Home / Best Pillows of 2021 / Best Cooling Pillows

Best Cooling Pillows

Sleepfoundation.org is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here

Written by

Lauren Fountain


Most people know the feeling of turning over the pillow to the “cool side” in the middle of the night. Some pillows retain heat and feel warm against the sleeper’s face. Flipping these pillows will help them feel cooler, but only briefly. A pillow specifically designed with breathable components can reduce sweating, overheating, and the general discomfort that comes from sleeping hot. Since warm temperatures can negatively affect sleep quality, a cooling pillow can also curb sleep interruptions and help you avoid daytime fatigue.

Our best cooling pillow picks are a diverse assortment in terms of composition, firmness, and thickness. Some of our selections are composed of fill and shell materials noted for superior temperature control, while others are equipped with features that promote airflow and breathability. Our testing team consists of people who tend to sleep hot as well as those who normally don’t struggle with overheating in bed, so our recommendations should reflect the experiences of most sleepers.

The Best Cooling Pillows

Check out the pillow profiles below to learn more about each of our top picks and why they stand out from the rest of the pack. We’ve highlighted key strengths of each pillow and who we think will enjoy them the most. Our cooling pillows guide also includes detailed information for first-time buyers. We’ll discuss types of pillows that sleep cool – as well as those known for overheating – and how much you can expect to pay for different types of pillows.

Product Details

GhostPillow Faux Down

Best Overall

GhostPillow Faux Down

GhostPillow Faux Down
Price: $85
Fill: Microfiber Gel
Firmness: Medium Soft
Who it's best for:
  • Hot sleepers
  • People who are allergic to real down
  • Value seekers
  • Plush down alternative fibers mimic the feel and loftiness of real down
  • Phase-change material in the cover reduces heat buildup
  • Affordable price-point and pillowcase bundling option
GhostPillow Faux Down

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on GhostBed pillows

The GhostPillow – Faux Down exemplifies many of the reasons why sleepers choose this material over real down. The down alternative fibers offer the same plush, lofty feel as their authentic counterparts without using animal-based components, triggering allergy symptoms, or sleeping excessively warm. A gel infusion enhances the breathability of the fill, while a phase-change cover draws heat away from your body and feels cool to the touch. Hot sleepers should be quite satisfied with this pillow.

The same can be said for side and back sleepers because of the pillow’s 7-inch profile. Both of these positions generally need extra loft to ensure even spinal alignment and less pressure around the neck and shoulders. Additionally, the entire pillow – including the fill – can be laundered at home, so you won’t need to spend time hand-washing or pay for dry cleaning. GhostBed offers one size for the pillow with dimensions that are comparable to a traditional queen.

The GhostPillow – Faux Down 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.

Muse Pillow

Best Value

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

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Muse Sleep pillows

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.

Saatva Latex Pillow

Most Comfortable

Saatva Latex Pillow

Saatva Latex Pillow
Price: $155 - Queen $175 - 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

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Saatva pillows

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.

Birch Organic Pillow

Best Organic

Birch Organic Pillow

Birch Organic Pillow
Price: $99 - Queen $119 - King
Fill: Shredded Talaylay Latex, Organic Wool
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

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Birch pillows

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.

Tempur-Pedic breeze° Pro + Advanced Cooling Pillow

Best Luxury

Tempur-Pedic breeze° Pro + Advanced Cooling Pillow

Tempur-Pedic breeze° Pro + Advanced Cooling Pillow
Price: $199 - Queen $249 - King
Fill: Tempur memory foam
Firmness: Medium
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Hot sleepers
  • Shoppers who want to invest in a durable memory foam pillow
  • Core composed of durable Tempur memory foam
  • Machine-washable SmartClimate cover is designed to dissipate body heat
  • Two loft options to accommodate different sleep positions
Tempur-Pedic breeze° Pro + Advanced Cooling Pillow

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Tempur-Pedic pillows

Tempur-Pedic’s proprietary TEMPUR memory foam is popular with sleepers for its dense, durable composition. The breeze° Pro + Advanced Cooling Pillow builds on the brand’s traditional pillow designs with temperature-regulating features to reduce bothersome heat absorption.

