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Most people naturally sleep warm. However, some sleep much hotter than others. Pillow selection is important for those who feel excessively warm during the night. Some pillows have good airflow throughout the interior and come with breathable fabric covers. These models tend to sleep cool and comfortable for most. Other pillows absorb more body heat from sleepers, causing them to feel warm. These models can be very uncomfortable for sleepers who already feel too hot.
The term ‘cooling pillow’ refers to any pillow that offers temperature neutrality and sleeps relatively cool. Cooling pillows may be made from different materials, such as gel-infused memory foam or latex. Additionally, cooling pillows with water chambers have become increasingly popular among today’s sleepers.
This guide will look at some common features and characteristics of cooling pillows, as well as buying tips and considerations. Below you’ll find our picks for the five best cooling pillows sold today. Our choices are based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as product research and analysis.
Best Cooling Pillows
Editor’s Pick – Bear Pillow
Best Value – Classic Brands Plush Down Pillow
Best Luxury – LevelSleep Restore Pillow
Best Adjustable Cooling – Helix Ultra-Cool Pillow
Best All-Natural – PlushBeds Handmade Wool Pillow
Generally speaking, single-piece polyfoam pillows often sleep too warm for most sleepers. The Bear Pillow is a notable exception to this rule. The polyfoam core is aerated to promote air circulation and keep the surface feeling cool and comfortable. Additionally, the cover has mesh caps at both ends that allow air to flow in and out. As a result, the Bear Pillow sleeps as cool (if not cooler) than many shredded foam and latex pillows sold today.
The pillow also provides close conforming to alleviate aches and pains in the neck and shoulders. The Bear Pillow is ‘Medium’ in terms of firmness, making it a great option for sleepers in the average weight group, as well as lighter and heavier individuals who prefer pillows with a balanced feel. It is suitable for all sleep positions, as well.
Get a great night’s sleep without breaking the bank thanks to Classic Brand’s Plush Down Pillow. It’s an extra comfortable white pillow filled with plush down that provides insulation and feathers, which provide durability and just the right amount of bulk. The Plush Down Pillow’s 300-thread count cover is 100 percent sateen weave cotton; its soothing breathable surface lets you sleep cool through the night. Additionally, the 100 percent polyester inner cover acts as a barrier to prevent any sensation of getting poked by feather quills. The cover is removable and machine washable.
You can fluff the Classic Brand Plush Down Pillow, which conforms naturally to the unique curves of your head, neck, and shoulder. Sleepers can rest well thanks to proper spinal support and pressure point relief. Perfect for side, back, and stomach sleepers.
The LevelSleep Restore Pillow was the result of nearly a decade of research, meant to improve every aspect of your sleep experience. It’s covered with a four-way stretch fabric that’s breathable enough to let you sleep cool all night. The removable foam inserts rotate up to 180 degrees and can be adjusted to three different heights and two support levels.
The cover is machine washable; just choose a gentle wash cycle with warm water. Tumble dry on a low heat setting. Do not bleach or use a fabric softener. LevelSleep offers free shipping to residents in the 48 contiguous United States; shipping charges apply to customers living in Hawaii. There’s no international shipping at this time.
Expertly designed and tested for your personal comfort, the Helix Ultra-Cool Pillow is encased in a premium cool knit polyethylene, a high-grade polyester fabric. The pillow has a solid outer layer and two soft inserts, each made of cross-cut memory foam and down alternative blend. The pillow’s removable inserts allow you to manually adjust its height. It’s great for all back, side, and stomach sleepers, and will satisfy those who prefer a soft or firm pillow to rest on. The Ultra-Cool Pillow’s design gives it a high heat transfer rate, offering a cool and soothing sleep experience. Do not machine wash; spot clean the pillow instead.
PlushBeds’ Handmade Wool Pillow contains a 100 percent virgin wool filling, free of harsh chemicals and detergents. The company encourages all of their wool manufacturers to treat their flocks humanely at every step in the wool growing and gathering process, and PlushBeds sticks to a strict responsible wool assurance policy. These wool pillows wick away moisture during hot nights and keep you snug during winter months. They naturally minimize the growth of irritating mold spores and naturally inhibit dust mites.
