It's the middle of the night and you are now groggily waking up, unsure why. You try to move, but it feels like the bed itself is restricting your movement. The sheets cling to your skin as you squirm and try to free yourself...and then it hits you. You’ve woken up in a pool of your own sweat! (Eew)
Sleeping in a bed that is too warm can hurt your sleep quality big time. If it is the height of Summer and your air conditioning isn't doing the trick, you need the help of a cooling pillow! Studies have shown that sleeping in a cooler environment boosts melatonin to help you catch more z’s. Some studies suggest that cooling the head and neck area reduces sweating and helps you sleep deeper. Keeping cool can also combat and ease hot flashes by helping to regulate hormones.
That’s where cooling pillows come in. There are many different types, from simple gel pillows to fancy NASA developed “phase change materials.” In this post, I’ll break it all down so you can choose the best pillow for your situation, and get to bed while keeping a cool head.
If you want to get right to the recommendations, here is a quick list of our top pics:
Why Pick This?
State of the art cooling tech!
Super comfortable, well-balanced pillow
Great neck support, gel pad on top
Buckwheat is very supportive, awesome air flow
Lots of great features combined with lower price
Great value-2 pack!
Everyone’s sleeping situation is slightly different, so there is no one pillow cools all solution! To find the right one for you, here are a few factors to consider:
Memory Foam- When you first think of memory foam, “cooling” may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Traditional memory foam is puffy and contours to your body, having an insulating effect. However, there have been some advancements that allow memory foam to chill with the best of them! Many manufacturers now offer shredded memory foam which gives you the adjustability and allows the pillow to breathe. There are also options that infuse gel into the memory foam to draw more heat from you.
Cooling Gel- Many of the best pillows also include cooling gel with memory foam. This blue goo uses conduction to move the heat away from your head and disperse it. You can even put it in the fridge for a few minutes before bed to get extra icy!
Buckwheat- Buckwheat pillows are filled with buckwheat husks, making them the ultimate pillow for air flow! They are also usually very adjustable and will conform to your head nicely. Some people complain that they are noisy though.
Bamboo Pillows- Bamboo pillows are named for what is on the outside of the pillow rather than the inside. Bamboo covers and casing offer superior breathability and thus, cooling. They are also usually organic and hypoallergenic. Be careful and make sure that you don’t let your pet panda into your bedroom if you own these!
An important factor many people overlook is their sleeping habits. If you are a side sleeper, a thick memory foam pillow that is extra firm is a good choice. Stomach sleepers should use a thinner pillow (maybe shredded memory foam) to reduce neck strain. Back sleepers should go with something between the two. Those struggling with neck, back or shoulder pain will need a contoured pillow with a curved design that supports the cervical vertebrae.
Regular maintenance is important to ensure that a pillow stays comfortable for many years. Pay careful attention to specific instructions for your pillow. Gel and memory foam pillows usually have to be washed by hand and air dried, rather than using a washing machine.
Topping the list of cooling pillows is the GhostBed Pillow by Nature's Sleep (scary!). It is the ultimate in bedroom cooling technology. It has ventilated memory foam infused with cooling gel and a supercool aerated mesh case. If that's not enough for you, this is one of the few pillows that utilizes the phase change technology mentioned above. Phase change materials are able to store and release heat more than normal materials by melting and freezing on a small scale, cool! This means it will suck away the heat from your face and distribute it elsewhere super efficiently.
When you first put your head on the Ghost Pillow, you get a cool whoosh of air that comes from the ventilated memory foam. The pillow is on the firm side and is great for back and side sleepers.
Due to all the crazy technology, the Ghost is not the cheapest pillow on the market. But this pillow is definitely the king of the cold pillows. Customers rate it very highly and give thumbs up for the pillow’s comfort, cooling, and style. GhostBed also gives you 100 nights to test it out, and if you don't like it, just send it back!
This offering from Coop Home Goods is another solid product with high-quality materials. It combines gel-infused memory foam with a bamboo cover for great breathability and heat wicking. Perhaps the best thing about this pillow is that it has a refillable pouch, allowing you to adjust the filling. It doesn’t matter if you sleep on your stomach, side, or back, this pillow has you covered!
The Eden has a bamboo cover, which makes the pillow extra breathable. This cover can be thrown into the washing machine for easy cleaning, but must be air dried.