Layers of cooling gel surround the foam while the cover is made of SmartClimate fabric. Both of these components are intended to draw heat away from your body and help you stay comfortable, even during hotter or more humid times of the year. People who normally find memory foam pillows too warm will likely find this one more comfortable.

The breeze° Pro + Advanced Cooling Pillow is available in two loft levels. The ProLo measures 5 inches thick, a mid-range sweet spot geared toward back sleepers. If you sleep on your side, the 6.6-inch ProHi should be lofty enough to promote even alignment and prevent pressure from building up around the neck and shoulders. Both pillows have a medium feel for a balance of contouring and stability.

The cover can be removed and machine-washed for easy care. Tempur-Pedic offers the pillow in queen and king sizes. Free shipping is available to customers throughout the contiguous U.S., and each order is backed by a 5-year warranty.

Amerisleep Comfort Classic Pillow

Best Pressure Relief

Amerisleep Comfort Classic Pillow

Amerisleep Comfort Classic Pillow
Price: $90 - Queen $115 - King
Fill: Bio-Pur memory foam
Firmness: Medium
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers
  • People who feel pressure points
  • Those who prefer the feel of memory foam
  • Channeled design regulates temperature
  • Medium feel appeals to multiple sleeper types
  • Solid memory foam relieves pressure
Amerisleep Comfort Classic Pillow

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Amerisleep pillows

People who experience pressure points while they sleep often find foam pillows beneficial. The Comfort Classic Pillow from Amerisleep is made from a solid piece of memory foam that gently cradles your head and neck to relieve pressure points. Side and back sleepers will find this pillow’s medium feel the most comfortable, though stomach sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds also ranked it highly. The pillow’s 6-inch loft is also conducive to the side and back positions.

Solid memory foam typically sleeps warmer than other materials because it traps your body heat. Amerisleep combats this issue in two ways, the first being its proprietary memory foam known as Bio-Pur. This foam has an open-cell structure that’s designed to increase airflow. The Comfort Classic also features channels within the foam that allow air to escape. Along with its breathable cover, these construction details contribute to this model’s above-average temperature regulation.

The removable polyester cover is washable while the pillow core should be spot cleaned with baking soda and detergent. You can purchase this pillow in queen and king sizes, both of which are priced within the average range for a high-quality memory foam pillow. Amerisleep offers free shipping to shoppers in the contiguous U.S. Your Comfort Classic Pillow is backed with a 10-year warranty that protects against faulty sewing or construction defects.

Layla Kapok Pillow

Best for Neck Pain

Layla Kapok Pillow

Layla Kapok Pillow
Price: $99 - Queen $119 - King
Fill: Shredded memory foam and kapok tree fiber blend
Firmness: Medium Soft
Who it's best for:
  • People whose loft preferences vary on any given night
  • Hot sleepers
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Contains a plush blend of shredded memory foam and natural kapok fibers
  • Cover is infused with copper intended to promote cooling
  • Fill can be added or removed to adjust the loft
Layla Kapok Pillow

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Layla pillows

Many people have a fixed preference when it comes to pillow loft, but those with neck pain may feel more comfortable sleeping on a thinner or thicker pillow depending on their comfort level. The Layla Kapok Pillow offers adjustable loft, so you can customize the volume to your liking. The fill consists of shredded memory foam blended with down-like fibers from the kapok tree, creating a plush feel no matter how much fill you use. The adjustable nature of this pillow also makes it suitable for any sleep position, though side and back sleepers will probably feel most comfortable due to the pillow’s softer feel.

The cover is made from a breathable blend of polyester and viscose. A copper infusion in the fabric is designed to enhance the breathability and help the cover maintain a reasonable temperature any time of year. The cover can be removed and machine-washed for easy care. If you’d like to launder the entire pillow, wash on a gentle cycle and dry on a low heat setting – though Layla notes multiple drying cycles may be needed.

The Layla Kapok Pillow is available in queen and king sizes, both of which are priced competitively. If you buy two pillows, the second one will qualify for a 50% discount. Ground shipping is free of charge for all customers in the contiguous U.S. All orders are backed by 120-night sleep trials and 5-year warranties.

