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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 – Nest Bedding Easy Breather
Best Value Cooling Pillow – Snuggle-Pedic
Best Luxury Cooling Pillow – Bear Pillow
Best Cooling Pillow for Pressure Relief – Layla Pillow
Most Innovative Cooling Pillow – Mediflow Original Water Pillow
Our Editor’s Pick is the Easy Breather from Nest Bedding. The pillow if filled with shredded, gel-infused memory foam that sleeps much cooler than standard foams. It also provides great airflow within the interior and comes with a breathable cover made of Tencel® lyocell. As a result, the Easy Breather is cool and comfortable for most sleepers – even those who tend to get really warm.
Pressure relief is another key strength of the Easy Breather. It conforms closely without sinking to help align the spine and alleviate aches and pains in the neck and shoulders. This makes the pillow suitable for side sleepers, as well as those with chronic pain issues. The Easy Breather also has fully adjustable loft; owners can add or remove the shredded foam fill to increase or decrease the thickness. This allows sleepers with different weights and body types to find a comfortable setting.
Customers anywhere in the contiguous U.S. qualify for free shipping when they order from Nest Bedding. The Easy Breather is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a two-year warranty.
The Snuggle-Pedic Bamboo Pillow from Relief Mart, also known simply as the Snuggle-Pedic, is our Best Value pick. It has a price-point that falls well below the average cost of a cooling pillow, yet the Snuggle-Pedic offers the same cool, comfortable sleeping experience as many of its higher-end competitors. The Snuggle-Pedic is filled with shredded, gel-infused memory foam and housed in a cover made of rayon from bamboo. Good interior airflow provides extra cooling for the pillow, as well.
The Snuggle-Pedic’s loft can be adjusted. However, owners should avoid adding or removing fill themselves due to the sealed construction of the pillow. Relief Mart offers free, unlimited adjustments for all Snuggle-Pedic owners, who can ship their pillow to the company’s manufacturing facility with a prepaid shipping label anytime they want the thickness changed.
Relief Mart offers free shipping to customers in all 50 states. The Snuggle-Pedic is backed by a 20-year warranty, one of the longest pillow warranties available, as well as a 120-night sleep trial.
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.
The Bear Pillow has an above-average price-point, making it a good option for shoppers with bigger budgets. Bear offers free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S.; the pillow is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a two-year warranty.
In addition to sleeping exceptionally cool, the Layla Pillow provides significant relief for sleepers with aches and pains. The pillow contains shredded foam supplemented with fibers from the kapok tree, which have a soft, downy texture. These materials allow the pillow to hug the sleeper’s head, neck, and shoulders closely and alleviate discomfort. Additionally, the pillow’s cover is infused with copper, which improves circulation in sleepers and reduces pressure points in their sensitive areas. The copper element allows the pillow to sleep cool, as well.
The Layla Pillow is ‘Medium Soft,’ making it a good option for sleepers in the light and average weight groups, as well as heavier individuals who prefer less firm pillows. It is also very moldable and is suitable for those who snuggle with a pillow while they sleep, but the Layla Pillow also maintains a full shape with minimal fluffing.
Layla offers free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S., and will ship pillows to Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada for a flat rate of $20. The Layla Pillow is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a five-year warranty.
Our pick for Most Innovative Cooling Pillow is the Original Water Pillow from Mediflow. This ingenious design features polyester fiber fill and an internal pouch that holds up to five quarts of water. Owners can add or remove water at any time to adjust the loft. The firmness also changes slightly, depending on the volume of the water pouch; less water creates a softer pillow that conforms closely, while more water will create a firmer surface.
The water, along with a pure-cotton cover, allow the Original Water Pillow to sleep exceptionally cool as well. Owners can experiment with water temperature to find a setting that works best for them. In addition to the Original design with polyester fill, Mediflow offers Water Pillows with gel memory foam, down, and down alternative fill; a travel pillow is available, as well.
Mediflow offers single pillows, as well as discounted twin packs with two pillows and value packs with two pillows and two pillow protectors. The Original Water Pillow is backed by a 30-night sleep trial and a three-year warranty.
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 some popular models for sale.
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”|
Benefits of using a cooling pillow include the following:
Drawbacks of using a cooling pillow include the following:
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.