Updated at: 06-12-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

An unbearably hot and damp pillow makes it difficult to sleep. If you can’t sleep at night, don’t turn your mattress over and over again!

In the face of this age-old dilemma, what is the answer? Numerous cooling pillow designs exist, all promising to keep you cool and comfortable at night.

The Benefits of a Cooling Pillow

When it’s time to call it a day, your body and mind are put to the test! As a result, giving your body what it needs in order to sleep soundly is critical. Mattresses that are both supportive and breathable are essential for everyone, as are pillows that cradle your head and neck. Others may require a more specialized solution, such as an adjustable bed or a certain type of cushion.

The temperature around your head, neck, and shoulders can be reduced almost immediately with the use of a cooling cushion. As a result, you’ll fall asleep more quickly and have a more restorative sleep. To be called cooling, a pillow must be able to remove moisture, dissipate heat, and enhance airflow.

How do They Work?

In order to keep you cool, many cooling pillows have an exterior gel layer that is scientifically designed. It’s not always gel, though; some people choose to use other foams as well.. Using a cooling layer, these collect body heat from your neck and head, spreading it across the cooling layer, and keeping you fresh and cold all night long.

Do Cooling Pillows Work? And How Do They Work?

City Mattress’s Cooling Pillow Options

You can maximize your awake hours by maximizing your sleeping hours! As a result, you should select a pillow that allows you to cool down and fall asleep immediately. It’s also a good idea to think about your sleeping position and mattress firmness while making this decision. If you’re going to use a pillow, be sure it relieves pressure. Comfortable and supportive pillows are essential even after the cooling effect has worn off. Consider purchasing a cooling pillow created by a brand you know and trust, such as Coolmax.


Gel-filled pillows aren’t the only type of cooling pillow available. These pillows are made by the famous Tempur-Pedic brand, which is known for its cooling properties. To quickly dissipate body heat, the Tempur-Pedic Adapt Pro Cooling Pillow was designed. In addition, it may be molded to fit the contours of your head, neck, and shoulders, ensuring that you don’t overheat.

Blu Sleep

Lavender and Green Tea are just two of the many wonderful scents that Blu Sleep offers in their cooling gel pillows. Memory foam pillows and gel pillows are available from Blu Sleep. You can’t go wrong with either of them; it’s just a matter of preference. You’ll be ready to drift off to sleep as soon as your head hits the pillow.


You need a PureCare pillow if you want immediate comfort and all night support. Cooling fiber pillows from the Purecare sub-0° collection utilize the Frio Technical Textile, a special fabric developed by Purecare. With a combination of TencelTM threading, the luxurious responsive fabrication provides fast coolness and cool-to-the-touch comfort. In addition to being hypoallergenic and odor-resistant, this fiber-filled pillow is encased in an allergy barrier that is impenetrable.


We have a wide selection of Malouf pillows, so you’re likely to find one that meets your needs. Malouf CarbonCool® + Omniphase LT Pillow, for example, features the most advanced cooling technology. Continuous temperature adjustment and ventilation are provided by Omniphase® phase-changing material. Maintaining a comfortable temperature for sleep is made possible by phase change molecules that capture and release heat as needed. Activated carbon in the foam further enhances the foam’s cooling capabilities by creating a channel for heat to be filtered away from the head, face, and neck. The Omniphase® coating gets the most out of the TencelTM cover because of the smooth, soft surface it provides. Reversible cooling cover on Malouf’s Weekender® Gel Memory Foam Pillow ensures a pleasant sleeping environment no matter the season.

These are only a few possibilities. Check out our cooling pillow page on the website, and you’ll notice that we carry a wide variety of products from these and other top manufacturers. We encourage you to take your time and shop around for the cooling pillow that best suits your sleep preferences. We’re here to answer any queries you may have. In the bottom right corner, you’ll discover a link to get in touch with a real-time Sleep Expert. If you have any further questions, please use the “Chat with us” option to get in touch with us!