When you place an order, master craftsmen begin to make your pillows, hand-filling them to meet your preferred size and level of firmness. Because of this, it’s not possible to return a Handmade Wool Pillow if you’re not satisfied with it. If you suspect that you won’t be happy with your order, you have up to 14 days to cancel.
There are a few things you need to consider when looking to buy a cooling pillow. For instance, a pillow may feel cool to the touch initially, but will it maintain a similar cool temperature throughout the night?. Does the pillow evenly disperse heat or will you have to flip it? If you’re prone to hot flashes, you want to make sure the pillow you choose is good at wicking away moisture, helping you stay cool and dry. The best cooling pillows will meet these needs and more, letting hot sleepers enjoy a refreshing night’s sleep free of discomfort.
In this guide, you’ll learn about important considerations for making the best possible cooling pillows purchase.
Many sleepers naturally sleep hot or warm, and in some cases this increase in temperature can lead to nightlong discomfort and sleep disruption. Pillows can help those who sleep hot or, alternatively, make the problem worse. Some pillows are made from materials that retain high levels of body heat, which may result in sleeping hot or warm, while others retain low amounts of body heat and sleep relatively cool by comparison. Most cooling pillows sold today are made from one of two materials: aerated latex; or specialty memory foam.
In addition to material composition, two other factors often play a role in how hot or cool a pillow sleeps. One is internal structure, since pillows may be crafted with one solid piece or shredded fill. The second factor is the material(s) used to make the pillow’s cover — specifically, if any specialty materials (such as phase-changing material) is used. Other considerations include the sleeper’s weight and temperature preferences, as well as the mattress they use.
Read on to learn more about the strengths and weaknesses cooling pillows, as well as key considerations when looking to make a purchase.
In addition to comfort, there are a few notable benefits to sleeping on a cooling pillow. Some of these advantages include:
Temperature Neutrality: As is to be expected, most — but not all — pillows sold as ‘cooling’ models retain minimal body heat and allow sleepers to remain cool and comfortable throughout the night.
Noise: Because cooling pillows are usually made from materials like latex or memory foam, they produce little to no noise when bearing weight.
Support: Both memory foam and latex offer above-average support compared to other pillow materials because they adjust to the sleeper’s head, neck, and shoulders and maintain a stable surface throughout the night.
Pain and Pressure Relief: Latex and memory foam can help with spinal alignment, which may reduce pain and pressure for sleepers.
Durability: Cooling pillows made from latex or shredded memory foam typically perform for at least three to four years, which is considered an above-average lifespan.
As popular as cooling pillows are, they do have their downsides. It’s important to know the potential drawbacks of cooling pillows before making a purchase. Some disadvantages include:
Cost: Due to their specialized designs, cooling pillows are often priced significantly higher than non-cooling pillows.
Weight: Pillows made from latex or shredded memory foam can be dense and somewhat heavy, weighing more than five pounds in some cases. This may make them difficult to move and adjust during the night for some sleepers.
Odor Potential: Latex is associated with a lingering rubbery smell (latex comes from rubber trees), while memory foam often produces strong off-gassing odors.
Allergy Potential: Latex pillows may trigger latex allergies in some sleepers, depending on how much natural latex is used, while memory foam may attract dust mites that can lead to other allergies.
Maintenance: Shredded memory foam cooling pillows may need to be fluffed or shaken on a regular basis in order to maintain a full shape. Latex cooling pillows usually come in one-piece designs that never need to be fluffed, but these pillows should be spot cleaned or dry cleaned, and never machine washed.
Availability: Cooling pillows are somewhat hard to find compared to non-cooling pillows, and shoppers may be limited in loft and firmness options.
A large number of cooling pillows sold today are made from either aerated latex or memory foam that has been infused with materials to help it sleep cooler, such as gel or graphite. Other pillow materials noted for sleeping cool include buckwheat hulls, down alternative, and feathers. However, ‘cooling’ pillows made from these materials are somewhat rare.
