14 Best Cooling Products for Hot Sleepers for a Good Night's Rest
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Rest assured, this roundup will chill you out for a night of deep sleep.
Ask any partner or best friend I’ve ever shared a bed with and you’ll get a pretty unanimous answer: “Oh my god, Katie is a furnace.” For many years—my whole life, really—I found myself constantly waking up in the middle of the night boiling hot. And like so many health issues we neglect, I figured that this was just a weird “me” thing. What could really be done other than occasionally sticking a foot outside of the duvet?
Normally, I’d wake up at the same times each night radiating heat, and it would take hours to find the perfect combination of coziness plus limb exposure. Interrupted sleep affected every other aspect of my life as sleep deprivation does, but never got resolved. Then, about five years ago, I began to gather that I'm far from alone. Casper, a brand known for its bedding and mattresses, found that 67% of people report waking several times a month due to temperature issues. The market confirms the common concern. Cooling materials targeted toward hot sleepers have multiplied, which I suspect was partially a reaction to the preceding trend of memory foam mattresses—a material with very little breathability for temperature control—plus a growing interest in sleep science.
“In general, your body temperature changes throughout the 24-hour period and is designed to be slightly lower when you sleep,” says Emily Capodilupo, senior vice president of data science and research for wearable health and sleep tracker WHOOP. “Even if your bedroom is just a little bit too warm, your body has to work hard to thermoregulate which can be counterproductive to sleep.”
Recent research shows that 65 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for sleep, plus we tend to sleep more poorly in the summer, and women tend to sleep better during the follicular phase of their menstrual cycle when the body is about one degree cooler, Capodilupo says. The ideal temperature scenario is also affected by seasons of life. In fact, studies show the majority of people going through menopause experience hot flash-induced insomnia.
These days, hot sleepers of any age or hormonal state will find a bevy of cooling solutions from cool-to-the-touch sheets, gel pillows, and even a high-tech cooling mattress that tracks your sleep quality. Truth be told: That very mattress was the sleep- and life-changing discovery I needed (more on that below). Read on for innovations that dial down the heat for all the warm, hot, and furnace-level sleepers out there.
This wearable bracelet looks like a watch, but it's worn with the “face” on the inside of your wrist, where your body is more receptive to temperature changes (which is why running cool water on your wrists before sleep is a great hack). The device emits a cooling (or heating) sensation that you can adjust with its app. This can be used throughout the day, but is particularly effective for sleep.
When my partner and I first opened the box with these pillows we propped them behind us while sitting on our couch before toting them off to bed. Throughout the evening, we kept looking at each other asking, “How do they still feel so chilly?” The Casper Snow Technology has a persistence to its cooling gel and heat dispersion that truly makes it more effective than others. Sleeping with this Casper pillow, which is made with dense squishy foam, gives consistent neck support and cool temperature through the night.
This gel-filled chilling pad is smart for travel or occasional use if you don't boil every single night and just need a cooling boost from time to time. The cooling capability is pressure activated, so you don’t need electricity or refrigeration, though you can put it in the fridge for an extra boost of chill. The gel gives you up to three hours of cooling but needs 30 minutes of non-use or refrigerator time to “recharge.”
This new mattress design has the same texture as memory foam, but includes structural pathways built into the foam to help direct and disperse heat. “Traditional memory foam mattresses retain more heat because, while the memory foam’s internal structure is porous, those tiny spaces always aren’t connected, which isn’t conducive to airflow and thus traps heat,” explains Russell Jelinek, vice president of product development at Casper. After 150 tests, Casper found that this mattress keeps sleepers six degrees (!) cooler.
The structure of this mattress is a hybrid between a foam and traditional spring construction, and is made entirely with organic materials including latex, cotton, and wool. “Our latex foam is made from the sap of rubber trees and has a more open-cell construction with larger air pockets, allowing for better airflow and heat dissipation,” says George Mathew, vice president of sourcing and certifications at Avocado Green. You can also choose the pillow-top version of this mattress which has an additional five inches of organic latex rubber foam.