  • Using a pillow with a breathable filling allows air to circulate freely through the pillow. They inhibit the accumulation of heated air.
  • Water or gel-filled pillows cool your skin by conduction. The cooling effect of water or a gel on your skin is well-known; heat is swiftly transferred from your body to the liquid or gel. Notably, there are water-based orthopaedic pillow variants.) These aren’t cooling pillows, are they? )
  • Phase-change materials can be used to make pillows that cool with a little bit of physics. Unlike the cooling impact of a bag of water, they are a little more difficult to comprehend. It is possible to use PCM materials to transmit heat to and from your body. When PCMs go from liquid to solid, heat is absorbed (or released). SCIENCE!

I compared four products that represented the different approaches to cooling pillow design:

  1. cooling pillow inserts made with water (a flat water bag that slides inside your existing pillow)
  2. pillow with a cooling gel layer made of memory foam
  3. an additional memory foam cushion with an infused pillow case made of PCM beads
  4. a pillow filled with buckwheat hulls that are breathable

What is the best type of cooling pillow? I gave them a shot.

My cooling pillow insert’s internal foam liner folded over on itself, making half the surface area unusable.

Cooling Pillow #1: A Cooling Pillow Insert (Water)

The design of the first cooling cushion appeared logical. Simply put a plastic bag holding water, gel, and/or any other liquid into your pillow case on top of your existing pillow. The term “cooling pillow insert” is used to describe a variety of products, however they all fall under the same umbrella.

This was the least expensive option for a cooling pillow. For around $12, I was able to get one that was filled with water. The bag is approximately 10 by 20 inches and is only about half an inch thick. A flocked (textured) covering covers one side of the insert, presumably to prevent it from sliding around inside your pillow.

After unscrewing the water filling valve, I discovered that the bag contained a thin polyester foam layer. When the foam layer is full, much of the water is absorbed and retained. As a result, the water does not swirl around in the bag like it would on a waterbed.

There’s a little amount of work involved. Take a container, fill it up with warm water, then force the air out before securing it and allowing it to cool down. Upon completion, I was taken aback by its unusual feel. The foam made it feel more like a gel filling than water, which was an intriguing sensation!

I put the cooling pillow insert to the test on a shredded latex pillow to see how well it worked. Considering its density and breathability, I decided it was a suitable candidate for testing out new materials and techniques. With the flocked surface facing down, I inserted the insert into my pillow case, on top of the pillow.

Cool Gel Mattress: What Is It and How Does It Work?Cool Gel Mattresses: Everything You Need to Know | MYMOVE

The cooling pillow insert was initially impressively cool!

Your head and neck will stay nice and cool with this. When left alone, the water in the insert cools to a temperature of about 75 degrees, depending on the surrounding environment. On the other hand, your core temperature is a sweltering 98.6 degrees. As a result, when you rest your head on your pillow, you’ll experience a pleasant cooling sensation. I was awed by the results.

It’s a shame, but it won’t last forever. The heat from your body is steadily absorbed by the water until an equilibrium is achieved. There is no longer any cooling effect. For roughly 30 minutes, the weather was pleasant.

So what if it takes me less than a half hour to fall asleep?

I fell asleep on it. Unfortunately, it woke me up a few hours later.

My cooling pillow insert slipped to the front of my pillow while I slept. The plastic bag had folded up into a lump and was no longer chilly to the touch. Afterward, I threw it on the ground and went back to sleep.

I picked it up the next day and observed that the foam inside had gotten clumped together along one edge. Draining the water and digging around inside with a hook seems to be the only way to fix it. Uneven distribution of the water occurred. The foam in the corner of the room absorbed most of it, reducing the useful surface area by half. Only the upper half of the insert is wet, as can be seen in the image above.

After a second night of sleepless toss-and-turns, I gave up. Draining the water, fiddling with the foam, and then replenishing were not worth it. This seems to be a rather regular event, as evidenced by the online testimonials.

