As an active person who exercises daily, has lower back pain from a lingering sports injury and has been chasing consistent, full-night’s sleep since having kids nearly two decades ago, finding the best mattress has been a bit of a Holy Grail. I needed to find a mattress offering the best relief for a side sleeper, which means it had to offer a good balance between support and pressure point relief. I like a medium-firm comfort feel, which some doctors say offers the best sleep for people with aches and pains, and then there is temperature regulation. I am in my 40s and just on the cusp of peri-menopause, so discovering how to sleep through the night during hot flashes was at the top of my list. To achieve those goals I wanted to look into how a cooling mattress could provide satisfaction and a good night’s sleep.

Memory Foam Evolution

The quest began with understanding the three different types of mattress—innerspring, memory foam and hybrid. Innerspring support uses a coil-based core; foam mattresses comprise multiple layers of  foam, latex and fabric; and, as you may guess, hybrid mattresses are a combination of the two. Although the dense foams of decades past tended to trap heat, today’s open-cell design and gel infusions have stormed the market, delivering cooling relief that lasts the whole night through for a fulfilling, refreshing sleep. If you’re the sort of person who wakes up in the middle of the night in a sweat or sleeps next to a partner who feels like a human space heater, you’re going to swoon over the memory foam of this era. 

Memory foam is also a crowd favourite that provides the pin-pointed pressure-relief and contouring people who have aches and pains are craving. And don’t forget edge support, which maximizes the usable surface area of your mattress. Sharing a mattress? Have mobility issues and frequently sit on the edge of the bed to prepare for the day? You’re going to want great edge support.

Finding the Perfectly Cool Mattress

In a bedroom of a home is a couple's bed and they are using a cooling mattressWhen I mentioned to friends and family that I was reviewing the Douglas Summit—touted the highest peak in the Douglas mattress range—there were a few eye rolls around the whole mattress-in-a-box concept. How can you invest in a mattress you’ve never tried? How can something in a box be high-quality? How long will you have to wait for this product to arrive? And while we’re at it, what do you know about Douglas, anyway?

These are questions I set out to discover in this review, along with the answers to my own questions like, “Will a cooling mattress really help make hot flashes more manageable?” and “As a person who always feels colder than everyone else in the house, will I be warm enough at night?” I was excited to see what Douglas had to offer.

Forget all those eye rolls. The mattress-in-a-box concept has flourished in Canada, especially since it provides a convenient shopping experience over a traditional brick-and-mortar retailer. By compressing and shipping the mattress-in-a-box at up to 80% less volume than a comparable boxed mattress, Douglas can fill delivery vehicles more efficiently, which means more mattresses are delivered with fewer vehicles—a huge environmental perk. Douglas offers an insanely generous 120-night risk-free trial period. And worry not. If you were to return it, the mattress would be donated to charity or recycled,  not sent to the landfill. 

There’s a Canadian Mattress, eh?

Douglas Summit cooling mattress in a bedroom.But whether you’re shopping in-store or online, there isn’t anything more Canadian than Douglas. Douglas mattresses are eco-conscious, made to order using sustainable materials and renewable energy, and manufactured at three Canadian facilities. The simple white design with signature red perimeter stripe is crisp and stylish, and the mountain range imprint is a nod to the True North landscape. Douglas has refreshed and upgraded its award-winning memory foam recipe over the years, which means the Douglas cooling gel foam mattress now comes in three ranges—the Douglas Original, Douglas Alpine, and Douglas Summit

According to Douglas, ecoLight® foam is the crowning comfort layer of every Douglas mattress. Infused with cooling gel, ecoLight® foam dissipates heat quickly and is just as luxurious and durable as high-density memory foam but without the quicksand feeling. While all three versions offer this technology, Douglas’ new models feature the latest advancements, creating a good, better and best scenario for the line. I chose the Douglas Summit because I wanted to see the best Douglas has to offer. It arrived a week after it was manufactured in a Canadian facility, it was simple to move to the bedroom, and it unrolled to its full size in less than a minute. Immediately, the quality construction was obvious; as a person who generally takes a week or more to acclimatize to a new mattress, I was curious to see if it would deliver on the feel and comfort it promised. 

The Nitty Gritty

Feeling the surface texture of a cooling mattress made by Douglas.Douglas’ claims around motion isolation were up for review on my first night with the Douglas Summit when my youngest child became ill and needed to jump into bed with me. The Summit is constructed of seven inches of motion isolation support foam, which is high-density to eliminate surface vibrations, providing extra height and stability. So, although I can be a light sleeper and it seemed like my daughter was practising for the midnight gymnastic Olympics, the surface remained supportive and we both woke up feeling refreshed. (This is also where Douglas’ firm edge support truly shone.)

The Summit’s next two and a half inches comprise the Elastex® foam layer, which is fine-tuned for the perfect blend of bounce and cushioning. I was skeptical when I first received the Summit and felt the surface with my hands. “Medium-firm” seemed a bit too firm, and I wondered if my occasional lower back pain would stand up to this profile. However, on the third night, I slept all through the night. By the third morning, I felt conditioned like I’d been sleeping on the Summit my whole life. If you like to feel cradled as you sleep, the Douglas’ comfort-feel will be your sweet spot—it certainly turned out to be mine. 

Two and a half inches of ecoLight® Cooling Gel Foam + Polar® Temperature Balancing follow, and though every Douglas cooling mattress contains the ecoLight®, the Douglas Summit’s is, well, the ‘pinnacle’ of cooling because the Polar® temperature-balancing regulates the sleep surface within a desirable temperature range. Remember what I said about being hot flashy and feeling colder than most the rest of the time? This technology is what sold me on cooling mattresses forever. Although cool to the touch when first getting in, the mattress quickly conforms to just the right temperature for your body and covers. 

On the hottest nights, the Douglas CoolSense® cover with CryoFusion™ cooling nanofibres turned out to be the crème de la crème. It is machine-washable with a 360-degree zipper and helps keep you sweat-free throughout the night. During hot flashes, I roused a bit, but fell immediately back to sleep, instead of, as with my old mattress, waking fully and tossing and turning until I found relief. 

Bottom Line on a Cooling Mattress

Woman resting comfortably on cooling mattress lying beside bedside tableSo, is the Douglas Summit the best mattress for your buck? I found that the Douglas delivered a high-quality, super-tech sleeping experience in record time, and all things considered, I am not an easy sleeper to please. 

Douglas Summit’s temperature regulation was by far its most impressive feature. I found relief from minor aches, was not bothered by external motion, and nearly slept through hot flashes—these features elevate this newbie to the market alongside some of its veteran competitors. And that I felt “used to” the cooling mattress in just three nights is outstanding. 

If you get excited for that comfy, sink-in feeling a new mattress promises, don’t fret at the minimal amount of sink the Douglas Summit offers when you first lay down—it is coming. As is typical of memory foam, the cradled feeling is gradual but gently forms around the body once the sleeper settles, eliminating pressure points one by one. 

It might be tempting to get fixated on the Douglas Summit’s affordable price and say it has “great features for the price,” but that would be selling it short because it is so much more than that. Yes, the price is great, and the convenience of having it turn up on your doorstep is magical, but I don’t want to leave the impression that you simply get what you pay for. The Douglas Summit is the pinnacle of cooling gel foam mattresses and offers top-notch cooling and comfort features that make the price point feel like a steal. 

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