The Best Cooling Pillows for Hot Sleepers

By Katie Dyal

The purpose of a pillow is to offer an optimal position for the entire body throughout a night’s sleep, so you wake up feeling comfortable and aligned. Pillows also are meant to be plush and cozy, giving you something to cuddle and grasp to throughout the night.

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. 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. 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.

Will a cooling pillow work for you? Read on to see our best picks and what you should consider before making a purchase.

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The Best Cooling Pillows

Brentwood Home Crystal Cove Activated Charcoal Pillow

Best Rated Cooling Pillow

The Brentwood Home’s Crystal Cove Activated Charcoal Pillow is formulated with open-cell, high-density memory foam that is infused with purifying activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is one of the most successful natural ingredients to provide adequate cooling and purifying benefits. It’s common for our bodies to retain heat while we sleep; this temperature regulator will draw the heat away from the body.

The memory foam material that fills the pillow is made without ozone depleters, PBDE flame retardants, mercury, lead, heavy metals, formaldehyde, or phthalates. No wool is used through these pillows; therefore, they are entirely vegan, and they are GreenGuard Gold Certified.

Each pillow is handmade in the US and backed by a one-year warranty. If you decide the pillow isn’t right for you, it can be returned within 30 days, and you will receive a full refund.

Pros:

  • Charcoal helps keep you and your pillow cool all night, naturally
  • CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD Gold certified
  • Machine-washable cover

Cons:

  • The memory foam is not shredded, so this pillow isn’t adjustable
Leesa Hybrid Pillow: Side 1

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 pillow. On one side of the pillow are quilted pockets that are stuffed with down-like fill. This pillow can also be customized. With an invisible zipper attached to each pillow, you can customize the amount of fluff you want, making it softer or flatter. Whatever sleeping position works best for you, tailor your pillow to keep you aligned and comfortable throughout the entire night.

The other side is designed with a ventilated gel-comfort layer. This side of the gel pillow is firmer, yet stays cool.

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. Not to mention, when you purchase a pillow through Leesa, you’re making a social impact. For every ten pillows sold, one pillow is donated to under-developed communities. Now, we all can agree we can sleep easy to that.

Pros:

  • Ventilated gel-comfort layer keeps you cool all night
  • Cover is made with custom cooling fibers
  • Two sides, one with down-like fluff and another with cooling gel

Cons:

  • Most expensive option on this list

Coop Home Goods Memory Foam Pillow

Best Cooling Pillow for Side Sleepers

The Coop Home Goods Memory Foam Pillow is a high-quality cooling pillow, yet remains more affordable than other pillows with the same make-up and features. The outer cover of this memory foam pillow is 40% bamboo-derived from rayon and 60 percent polyester, making it soft and plush. Bamboo fiber is a natural remedy that releases a cooling effect, keeping you comfortable all night long.

The fill material is a cooling gel memory foam that is shredded into cross-cut pieces and poly-fibers, preventing any clumping or inconsistency from happening throughout the pillow. Not to mention, the shredded memory foam is CertiPUR-US-certified and made without flame retardants.

The Coop Home Goods Memory Foam Pillows are practical for any sleeper. 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, all cooling memory foam pillows are hypoallergenic, dust mite resistant, and machine-washable. Each order comes with a 100-day, money-back guarantee, and a five-year warranty.

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly price point
  • Shredded memory foam makes pillow adjustable for any sleeping position
  • 100-night sleep trial

Cons:

  • May not sleep as cool as the other options on this list

Who Needs a Cooling Pillow?

  • Hot sleepers
  • Menopausal women
  • Couples
  • Money conscious shoppers

Anyone can benefit from investing in a cooling pillow because it’s essential for every type of sleeper to maintain proper body temperature throughout the night. Cooling pillows can be a saving grace for hot sleepers, whereas it may be just a luxury for others- but it’s guaranteed that it’s a smart investment and can benefit anyone. If you can categorize yourself as someone from the list below, you may want to start shopping.

Hot Sleepers

Obviously, cooling pillows are perfect for the people that tend to run hot throughout the night. You’re paying extra towards your electric bill because you can’t seem to stay cool, even when the air is set below 75. The air outside of your bed is refreshing and cooling, there’s clearly a problem with the ventilation you have through your mattress, bedding, and pillows. Purchasing a cooling pillow is a one-time investment that can make a big difference in your sleeping habits.

Women Going Through Menopause

If you’re going through menopause, it’s common to experience hot flashes at all sorts of different times throughout the day. It’s especially frustrating when you wake up during the night due to a hot flash. These episodes may be a natural cycle that your body has to go through, but there can be ways to help cope with it. Your bedding needs to be breathable. There is usually a cooling product option for every type of sleeping category. A cooling pillow will be a great start to revamping your bedding for this phase of your life.

Couples

Sleeping with a partner is proven to fluctuate the overall temperature of your sleeping environment throughout the night. It’s scientifically proven that men sleep hotter than women, so it’s not easy making a comfortable sleeping atmosphere for two different body types. Cooling pillows and cooling mattress pads are a great way to find a happy balance for a hot-headed man and freezing-cold woman. After all, you both deserve to be comfortable!

Money-Conscious

If you’re looking for ways to save money, the electric bill is always the right place to start, and it can make a huge difference in your monthly expenses. If you want to start saving on your electric bill, cooling pillows are proven to keep you comfortable, while keeping your bills low. They are a natural, energy-efficient way to stay cool, and reduce your use of the air conditioner.

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.

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 Leesa Hybrid Pillow. It contains cooling gel, 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
Brentwood Home Crystal Cove Activated Charcoal Pillow Memory foam Best Rated Cooling Pillow 4.8/5
Leesa Hybrid Pillow Gel-hybrid Best Cooling Gel Pillow 4.0/5
Coop Home Goods Memory Foam Pillow Shredded memory foam Best Cooling Pillow for Side 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.


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