A gel-coated pillow that provides cooling comfort.

Cooling Pillow #2: Memory Foam Pillow with Cooling Gel

Memory foam pillows are certainly familiar to you. While they can provide excellent neck and head support, their lack of breathability means they’re not particularly well-known for their capacity to keep you cool. As a result of the dense nature of memory foam, the pillow’s capacity to circulate air is compromised. To put it another way, they are more likely to draw in and retain your body heat.

Although it claimed to keep me cool with its “cooling gel,” this memory foam cushion didn’t disappoint. The water-filled cooling cushion insert concept applies here as well. When you rest your head on the gel layer at night, it absorbs the heat from your head and neck and returns it to room temperature.

Memory foam has a weird chemical odor.

A zippered plastic bag was used to wrap the pillow. A very strong chemical smell hit me as soon as I opened it. It had an almost moldy odor about it. I’ve never come across a memory foam cushion that smelled as strongly as this one. New foam products frequently have a natural and harmless scent or smell,” according to the instructions that came with the pillow. Before using, please let it air out.” I let it out for a while to let the “natural” smell go away. After a week, the odor has lessened somewhat, but it is still noticeable.

It’s a well-known fact that memory foam pillows and mattresses “off gas” a variety of volatile organic chemicals. The odor is sometimes compared to that of a freshly painted room because of how pungent the fumes are. Memory foam isn’t completely free of harmful substances. Memory foam’s toxicity and long-term effects are still poorly known, however there is considerable cause for concern. Declaring off-gassing “natural and harmless” is misleading, in my opinion.

Of the four cooling pillows I compared, the gel pillow was the least effective.

At first, I thought it was quite nice, but I quickly grew tired of the feeling. The heat from my head and neck immediately transferred to the gel layer, which warmed to the same temperature as the rest of my body in less than ten minutes. There will be no more evaporative cooling. It was time to investigate the gel. To the untrained eye, the foam loaf appeared to have a very thin coating of memory foam connected to it. According to what I could see, there wasn’t enough gel material to give any lasting or effective cooling.

In fact, the cooling gel layer proved to be counterproductive as it heated up. An impermeable plastic coating encases the gel material, preventing it from evaporating as much as it might otherwise. This layer stops heat from escaping and moisture from evaporating from the cushion.

I didn’t find it very comfortable, despite its ability to cool. The memory foam was in the form of a hard, unmoldable loaf when I received it. It molded to my head and neck, but I couldn’t get it exactly where I wanted it to be. After a few seconds, it’d always spring back into its original box form.

Both the gel pillow and the water-filled cooling pillow insert only work for a limited time.

Your body heat is readily absorbed by them. They’re chilly at first, but the heat builds up inside and stays there. It was only after I withdrew my head from the pillow and let the cooling materials to recover to room temperature that the cooling effect returned.

Infused with PCM cotton and encased in memory foam.

Cooling Pillow #3: A memory foam pillow with a PCM bead infused pillow case.

A second memory foam pillow? That’s right. Thankfully, this one didn’t smell like an oil refinery. Because of the PCM (phase change materials) bead pillow case, it was one of a kind! Interesting…

PCM materials appear to be able to store, absorb, and then release heat to provide the best possible level of comfort for its users. Whether you’re hot or cold, it helps you feel better. That sounds like a marketing ploy to me, yet it appears to be based on solid scientific research. NASA was the first to design and test PCM technology.

If it worked for NASA, it must be awesome!

For a few nights, I slept on the pillow. These PCM beads may have been absorbing and storing my body heat, but it’s difficult to determine for sure.

I had a lot of questions.

Surely the other goods were able to absorb my body heat in the same manner. Why is it better to “keep” it instead of releasing it into the surrounding atmosphere? The heat was absorbed and subsequently released at what temperature? I had no idea what was going on at all.

