If you frequently find yourself flipping your pillow in order to sleep on the “cool side,” it might be time to invest in a cooling pillow. Although a pillow’s primary job is to provide proper support and keep you cozy all night, some pillows are designed specifically for sleepers who run hot. And when your body is too warm, it’s much harder to fall asleep.
So how do you pick the cooling pillow that’s best for you? Well, with a wide selection of accessories including icy-crisp cover fabrics and cool gel inserts, it’s best to examine every detail in order to determine which features are the right fit for your body. So keep reading, and I’ll let you in on my personal pillow-shopping tips, as well as my top picks for the best cooling pillows!
Tempur-pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze
Hot sleepers who need a cooling pillow that’s more than just breathable will likely find relief with the TEMPUR Breeze. A thin, cotton cover fabric promotes great airflow, but it’s the cooling gel pad that takes this pillow’s icy-crisp properties to the next level.
- Sleepers who love Tempur-pedic’s signature memory foam feel, but also need help keeping cool, are going to be most compatible with this pillow.
- The cooling gel pad that rests atop the solid piece of memory foam actually feels cool to the touch. Personally, I run very warm at night, and found the gel pad to offer instant relief.
- The TEMPUR foam inside this pillow offers a very slow response to pressure, and what I call a “classic memory foam” feel. Sleepers who love to deeply sink into the pillow should give this one a try!
- With a lofty profile of about 5 inches, this pillow is much too tall for stomach sleepers.
- Because this pillow is filled with a solid piece of foam as compared to shredded pieces, there is no way to adjust the loft.
Hot sleepers who need a cooling pillow that’s more than just breathable will likely find relief with the TEMPUR Breeze!
Sleep Restoration Gel Pillow
The Sleep Restoration Gel Pillow is covered in soft, breathable cotton, and amply stuffed with polygel fiber. This down-alternative pillow is ideal for hot sleepers who prefer the feathery feel of real down, but don’t want to sleep on animal products.
- The cover fabric is made from 100% cotton, a material known for its breathability. Additionally, this pillow’s cover has a low thread count of 240 which allows for a looser weave and better airflow.
- Similar to the cover fabric, the polygel fiber inside this pillow is intended to enhance airflow, and prevent the material from trapping your body heat.
- This pillow is less insulating than the real down pillows I’ve tested, making it ideal for folks who love a feathery feel, but also need help staying cool at night.
- The primary cooling feature of this pillow is its great breathability and open airflow. However, sleepers looking for specific cooling materials or targeted cooling zones should note that this pillow does not feel cool to the touch.
- Its soft, compressible fill makes this low-profile pillow great for back and stomach sleepers, but side sleepers should aim for pillows with a loftier build.
The Sleep Restoration Gel Pillow is covered in soft, breathable cotton, and amply stuffed with polygel fiber.
Best for Night Sweats
Xtreme Comforts Memory Foam Pillow
Bamboo-based sleep accessories like the Xtreme Comfort pillow are particularly beneficial for folks trying to stave off night sweats, as bamboo offers great moisture-wicking ability. Additionally, this pillow is stuffed full of shredded memory foam which allows for better airflow as compared to a solid piece of foam.
- Not only is the bamboo-based cover fabric great for wicking sweat, but it’s ventilated as well. This enhances airflow within the pillow, helping it to dissipate your body heat.
- When memory foam is shredded like we see here, the individual pieces of foam are able to move freely within the pillow. This improves breathability, and prevents it from trapping heat as can often happen with a solid piece of foam.
- The shredded fill is also adjustable! I found this feature to lend itself well to combo-sleeping, as I was able to customize the loft and firmness according to each position.
- Sleepers with allergies or sensitive skin might like to know that bamboo is naturally hypoallergenic and antimicrobial.
- Shoppers looking for a lightweight, fluffy pillow might want to look elsewhere. The foam in this pillow is quite dense, moldable, and tightly conforms to your shape.
- Unlike some cooling pillows, this cover fabric doesn’t feel cool to the touch. Instead, it offers breathability and moisture-wicking properties that help dissipate body heat.
Xtreme Comfort pillows are particularly beneficial for folks trying to stave off night sweats, as bamboo offers great moisture-wicking ability!
Best Memory Foam
Coop Home Goods Eden Memory Foam Pillow
From the internal fill to the cover fabric, this pillow is designed to offer cooling breathability and moisture-wicking properties to soothe folks who run hot. Additionally, the shredded memory foam fill is adjustable, which lets sleepers customize the loft to their liking.
- The cover fabric of this pillow is super soft to the touch. It’s made from a blend of polyester and rayon from bamboo, both of which are naturally moisture-wicking. Bamboo, in particular, is hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, and extra breathable.
- Unlike most of the memory foam pillows I’ve tested, this pillow is machine washable! Hot sleepers who love memory foam but also prioritize easy wash care should take this pillow for a test run.
- This pillow features an adjustable fill which is especially beneficial for combination sleepers. Simply unzip the cover, reach inside the pillow, and remove the stuffing until you find the loft that suits you.
- Though the cover fabric is moisture-wicking, it doesn’t necessarily feel cool to the touch. As a sleeper who runs very hot, I did find the plush cover fabric to be a little warming sometimes.
- Sleepers who prefer a feathery feel or springy kind of support should note that this pillow offers a slow response to pressure, and deep sink into the material.
How We Picked
When you’re shopping for cooling pillows, it’s important to consider every last detail in order to find the one that perfectly matches your unique needs. Pinpointing the specific cooling properties that appeal to you most will surely guide you in your search, but it’s equally important to find the pillow that’s most compatible with your go-to sleeping position.
