The fabrication industry has given us everything from heat-generating socks to smart clothes that keep you at the right temperature in any weather. Materials can proactively manage body warmth, change elasticity when it’s hot, and even change shape according to magnetic field, all in the name of comfort. Foams traditionally used in mattresses are on the lower side of the IQ spectrum: their only setting is “far too hot.” So, manufacturers developed a range of smart layers and foams to keep you as snug in bed as you are in your NASA Phase Change leggings. You can now build your bed from the mattress all the way up to the covers, using the right combination of natural and innovative fabrics to keep you cozy.
NASA invented memory foam, so it’s no surprise that it’s responsible for Outlast technology, which makes materials change their properties to absorb and release warmth. A polymer casing with a microencapsulating layer is woven into fibers and fabrics to regulate your body’s climate. In a heat wave, Outlast thermocules absorb warmth and carry it away from the skin. In cold weather, all that precious heat is released. The technology can also wick dampness away from the skin. It even responds differently to hot and cool sleepers in the same bed.
Foam that has convolutions allows air to flow between the skin and mattress, adjusting breathability and zoned comfort. It also lets air escape, keeping temperatures regulated. Reticulated foam is a porous, open foam that responds particularly well in humid climates. Its anti-microbial properties are appreciated in the healthcare industry for obvious reasons. Moisture wicking is often improved further through compression.
Adding latex, whether in the form of foam with large channels or coverings, improves airflow. Some fabricators combine this material with phase-change materials that melt and harden with the weather and your body. This is how they store and release heat. Phase change materials can be combined with coatings and foams to improve or adjust their performance.
Some fabrics had superior thermal powers long before there was a discipline called “fabrication.”Cotton and wool naturally wick moisture away from the skin and keep it at a comfortable temperature. The perfect combination of naturally thermal fabrics can keep your temperature stable without the need for high-tech names like “thermocule”. Merely weaving them at precisely the right consistency can have a powerful effect on your bedtime comfort.
Some polymers expand in the cold and shrink in the heat, so creating a web of them inside foam or fabric keeps your skin’s microclimate at a steady 93 degrees. This is the ideal bedtime temperature for the vast majority of people. Shape is as important to heat control as fabric is. Swirls, vents, springs, and meshes manage the way air moves through a mattress, preventing heat accumulation and dampness. Even something as simple as braiding can change the porousness of a mattress.
Air dissipates heat, so open mattresses are an excellent way to improve airflow between layers. When a zoned core is combined with an elastic surface, temperature can be controlled even more powerfully.
The body’s natural evening cool-down is a physiological trigger for sleep. Once you’ve entered a new phase, your core body temperature changes to trigger deeper stages. Temperature is thus critical, not only for your sleep quality, but your health as well. A smart mattress can play a critical role in your wellbeing.