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Home / Best Pillows of 2021 / Best Cooling Pillows

Written by

Lauren Fountain


Many people know the feeling of turning their pillow over to the “cool side” in the middle of the night. Traditional pillows often retain heat and feel warm against the sleeper’s face. Flipping the pillow over to the other side feels cooler, albeit briefly. Hot sleepers especially may be wondering if there is a cooling pillow that provides that feeling consistently throughout the night.

Sleeping hot can result in sweating, overheating, and general discomfort. It can also interrupt sleep and cause daytime fatigue. Temperature affects sleep quality, and there are plenty of factors to consider when creating a comfortable sleep environment. The mattress, pillows, and bedding all play a role. A cooling pillow can help people sleep comfortably by regulating temperature and dissipating heat.

We’ll cover our top picks for the best cooling pillows and what to look for when shopping. We break down what a cooling pillow is and its pros and cons for sleepers. You’ll also find helpful tips for sleeping cool.

The Best Cooling Pillows

Product Details

TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow

Best Overall

TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow

TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow
Price: $169 - Queen $209 - King
Fill: TEMPUR memory foam with TEMPUR-Breeze Gel coating
Firmness: Medium (5)
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Hot sleepers who like the contouring feel of memory foam
  • Shoppers with bigger budgets
  • Features cooling gel pads on both sides of the pillow
  • Conforming feel of memory foam, without the excessive heat retention
  • Luxurious, comfortable feel
TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow

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Though memory foam has a reputation for retaining heat, the Tempur-Pedic Tempur-CLOUD Dual Breeze Pillow takes measures to offset this. The memory foam pillow uses gel pads on both sides to dissipate heat. The pillow also offers standout pressure relief.

The 100 percent premium cotton knit cover is quilted and breathable. It wicks away moisture and adds airflow throughout the pillow. The pillow core consists of a medium feel TEMPUR material, Tempur-Pedic’s proprietary memory foam blend that conforms closely. The TEMPUR core has a TEMPUR-Breeze gel pad on each side. This conductive material draws heat away from the body and dissipates it.

The pillow has a cool feel initially. This helps users feel comfortable as they fall asleep, but there is still the possibility of heat retention throughout the night.

This pillow is also the most expensive option on our list, so it is best for shoppers with bigger budgets. Memory foam often has an initial odor due to off-gassing, though it should dissipate quickly in a well-ventilated room.

The Tempur-Pedic Tempur-CLOUD Dual Breeze Pillow is available in queen and king sizes. It has a medium firmness that is best for side and back sleepers. Tempur-Pedic does not allow for returns of the Tempur-Pedic Tempur-CLOUD Dual Breeze Pillow, but the pillow is covered by a 5-year warranty.

Vaya Pillow

Best Value

Vaya Pillow

Vaya Pillow
Price: $60 - Queen $85 - King
Fill: Open-cell polyfoam
Firmness: Medium Soft
Who it's best for:
  • People who prefer pillows that feel soft and conform closely
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Those with pain and pressure points in their neck
  • Adaptive polyfoam absorbs less heat than memory foam
  • Close conforming feel
  • Excellent value
Vaya Pillow

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The Vaya Pillow is a great example of a high-quality cooling pillow that won’t break the bank. The core is composed of open-cell polyfoam that conforms closely to alleviate pressure without retaining too much body heat, allowing you to remain cool and comfortable throughout the night. A soft, removable microfiber cover encases the foam to give the surface an exceptionally plush feel for added comfort.

The pillow’s loft measures 6 inches thick, making it best suited to side and back sleepers. Queen and king sizes are available. The cover can be washed and dried in any household machine, but you should only spot clean the foam as needed. The foam has earned a Certi-PUR certification, indicating the foam does not contain ozone depleters or other harmful chemicals.

In addition to a very reasonable price-point for one pillow, Vaya Sleep offers a 15% discount if you purchase two in the same order. Shipping is also free for all orders within the contiguous U.S. You’ll receive a 60-night sleep trial to test out the pillow that begins on the delivery date, along with a 10-year warranty for extra peace of mind.