It did appear to be more effective than the gel-infused memory foam pillow. However, from what I could see, it was not due to the PCM beads. When compared to the gel pillow, this one’s memory foam content was noticeably thinner. In comparison to the gel pillow’s more solid interior substance, this one was significantly softer and appeared to provide a bit more airflow. To see what was inside the pillow, I cut the cloth liner open. Approximately 100 half-inch holes were found in the foam. The pillow was breathable because of these holes. True cooling occurs because this circulation avoids heat buildup. Oddly, this capability was not mentioned in the product description at all.

With and without the pillowcase, I was unable to notice any real cooling benefits from the PCM beads. There appears to be great potential in the technology, but it was impossible for me to see or quantify it. Pillows may not be the best choice for every situation.

To keep you cool at night, buckwheat pillows allow warm air absorbed from your body to swiftly exit the pillow.

Cooling Pillow #4: Buckwheat Pillow

Thousands of microscopic buckwheat hulls fill buckwheat pillows. These are the byproducts of the buckwheat plant’s nutrient-rich groats being milled (most often for soba noodles production).

It’s because of their superb support for your head and neck that buckwheat pillows are so popular. With their special stuffing, they’re able to move and mold to the curve of your body flawlessly. As a result, the muscles in your neck and back are spared the strain of carrying the extra weight of your head.

Buckwheat pillows are one of my favorite things! A friend persuaded me to give one a shot a few years back. When I first tried this pillow, I thought it was going to be a disappointment; it was solid, substantial, and resembled a bean bag in every way. It took a while for me to get used to it because it was so different from the soft, squishy down pillows I’d grown up with. I couldn’t sleep without it after a few weeks. Other pillows appeared to be of poor quality. As a result of how fantastic the pillow was, I made the decision to produce and sell it myself.

Breathability is what gives buckwheat its cooling properties.

The various buckwheat hulls’ distinct shapes promote better airflow through the pillow. You can avoid unwanted heat buildup by allowing the pillow to swiftly expel the warm, humid air that your body has absorbed.

Buckwheat vs. the modern cooling pillows

Compared to other classic pillow kinds like down, buckwheat pillows are noticeably cooler, but I was concerned about how well they’d hold up against these newer cooling pillows.

It didn’t take me long to come to some strong conclusions after sleeping on a variety of cooling pillows for a few nights.

There is a buckwheat pillow. As a bag of water, it isn’t immediately cool, but unlike other cooling pillows, it doesn’t warm up. It’s never too hot or too cold, no matter how long I’m sitting on it. Others appeared to lose their effectiveness or even become counterproductive.

“Sure, sure… How’d you come to these unbiased conclusions, Mr. Buckwheat Pillow Guy?”

Okay, I can see why you may be skeptical. It was important to me to conduct this review objectively. There are many who would point out that my data collection was shoddy (it was! ), and that I may be biased (maybe! ), but I am confident in the findings.

First, I slept on each pillow for a few days while keeping a journal of how I felt about it (as written above). A fair comparison would require more than my subjective assessment of the “coolness” of each cushion. The purchase of an infrared thermometer prompted me to take a plethora of temperature measurements in the hopes of drawing conclusions.

Initial Heat Absorption

At 75 degrees, the surface temperatures of the cooling pillows were all the same. Within 15 minutes of laying my head on them, the temperature would climb to a maximum of 87-89 degrees. Only the water cushion insert was inconsistent in this regard (the water pillow took about 30 minutes).

Despite their similarity, the pillows each had a distinct feel of coolness to them.

Subsequent Heat Retention

When I first started keeping track of my body temperature, I found that removing my head from the cushions was interfering with my ability to acquire a steady measurement. Temperatures in each pillow fell at a different rate. Other items, such as the water-filled pillow insert, seemed to hold onto the heat for an extended period of time.

More temperature readings were taken in order to determine how long each cushion held my body heat. I allowed each cushion to warm up to 87-89 degrees by resting my head on it for 15 minutes at a time. Afterwards, I withdrew my head and documented how long it took each of my body temperature readings to return to normal.

How do cooling pillows work, which helps to shed sweat and sleep peacefully in the summer?

