IF YOU FIND yourself constantly flipping your pillow to the 'cold side' at night, one of these best cooling pillows might improve your sleep quality.
Whether you suffer from hot flushes and overheating, are already anticipating sweat and sleepless nights this summer, or simply prefer feeling a cold surface on your face at night, there's a lot to be gained from getting one of the best cooling pillows.
According to The Sleep Council, body temperatures peak in the evening and then slowly drop before bed, with the lowest levels occurring when we are in deep sleep. The ideal temperature for the perfect night's sleep is a cool 16-18°C, which explains why it can be difficult to drop off to sleep when you feel too hot, or your room is too warm. And, temperatures over 24°C can cause restlessness while you're sleeping, which means you can wake up feeling tired in the morning — no matter how early you went to bed.
So, it's worth doing everything possible to ensure your bed and sleeping environment remain cool to ensure you get the best possible night’s sleep, starting with laying your head on a cooling pillow.
Overwhelmed by the vast array of options out there? Don't sweat it. We've rounded up a selection of the best cooling pillows to help keep your head, face and neck feeling fresh while you sleep (including some that we've tried ourselves).
Best cooling pillows at a glance
- Best for adjustability: The Simba Hybrid Pillow
- Best value for money: Slumberdown Memory Cool Firm Support Side Sleeper Pillow
- Best cooling pillow for firmness: Cooling foam and hollowfibre pillow
- Best support: PKBD Memory Foam Pillow
- Best luxury cooling pillow: Silentnight Geltex Pillow
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We tested: The Simba Hybrid
- The Simba Hybrid Pillow, £109 from Simba – buy here
Pros: Customisable height, temperature-regulating, breathable, soft
The Simba Hybrid pillow has been cleverly designed to regulate your temperature and increase airflow.
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It incorporates astronaut-inspired temperature regulation, which absorbs, stores and releases heat as and when you need it, which means that — even on a hot summer's night — it'll absorb the heat and keep you cool.
With over 14,000 five-star reviews, we decided to put one to the test and see what all the fuss was about.
As someone who usually opts to buy budget £5 pillows, I was taken aback by the price, but once my head hit the pillow, I couldn't believe the difference in comfort.
The pillow is filled with breathable and lightweight nanocubes, which can be removed to adjust the height and firmness of your pillow.
Once I tweaked the height to suit my needs, it was glorious to sleep on. The material is thick, plush and supportive, and I swiftly found myself amongst the army of Simba pillow lovers.
Whilst this is one of the more expensive pillows in our round-up, the general consensus of those who have tried it is that it's worth every penny.
Read our full Simba Hybrid Pillow review here.
Material: Cotton, hypoallergenic microfibre, foam Nanocubes, Support: Medium-firm (adjustable)
Silentnight Wellbeing Collection Cool Touch Pillow
- Silentnight Wellbeing Collection Cool Touch Pillow, £31.14 from Wayfair – buy here
Another Silentnight bargain from Wayfair is this pressure-activated, gel-smothered pillow — soon to be your new BFF this summer.
Apparently, we fall asleep much faster on a colder pillow. And this pillow, with its gel-pad cover, can help you do just that when your room is feeling stuffy.
The gel is pressure-activated and heat-absorbent, meaning you'll always sleep on the cold side of the pillow – the brand claims that the gel's cooling sensation is soothing, helping you fall asleep.
The pillow provides medium support, ideal for back, stomach and side sleepers – and the gel cover can also be unzipped and placed on your own pillow if you're not quite ready to give your current pillow up. And it's currently on sale saving you 11%, too. Sleep easy.
Material: Polyester, microfibre, gel, Best for: Side, back and stomach sleepers, Support: Medium
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We tested: Simba Hybrid Firm Pillow
- Simba Hybrid Firm Pillow, £119 from Simba – buy here
Pros: Breathable, temperature-regulating, supportive, adjustable height
Cons: Expensive, might be too big for some pillowcases, firmness may not be to everyone's taste
Simba seems to be storming ahead of its competitors when it comes to cooling technology – the brand features twice in our best cooling mattresses article, too.
