Can you use an electric blanket on a memory foam mattress? 5 do's and don'ts

An electric blanket spread over a bed
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best mattresses have excellent temperature regulation, but as we many of us head into winter you may find yourself looking for additional ways to stay warm in bed. An electric blanket is a cost-effective way to get cozy, but you'll need to keep a few things in mind if you sleep on a memory foam mattress. 

Why? Because extreme heat can damage memory foam. In addition, the mattress won't be responding to your body heat but that of the blanket, so the feel and contouring of your bed may be affected.

When it comes to using an electric blanket with a memory foam mattress, there are some simple do's and don'ts to follow. This advice applies to any memory foam pillows you have too. Here's what you need to know....

Are electric blankets safe to use on memory foam mattresses? 

Yes, using an electric blanket with a memory foam mattress is safe, but that are a few things to consider in order to protect the lifespan of your mattress. Memory foam softens when exposed to heat, which is why your bedvmolds to your curves while you sleep; it’s reacting to your body heat. 

When you place an electric blanket directly on top of your memory foam mattress, the entire sleep surface softens. That means you won’t benefit from any of the targeted support memory foam mattresses are famous for. 

What’s more, if your electric blanket is too hot, it may even cause permanent damage to your memory foam mattress. Memory foam is a heat-sensitive material, so extreme heat over a prolonged period of time can permanently alter its structure.    

Do's and don'ts of using an electric blanket with a memory foam mattress

Electric blankets are a cost effective way to stay warm at night, so it’s understandable if you want to use one alongside your memory foam mattress. Thankfully, there are ways to safely use your electric blanket without damaging or hindering the performance of your memory foam mattress. There are three specific do's and don'ts of using an electric blanket with a memory foam mattress, as follows:

An electric blanket placed on top of a memory foam mattress

(Image credit: Getty Images)

1. Don't crank the temperature up too high

First of all, if you are using an electric heated pad (a blanket that lays directly on top of your mattress) ensure that the temperature is turned down moderately low. Many people like to crank the temperature up high to warm up their bed before getting in it, but this could easily cause irreparable damage to your memory foam mattress. 

2. Do opt for a heated over-blanket instead

A heated over blanket lays on top of you, as opposed to directly on top of your mattress. By using an electric over blanket, you and your bedding will act as a buffer between your memory foam mattress and the heat. However, you'll still need to make sure the temperature isn't up too high. 

3. Don't place the blanket under your body

This is a big no-no because it will alter the shape of the memory foam and how effectively it can contour to your body. Less contouring means less pressure relief, and if you have any aches and pains you will feel them more because the electric blanket is interfering with your bed's ability to reduce those pressure points.

4. Do use a memory foam topper as a buffer

This is a great way to enjoy the full comfort of an electric blanket and the benefits of memory foam without risking your actual mattress in any way. A good memory foam topper adds extra contouring comfort and pressure relief to your bed, and it will also absorb any extra heat from the blanket to stop it reaching your mattress. 

Toppers are designed to be replaced more frequently than mattresses, so they act as a very useful buffer in this situation while ensuring your memory foam mattress lasts as long as it can (around eight years on average).

Image shows a hand pressing down into a memory foam mattress

(Image credit: Getty Images)

5. Don't leave the blanket on all night

This is a general safety guideline as well as one that protects the health of your mattress. Never leave an electric blanket unattended once it's plugged in and switched on. Modern heated blankets have to pass rigorous safety testing before they reach potential customers, but it's best to avoid even the smallest risk. 

You should also never leave an electric blanket on all night, so instead make sure you buy a blanket with an auto-off and timer option so that it switches itself off after 30 minutes, for example.

3 foam-friendly alternatives to electric blankets

1. Invest in a down duvet  

The best duvets will keep you warm and cozy at night. If it’s a choice between buying a new electric blanket or a new duvet, it’s worth considering investing in a down duvet, like the Brook + Wilde Marlowe Duvet. Down bedding is famously warming, due to its natural insulating feathers, but it can be a little pricey. If down bedding is out of your budget, opting for a duvet with a high tog will also keep you snuggly and warm.  

2. Use a warming mattress topper

The best mattress toppers can transform the firmness, support, and even the temperature of your bed. For chilly winter nights, a woolen mattress topper can help naturally trap in heat, keeping you and your bed nice and warm. Opt for a washable mattress topper that you can easily fold and store during the summer months.   

3. Switch to flannel bedding 

The bedding sets that keep you cool in the summer make it difficult to retain heat in the winter. Bamboo, linen and thin cotton are great at wicking away heat and ventilating your sleep space in the summer, but once the temperature drops it’s time to switch your bedding around. Brushed cotton or flannelette bedding will keep you the warmest once winter rolls around — add a fleece blanket on top to keep you nice and snug.  

Nicola Appleton
Sleep Features Editor

Nicola Appleton is Sleep Features Editor at Tom’s Guide, specialising in quality news content surrounding sleep and wellbeing. Nicola cut her teeth as a journalist in a busy newsroom in Bristol, UK, 15 years ago as part of a team at Britain's largest independent press agency. Since then, her job as a journalist has taken her to the States, to Sydney, and then back to Blighty, where she has written and edited features for a whole host of prominent British and international brands, including  The Independent, The Sydney Morning Herald, HuffPost, Refinery29, Stylist and more. As well as tackling the vast topic of sleep, Nicola will be joining the raft of expert mattress reviewers at Tom's Guide, helping steer readers towards the very best mattresses on the market.