Some cooling pillows feature shredded fill, while others feature a one-piece aerated design. Most cooling pillows are between four and six inches thick, making them medium- to high-loft.
Some cooling pillows feature covers made from phase-changing materials, or PCMs. PCMs are designed to absorb body heat until the sleeper’s body reaches a specific temperature, at which point they stop retaining heat and maintain a steady, fairly cool temperature throughout the night, no matter how much heat the sleeper gives off. Non-quilted covers also sleep fairly cool; these are often made from light, breathable fabrics like cotton, polyester, lyocell, or bamboo fabric.
Cooling pillows are typically available in the following sizes:
The table below features approximate measurements for each of the pillow sizes discussed above.
|Standard||20W” x 26L”|
|Queen||20W” x 30L”|
|King||20W” x 36L”|
|Specialty||24W” x 16L”|
Generally speaking, cooling pillows are best suited for the following types of sleepers:
On the other hand, cooling pillows may not be suitable for the following sleeper types:
|Criteria||Cooling Pillow Rating||Explanation|
|Affordability||Poor to Fair||The average price-point of a cooling pillow is $60 to $90, and some models cost as much as $200 or more. By comparison, most non-cooling pillows are much less expensive.|
|Durability||Good to Very Good||Both latex and shredded memory foam pillows have longer-than-average lifespans, but some cooling models may lose their ‘temperature-reducing’ properties over time.|
|Support||Good to Very Good||Cooling pillows made from latex or shredded memory foam provide above-average support, say owners.|
|Noise||Very Good to Excellent||With few exceptions, cooling pillows made from latex or shredded memory foam produce little to no noise when bearing weight.|
|Weight||Fair to Good||The average cooling pillow weighs between three and five pounds, which is considered slightly above-average; some sleepers may struggle to move these pillows during the night.|
|Odor||Poor to Fair||Materials used to make cooling pillows — namely latex and memory foam — produce unpleasant smells that may linger.|
|Washable||Fair to Good||Some shredded memory foam cooling pillows are machine washable, but latex cooling pillows typically need to be spot cleaned or dry cleaned.|
|Firmness/Loft Options||Fair to Good||Most cooling pillows are medium- to high-loft, although some ultra-thin models are available. In terms of firmness, cooling pillows typically rate between Medium Soft and Medium Firm.|
|Availability||Poor to Fair||Cooling pillow options are somewhat limited for shoppers.|
Cooling pillows are available through select brick-and-mortar and online home goods retailers, as well as exclusively online retailers like Amazon.com and Overstock.com. Some models are manufactured by mattress brands, such as the Cloud Breeze from Tempur-Pedic and the ActiveX pillow from Nest Bedding.
Cooling pillows tend to be priced on the expensive side. Shoppers should expect to pay at least $60 for their cooling pillow, and some models are priced higher than $200. By comparison, non-cooling latex pillows typically cost between $40 and $60, and non-cooling memory foam pillows typically cost between $50 and $60.
Many cooling pillow sellers offer sleep trials that allow new customers to test out the pillow for a pre-agreed length of time and then return it for a full or partial refund if they are not satisfied. This can be an effective way for shippers to determine what kind of cooling pillow they prefer without paying above-average costs.
Latex cooling pillows typically need to be spot cleaned or dry cleaned, which can be time-consuming and somewhat expensive in the long run. Shredded memory foam cooling pillows, on the other hand, are usually machine washable.
The graph below lists the average price-points of cooling pillows and seven non-cooling pillow types.
When compared to other types of pillows, cooling pillows can cost a bit more. Special, high-end cooling pillows are often carefully constructed to ensure they provide a cool and comfortable night’s sleep. This means they will likely contain high-quality materials and features that traditional, less expensive pillows will not.
To get a better idea of what cooling pillows cost versus other pillow types, take a look at our comparison chart below.
Are you interested in learning more about bedding for hot sleepers? Tuck has a variety of articles to help you discover the best products to help you sleep cool.