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Re: What About Memory Foam AND Heat?

Posted by Honest Expert on January 16, 2001 at 21:00:31:

In Reply to: What About Memory Foam AND Heat? posted by Cynthia on January 16, 2001 at 20:59:09:


I have lived in Mesa, Arizona and Sacramento, California at different times in my life. I understand heat! haha!

I have a dear friend who started her hot-flashes about 3 years ago and was sleeping on a "memory foam" mattress at the time. She said she was miserable ... but I could not honestly say whether the mattress played any part in that! After all, she was miserable sitting in her car with the air conditioning going full blast when a hot flash struck, too!

As far as the hot flashes go, the best I can recommend is having a nice plush terrycloth body sheet (towel) -- or a couple -- near the bed. The texture of the terry gives a tiny pocket of air that help keep you cooler. Otherwise, I doubt that any mattress but a waterbed with the heater turned off will feel in the least bit cooler during a hot flash. (It won't affect the performance of a "memory foam" mattress, though).

"I'm sorry madam, we can't treat the patient, we can only ease the symptoms!" All my friend could do, ultimately, was laugh!

Now, about "memory foam" mattresses in warmer climes: There are two aspects to the design that give you support. First, the firmness and density of the foam holds you up and, second, the more complete contouring ability distributes your weight over a wider area. Because of warmer temperatures, the whole "memory foam" portion of the mattress (usually the top 2.5" to 4.5") will be more "fluid." When you lay on it, it will feel quite squishy. It will feel like laying on freshly baked bread. Most people find this feeling to be quite luscious.

And how will support be affected because the foam will be softer than "normal?" Usually, there is a trade-off of types of support: There won't be as much "body" to the foam, but it will contour to your body even more than normal and provide good support through better weight distribution. Unfortuantely, whether the trade-off is too much, too little, or just right can only be determined by your own body weight, proportions and the temperature! (Which is to say: There is no way to tell without trying it!)

The drawback can be that more contouring to your body also means more of your skin touching mattress instead of being exposed to air. Evaporation causes cooling and the areas touching the mattress cannot benefit from this. It may feel even hotter. Again, this is something that I wish I could answer, but cannot.

Personally, the best partial solution I have for you are the terrycloth towels! When it bottomed out at 95 degrees in Sacramento -- where I had no air conditioning at all! -- I found the terrycloth towels to be a godsend! But I kept a couple near the bed so I could switch out a damp one: They helped with evaporation, but part of that was by absorption!

My best guess? If you really like the feel of the "memory foam" mattress and can see yourself sleeping better on it (and there are lots of reasons why you might, but I'm biased since I sleep on one!), I don't think it will ADD to the problems caused by heat ... and other counter-measures may offset the problem if it does add a little.

Many merchants are giving anything from a 30 day to a 90 day "comfort guarantee" that allows you to exchange the mattress if you can't make it work. If you are concerned about the heat situation, I would definitely use one of these merchants! (But use one that will give you a refund, not just an exchange: You don't want to be forced to buy a mattress from them, if they don't have the one that you wind up LOVING! From some sources, you may have to "eat" a freight charge of up to $125; with others you won't. Be shrewd!)

I hope this helps! Good luck!

((PS -- My friend fell in love with Baby Wipes, and even more so with Moist Towelettes: Cool when she needed it most!))

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