Take some time to consider what you want your cooling pillow to feel like aside from its cooling properties. For example, sleepers who prefer a slow response to pressure and deep sink into the material will be better suited to memory foam, while those who prefer bouncy support are better off with latex. But how do you reconcile feel and support with cooling properties? Well, let’s take a closer look at the most popular pillow fills:
- Memory Foam – Much to the chagrin of hot sleepers everywhere, memory foam has a reputation for trapping body heat, causing you to warm up during the night. However, there are ways around this! If you’re looking for a memory foam pillow to keep you cool, go with shredded foam rather than a solid piece. The individual shreds of memory foam are able to move freely within the pillow, which enhances airflow and dissipates body heat.If you do opt for a solid piece of foam, go with a pillow that includes a cooling gel insert. This will act as chilly, cozy buffer between your body and the foam and, in my experience, keeps the pillow from warming up while you snooze.
- Latex – Pillows that are filled with Dunlop or Talalay latex tend to be lighter in weight as compared to memory foam, and generally offer better breathability. If you want to sleep on a latex pillow that’s extra breathable, look for pillows filled with one piece of ventilated latex foam.
- Down & Down-Alternative – Sleepers who prefer a feathery, fluffy feel will be best suited to down, or down-alternative. Real down does tend to be a better insulator, which can work against hot sleepers. This is why a down comforter, for example, is so great in the winter, as it does a great job of trapping your body’s heat.
That said, hot sleepers who do prefer a down pillow might want to look into down-alternative options. I find down-alternative pillows (like polyfiber, for example) to offer better airflow, and still feel light and fluffy like real down. Additionally, many bedding brands incorporate gel into the polyfiber for a cooler sleep experience.
The cover fabric is the first thing you feel when you lay your head down at night. So, aim for cover fabrics that are naturally moisture-wicking and breathable. Polyester, lightweight cotton, Tencel, and anything bamboo-based are ideal for wicking sweat and dissipating body heat. Additionally, some bedding brands weave copper and graphite into cover fabrics, as those materials can act as thermal highways that draw heat away from your body.
However, if you really want to sleep on a pillow that feels like it’s been refrigerated, go with a pillow covered in Phase Change Material. Phase Change Material is designed to feel icy-cool to the touch, and stay that way no matter how many times you wash it.
I always look for a pillow that features an adjustable fill because it allows you to customize your sleep experience. Whether you want to remove fill to lower the loft, or manipulate the fill within the pillow in order to adjust the firmness and feel, all you have to do is unzip, reach in, and fine-tune the fill until you reach the loft that’s best for you.
However, it’s important to note that each sleeping position requires a different level of loft. If you’re sleeping on your side, keep the pillow at full-loft capacity! This will help to relieve pressure in the shoulder and keep your spine in healthy, neutral alignment. As a side sleeper, I like to use a pillow with a lofty build of 5 inches or higher.
Meanwhile, stomach sleepers should make sure that their pillows have a low loft (of about 2 inches or fewer) to make sure that the neck is not being craned upwards. Additionally, stomach sleepers should aim for a pillow with a soft, compressible fill. Remember: spine alignment is the name of the game, and stomach sleepers should always make sure that their heads are not being propped up.
Back sleepers are fortunate in that they can kind of float in a “happy medium” area. As long as the head, neck, and spine are all in neutral alignment, back sleepers can play around with the loft and firmness that keeps them most comfortable. Personally, I prefer a medium loft and a medium-firm feel when I sleep on my back.
Not everyone has the means or the time to dedicate to complicated care instructions, so I suggest that you always check exactly how to care for your pillow before you make your purchase. With memory foam in particular, it can be tough to find a pillow that is machine washable. So, if you’re looking for a memory foam pillow and you do prioritize easy wash care, I suggest shopping for shredded memory foam. Shredded memory foam tends to be easier to care for as compared to a solid piece of foam.
When I’m on the hunt for a new pillow, I always pay attention to the trial period, the return policy, and the warranty. A generous trial period and warranty inspires confidence in the shopper, and lets you know that brand proudly stands by its product. Not to mention, being able to test a pillow for a month or so will give you a great sense of whether or not it’s the right fit!
Of course, regardless of your personal budget, price is an important factor and can be indicative quality. A pillow that’s suspiciously inexpensive can be a warning sign of low-quality materials, but your sleep accessories shouldn’t break the bank either. Personally, I stick to the $40-$100 range when it comes to cooling pillows.
Sleepopolis Pro Tips
I always recommend taking advantage a brand’s trial period when its offered. Being able to try before you buy is a great way to make sure you’re getting exactly what want.
As a hot sleeper myself, I can’t stress enough how important breathable, moisture-wicking materials are. However, if you run extra hot, I suggest going with pillows that come with extra cooling features like a gel pad, Phase Change Material, or ventilated foam.
Be on the lookout for materials that are antimicrobial and/or hypoallergenic. Dustmites, mold and mildew are very attracted to pillows and bedding, so I like to aim for fabrics that can work to keep those allergens at bay. Organic cotton, Tencel, and bamboo-based materials are my personal favorites.
Well, we’ve reached the end of my guide to the best cooling pillows the Internet has to offer. Just remember: when your body is too warm, it’s tougher to sleep through the night. So take your time in considering which pillow is going to keep your posture healthy, but also keep you cooly snoozing for many nights to come. Happy shopping!