This is a PSA to my fellow furnaces: This mattress has been my savior since I began sleeping on it about five years ago. The magic is in the soft veins of temperature-controlled water that flow through the top of the mattress, fed by a bedside tank where the water is heated or cooled. You customize the temperature with the Eight Sleep app, even scheduling changes throughout your sleep cycle (for example, you can require the bed to get colder during your REM cycle or heat up during waking). A network of sensors spread throughout the top layer also monitors your sleep cycle and quality.
If you want a simple light topper that doesn’t change the texture of your mattress, but you lean toward natural materials, wool is surprisingly breathable–not what you might think when you picture a wool sweater. “Natural fibers are the most breathable and will transport heat and humidity during sleep,” says Chris Tattersall, managing director of Woolroom. “Wool will absorb more than 300% more moisture than cotton before becoming saturated and then cleverly release this into the atmosphere during the day.” Tip: If you want to add about three to four inches of extra fluffiness to your bed, check out the award-winning Woolroom The Wooly Mattress Topper.
You may have already invested in a mattress you like, but need a little heat relief. This light mattress topper helps disperse heat and also has cooling tech infused within it. It goes onto your bed like a normal fitted sheet and is thin enough that it won’t change the texture of the mattress; it's also machine washable. A viscose material called Outlast found within the topper was originally developed by NASA and can reduce sweating by up to 48%. Bonus: While it helps level the temperature of your bed’s microclimate, it doesn’t actively chill the bed, which can help keep things harmonious between you and your sleeping partner's temp needs.
This eye mask has large eye flaps, pillowy padding, and solves my biggest pet peeve, which is how darn hot eye masks get. The silky fabric in the Sheex mask is made with technology that actively cools down skin while also wicking away moisture. The result: a refreshing chilling sensation. It won’t feel like ice globes on your eyes by any means, but you won’t get the stuffy, sticky feeling other masks can create.
When I asked my friends on Instagram to share their favorite bedding and products for hot sleepers, this duvet came up multiple times. It’s made with eucalyptus, a plant material that can use up to ten times less water than cotton to produce and is also ideal for hot sleepers. “Plant fibers don’t trap heat or insulate, so any heat your body is generating goes right through the comforter,” says Leo Wang, Buffy CEO. “In the event of sweat buildup, our Lyocell material made from eucalyptus has been shown to release moisture faster than cotton.”
Rest uses a combination of two innovative cooling materials: Evercool fabric as the shell and Sorona filling for the fluff inside. Both of these materials were designed to disperse heat and moisture away from the body extra quickly so you never get a temperature build. Reviewers say it’s like sleeping under a waterfall or sleeping in a pool with consistent heat relief throughout the night. Note that the nature of these high tech materials mean they work best without a duvet cover on top, so Rest offers the comforter in three different colorways, including two that are double sided.
The fabric in this bedding is a blend of cotton, polyester, Spandex, and a volcanic material called 37.5 Technology, which contains tiny particles that absorb heat and moisture when you’re hot (you’ll also find 37.5 Technology in activewear). The beauty of this is that it only responds if you need it—so your chilly sleeping partner isn't affected.
In the world of 100% cotton sheets, you’ll often encounter a type of cotton, percale, that is “cool to the touch” and recommended most for hot sleepers. (It has a one over-one under weave that makes it more “crisp” and breathable.) Brooklinen’s 270-thread count version always feels extra fresh, never clingy, and works with the rest of my breathable bedding to keep my temperature comfortable throughout the night.
First, yes, many fans (at a much lower price point) can do wonders at driving heat away from your bed and your body. But this is the fully-loaded Cadillac that feels a bit more like air conditioning while it purifies against pollution, seasonal allergens, smoke from summer wildfires, and even particles in the air from home cooking. You can set 10 different speeds and have it oscillate or not—it remains extremely quiet. An accompanying app also means you can flip it on from anywhere in case you want to start prepping your bedroom during your commute.
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