The sleep company is known and loved for its Simba Hybrid Firm pillow (and many other products), and we tested it out during a heatwave.
The Hybrid Firm is comprised of three individual pillows (two soft fibre pillows and one layer of firm Aerocoil springs), which can be combined and rearranged to adjust the height and firmness of the pillow.
It also features Stratos tech (the astronaut-inspired temperature regulation we mentioned earlier), which means it's as good as a pillow can be at regulating your body temperature.
Whilst it took us a few days to get used to the firmness of the pillow, its superior cooling properties and adjustability make it the most comfortable pillow we've ever slept on.
Undeniably the price of the pillow is pretty high, but if you're able to afford it, we believe it will be a worthwhile investment.
Read our full Simba pillow review here.
Material: Cotton, mesh, Aerocoil, Best for: Back and side sleepers, Support: Firm to medium-firm (adjustable)
Woolroom Natural wool pillow with cotton outer
- Natural wool pillow with cotton outer, £42.74 from Amazon – buy here
If you’re concerned about the chemicals contained within foam bedding, why not try something a little more natural?
Wool offers a natural alternative that’s both hypoallergenic and temperature-regulating.
This Woolroom pillow, available on Amazon, is stuffed with balls of 100% British wool to create lift and encased in breathable cotton percale to help dissipate heat and moisture, setting you up for a good night’s sleep.
The only downside is that this pillow is dry-clean only, but for around £40, it's a budget-friendly price if you're looking to up your pillow game – without breaking the bank.
Material: Cotton, wool, Best for: Side, back and stomach sleepers, Support: Unknown
Kally Sleep Cooling foam and hollow fibre pillow
- Cooling foam and hollowfibre pillow, £31.49 from Kally Sleep – buy here
If you like medium-firm head support and tend to sleep on your back or side, then this standard-sized cooling pillow might help you to sleep more easily.
It features an air-permeable foam core wrapped in high-quality hollow fibre with air vents to allow the pillow to breathe, and a 100% cotton cover.
It's rated six out of 10 for firmness, which means no creaky necks when you wake up – and its breathable, cooling technology is said to be ideal at combatting hot flushes caused by menopause.
Still not quite sure? Don't just take our word for it, either. Customers call it 'brilliant' and ask, 'why didn't I buy one earlier?'
The brand, Kally Sleep, allows you to try your purchase risk-free for 14 days.
Material: Polyester, Best for: Back and side sleepers, Support: Medium-firm
- Silentnight Geltex Pillow, £40 from Silentnight – buy here
This super-ventilating pillow is great for increasing breathability and airflow, stopping you from overheating while you sleep all year round.
The pillow has a lovely, soft and bouncy support system, making it perfect for a comfortable night's sleep.
This hypoallergenic cooling pillow is best suited to sleepers who enjoy a medium-to-firm pillow that provides gentle support.
Its white, super-soft cover is machine washable, while its polyester and Geltex foam innards are wipe-clean only. For under £40, we think it's a bargain that you won't want to press snooze on.
Customers also leave great reviews calling it a 'comfortable pillow', which obviously we all want our pillows to be, and another 'just amazing.'
Material: Polyester, Geltex foam, Best for: Side, back and stomach sleepers, Support: Firm
Slumberdown Cool Summer Nights Pillow
- Slumberdown Cool Summer Nights Pillow Pair, £16 from Argos – buy here
Talk about a bargain! This pack of two cooling pillows from Slumberdown is on sale at Argos for just £12 – which means you're getting each pillow for a cheap and cheerful £6 each. What's not to like?
These light, fluffy pillows are specially formulated using a breathable filling, working hard to keep you cool throughout the night.
They offer medium support for back sleepers, but still feel quite soft and work hard to draw moisture away while you sleep.
Plus, they're machine washable to make your life even easier.
