The Best Cooling Pillows for Hot Sleepers

By Barry Bridges

Dec 22nd, 2022

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There’s a lot to consider when picking out the best pillow for your needs. Depending on the materials within a pillow, some are more likely to retain heat rather than others. If you experience hot flashes or night sweats throughout your sleep and tend to wake up with greasy hair and oily skin, you may need to consider changing up some of your sleeping products. 

Body temperature plays a vital role in how well you sleep, and the last thing you want is to feel hot-headed while trying to rest. Will a cooling pillow work for you? Read on to see our best picks and what you should consider before making a purchase.

The Best Cooling Pillows

Cozy Earth Silk pillow

Cozy Earth Silk Pillow

Best Overall

The Cozy Earth Silk Pillow is a great way to solve problems for hot sleepers. Its naturally breathable silk and bamboo construction helps wick away moisture. It comes in two sizes, standard and king. Cozy Earth also has some excellent policies, including a 10-year warranty, 100-night sleep trial, and free shipping. There’s more than enough time to decide if this is the right model for you.

Hybrid Pillow 1 preview e1596217715654

Leesa Hybrid Pillow

Best Cooling Gel Pillow

The Leesa Hybrid Pillow is unique in design and exceptional in capabilities. With two distinctive sides, you’ll never get bored with this customizable pillow. Whatever sleeping position works best for you, tailor your pillow to keep you aligned and comfortable throughout the entire night.

For an in-the-middle price point, the Leesa Hybrid cool gel pillow is one of the best cooling pillows on our list. If you’re unsure if this is the pillow for you, test it for 100 nights, and if you’re not impressed, you can return it within those 100 days with no hassle.

casper pillow

Original Casper Pillow

Best Down Alternative Cooling Pillow

The Original Casper Pillow is made with a breathable cotton cover and siliconized microfiber fill, reminiscent of the comfort of a down pillow. Combined, this makes a soft pillow with tons of airflow to keep you cool. This pillow is malleable for all sleep positions, great for those with feather allergies.

tempur cloud pillow

Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Cloud Pillow

Best Luxury Cooling Pillow

We’re all familiar with Tempur-Pedic’s luxury mattress collection, but it’s time to check out the Tempur-Cloud cooling pillow. It’s knit cover is breathable, removable, and allows for heat to escape. This pillow’s contouring neck support is perfect for back sleepers and side sleepers.

Coop Home Goods Pillow

Coop Home Goods Eden Memory Foam Pillow        

Best Cooling Pillow for Side Sleepers

The Coop Home Goods Eden Memory Foam Pillow is a high-quality cooling pillow. The outer cover is 40% bamboo-derived from rayon and 60 percent polyester, making it soft and plush with a cooling effect. The fill material is a cooling gel memory foam that is shredded into cross-cut pieces and poly-fibers. Not to mention, this shredded memory foam pillow is CertiPUR-US-certified and made without flame retardants.

Coop Home Goods made an adjustable design with an invisible, non-irritating zipper where you can remove as much or as little foam filling as you’d like. Whether you’re a side sleeper, back sleeper, or a stomach sleeper, this cooling pillow can be customized to your needs. Lastly, this gel memory foam pillow is hypoallergenic, dust mite resistant, and machine-washable. Each order comes with a 100-day sleep trial and a five-year warranty.

purple harmony pillow

Purple Harmony Pillow

Best Cooling Pillow for Back Sleepers

You know about Purple’s unique mattresses, but the Purple Harmony pillow works just as well for back sleepers. The cooling technology lies in moisture-wicking mesh cover that adds breathability. The mesh covers the hex Purple grid: hyperelastic polymer in a hexagon shape that contours to your head and eliminates neck pain.

The talalay latex core is really what keeps this pillow ultra-cool. It is soft, responsive, and hypoallergenic.

layla kapok pillow

Layla Kapok Pillow

Best Cooling Pillow for Neck Pain

The Layla Kapok Pillow utilizes a copper-infused cover to keep its surface nice and cool. It also boasts an airy Kapok fiber fill, as well as CertiPUR-US certified memory foam. With a 9/10 score for support, it should be great for those suffering from neck pain. Its adjustable loft allows sleepers to customize the pillow for their needs.

Sleep Number True Temp Pillow

Sleep Number True Temp Pillow

Best Cooling Pillow for Stomach Sleepers

Stomach sleepers require a lower lofted pillow for sufficient comfort and support. The Sleep Number True Temp Pillow offers a Classic option that should fit these folks well. It features thermoregulation in its 37.5 technology, so the pillow cools itself when it senses you’re overheating.


How to Find the Best Cooling Pillow

Cooling Material

The most important aspect when it comes to finding the best cooling pillow is the cooling materials used. There are two areas where cooling materials can be used: in the body of the pillow and the pillow cover. In the body of the pillow, cooling gel, gel-infused memory foam, or charcoal-infused memory foam are all great cooling materials. All of these options are great at absorbing your body heat and dissipating it so it doesn’t build up in your pillow, making you sleep hot.

