, you could get a mattress topper for shoulder pain that includes cooling features to help you maintain a comfortable sleeping temperature.
Can mattress pads help with hot flashes?
Passive cooling mattress pads can help reduce the discomfort of hot flashes by drawing heat away from your body and dissipating it. If you get severe or long-lasting hot flashes, you may want to consider an active mattress pad that uses air or water to lower the temperature. It’s also important to discuss your symptoms with a medical professional.
What’s the difference between a mattress pad and a mattress topper?
Mattress pads are usually thinner than mattress toppers. Most toppers are a few inches thick and designed to make your sleeping surface softer or firmer. They can help with common sleep issues like shoulder pain. Mattress pads are usually thinner. They can help protect your mattress from stains and dust, helping it to last longer.
How often do you wash a mattress pad?
Mattress pads don’t need to be washed as often as your sheets, but you should launder them every month or so. It’s always best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific mattress pad.
What’s the purpose of a mattress pad?
You can get a mattress pad for several different reasons. Some of them simply help protect your mattress from moisture and wear and tear, but others can also heat or cool the sleeping surface.
Do you need both a mattress topper and a mattress pad?
In most cases, no. If you get a topper to help with hip pain or back pain, it will also provide similar protection as a mattress protector. If you get a heating or cooling mattress pad for your bed, putting a topper over it would negate the temperature effects.
What thickness of mattress pad should I get?
It depends on what you want your mattress pad to do. If you just want to protect your mattress from moisture and stains, you can get a waterproof mattress pad that’s a little bit thicker than a sheet. However, heating or cooling mattress pads are usually similar to a blanket in thickness.
How do you clean a mattress pad?
You should follow the cleaning instructions provided by the manufacturer of your mattress pad. Some of them can be cleaned in a washing machine, but others may require dry cleaning, spot cleaning, or hand-washing. Make sure to check whether your mattress pad can go in a dryer or if it needs to be line-dried.