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The 9 Best Cooling Pillows Of 2022 For Your Most Comfortable Sleep

Emma Loewe
mbg Senior Sustainability Editor
By Emma Loewe
mbg Senior Sustainability Editor
Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us."
Image by Studio Firma / Stocksy
July 14, 2022
Our editors have independently chosen the products listed on this page. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.

If you've ever woken up in the middle of the night with a hot head, you know that your pillow can make or break your sleep experience. These days, there are plenty of cooling pillow options for those who suffer through night sweats or just tend to run a bit warm. We spoke with sleep and bedding experts to find the absolute best ones on the market.

Pair any of the following options with your favorite set of breathable sheets and prepare for a comfortable rest that is beyond cool.

What to look for in a cooling pillow.

Byron Golub, the director of product and merchandising for Saatva, a luxury mattress and bedding company, explains that cooling pillows provide a cool or temperature-neutral sleep surface through a two-stage process. "First, they draw heat away (absorb heat) from the sleeper, and second, they utilize airflow to dissipate that heat," Golub says. "Most pillows on the market are of similar construction—a pillow shell (covering) and a pillow core (what's inside)."

The trick to finding a super-cool pillow is selecting the right materials for both filling and shell. Here are the ones that sleep and bedding experts recommended to us:

Types of filling.

While materials like solid memory foam hold on to heat, the following filling options are breathable and moisture-wicking:

  • Wool: "Wool fibers are very thin, allowing the air to travel freely," explains Po-Chang Hsu, M.D., M.S., a medical content expert at Sleeping Ocean. "Wool also wicks the excess moisture away very fast, helping hot sleepers deal with night sweats."
  • Latex: Latex is another natural material that tends to be cool to the touch and good at dispersing heat. "Shredded latex, in particular, has excellent airflow," adds Golub.
  • Down: While down feathers are not particularly cooling on their own, the fluffy material can be combined with other cooling fillings to give them a softer feel.
  • Kapok: Kapok is a soft, lightweight material that's extracted from the Kapok trees of South America and West Africa. It's a popular plant-based alternative to down that can be used to stuff pillows, couches, sofas, and animal beds.
  • Open-cell memory foam: Shredded or open-cell memory foam provides more airflow than standard memory foam, while still providing a plush, absorbent feel, says Golub.
  • Gel memory foam: Finally, many cooling pillows are stuffed with memory foam that has been treated with thermal or phase-changing gel pods. "They draw the excess heat away from the body and lock it in, preventing the heat from accumulating around the sleeper," explains Hsu. This material tends to be the most cooling of them all, but it's also one of the most expensive. Gel memory foam is also made using synthetic materials, which can off-gas during the night—something to note if you're looking to create a nontoxic sleep space.

Types of shell.

When searching for a new cooling pillow, you'll also want to look for one that has a moisture-wicking outer shell. "A moisture-wicking fabric is one that quickly moves sweat to the fabric’s outer surface and dries rapidly so that the sweat does not saturate the fabric," Raj Dasgupta M.D., FAASM, a pulmonary and sleep medicine specialist, tells mbg.

While synthetic materials like polyester can trap heat and counteract any cooling fillings, these natural materials tend to be more breathable:

  • Cotton
  • Silk
  • Wool
  • Tree-derived fabrics like viscose (preferably Tencel or Lyocell)

Other considerations.

With so many cooling pillows on the market, Nilong Vyas, M.D., a sleep medicine specialist at Sleepless in NOLA and medical review expert at the Sleep Foundation, says you'll want to consider which one is best for your personal sleep positioning.

While everyone's different, those who tend to sleep on their sides will want a thicker pillow that fills the gap between their head and mattress to promote spinal alignment. Stomach and back sleepers often find flatter pillows to be more comfortable and supportive.

Vyas adds that it's also important to think about your sensitivity to synthetic materials like memory foam. These can off-gas volatile organic compounds that can cause respiratory irritation or skin discomfort in some people.

If you're someone who gets a headache just thinking about that strong "new pillow" smell, you'll want to opt for natural filling and shell materials like wool, latex, down, kapok, cotton, and silk. Not only are these less likely to cause irritation, but they also tend to be gentler on the planet.

How we picked.

Customer Feedback

We chose pillows that got the best customer feedback on their comfort and quality. We also scoured the web to identify the companies that have responsive and helpful customer service and easy shipping.

