Calling All Hot Sleepers: Cooling Pillows Exist So You Can Always Sleep on the "Cold Side"

·9 min read
Photo credit: Home Depot, Cirrus
Photo credit: Home Depot, Cirrus
Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

It’s no secret that a sweltering sleeping environment can ruin a perfectly good night’s rest. And while a pillow can’t stop your hot flashes or a super warm climate, sleeping on a cool-feeling fabric or a temperature-regulating material certainly can help you feel cooler.

The Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab tested over 70 different pillows to find the best pillows to stay cool, whether you’re a side sleeper, back sleeper, or stomach sleeper. A good cooling pillow should not only feel chill; it also needs to be comfy to sleep on and support your head and neck to avoid neck pain. To find the best cooling pillows, our textile pros evaluated washability and durability in the Lab and sent pillows to over 350 at-home testers to learn more about their cooling effects. After analyzing over 3,000 data points, we found the best cooling pillows for hot sleepers to buy in 2021:

What to look for in a cooling pillow

  • Cooling technology: Look for fabrics with actual cooling technologies like Outlast or 37.5, which can absorb and release heat to keep your body at a more stable temperature while you sleep, preventing night sweats before they start. Some other fabrics offer a cool to the touch feel, but it may not stay that way all night long.

  • Ability to clean: If you tend to sweat at night, it’s even more important that you are able to wash your pillow. Look for a pillow that's entirely machine washable or has a washable cover. Some of the top-tested pillows on our list only have machine-washable covers, so we recommend investing in a good pillow protector for those picks.

  • Sleeping position: Even if it has the coolest feel, an uncomfortable pillow will keep you up at night. Make sure to choose a pillow that's suitable for your sleeping position, whether you’re a side, back, or stomach sleeper, as that’s the best way to avoid neck pain in the morning.

  • Material: While using a cooling pillowcase will make a big difference, the fill material can still have an effect on the pillow's cooling capabilities. Memory foam tends to hold onto heat, so opt for styles with added cooling gel or other innovations to reduce overheating.

If your current sweaty pillow is keeping you up at night, read more below about the best cooling pillows that our testers swore helped them maintain a stable body temperature while sound asleep.

You could be a product tester! Sign up for our membership club GH+ to access front-of-the-line testing opportunities.

Best Overall Cooling Pillow

Coop Home Goods Eden Pillow

With a similar feel to the best-selling Coop Home Goods Original Pillow, the new Eden Pillow features shredded memory foam infused with cooling gel to prevent overheating. The fill is completely adjustable, so you can find the best height for you. Testers raved about the soft, plush feel that still provided ample neck support. In Lab, the pillow maintained its shape after weights were applied, but we did notice some wear on the cover after washing. The foam is CertiPUR-US certified so you don’t have to worry about unsafe chemicals and thousands of Amazon reviewers also love this pillow alongside our testers. We love that, unlike most memory foam pillows, the entire pillow is machine washable: cover and fill.

  • Fill: Shredded memory foam and polyester

  • Care: Machine washable; wash cover and fill separately.

  • Sizes: Standard, Queen and King

Best Value Cooling Pillow

Home Decorators Cooling Down Alternative Pillow

Unlike most cooling pillows that are pricier than standard pillows, this cooling pillow from Home Decorators costs just $25 and is suitable for all sleeping positions. Filled with down alternative polyester, it fit nicely in a pillowcase and washed without shrinkage or appearance changes. Testers loved the pillow’s cooling effects, but noted that it didn’t maintain its shape as well as other styles – we found the same in Lab testing too. As a proud Good Housekeeping Seal holder, we also stand behind this pillow with our two year warranty!

  • Fill: Polyester

  • Care: Machine washable, front loading machine

  • Sizes: Jumbo and King

Best Cooling Pillow for Side Sleepers

Tempur-Pedic Breeze Pro+ Advanced Cooling Pillow

This memory foam pillow is available in two heights with the high height being perfect for side sleepers to keep your neck and spine aligned. Memory foam pillows tend to hold onto heat, but this Tempur-Pedic features cooling gel in the cover. Testers gave high scores for its supportive feel and cooling effects with one tester saying: "this pillow keeps me so nice and cool, plus I don't have to keep turning it or fluffing it up every time I change position." The signature feel of Tempur-Pedic memory foam takes a bit longer to return to its original shape as it forms to your head, providing neck support. Note that this pillow is not returnable, but our testers loved it so much they all wanted to keep using it after testing.