Saatva Latex Pillow

Best Luxury

Saatva Latex Pillow

Saatva Latex Pillow
Price: $145 - Queen $165 - King
Fill: Shredded 100% American Talalay latex and down alternative
Firmness: Medium Soft
Who it's best for:
  • People who enjoy a soft cushioning for their head and neck
  • Hot sleepers
  • Those who prefer pillows with adjustable thickness
  • Plush fill consists of shredded Talalay latex and microdenier material
  • Organic cotton cover is machine washable
  • 45-night sleep trial and 1-year warranty
Saatva Latex Pillow

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The Saatva Latex Pillow offers several benefits to sleepers aside from cooling and breathability. Constructed with a chambered design, the pillow features a core containing shredded Talalay latex and an inner pillow cushioned with plush microdenier material. You can remove the microdenier to change the loft, but the pillow retains a comfortably soft feel without losing support.

The pillow’s cover is composed of 100% organic cotton, another material that regulates temperature quite well. Gusseted sides help maintain good loft and neck support. The cotton and latex are also both durable, giving this pillow a longer-than-average expected lifespan. You may remove and machine the cover whenever it needs to be cleaned.

King and queen sizes are available, and both carry reasonable price-points. You can save $20 by buying two queens at the same time, or $40 when you buy two kings. Shipping is free for all orders in the contiguous U.S., and your purchase will include a 45-night sleep trial and 1-year warranty.

Bear Pillow

Best for Multiple Sleeping Positions

Bear Pillow

Bear Pillow
Price: $125 - Queen $145 - King
Fill: Single, aerated piece of ‘LOFT-X’ polyfoam
Firmness: Medium
Who it's best for:
  • Back and side sleepers
  • Those who want a contouring foam pillow
  • Sleepers with allergies
  • Mesh panels and ventilated foam improve airflow
  • Cooling fabric cover wicks away moisture
  • Moderate loft and medium feel is well suited to combination sleepers
Bear Pillow

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The Bear Pillow feels cool to the touch, making it one of the best cooling pillows for hot sleepers. Aerated foam and mesh panels add breathability to the pillow and prevent heat retention.

The Bear Pillow has a unique Double Ice fabric cover that wicks away moisture. The pillow cover has dual mesh corner accents to help dissipate heat and regulate temperature. The cover can be removed and machine washed.

The pillow fill includes a proprietary Loft-X foam blend. This hybrid foam has qualities similar to memory foam and latex. It contours to the shape of the head and neck, but offers resilience that makes it easy to shift your head and neck as needed. The foam core is hypoallergenic and antimicrobial. It should be spot cleaned as needed but cannot be washed.

The Bear Pillow is designed for hot sleepers who sweat throughout the night, as it wicks away both heat and moisture. The Loft-X foam blend relieves pressure with its responsive, contouring nature. Since the foam is ventilated, it retains less heat than a solid foam pillow would.

The medium firmness and loft of the pillow are not adjustable. We found this combination of firmness and loft is best for back and side sleepers, but may not be suitable for stomach sleepers. There is some potential for off-gassing, though any initial smell should dissipate within a few days.

The Bear Pillow is available in a queen or king size. Bear offers a 100-night sleep trial and covers the pillow with a 2-year limited warranty.

GhostPillow - Memory Foam

Best Memory Foam

GhostPillow - Memory Foam

GhostPillow - Memory Foam
Price: $
Fill: Aerated Gel Memory Foam
Firmness: Medium Firm
Who it's best for:
  • People who sleep hot on memory foam pillows
  • Those with aches and pains in their neck
  • Value seekers
  • A solid memory foam core conforms to the head and neck and alleviates pressure
  • Phase-change material in the cover reduces heat buildup
  • Affordable price-point and pillowcase bundling option
GhostPillow - Memory Foam

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Memory foam pillows are notorious for sleeping hot, but some feature components that promote cooling and temperature regulation. The GhostBed GhostPillow – Memory Foam is a great example. The core consists of solid memory foam ventilated with holes to promote circulation throughout the interior, and an open-mesh sheath encases the foam for added breathability. Additionally, the cover is infused with phase-change material to draw heat away from your body and keep the surface cool any time of year.