Material: Polyester, Best for: Back sleepers, Support: Medium
Slumberdown Memory Cool Firm Pillow
- Slumberdown Memory Cool Firm Support Side Sleeper Pillow, £21.14 from Wayfair – buy here
If you sleep on your side and prefer a firmer pillow, this is a great cooling pillow option for you – available for a good price from online shopping giant, Wayfair.
This comfy, supportive pillow helps to support the head, neck and spine using a cooling cover that gently wicks away moisture while you sleep – helping to leave you feeling cooler all night long.
It's especially great for side sleepers as it helps to bridge the gap between your head and your neck.
Holding a solid 4.1-star rating, customers seem happy that they've 'finally found a pillow that keeps me cool and is actually comfortable' and another calling it 'lovely.'
Material: Polyester, Best for: Back sleepers, Support: Medium
Tanness Cooling Gel Pillow Cushion
- Tanness Cooling Gel Pillow Cushion, £8.99 from Amazon – buy here
This two-pack of gel cooling mats is perfect for hot and stuffy rooms.
They are designed to absorb and dissipate heat from your pillow in order to keep your pillow cool throughout the night.
Made using soft polyester material, the pads are comfortable, non-toxic, and skin-friendly.
As well as using them for sleeping, they are great for the Yoga mat, Pet cushion, Car seat and mattress. It can also be used for menopause, migraine headaches, and other pains and insomnia.
Some options for cooling pillows can be on the expensive side, and you might be unsure if it will actually make all that much of a difference to your sleep.
So if you want an extremely affordable option to test drive that has multiple uses, the 4.2-star rated product will definitely serve you well.
It has customers leaving praise about how it's 'affordable and easy to use' as well as one commenting that it's 'ideal for menopause.'
Material: Polyester, Best for: Side, back and stomach sleepers, Support: Low
Cooling Gel Infused Orthopedic Pillow for Neck Pain
- Cooling Gel Infused Orthopedic Pillow for Neck Pain, £24.99 from Amazon – buy here
This gel-infused soft, comfy & anti-snore thick memory foam pillow is perfect for people who suffer from neck pain, headaches and migraines.
The ergonomic support keeps your upper body aligned & makes the breathing process smooth.
It is also claimed that orthopaedic pillows can help reduce snoring, so it assures easier sleep for you or your partner if there's a snorer in the bed.
If you've got allergies, this product also caters to you since its hyper allogenic with dust-mite and bacterial resistance for the safest of dreams.
It should come as no surprise that this product holds a 4.3-star rating on Amazon with all of the features this pillow has.
Customers are impressed too, seeing as one calls it 'the best pillow purchased ever' and another calling it 'so good and comfortable definitely a good buy.'
Material: Memory Foam Best for: neck pain Support: High
PKBD Memory Foam Pillow with 2Pcs Pillowcases
- PKBD Memory Foam Pillow with 2Pcs Pillowcases, £36.99 from Amazon – buy here
The PKBD memory foam pillow offers a nice medium for those who want to invest a little bit more in their cooling pillow.
It comes with a 2 piece pillowcase that aims to enhance your sleep as one is ice silk and the other cotton. Both are soft and breathable, so are good at keeping you either warm or cool, depending on your preferences.
Since there's no such thing as one size fits all, it also has 2 adjustable heights to better provide neck support. You're not confined to just one sleeping position, as it's built to cater for a range such as a side sleeping, stomach or back.
The memory foam is also high-quality, meaning it's skin-friendly, and the shape of the pillow won't become deformed throughout the year.
With features such as these, it should come as no surprise that the product holds an incredibly impressive 4.-7-star rating on Amazon.
Customers also leave reviews praising the pillow as 'super comfortable' and that they look forward to the 'comfy pain-free nights ahead.'
Material: memory foam best for: colder sleep and all positions support: high
JML Chillmax pillow cooling insert
- JML Chillmax pillow cooling insert, £9.97 from Amazon – buy here
For those who don’t want the effort or cost of replacing their trusty pillow, or who only feel hot in bed occasionally, this pillow offers some flexibility.
