Heat Relief: How To Stay Cool In Bed

A cool pillow feels great in the summer

Maybe she should turn on the air conditioner.

In the middle of the summer’s sweltering heat, you climb into your comfortable bed. The temperature in your room is set just right – not too hot, not too cold. You slowly drift off to a deep sleep only to be rudely awoken later in the night, broiling on a damp, sweaty pillow. You flip to the cold side of the pillow and try to go back to sleep. WTF?

Many people inevitably crank up their air conditioner. It’s far from a good solution. Cooling their home costs the average American household about $375 or 17% of its annual energy bill. 

There’s a lot of different ways to stay cool at night. Some simple and effective cool sleep solutions can be found in different types of pillows.

Everyone knows the feeling of a hot sweaty pillow-they’re NOT conducive to restful sleep! You can flip it over to the cool side all night long, but it will always build up and retain heat. Down, feather, polyester and foam pillows all suffer from this same problem. The fact is that these types of pillows aren’t very breathable; the fill restricts airflow within the pillow. The temperature of air that’s trapped inside rises turning your pillow into a little oven.

There are some interesting solutions for a hot pillow out there: some use mysterious fabrics, others liquid cooling gels or refrigerated pads. These all address the issue with varying degrees of success. Most however, do not address the issue of breathability.

A breathable pillow is a pillow that stays cool.

If air is able to pass through your pillow while you sleep, it will not retain or build up the heat generated by your body. Most of the “cool pillows” available do not allow air to move through the fill with any more ease than a traditional one.

Fortunately there are a few simple and effective solutions to this problem. First, you can try using a pillowcase that’s more breathable. Egyptian cotton with a plain weave (as opposed to sateen) works very well.

The Best Cool Pillow

I (of course!) recommend our own Hullo buckwheat pillow. The buckwheat hull fill allows air to move freely through your pillow, preventing heat build up. You can sleep on the cool side all night long without flipping and turn the air conditioner back down! Some buckwheat pillow users swear that cooling their pillow in a refrigerator or freezer is the ultimate in keeping cool. I’ve tried it myself.

If you’re already happy with your pillow, the National Sleep Foundation has a few ideas that might be helpful.



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