Like other solid memory foam pillows, the GhostPillow also excels at even contouring and pressure relief. The feel is medium firm, so sleepers experience moderate conforming and great overall support. A 6-inch loft makes it best suited to back sleepers, along with side sleepers who don’t require too much thickness to feel comfortable. The pillow is also easy to clean thanks to its machine washable cover.

The GhostPillow has a very affordable price-point compared to similarly constructed memory foam pillows, and you’ll receive a 50% discount on a mulberry silk pillowcase if you choose to bundle both items with your purchase. Shipping is free for all orders in the contiguous U.S., and each order includes a 101-night sleep trial and a 5-year warranty.

Birch Organic Pillow

Best Organic

Birch Organic Pillow

Birch Organic Pillow
Price: $99 - Queen $119 - King
Fill: Shredded natural latex
Firmness:  Medium
Who it's best for:
  • Sleepers looking for a pillow with a mid-level feel
  • Hot sleepers
  • Eco-conscious shoppers
  • Constructed with natural and organic components
  • Excellent breathability and temperature control
  • OEKO-TEX and Eco-INSTITUT certified
Birch Organic Pillow

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Latex pillows typically sleep cool, but the Birch Organic Pillow is a standout because it is also made using sustainably sourced materials. The cover is composed of organic cotton certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), one of the world’s leading authorities on these types of fabrics. The core contains natural, shredded Talalay latex, while the outer chamber is cushioned with organic wool. These materials make the pillow a good option for consumers who would rather purchase eco-friendly products.

The pillow has a medium feel, but its layered design also ensures full loft and great overall support for side and back sleepers. The cotton cover is highly breathable and the wool has moisture-wicking properties, so hot sleepers and those who reside in warm or humid climates should find the pillow comfortable as well. In addition to GOTS, the pillow has earned certifications from OEKO-TEX and eco-INSTITUT, indicating the different materials don’t contain any harmful substances or chemicals.

While latex pillows tend to be pricey, the Birch Organic Pillow is priced reasonably and customers in the contiguous U.S. qualify for free ground shipping. Your purchase includes a 100-night sleep trial for testing out the pillow and a 1-year warranty should you decide to keep it.

Muse Pillow

Best for Neck Pain

Muse Pillow

Muse Pillow
Price: $120 - Standard
Fill: Shredded and solid memory foam
Firmness: Medium
Who it's best for:
  • People who experience sharp pressure points in their neck
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Those who usually find memory foam pillows too warm
  • Balanced mix of conforming and support
  • Combination of solid and shredded memory foam create a responsive feel
  • Phase-change material cover dissipates body heat
Muse Pillow

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Memory foam is a popular pillow material because it contours evenly to the head and neck, alleviating aches, pains, and pressure points in the process. Shredded memory foam provides a plush feel, whereas solid memory foam is usually a bit denser and firmer. The Muse Pillow contains both materials, structured with a layer of shredded foam over a dense solid foam base. The pillow has a medium feel, so it will conform to the head and neck without sinking too much.

Customers can choose between three loft levels based on their sleep position and thickness preference. The 5-inch pillow offers the lowest loft, making it best suited to stomach sleeping, while the 6- and 7-inch pillows will likely be more comfortable for side and back sleepers. All

Muse Pillows feature covers made of phase-change material, which dissipates body heat and helps the pillow sleep very cool. The cover can be unzipped and removed for machine washing and drying, but you never need to launder the interior components. Gusseted sides allow the pillow to maintain a full shape, so you shouldn’t need to fluff it too frequently.

The Muse Pillow is competitively priced, and all customers in the contiguous U.S. qualify for free shipping. Customers also receive a 60-night sleep trial and three-year warranty with their pillow.