Sustainability

We looked for brands that use certified organic and/or recycled materials in their pillows. We also gave high marks to companies that are offsetting their shipping, utilizing plastic-free packaging, or going above and beyond to practice sustainability in another (legitimate) way.

Price

Cooling pillows tend to be more expensive, but we looked for ones that fall into a range of price buckets.

Materials

We looked for pillows made from the materials listed above and prioritized naturally derived options that won't off-gas.

mbg's picks for the best cooling pillows of 2022

Best for side sleepers: Layla Kapok Pillow

Layla Kapok Pillow
VIEW ON Layla | $109VIEW ON Amazon | $109

Pros

  • Adjustable stuffing
  • Good for neck pain

Cons

  • Made from synthetic materials
Best for: Side sleepers
Materials: Open-cell memory foam, Kapok
Sizes: Queen, King
Warranty: 5-Year
Trial: 120 nights

The Layla® Kapok Pillow is filled with a mix of memory foam and kapok for a cooling but soft feel. "It's super breathable, moisture-wicking, and quality-made," says Hsu.

Hsu also appreciates that this pillow is adjustable and sleepers can add or remove filling until they find their ideal feel. Reviewers note that this makes it a great option for side sleepers, who need to get that "just right" firmness level—especially those who suffer from back or shoulder pain.

The one thing we don't love about this option is that its cover is made from a synthetic polyester mix.

Best for stomach sleepers: Sijo CloudSupport Pillow

Sijo CloudSupport Pillow
VIEW ON Sijo Home | $88VIEW ON Amazon | $88

Pros

  • Comfortable for a variety of sleep positions

Cons

  • Made from synthetic materials
Best for: Stomach sleepers
Materials: Lyocell, Gel memory foam, Latex
Sizes: King, Standard
Warranty: N/A
Trial: 30 nights

This pillow provides medium support that's ideal for stomach sleepers—though back and side sleepers also note that it provides comfortable support for their back, neck, and shoulders. It's not super firm, and one reviewer likens it to "laying my head on a delicious cloud." The inside contains latex, while the outer shell is made from Lyocell and temperature-regulating CLIMA fabric—a phase change material that's designed to keep sleepers cool and dry.

Best wedge pillow: Brentwood Home Oceano Wedge Pillow

Brentwood Home Oceano Wedge Pillow
VIEW ON Brentwood Home | $99

Pros

  • Unique wedge shape
  • Good customer service

Cons

  • Made from synthetic materials
  • Some reviewers note their pillow was squished upon arrival
Best for: Back sleepers
Materials: Gel memory foam
Sizes: 10 inches
Warranty: 1-Year
Trial: 30 nights

For those looking for a specialty wedge pillow that they can use to sleep on an incline or read or work in bed, this option from Brentwood Home is made from cooling gel foam. While it's constructed using synthetic materials, it's independently certified by GREENGUARD Gold to be low in off-gassing. Brentwood Home also purchases offsets for all of its carbon emissions.

Some reviewers note that their wedge pillow arrived squished (i.e., not in a wedge shape) but are grateful for Brentwood's helpful and responsive customer service.

Best sustainable: Parachute Recycled Down Pillow

Parachute Recycled Down Pillow
VIEW ON Parachute | $109

Pros

  • Made from natural & recycled materials
  • Machine washable

Cons

  • May be too soft and hot for some sleepers
  • Does not ship to Pennsylvania
Best for: Side sleepers
Materials: Cotton, Down
Sizes: King, Standard
Warranty: 3-Year
Trial: 60 nights

This new option from Parachute is the cult-favorite brand's first foray into circular design. It's stuffed with 100% recycled down that has been recovered from returned Parachute pillows (don't worry; it gets washed and sanitized first!). The cover is made from a blend of recycled and virgin cotton for a soft, breathable feel. The pillow itself is very plush and easy to sink into, so it's great for those who prefer their pillow slightly softer. I'm a side sleeper who uses this pillow every night, and I find it slightly cooling and supportive, though I don't have any back or neck pain that needs tending to, and I don't run too hot when I sleep.

Another notable perk: While foam pillows can usually only be spot-treated by hand, this down option is also machine washable. Free and carbon-neutral shipping and returns make for a nice cherry on top of this sustainable option.

