Cooling Pillows: How do they work?

Posted by Emma Carlton - Buying and Merchandising Manager on 9th Aug 2023

Cooling Pillows: How do they work?

Being too hot in bed is common sleep complaint. But, thanks to research and product development, manufacturers have come up with a solution that could see you achieving the recommended 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep. And that quick fix is cooling pillows!

But how do cooling pillows actually work? And do they work for everyone? Well, that’s what we’re here to find out. So, without further ado, let’s find out if cooling pillows are a worthwhile investment for you!

What is a cooling pillow?

When the time comes to turn in for the evening, it’s really important to ensure that you’ve got the right sleep solutions to suit your needs. Pillows have many roles to play. They keep us comfortable; support our heads and necks while we sleep to ensure proper spinal alignment; can help to minimise disturbance caused by allergies; and can even help us to regulate our body temperatures while we sleep. So, it’s wise to bear in mind everything a pillow is responsible for when investing in new pillows and setting yourself a budget.

A cooling pillow helps to keep the temperature around your head, neck, and shoulders ambient. This means a cooling pillow could potentially help you to fall asleep faster. And as it continues to regulate your temperature by giving you a cooler sleep surface, it could lead to a deeper, more restful sleep.

Other roles of a cooling pillow include wicking away moisture, dispersing heat, and promoting increased airflow. All of which will help to keep you cool as you sleep.

How do cooling pillows work?

As technology develops, the range of cooling pillows at our disposal evolves. Right now, many cooling pillows feature an external gel layer that has been scientifically researched, designed, and engineered to stay cool.

Other cooling pillows in the market use different types of foam but the intent of the product remains the same. A great example of this this technology is our Staples & Co Cooling Memory Pillow. This option boasts the supportive and pressure relieving feel of memory foam and is combined with Innovative Reactex™ technology which delivers pressure activated cooling for up to 6 hours. The clever thing about this technology is that once you hit the ambient sleeping temperature the cooling stops, until you need it again.

Then there’s climate control pillows. This type of pillow enables air to flow freely throughout the pillow’s fillings which helps to prevent heat from building up.

But our iGel cooling pillows are innovatively engineered to ensure that sleepers are not too hot, not too cold, but just right. iGel™ Advance technology features phase change crystals inside the filling. These respond to your body temperature by absorbing, storing and releasing heat as you need it.

All cooling pillows are designed to absorb body heat, disperse it either across the cooling layer or into the air in your bedroom, and leave you feeling cool and comfortable all night long.

What are the benefits of cooling pillows?

There are a ton of benefits that come hand in hand with a cooling pillow. Especially if you’re a hot sleeper! Read on to learn more about the different benefits we’ve laid out to help you decide if a cooling pillow is worth the investment for you.

A lady asleep on a chair in front of an open fridge using her hands as a pillow as she tries to stay cool at night

Cooling pillows could help you fall asleep faster

A cooling pillow helps to regulate your body’s temperature which could help you to fall asleep faster, even on a hot night. If you're prone to overheating in bed and haven’t tried cooling pillows yet, what are you waiting for?

The cooling components and manufacturing makeup for these types of pillows offer a cool and comfortable sleep surface that has the potential to help you drift off quickly and sleep deeper. As your body prepares for sleep, your core temperature needs to decrease by 1-2 degrees. And thus, with the help of cooling pillows you should awake feeling refreshed and well-rested.

Cooling pillows can help to relieve night sweats

If you’ve ever suffered from night sweats, you’ll understand the links to insomnia. And if night sweats cause you to wake up during the night and then you struggle to fall asleep again, switching to a cooling pillow could help.

As cooling pillows help to keep your head cool during the night, they can also help to calm excessive night sweats. And by calming the intensity of night sweats, your body is also calmed into a more relaxed state. This relaxed state makes it easier to fall asleep both initially and after any sleep disturbances. And it can also lead to a deeper, more restful sleep which means you’ll wake up rejuvenated.

Cooling pillows can reduce the amount of tossing and turning you do

Cooling pillows also have the potential to help you to sleep better through the night. If you’re one of those people who are forever searching for the cold side of the pillow, a cooling pillow can keep heat-related sleep disruptions to a minimum.

What should I look for in a cooling pillow?

Ignore cooling properties for a moment. When shopping for new pillows you should be on the lookout for an option that’s comfortable and designed with your sleeping position in mind. This is because pillows designed for side sleepers, back sleepers and front sleepers have been made in a way that promotes and supports good spine alignment. Your preferred sleep position is also the main driving force that will indicate how thick your pillow should be (aka pillow loft or height).

While pillow loft or height is subjective, there are some general guidelines as to how thick your pillow should be based on your sleep position preferences. It is suggested that side sleepers benefit from a thicker pillow (or higher loft) and firmer feel; medium loft pillows are ideal for back sleepers; and front sleepers benefit from a thin pillow paired with a softer feel. These are all generalised recommendations based on what will offer the best surface for spinal alignment.

Once you’ve worked out what type of pillow is tailored to your sleep preferences as an individual, you’ll be able to zone in one the cooling options available in the right loft and firmness. At Bensons, our iGel pillows are intuitively engineered to ensure that sleepers are not too hot, not too cold, but just right. And we offer iGel cooling pillows for side sleepers and iGel cooling pillows for front and back sleepers. So, there’s a cooling pillow for every sleep position preference.

Do cooling pillows actually work?

In short yes. But, advances in cooling technology will inevitably come with a higher price tag. They also have a much higher success rate than other options generally speaking.

The most affordable cooling pillows tend to be those marketed as breathable. And that’s because this technology has been around for a while. If you’re shopping on a budget and tend to be a hot sleeper, breathable pillows are definitely worth trying out.

Final thoughts

Cooling pillows have the potential to help you fall asleep faster, sleep deeper and minimise night sweats. And all of this results from a cooler sleep surface. So, if you’re a notoriously hot sleeper give cooling pillows a try – they might not solve all your sleep complaints but they’re sure to offer a cooler sleep surface. And that alone has the potential to improve the quality of sleep you achieve exponentially.

If you’d like to learn more about the Bensons for Beds range of cooling pillows, why not pop into your local Bensons store and speak with our sleep experts. They’re all dedicated to finding you the best solutions for your personal sleep needs and are always happy to help. 

authors profile
Emma Carlton
Buying and Merchandising Manager
Emma has worked at Bensons for Beds for 10 years and is a fundamental part of the Bensons’ team, her wealth of breadth and knowledge is invaluable. Emma’s drive, determination, and tenacity ensures we provide our customers with the market leading products to suit our customer individual needs, at great value prices.
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