PlushBeds Zoned Gel Active Cooling Pillow

Best Temperature Control

PlushBeds Zoned Gel Active Cooling Pillow

PlushBeds Zoned Gel Active Cooling Pillow
Price: $140 - Queen $160 - King
Fill: Solid, Ventilated Memory Foam
Firmness: Medium (Center) and Firm (Edges)
Who it's best for:
  • People who usually sleep hot on memory foam pillows
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Those who prefer the feel of a zoned pillow
  • Zoned design offers targeted support and pressure relief
  • Ventilated foam boasts excellent airflow
  • Generous 6-inch loft is well suited to side sleepers
PlushBeds Zoned Gel Active Cooling Pillow

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Many pillows are designed for a uniform feel across the entire surface, but the Zoned Gel Active Cooling Pillow from PlushBeds is a notable exception. The pillow is composed of a single piece of memory foam ventilated with holes. Larger holes make up the midsection, creating a plusher area for your head to rest, while the edges feature smaller holes that make the foam feel firmer and more supportive for your neck.

Ventilating the foam also promotes steady air circulation throughout the core, which helps the pillow sleep cool, and the foam is infused with cooling gel to draw heat away from the surface. Additionally, the cover is made from Tencel, a eucalyptus-based fabric with exceptional breathability. The pillow is a great option for hot sleepers, especially those who have had bad experiences with other memory foam models.

Both the queen and king sizes offer a 6-inch loft, making the pillow particularly well suited for side and back sleepers. PlushBeds provides free shipping throughout the contiguous U.S. While the pillow cannot be returned for a refund after the order has been placed, it is backed by a five-year warranty against structural defects.

Sleep Number VariaCool Pillow

Best Pressure Relief

Sleep Number VariaCool Pillow

Sleep Number VariaCool Pillow
Price: $100 - Classic Standard $130 - Classic King $120 - Contour Standard $150 - Contour King $140 - Ultimate Standard $170 - Ultimate King
Fill: Gel-Infused Memory Foam
Mattress Type: 
Who it's best for:
  • Those who tend to experience neck pain
  • Sleepers looking for a pillow that is soft and contouring
  • Those that generally prefer a pillow with a higher loft
  • Available in three shapes to suit different sleeping positions
  • Memory foam construction is engineered to relieve pressure points
  • Air chambers for excellent ventilation
Sleep Number VariaCool Pillow

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With enhanced ventilation, the Sleep Number VariaCool Pillow is effective at dissipating heat. The pillow’s OmniTemp polyester blend cover is engineered to draw heat away from the skin, resulting in a cool-to-the-touch feel.

The Sleep Number VariaCool Pillow is a supportive, gel-infused memory foam design that comes in three shapes: Classic, Contour, and Ultimate. The Classic is geared toward stomach and back sleepers, as it provides gentle support for the head and neck. The Contour cradles the head and neck and is best for side or back sleepers. The Ultimate is the most versatile of the three shapes, as its customizable design can accommodate most sleep positions. With three removable inserts, you can achieve your preferred degree of height and support.

In addition to its cooling properties, the pillow is designed for those seeking additional pressure relief. The pillow’s memory foam construction is firm enough to be supportive, while contouring to the shape of the head and neck to help relieve pain and pressure.

The VariaCool Pillow cover can be machine washed with cold water on the gentle cycle and tumble dried on low heat. The foam insert should only be spot treated as needed with warm, soapy water and air dried.

Sleep Number offers free shipping within the U.S. The Sleep Number VariaCool Pillow is backed by a 30-night trial, during which you can exchange it if you’re not satisfied. The 1-year warranty protects against defects in materials and workmanship.

Moona Pillow Pad

Best Pillow Cooling Device

Moona Pillow Pad

Moona Pillow Pad
Price: $
Fill: N/A
Firmness: N/A
Who it's best for:
  • Any kind of sleeper
  • Those who want to add cooling to their current pillow
  • Those who sleep hot
  • Active cooling technology utilizes water to cool the pillow
  • Works with almost any pillow
  • Temperature can be set between 71 and 97 degrees
Moona Pillow Pad

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The Moona Pillow Pad is a unique pillow cooling device that uses active cooling technology to keep a pillow cool through the night. The Moona device works by pumping themroregulated water through a pillow pad lined with a tube system. The Moona can be controlled both through a smartphone app as well as through the device itself.

The pad rests between the pillow and the pillowcase, allowing you to experience the support and comfort of your current pillow. An external hub device pumps water and regulates the water’s temperature. The water can be set between 71 and 97 degrees Farenheit.