Bear Pillow

Best for Side Sleepers

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

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Bear pillows

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.

PandaZzz Copper Pillow

Best Airflow

PandaZzz Copper Pillow

PandaZzz Copper Pillow
Price: $120 - Standard
Fill: Ventilated memory foam
Firmness: Medium
Who it's best for:
  • People who feel pressure around the neck and shoulders
  • Those who normally sleep hot on memory foam pillows
  • Value seekers
  • Ventilated memory foam shouldn’t retain too much heat
  • Cover is removable and machine-washable
  • Below-average pricing for a solid foam pillow
PandaZzz Copper Pillow

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on PandaZzz pillows

Steady airflow and cooling can be an issue for pillows that contain solid memory foam. The PandaZzz Copper Pillow’s foam core is ventilated with small holes to push air throughout the interior, resulting in better-than-average circulation and temperature control. The foam is also infused with copper, which has natural cooling properties meant to conduct heat away from the pillow’s surface. Although the pillow contours around the head and neck, excessive heat absorption shouldn’t be a major issue for most sleepers.

The pillow’s mid-range profile is best suited to back and stomach sleepers, though side sleepers who don’t need too much loft should also find it comfortable. The pillow is available in one size (standard). The zippered cover can be removed and machine-washed whenever it needs to be cleaned.

The Copper Pillow’s price-point is below-average compared to other pillows with solid memory foam cores. PandaZzz also ships for free anywhere in the contiguous U.S. Your purchasel includes a sleep trial that allows you to test out the pillow for up to 30 nights before deciding whether to keep it.

Why You Should Trust Us

With so many pillows on the market, finding a model that meets your needs can be a daunting task. Our team at Sleep Foundation has tested over 300 pillows in order to find the best pillows for every type of sleeper. We draw on years of experience in the sleep product industry as well as hands-on testing to determine the top pillows.

Since sleep position plays a large role in how comfortable a pillow feels, we’ve included side, back, stomach, and combination sleepers on our team, in order to address the needs of as many sleepers as possible. During the testing process, our team members lay their head on each pillow to evaluate firmness, contouring, and temperature neutrality. We’ve synthesized our findings to present what we believe are the best cooling pillows on the market. Our testers found that these pillows retained little heat, wicked away moisture, and slept cool compared to other models we evaluated.

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.

Cooling Pillow FAQs

  • How do cooling pillows work?

    Cooling pillows are often infused with materials like gel, graphite, or copper that help draw heat away from your body. Certain models combine these elements with a construction that promotes airflow so that heat can escape. Cover fabrics like cotton, rayon derived from bamboo, and wool are beneficial too since they wick sweat and increase breathability.

    Your pillow’s shape can also have an effect on how cool it feels. A solid piece of foam will generally retain more heat than it will when the foam is shredded, as air can better circulate around the shredded fill. Consider your sleeper type and fill preferences to find a cooling pillow that has all the qualities you need.

  • How do you wash a cool gel pillow?

    While exact washing directions will vary by manufacturer, many cool gel pillows are spot clean only and should not be put in a washing machine. Most cooling pillows take this into account and provide a washable cover that’s easily removed. If you need an option that’s simple to launder, make sure to research the manufacturer’s recommendations.

  • Can cooling pillows be toxic?

    Purchasing a pillow that’s OEKO-Tex certified and CertiPUR-US certified can help you ensure that your pillow has low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In small doses, VOCs aren’t a threat to your health but can be irritating to people with allergies or respiratory problems. VOCs are present in many foam products and can have an unpleasant smell. It typically takes about 24 to 48 hours for these VOCs to dissipate, so sleepers particularly sensitive to smell should allow their pillow to fully air out before use.

  • How long do cooling pillows last?

    Your cooling pillow’s lifespan will depend on the quality of its materials, but you can expect a well-made pillow to last 3 to 4 years. Your weight and sleeper type can also affect how long your pillow lasts. A pillow that gets significant amounts of direct pressure will likely break down faster than one that has less weight applied. Choosing a high-quality fill and the correct firmness level for your sleeper type can help ensure your pillow goes the distance.