As for the feel and support, the Coop Home Goods Memory Foam Pillow automatically adjusts to the contours of your neck, allowing you to change positions throughout the night. What's even better is that you don't have to worry about feeling the individual memory foam pieces. They are cross cut to prevent clumping, offering more adjustability and give than a continuous piece of foam.
This contoured memory foam pillow has it all. To start, they have added a premium gel sheet on top of the standard memory foam. Thanks to the gel, heat diffuses away from your head, reducing the need to toss and turn and change head positions. The memory foam itself is also a proprietary blend that is more stable and better and temperature control.
The contoured shape is tailor made to help relieve neck and upper back issues. For back sleepers, the pillow cradles your head and opens up your esophagus for easy breathing. Side sleepers can choose which side of the pillow they rest on to get the perfect neck support and distance between head and shoulder.
This pillow is also hypoallergenic, meaning it will keep dust mites away help you with allergies. Tampor also includes 2 pillow covers that are machine washable, sweet!
Customer reviews highly recommend this pillow for its ability to help them keep cool. Doctors have also recommended this pillow to help with headaches and neck pain! It is solid foam, potentially not making it the best choice for stomach sleepers. But if you have any upper back issues, this is the chill pillow for you!
Have you ever wondered what it is like to sleep on seed husks? Now is your chance!
This pillow from Zen Chi is full of buckwheat hulls. These allow for superior airflow in the pillow, keeping you free from sweat and cool at all times. Unlike memory foam pillows, there is no chemical smell when you try it out for the first time. The buckwheat is also very malleable, kind of like a beanbag, you can mold it to your liking. Also unlike foam, the husks won’t lose their stability and structure, so the pillow should be good for years!
The pillow comes with an all cotton cover, which is completely machine washable. Another cool feature is you can open the pillow up and take out or fill in husks as needed for a completely customizable experience.
Customers overall are very pleased with the product. They did have a shipment back in 2016 that may have had some bugs on the pillow, but that issue has been resolved. The masses love it because it holds whatever shape you give it, allowing it to match your particular shoulder and neck area perfectly.
This offering from Napyou is great for sleepers on a budget. It is kind of like a “ghost pillow lite.” It has ventilated and gel-infused memory foam, which stays cooler longer than normal pillows and lets your ears and head breathe for even more temperature control.
It starts out pretty firm but softens up a bit over time. Unlike the ghost pillow, the NapYou is contoured to help with cervical neck pain. The particular shape of the pillow naturally forms to your body and can help reduce snoring and sleep apnea. It is an excellent choice for side sleepers on a budget, offering great value for the price.
The Sleep Restoration Gel Pillow is an expertly tailored pillow filled with gel fiber to ensure breathability and proper airflow. It has a no shift filling that will move and support your head without necessarily bunching up. Another thing we love about the gel fiber filling is that it is hypoallergenic and mildew resistant*. It is stronger and thinner than silk and offers plush comfort without shifting of materials.
Also included is a 100% 240 thread-count cover that is very smooth. You can spot clean it in case of surface stains. The low thread count allows for increased airflow, giving more effective cooling. Surprisingly, many reviews say it feels like a tighter weave. We love the double stitched seams with a quilted edge as they don't rip when you push, fold or fluff the pillow.
While the loft is relatively high, over time the pillow will settle, allowing you to get that perfect support for your neck. The lack of sidewalls and gussets means that the height of the pillow is wholly determined by how high the gel fiber filling is. This is a huge plus as it ensures that stomach and back sleepers have a lower loft and ample support.
The Sleep Restoration Gel Pillow is available in standard/queen (20" x 28") and king sizes (20" x 34"). They are a little smaller than the average queen and king sizes, but still within acceptable range. King sized pillows are mostly used to fill up king beds, but they also come in handy for those with larger bodies that need increased shoulder support.
*The company did send out a shipment that had mold, but the issue has been resolved and they are again mold free.
For everyone looking for better sleep, grabbing a pillow that stays cold is a must. A lower body temperature improves sleep quality and can provide relief for night sweats and hot flashes.
Shredded memory foam is the standard, but you can’t go wrong with any of the options listed above. Overall, the Ghost Pillow is the state of the art when it comes to cooling pillows, and is the best pick. You can’t go wrong with any of the pillows listed though, they are all made with quality materials and have great reviews from satisfied customers!
Happy shopping, and let us know which pillow is your favorite in the comments!