If you are unsure as to what temperatures will work best for you, the app has multiple tools built in to help you build a personalized temperature profile. The device can collect sleep quality data to help it adjust the temperature of the water throughout the night and different major phases of sleep. The app and cooling system also offer multiple other features, including advanced temperature settings, sleep tips, and a warming wake up option.

The hub device pod is easy to disassemble, clean, and change out the water for regular maintenance. The cover for the pad that fits into the pillowcase is detachable and machine-washable.

The Moona Pillow Pad ships to the U.S. as well as internationally. It comes with a 30-day trial period as well as a 1-year limited warranty.

What is a Cooling Pillow?

A cooling pillow prevents heat retention and provides a cool or temperature neutral sleep surface. This type of pillow is constructed to draw heat away from the body and increase airflow to prevent heat retention. The materials used in the pillow cover are often moisture-wicking and breathable.

Choosing the right pillow is just one component of creating a cooling sleep environment. There is a direct relationship between temperature and sleep, and your bedroom should be set to a comfortable temperature to improve sleep quality. Colder room temperatures facilitate better sleep, and many studies recommend keeping the bedroom around 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Your body has a circadian rhythm that lowers your body temperature when it is time to prepare for sleep. A hot room can increase wakefulness. This disrupts the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle and results in poor quality sleep. Some people sleep hotter than others. This can make it harder to fall asleep. Cooling bedding can provide comfort and encourage restful sleep.

How to Choose a Cooling Pillow

There are many factors to consider when choosing a cooling pillow, including its cooling properties and the quality of materials used. Every sleeper has unique needs, but there are common elements that can help each person determine if a pillow is right for them. These include price, loft, firmness level, and pressure relief. Keep in mind your sleeping position, weight, and personal preferences when shopping for a cooling pillow.

What to Consider When Purchasing a Cooling Pillow

When purchasing a cooling pillow, these are the top things to focus on. A cooling pillow draws heat away from the body, and certain materials do this better than others. That being said, each person is different and what works for one may not work for another.

In addition to regulating temperature and providing a comfortable sleep environment, a cooling pillow may also relieve pressure and provide ample support for the head, neck, and shoulders. While the focus of this guide is a pillow’s cooling properties, there are additional factors that determine if a pillow is a good purchase or not. Shoppers should consider what type of pillow they want, and what is most important to them in addition to cooling properties.

  • Cooling Properties: The cooling properties of a pillow determine how well it regulates temperature, dissipates heat, and keeps you cool throughout the night. Most cooling pillows have passive cooling properties, meaning they are constructed with materials that either encourage airflow or draw heat away from the body. Gel, copper, phase-change materials, and graphite are all conductive materials that pull heat away and dissipate it. Moisture-wicking materials like wool, cotton, and bamboo are helpful for hot sleepers prone to sweating throughout the night. These breathable materials also circulate air and prevent heat retention. For shoppers, it is important to focus on the materials and construction of the pillow over any marketing buzz.
  • Sleeping Position: What position you sleep in each night determines the firmness and loft you should look for in a pillow. Side sleepers need a pillow with a higher loft that fills the space between the neck and shoulders. This helps keep the spine aligned and reduces pressure. Back sleepers maintain a neutral posture, but need a pillow that keeps their head level and not tilted too far forward or back. Stomach sleepers prefer thinner pillows that keep their head and neck at a comfortable angle.
  • Price: Pillows are available at a wide range of price points, so setting a budget before shopping can be helpful. Keep in mind that some materials are more expensive than others. A high-quality cooling pillow can range between $75 to $150 or more, which is more expensive than the average pillow.
  • Pressure Relief: A pillow provides additional support and relieves pressure and tension in the neck and shoulders. Pillows that conform to the shape of the head and neck help keep the spine aligned. Memory foam is well-known for its conforming nature, while latex also offers pressure relief.
  • Quality Materials: The quality of materials used in a cooling pillow determines its lifespan. Many cooling pillows are made with high-quality materials that are especially durable. This includes natural latex and foams that offer shape retention and support. As a result, cooling pillows often last longer than other pillows.
  • Firmness Level: For cooling pillows, a medium soft to medium firm feel is common.  Materials like wool, down, and shredded memory foam are often soft. Solid foam and latex pillows are more likely to be medium to medium firm. Buckwheat pillows and some foam options can be firm. When shopping for a pillow, personal preferences and sleeping position often determine which firmness level is the right fit.
  • Loft: Loft refers to the height of the pillow. Cooling pillows often have a medium to high loft. Some materials like shredded foam, down, and wool have a high loft but compress easily. Certain cooling pillows have an adjustable loft, meaning you can remove or add filling to change the height of the pillow. A higher loft is better for side sleepers, while back sleepers tend to prefer a medium loft. Stomach sleepers benefit from a low loft.

