The warm-blooded among us know that kicking the covers off isn’t always enough to keep cool when you’re trying to sleep. Even with modern air conditioning, the higher ambient temperatures and humidity that come with summer can make your nightly rest a sweatier ordeal than it should be.
Your head can get especially hot at night due to contact with your pillow and the fact that your noggin is a big vector for body temperature regulation through heat escape — an important process that traditional pillows might actually be preventing, causing your body to sweat more in an attempt to cool itself through evaporation.
A poor night’s rest can ruin your whole day, so if you’re among the many hot-blooded sleepers who wake up every summer morning to a damp pillow, we’re here to help. Below, we’ve picked out a handful of the best cooling pillows available today that can provide some much-needed sweat relief and help you get the cool, restful sleep you deserve. You may also want to look into picking up a set of Brooklinen sheets to get the full cooling effect.
Bamboo-derived fabric is a material you’ll see pretty often when shopping for cooling pillows thanks to the its natural breathability and moisture-wicking properties (in contrast to more common fibers like cotton, which absorb moisture, get damp, and aren’t as well-ventilated). The U.S.-made Kool-Flow memory foam-filled cooling pillow is also hypoallergenic, warding off allergens like dust mites, and is CertiPur-certified to be free of toxic materials. You can grab the Kool-Flow for $60 from Amazon.
Gel is another popular material used in cooling pillows, and this one from Classic Brands combines a gel surface on one side (which absorbs and dissipates heat from your head) with a memory foam body for heat relief and proper neck support. The pillowcase is made of a ventilated CoolPass fabric, which breathes and wicks away sweat. This Classic Brands cooling pillow is available for just $36. There are also quite a few shredded memory foam options on the market that might be a bit more comfortable for stomach sleepers and side sleepers.
Side-sleepers are all too familiar with the perils of standard pillows, which all too often go flat and fail to provide enough support for your head. Newer materials like memory foam can help with this, but a contoured memory foam pillow like this one (also ideal for back-sleepers) is even better and its ventilated AirCell memory foam is perfect for side-sleepers who run hot. The outer cover is comprised of polyester, tencel, and cooling gel, so it provides some extra sweat relief and won’t get damp. This contoured cooling pillow can be yours for $28 from Amazon.
For a ventilated cooling pillow with a more standard design, check out the Amazon-exclusive Perfect Cloud. The Perfect Cloud cooling pillow features a ventilated memory foam core and a soft, moisture-wicking cover with mesh trim for improved airflow compared to most other pillows. It’s CertiPur-certified to be free of toxic materials and comes with a 10-year warranty. Even better, it’s currently on sale, letting you score it for $50 after a $40 discount.
Traveling can be enough of a hassle even without trying to find a way to comfortably catch some Zs. Whether you’re going by plane, train, or automobile, a good travel pillow is a must for long trips. You can take your vagabond game to the next level with a compact cooling pillow like this one from Malouf. It’s small and compressible, and it features cooling gel-infused foam covered by a soft and breathable bamboo cover — which is also hypoallergenic. If you’re looking for the perfect side sleeper pillow that will give you that nice cool feeling as you travel, the Z travel cooling pillow is exactly what you need.
Tempur-Pedic has become a household name in the world of memory foam, and it’s the brand that originally popularized this material (no doubt we’ve all seen the company’s late-night mattress infomercials). The Cloud Breeze cool pillow pairs this patented memory foam technology with Tempur-Pedic’s own Tempur-Breeze cooling gel on both sides. The American-made Cloud Breeze is expensive at $153, but if you’re the type of person who wants the best, then this is the last cooling pillow you’ll ever need to buy.
Maybe you’ve got a pillow that you really like, and the only real problem with it is that it doesn’t help your nightly sweating situation. In that case, a simple change of the pillow case might be all you need. This pillow cover is made in the U.S. from bamboo-derived rayon and polyester and is available for standard-, queen-, and king-sized pillows. If you don’t want to toss your current pillow, then you can grab the Coop bamboo cooling pillowcase for just $18 instead.
Another alternative to a new pillow is a simple cooling pillow mat like this one from Penguin. This 22-inch by 12-inch mat contains an even layer of Japanese-made cool gel; just lay it on top of your pillow or slide it underneath your pillowcase and enjoy a cooler, more relaxing sleep. It’s also useful for fevers, headaches, hot flashes, neck pain relief, and more. The Penguin cooling pillow mat comes in at $25 from Amazon and can turn any pillow into an awesome gel pillow.