The buckwheat pillow was far more successful than the other cooling pillows at transferring heat energy from my body back into the cushion. There was no difference in how soon it re-radiated the person’s heat from its body to the surrounding air compared to other pillows.

In comparison to the other cooling pillows, the buckwheat pillow took less than half the time to return to room temperature.

  • The memory foam pillow with the PCM infused pillowcase is 3.5 times faster than the standard pillow (7 minutes)
  • 5 times as fast as a gel-filled cushion (10 minutes)
  • Water cushion insert is 45 times faster (90 minutes)

Cooling Pillow Conclusions

Despite the presence of a water pillow insert, each cushion’s surface area in touch with my body remained at the same temperature. Each pillow’s ability to dissipate heat to the surrounding air seems to be responsible for the sensation of cooling. The coolest-feeling pillows were unable to hold on to their coolness. It turns out that the most efficient way to get rid of excess heat is to use breathable cushions.

Unfortunately, we were not impressed with either the gel pillow or the cooling pillow insert we received. However, their ability to deliver substantial cooling relief in a short period of time has a use. A water or gel-filled gadget can be a good solution for those who require relief right away or only for a short time. With enough liquid or gel, these pillows can create a cooling effect that other pillows can’t match. The device’s effectiveness will be limited by its size and the temperature of the room. Your so-called “cooling cushion” will probably end up on the floor after you use it to its full capacity. This type of cooling pillow design isn’t useful throughout the course of a full night’s sleep, so I wouldn’t suggest it.

I had no idea what to make of the PCM-infused cloth pillow case. I was persuaded by the marketing jargon that sounded like high-tech technology. Although the theory seemed intriguing, I was unable to discern any discernible or quantifiable cooling effect. I couldn’t figure out what was going on with the PCM material’s ability to absorb and retain heat. Where were the PCM beads absorbing and storing heat in a way that kept my body temperature stable? I had no way of knowing. As such, my conclusion is that it does not work. NASA might be able to come up with a solution for us!

I found that the buckwheat pillow, the most breathable pillow type, was best at keeping me cool. No gimmicks or weird science required!

None of the newer options to my beloved buckwheat pillow impressed me. In comparison to a tried-and-true, natural answer, all of them fell short. That the breathable buckwheat pillows were much more effective at keeping me cool was evident from both my own personal experience sleeping on each of them and the temperature measurements I took.

I heartily recommend buckwheat pillows if you’re seeking for a cooling pillow that genuinely works. Make sure you don’t rely on me. The feedback we receive from our clients speaks for itself!

“My wife and children gave this to me for Father’s Day as a present. I can’t remember a night since I got it (August) when I felt hot and sweaty on my head. That’s enough to make Hullo my favorite pillow ever. A Hullo customer, M. Sandoval, confirms this:

Buckwheat pillows aren’t for everyone, and I’ll be the first to say that. They can be difficult to get used to because of how solid they are. For those who aren’t interested in the firm buckwheat pillows I’ve described in this post, I recommend browsing for “breathable pillows” instead.

Cooling Pillow FAQs

What kind of pillow cases can I use with cooling pillows?

Zippered covers can be removed from some pillow kinds for weekly washing. Natural 100% cotton is the best choice for a pillow case if you want the cooling effect to take place.

How often does a cooling pillow need to be replaced with a new pillow?

Every one to two years, it’s a good idea to get new pillows. This is because of the health risks associated with the accumulation of skin and hair oils and residues on pillows. Always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions when cleaning your cooling cushion. If the quality of your pillow is deteriorating or the cooling effect is no longer as effective as it once was, it may be time to invest in a new cooling pillow.


A cooling pillow like the GhostPillow is a must-have for a restful night’s sleep. Sleeping on a chilly pillow has been found to help reduce night sweats. It is safe to say that a cooling pillow will not only keep you cool while you sleep, but it will also provide the necessary support to keep your body as aches and pains free as possible.