When it comes to the pillow cover, there are two basic ways it can make your sleeping experience cooler. The first is breathability. Materials like bamboo and cotton allow air to flow through the fabric easily, preventing heat buildup. The second way your pillow cover can keep you cool is with phase change material (PCM). These materials, which were first invented for NASA, are now used in cooling pillows because they absorb and release heat very quickly, which makes your pillow feel much cooler than the ambient temperature in the room.

Related: Best Mattress for Hot Sleepers

Fill

Next, it’s important to consider the fill of your pillow. As we mentioned above, materials like gel-infused memory foam or charcoal-infused memory foam are great for keeping your pillow cool, but there are other options as well. Down, typically made from goose feathers, is incredibly comfortable, but it does tend to retain heat. 

Down alternative pillow fill has the same comfort as down, but it is typically made from synthetic materials like polyester or natural materials like cotton. Down alternative is typically cooler than down, but definitely not as cool the next fill option: latex. 

Latex is one of the most breathable, naturally cool pillow fill options available right now. Because latex is made with air bubbles naturally occurring in its construction, it does not retain heat the way down or pure memory foam does. Some cooling pillows are made with shredded latex, which makes the pillow even more breathable, plus it becomes adjustable, which is great for combination sleepers.

Sleeping Position

Before buying a cooling pillow, you need to think about which position you usually sleep in. Generally, there are four sleeping positions: back, stomach, side, and combination.

Back sleepers have the best natural spinal alignment and only need minimal support from their pillow to keep their neck in the optimal position. You don’t want a pillow that’s too terribly firm or fluffy, but you don’t want a flat pillow either.

Stomach sleepers, on the other hand, actually benefit from a relatively flat pillow. That’s because pillows with more height (loft) actually make their spinal alignment worse by lifting the head too far up.

Side sleepers need a relatively firm pillow that can give their neck the support it needs all night long. A firm pillow with a decent loft will help keep your neck in line with your spine.

Finally, combination sleepers are those who tend to toss and turn throughout the night, changing position. The best pillow for these types of sleepers is an adjustable pillow that you can fluff and change as the night goes on and you change position.

Find the best pillows for your sleeping position:

Thread Count

Usually, you’re probably used to looking for high thread counts, but that’s not always the best choice when looking for a cooling pillow. Thread count is based on how many threads there are in a square inch, and more threads usually means the material is softer. However, the more threads there are in a square inch, the less breathable the fabric will be. When looking for a cooling pillow, it’s best to look for a relatively low thread count, like 200.

Price

A decent cooling pillow is going to cost more than a generic, polyester pillow from your local supermarket. But that doesn’t mean they have to break the bank. A down alternative pillow will likely be the cheapest pillow out there with a slightly cooling fill, but there are also great shredded memory foam or gel-infused memory foam pillows for under $100. Latex pillows tend to be the most expensive, but they also last the longest, which may make it worth the investment.

FAQs

Do cooling pillows really work? 

It really depends on the pillow. Cooling pillows that are actually made with cooling materials can definitely work. If you sleep hot and find that it’s impacting your sleep quality, a cooling pillow can help reduce overheating and help you sleep soundly through the night.

How long do cooling pillows stay cool? 

Cooling pillows made with latex, cooling gel, and/or breathable materials typically stay cool all night, although they may absorb and retain some body heat as the night goes on. Pillow covers made from phase change material, however, stay nice and cool all night long without any heat buildup because the materials are designed to dissipate heat consistently.

What is the best cooling pillow for hot flashes? 

If you experience hot flashes throughout the night, you know how badly they can disrupt your sleep. A cooling pillow can make all the difference, and the best one to help with hot flashes specifically is probably the Brentwood Home Pillow. It contains activated charcoal, cooling cover materials, and it’s ventilated, making it one of the most consistently cool pillows out there.

Summary

Compare the best cooling pillows for hot sleepers below:

Product Material Best for  Customer Rating
Cozy Earth Silk Pillow Silk Best Overall 4.9/5
Leesa Hybrid Pillow Gel-Hybrid Best Cooling Gel Pillow 4.0/5
Original Casper Pillow Polyester Microfiber Best Down Alternative Cooling Pillow 4.0/5
Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Cloud Pillow Memory Foam Best Luxury Cooling Pillow 4.3/5
Coop Home Goods Eden Pillow  Shredded Gel Memory Foam Best Cooling Pillow for Side Sleepers 4.6/5
Purple Harmony Pillow Latex Foam Best Cooling Pillow for Back Sleepers 4.4/5
Layla Kapok Pillow Memory Foam Best Cooling Pillow for Neck Pain 4.4/5
Sleep Number True Temp Pillow Foam Best Cooling Pillow for Stomach Sleepers 4.6/5

Heat buildup can be a serious deterrent to a good night’s sleep, and one of the best ways to fight back against overheating is with a cooling pillow. Whether you choose a gel-infused pillow, a latex pillow, or simply a pillow made with breathable materials like shredded memory foam and a bamboo cover, there are countless options out there to ensure that you get an undisturbed, cool night’s sleep.