Does a mattress protector make the bed hotter?
Sleep Problems

Do Mattress Protectors Make You Hot?

Waterproof mattress protectors often contain a plastic film, which makes beds hotter.

This can be uncomfortable if you sleep at a high temperature and sweat. The mattress protector will retain heat, leading to sleeplessness and damp bed sheets and pillows.

The solution is a cooling mattress protector. This will absorb sweat released overnight, boasting moisture-wicking properties that prevent you from generating excessive heat while shielding the mattress.

Mattress protectors made from pure cotton, bamboo, Tencel, or copper are the most effective way to prevent overheating at night, especially when paired with sheets and blankets.

If a mattress protector makes you sweat, it should be replaced with something more suitable.

Does a Mattress Protector Make the Bed Hotter?

A mattress protector’s primary purpose is to prolong a mattress’s life. Adding this layer to your bed shields the mattress from wear and tear and stains.

This is ideal if you sweat heavily overnight, share a bed with pets, or are prone to spillages. These incidents can stain a mattress, voiding the warranty you enjoy.

Some people use mattress protectors to make a bed firmer or softer, depending on their personal preferences. This can help them adjust to a new bed or mattress without discomfort.

A quality mattress protector can also adjust the temperature of your bed at night. However, you’ll need the ideal mattress, as no mattress protector can single-handedly do this.

Science and Technology for the Built Environment explains how different mattress construction practices influence overnight temperature. Built-in circulating water pipes provide optimum comfort.

If you couple this mattress with a mattress protector designed to assist with thermal regulation overnight, you’ll likely avoid overheating.

A substandard mattress protector and a mattress with limited breathability can lead to excess heat.

do mattress protectors make you sweat more?

Do Mattress Protectors Make You Sweat More?

If you’ve started to experience hot, uncomfortable nights and nocturnal sweats since you added a waterproof mattress protector to your bed, this recent addition is likely responsible.

This isn’t necessarily a concern for a mattress. Protectors are designed to prevent sweat stains from seeping through to the bed they cover, as most have moisture-wicking properties.

Sweating in bed can still leave unsightly stains on your pillows and lead to mold. According to Allergy, damp and sweaty bedding can attract dust mites while appealing to bugs.

Breathability is critical when applying a mattress protector to your bed. The more your mattress topper encourages a steady flow of air, the less likely you’ll become uncomfortably hot and sweat.

What Is The Most Breathable Mattress Protector?

Finding the ideal mattress protector involves learning about different products and their offerings. Don’t be guided exclusively by price or brand name when shopping for a mattress protector.

Thicker protectors will contain more layers, offering superior shielding for your mattress and potentially softening its feel but further restricting breathability while you sleep.

Aside from thickness, the fabric is another factor in the temperature regulation of a mattress protector.

Here are the most common materials and how each will influence your body temperature at night:

Plastic And Vinyl

These materials were once the primary component of waterproof mattress protectors, though this is less common today. However, cheap mattress protectors still frequently apply a layer of plastic to their fabric.

Polyurethane is a material frequently used in lower-end mattress toppers.

While this polymer isn’t technically a plastic or a rubber, it shares many features and characteristics with both materials, including a tendency to trap body heat and inspire sweating.

Avoid a plastic mattress protector, and check packing for polyurethane for waterproofing. If this material is present, ensure it is paired with a breathable fabric to retain comfort overnight.


Cotton is the go-to fabric for mattress protectors, as it is durable and soft. Cotton is a natural insulator, so it shouldn’t make you too sweaty, but it’s not the most breathable fabric.

Many people choose cotton mattress protectors as they are easy to source, durable, capable of surviving multiple spins through a laundry cycle, and rarely cost the earth.


Tencel is a higher-end rival to cotton, boasting slightly better breathability and a softer feel.

It’s arguably the best material that can be used for a mattress topper. It’s tough, easy to clean, and celebrated for its eco-friendly production.

Tencel mattress protectors are likelier to be more expensive than any other material.


A bamboo mattress protector sits somewhere between cotton and Tencel as a material.

Bamboo bedding is growing in popularity due to its breathability, which makes it an excellent material for hot sleepers. However, a couple of notes of caution should be sounded.

Bamboo is prone to wrinkling, which may impact the appearance of your bedsheets. You must dedicate time to straightening out and ironing a bamboo mattress topper.

Bamboo is not as durable as cotton or Tencel, and your mattress topper may require careful handwashing and air drying.

Check the label on your mattress protector before applying this material to the washing machine.

Despite these drawbacks, bamboo is an excellent material for regulating a comfortable temperature overnight and a definite upgrade on cotton.

Bamboo is a good compromise if you’re unable or unwilling to source a Tencel mattress topper.

Should You Put A Mattress Cover on A Cooling Mattress?

If you’ve bought a cooling mattress, you may be reluctant to apply a mattress protector, fearing it’ll negate your bed’s temperature-regulating properties.

You should still use a mattress protector, especially if the mattress is costly. You must choose the ideal companion for your new bed, selecting a breathable topper.

Alternatives To Mattress Protectors

You could lay a flat linen or cotton sheet under your fitted sheet, tucked tightly under the bed using ‘hospital corners,’ but this wouldn’t be waterproof and would limit protection.

You could try laying a fine plastic sheet under your fitted sheet, but this is likely to cause night sweats.

Can I Sleep Without A Mattress Protector?

You can remove a mattress protector if it makes you too hot, but it’s not recommended.

We have discussed how mattress protectors prolong the expected lifespan of the mattress and ensure a guarantee remains in place.

They’ll also shield your mattress from the threat of mold and other unwelcome growths, negating the need to air the mattress regularly.

Rather than removing a mattress protector, consider these solutions:

Lower Your Body Temperature

Consider reducing your temperature before sleep to see if you can remain cool in bed. Sleeping in a cool bedroom is always likelier to promote a relaxing night of sleep.

Open bedroom windows before sleep, and consider running a tower fan. Placing bowls of water full of ice cubes will also introduce cool air into the room.

A warm bath or shower in your sleep hygiene routine will lower your temperature. Sleeping without clothing will likely ensure you remain comfortable.

What is the most breathable mattress protector?

Bedsheet Fabric

If you run hot at night, ditch cotton bedding and blankets.

Opt for bamboo, silk, or satin, which are considerably more breathable and will likely introduce a sense of luxury to your sleeping area, further promoting quality rest.

Bed Frame

If you still struggle with night sweats after following the steps above, get a new bed frame. This will yield dividends and ensure your mattress protector doesn’t increase your temperature.

A divan bed base offers little airflow, so your bed may become increasingly hot.

If you’re comfortable, exchange your solid bed base for one with slats. Just check that this bedframe will sustain the weight of its intended occupants.

Beds with mattresses on slats at least 1.5 inches apart promote air circulation, reducing the risk of overheating when applying a mattress protector.

Mattress protectors can make a bed feet hotter than you’re comfortable with, especially if you purchase a cheap product, so think carefully before you commit.

The optimum mattress protector is the key to a good night’s sleep and long life for the mattress.