Placed into your pillowcase (or even under your feet), the gel insert reacts to your body temperature, drawing away excess heat to help keep you feeling cool and fresh while sleeping.
All you need to do is pop the portable insert into your fridge before use, and you're ready to go! It can also be used to cool your laptop down in warm temperatures, for when you fancy some al fresco writing or online shopping.
Another pro? It's thin enough to be rolled up and popped into your suitcase for warm weather holidays. For under a tenner, we think the price tag is very pleasing on the purse too.
The lower price doesn't mean you're sacrificing quality. This pillow is rated 4 stars by customers, with reviews claiming that they 'wouldn't be without mine' or that it was 'the best ten pounds I have spent in a very long time'.
So don't think just because it's the cheapest option, it means you're losing out on improving your sleep.
Material: Gel, Best for: All sleeping positions
How does a cooling pillow work?
A cooling pillow is used mainly in the warmer, summer months to prevent heat retention and provides a cool surface when sleeping.
The design of the pillow is made to increase airflow to stop heat retention, while the materials used in the pillow are often breathable and derived from natural products – including wool or bamboo. Some pillows also may contain water or gel pouches which help to cool the skin and wick away moisture, while absorbing heat.
Do cooling pillows work?
Cooling pillows do work, but the effectiveness of each pillow depends on the type you purchase.
If you've purchased a cooling pillow featuring a water or gel insert, these inserts only work for a limited time – this is because they quickly absorb the heat energy from your body, so warm up as this happens.
If you let the pillows cool back down again, the cooling effect can then be enjoyed once more.
How to make your pillow cool
The way cooling pillows stay cool depends on which variety you choose to buy – but generally speaking, you don't have to do much.
To make gel-filled cooling pillows colder, you can put the gel pack in the fridge for a few hours before bed or try flipping the pillow once one side has become warmer.
If you don't have a cooling pillow, you can make a regular pillow cool by inserting a frozen, reusable gel cooling pack inside your pillowcase.
How to wash a cooling gel pillow
Always make sure you read any included instructions on how to wash your cooling gel pillow – these may differ from brand to brand, and many are machine washable (making life much easier!).
But, in most cases, you can simply use a clean cloth and a soap and water mix to wipe the pillow down, then gently use paper towels to press the pillow dry (water will be in the foam, this helps to soak it back up) – to get it perfectly dry, you can then leave a towel on top of your pillow overnight.
Where to buy the best cooling pillows?
As with all purchases, we want to shop around for the best deals and prices that match our price ranges. However, it becomes even more important when we're looking for something to help us have better sleep, and we understand that, so we've compiled an extensive list of retailers to point you in the right direction.
You can buy a wide range of cooling pillows from a selection of retailers, including:
- Silent Night
- Kally Sleep
- John Lewis
- Marks & Spencers
How much does a cooling pillow cost?
The price of a cooling pillow varies from brand to brand. The cheapest you'll find will start at around £10 for two pillows, and the most expensive could set you back up to £50 for a set of two. In this article, the cheapest option is JML's cooling insert at just £9.99.
Are cooling pillows safe?
Some varieties of cooling pillows can contain volatile organic compounds (or VOCs), depending on what they're made from.
Purchasing a cooling pillow that's OEKO-Tex certified or CertiPUR-US certified can help make sure that these VOCs are only found in small doses.
In smaller amounts, VOCs aren't dangerous to your health, although they can be irritating to those who suffer from allergies or respiratory problems.
VOCs are present in numerous foam products and quite often can have an unpleasant smell when they are first purchased – however, this typically disappears between 24 to 48 hours after unpacking and leaving to breathe – so just make sure you air your pillow before use.
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Do you put pillowcases on cooling pillows?
Pillowcases help to keep everything clean – and are especially handy for using on cooling pillows (which often cannot go in the washing machine).
Using a pillowcase on your cooling pillow makes it faster and easier to clean, protects it from excessive wear and tear and keeps it fresh.
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