What Materials are in a Cooling Pillow?

A cooling pillow uses materials in its fill and cover to regulate temperature and dissipate heat. We’ll break down common fill and cover materials here. It should be noted that certain materials are highly conductive and draw heat away from the body. Others allow air to flow through them to dissipate heat. There are multiple options available, and certain pillow types will work better for some than others.

Fill Materials

  • Latex: Latex is made from rubber tree sap, which is harvested and processed using the Dunlop or Talalay method. Dunlop latex is heavier, with a dense bottom and resilient feel. Talalay latex requires more processing, with a homogenous and breathable result. Latex offers ample pressure relief and is more breathable than synthetic foam. Some heat retention is possible, but many cooling pillows use aerated latex to dissipate heat and encourage airflow.
  • Memory Foam: Memory foam is a viscoelastic polyfoam that responds to heat and pressure to conform closely. This results in a customized feel for sleepers and pressure relief for the head, neck, and shoulders. Memory foam pillows may retain heat and restrict airflow, so look for a cooling pillow that offsets this. Open-cell memory foam has better airflow. Memory foam can also be shredded to let air circulate, or infused with gel or copper to draw heat away from the body.
  • Gel or Copper: Gel and copper are highly conductive materials that pull heat away from the body. These can be added to other fill materials, most often foam. Gel has a cool to the touch feel. Copper is antimicrobial. These materials prevent heat from building up in the pillow, but they often result in a higher price point.
  • Buckwheat: Buckwheat hulls are the shells of the buckwheat grain. The hulls have an open shape and create air pockets in the pillow. This prevents heat retention. The hulls are malleable and supportive. Buckwheat pillows may take some getting used to, as the hulls have a natural odor and are prone to making a rustling noise when moved.
  • Wool: Wool is harvested from lambs and sheep. The natural fiber has a crimped shape that adds ample loft and airflow to a pillow. Wool acts as natural insulation, so it pulls heat and moisture away in warmer climates and retains heat in colder areas. A wool pillow is best for those who want year-round temperature regulation.
  • Down Alternative: Down alternative is often made with polyester or synthetic fibers that imitate the feel of down. This offers a vegan alternative to down, which is made with the down feathers of geese or ducks. Down alternative fill is less likely to retain heat than down. It is also more affordable.

Cover Materials

  • Cotton: Natural cotton fibers are soft and breathable. There are several varieties of cotton, and the fibers can vary from short-staple to extra-long staple. Pima cotton and Egyptian cotton are types of extra-long staple cotton that are soft and breathable. Cotton naturally wicks away moisture for a cooling feel. This material is often used in covers as it increases airflow and is easy to clean.
  • Phase-Change Material: Phase-change materials control temperature by absorbing body heat and releasing it. These materials change from a liquid to solid state to regulate temperature. Textiles that incorporate phase-change materials are often used in cooling pillows to draw heat away from the body.
  • Bamboo: Bamboo is a natural fiber that is moisture-wicking and lightweight. It is more absorbent than cotton, making it an ideal choice for hot sleepers who sweat throughout the night. Bamboo is breathable and increases airflow throughout the pillow.

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Cooling Pillow?

Many shoppers are drawn to cooling pillows for their temperature-regulating properties. These pillows reduce heat retention and are an important part of creating a comfortable sleep environment. However, due to the cooling properties and materials used, cooling pillows are more expensive. There are a few pros and cons shoppers should consider before purchasing a cooling pillow.