  • Fill: Memory foam

  • Care: Only cover is machine washable

  • Sizes: Queen and King

Best Cooling Pillow for Stomach Sleepers

SlumberCloud Core Down Alternative Pillow

The soft, fluffy feel of down alternative is ideal for stomach sleepers. Opt for the "soft/medium" firmness level as a stomach sleeper because "medium/firm" is better suited for back or side sleepers. SlumberCloud’s down alternative pillow has a cotton and Outlast infused cover, which actually stores and releases heat to keep your body at a comfortable temperature all night. Testers found the pillow very comfortable, but not as supportive as other styles likely because of the nature of plush polyester. There’s free shipping and a 60-night trial period.

  • Fill: Polyester

  • Care: Machine washable

  • Sizes: Standard and King

Best Cooling Pillow for Back Sleepers

Helix Sleep Ultra Cool Pillow

The Helix Sleep Ultra Cool pillow received one of the highest scores overall in our tests. Testers credited the cool-to-the-touch feel with keeping their body at a stable temperature at night. This pillow impressed textile pros as it washed nicely, fit perfectly in a pillowcase and maintained its shape during performance testing. The medium height of this pillow was popular among our back sleeper testers for keeping their neck aligned. Plus, Helix offers a 100-night trial where you can return the pillow for a full refund.

  • Fill: Polyester

  • Care: Machine washable

  • Sizes: Standard and King

Best Cervical Cooling Pillow

Sleep Number True Temp Contour Pillow

For a contour cooling pillow, Sleep Number’s True Temp pillow uses 37.5 technology to keep your body at a stable body temperature. The cover uses polyethylene and polyester with an added 37.5 infused polyester fiberfill for a plush feel that'll also keep you cooler. The ultimate style features a curved design with three removable inserts for your ideal height no matter your sleeping position. The cover was easy to wash with no changes in appearance, but it's a bit difficult to get the cover back on the foam after.

  • Fill: Memory foam

  • Care: Cover only machine washable

  • Sizes: Standard and King

Best Latex Cooling Pillow

Purple Harmony Pillow

Unlike any other latex pillow, this pillow from Purple features its popular "Purple Grid" polymer technology on the outside for neck and shoulder support. We washed the polymer grid cover in Lab and it showed no signs of shrinkage or change in appearance. The latex fill quickly returned to its shape in Lab testing and testers agreed when they used it at home. Because of its higher height, this pillow is best suited for side sleepers. Testers loved how breathable this pillow felt, keeping them cool all night long. With a 100 night trial period, there’s no risk in trying out this unique material for yourself.

  • Fill: Latex and polymer grid

  • Care: Cover only machine washable

  • Sizes: Standard and Tall

Most Comfortable Cooling Pillow

Casper Foam Pillow

Although this pillow doesn’t feature cooling technology, testers gave it a perfect score for keeping them cool, likely thanks to the tiny channels throughout the foam for increased air flow and a more breathable pillow. The outer cover washed nicely with no change in appearance or shrinkage, but it's not dryer safe and has to be laid flat to dry. Side, back and stomach sleeper testers gave it perfect scores for waking up without any soreness and maintaining its proper shape after use.

  • Fill: Memory foam

  • Care: Cover only machine washable, lay flat to dry

  • Sizes: Standard and King

Best Temperature Regulating Cooling Pillow

SlumberCloud Ultra Cool Pillow

With innovative cooling technologies, testers were impressed by the cool-to-the-touch feel of this down alternative pillow that's ideal for all sleeping positions thanks to the two softness options. The cover is made with Outlast technology, which stores and releases heat to keep you at a stable body temperature. The polyester fill stood up perfectly to Lab tests as this pillow kept its shape without snagging. One tester gave rave reviews, saying this pillow has "more of a cooling effect than other cooling pillows I've tried."

  • Fill: Polyester

  • Care: Machine washable

  • Sizes: Standard and King

Best Gel Cooling Pillow

Allswell Gel Cooling Pillow

As memory foam tends to overheat, this pillow from Allswell has an added cooling gel layer, so you can enjoy the cushioning feel without the heat. Testers gave this pillow especially high marks for keeping them at a stable body temperature, being supportive and maintaining its shape after use. The cover also washed beautifully after multiple laundering cycles. One tester who suffered from terrible neck pain previously said that after using this pillow she had "no pain whatsoever." Note that this pillow is only available in Standard sizing.

  • Fill: Memory foam and cooling gel

  • Care: Cover only machine washable

  • Sizes: Standard

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