Pros Cons
  • Temperature Neutrality: Cooling pillows draw heat away from the body and prevent sleeping hot.
  • Long Lifespan: Cooling pillows are made with durable materials that result in a longer lifespan.
  • Pressure Relief: Tension in the neck and shoulders is relieved by cooling pillows that have a latex or form construction.
  • Adjustable Loft: Shredded foam, buckwheat, or wool fill can be removed or added to an adjustable pillow for a customized feel.
  • Often Hypoallergenic: Materials like latex, foam, and wool are often used in cooling pillows and resist common allergens.
  • Cost: Cooling pillows have a higher than average price point due to the quality of materials used.
  • Maintenance: Many cooling pillows are difficult to clean, especially if they have a solid foam or latex core that cannot be washed.
  • Not for Everyone: Those who do not sleep hot may find a cooling pillow is unnecessary.
  • Odor: Materials used in cooling pillows may off-gas or have a natural odor.

Who is Best Suited to a Cooling Pillow?

Hot sleepers especially benefit from cooling pillows, but there are also benefits for side and back sleepers. It is important to consider sleeping position and personal preferences when shopping for a pillow. A cooling pillow might not be right for everyone and there are special considerations that should be kept in mind.

A cooling pillow is best suited for:

  • Hot Sleepers: Hot sleepers need cooling bedding to prevent overheating. This allows them to sleep comfortably, as temperature and sleep quality are connected. A cooling pillow can help draw heat away from the body and provide a cooling surface for hot sleepers. A cooling pillow will also wick away sweat.
  • Side Sleepers: Side sleepers need a higher loft pillow to keep the head elevated and neck aligned. Many cooling pillows have a higher loft that is suitable for side sleepers. Adjustable cooling pillows allow for additional fill and a higher loft.
  • Back Sleepers: Back sleepers need a medium loft pillow that supports the head without letting it tilt too far forward or back. Most cooling pillows have the ideal loft and firmness for back sleepers. Materials like memory foam and latex contour to the shape of the head for proper support and alignment.

These kinds of pillows are not well suited for:

  • Stomach Sleepers: Stomach sleepers need a low loft pillow. This keeps the neck at a comfortable angle. Some cooling pillows are adjustable, but most have a medium to high loft that is less than ideal for stomach sleepers. Stomach sleepers often prefer a soft pillow and most cooling pillows are considered medium soft to firm.
  • Sleepers with Odor Sensitivities: Cooling pillows often use synthetic foams or natural materials that prevent heat retention. Synthetic foam tends to off-gas, which causes a chemical smell in the pillow. This usually dissipates within a few days, but those who are sensitive to odors may notice it for longer. Materials like wool and buckwheat also have a natural odor that may be off-putting to sleepers with odor sensitivities.

Other Tips for Sleeping Cool

A cooling pillow is an essential part of a comfortable sleep environment, but it is just one component. Hot sleepers can take additional measures to stay cool throughout the night.

  • Bedding: Using breathable, lightweight bedding prevents heat retention. Natural materials like cotton, bamboo, and eucalyptus are ideal. These fibers are commonly used in cooling bed sheets, comforters, and duvets. Pay attention to thread count and weave to ensure the bedding allows air to circulate. A percale weave offers a crisp and cool feel for hot sleepers. Avoid heavy fabrics and synthetic materials that are not breathable.
  • Room Temperature: A cool room improves sleep quality. The ideal room temperature is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Set the thermostat in this range, and use a fan to keep air circulating. Window shades can act as insulation, preventing hot air from coming in and cool air from escaping.
  • Mattress: There are plenty of mattress options that regulate temperature and prevent sleeping hot. The best mattresses for hot sleepers are often made with latex or gel-infused memory foam. A hybrid construction with coil support increases airflow throughout the mattress and can make a significant difference for hot sleepers.
  • Pajamas: What you wear to bed plays a role in how well your body regulates temperature. Opt for natural, breathable fabrics like cotton and bamboo. Avoid heavier fabrics, thermal pajamas, or flannel pieces.
  • Mattress Topper: If buying a new mattress is not in the cards, a mattress topper can be an affordable way to make your current mattress more comfortable. Toppers act as an additional comfort layer and can improve the temperature regulation of the mattress. Aerated or gel-infused foam, latex, and wool are all breathable mattress topper options.