Best for back sleepers: Avocado Molded Latex Pillow

Avocado Molded Latex Pillow
VIEW ON Avocado | $129

Pros

  • Made with organic materials
  • Company is carbon negative
  • Free shipping

Cons

  • Might be too firm for some
Best for: Back sleepers
Materials: Cotton, Latex
Sizes: Queen, King, Standard
Warranty: 1-Year
Trial: 100 nights

To make this uniquely firm-yet-comfortable pillow, Avocado pours natural latex into a mold and steam-bakes it into a core that will hold on to its shape and provide neck support. The latex is infused with charcoal to reduce odor and moisture buildup, and covered in a certified organic cotton shell. Reviewers appreciate that this pillow is firm enough to hold its shape but flexible enough to cradle their heads (especially when they're sleeping on their back or side). "I bought this for my husband. He says it's the best pillow he has ever had. It's the perfect thickness and provides the perfect amount of support," writes one happy customer.

Avocado is also a leader in the sustainability space, offsetting more carbon emissions than they generate and donating most returned mattresses to shelters.

Best budget: Allswell Gel Cooling Pillow

Allswell Gel Cooling Pillow
VIEW ON Allswell | $40VIEW ON Walmart | $40

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Noticeably cool feel

Cons

  • Made from synthetic materials
  • Might be too thick for some sleepers
Best for: Side sleepers
Materials: Gel memory foam
Sizes: Standard
Warranty: N/A
Trial: 30 nights

This foam option from Allswell contains a gel layer that makes it noticeably cool to the touch for a few minutes at a time (some note that they wish it stayed cool for longer, however). Its memory foam core is firm yet comfortable, though some note that it's too thick and stiff for their liking, and it does have a synthetic smell. All in all, this is a good option for those who like a firmer, thicker pillow and are curious to try out a cooling option without shelling out a ton of money.

Best memory foam: Coop The Eden

Coop The Eden
VIEW ON Amazon | $77

Pros

  • Adjustable foam filling

Cons

  • Made from synthetic materials
Best for: Stomach sleepers
Materials: Gel memory foam
Sizes: Queen, King
Warranty: 5-Year
Trial: 100 nights

This cooling pillow from home goods company Coop is stuffed with gel memory foam that can be added and removed to your liking (it comes with an extra half-pound of filling for those who like an extra-thick pillow). The adjustable element of the pillow means that you can customize it to fit your spinal alignment and minimize aches and pains. While it's constructed using synthetic materials, it's independently certified by GREENGUARD Gold and CertiPUR-US to be low in off-gassing.

Best organic: Birch Organic Pillow

Birch Organic Pillow
VIEW ON Birch | $99

Pros

  • Made from natural & organic materials
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Might not be thick enough for side sleepers
Best for: Back sleepers
Materials: Cotton, Wool, Latex
Sizes: King, Standard
Warranty: 1-Year
Trial: 100 nights

Mattress brand Birch was obsessive about sourcing materials for this quality pillow. Its interior is made from 100% natural and sustainably sourced latex. Then, a layer of organic wool adds a natural moisture-wicking element, and an organic cotton cover ensures a cool, breezy night of sleep. Reviewers—especially back sleepers—note that it's a comfortable pillow with just the right amount of give (and no funky chemical smells).

Best for hot sleepers: Vesta Multi-layered Cooling Foam Pillow

Vesta Multi-layered Cooling Foam Pillow
VIEW ON Vesta | $116

Pros

  • Has a firm side and a soft side

Cons

  • Made from synthetic materials
Best for: Side sleepers
Materials: Open-cell memory foam
Sizes: Queen, King
Warranty: 1-Year
Trial: 30 nights

There are a few reasons you might sweat in your sleep: Certain medications can cause overheating at night, as can hormonal fluxes and changes associated with menopause. Whatever the cause, some people really need a cooling pillow—and this open-cell memory foam from Vesta delivers. It's made from three layers of perforated memory foam. One side is firmer for those seeking head and neck support, while the other is softer for those who prefer a more plush feel. We're not crazy about the synthetic polyester cover but appreciate that Vesta has committed to going carbon neutral by 2030.

The takeaway.

We snooze best when we're not too hot, so the right cooling pillow can really pay off for overall sleep quality. But as Dasgupta, a sleep medicine specialist, reminds us, it's just one component of a comfortable sleep environment: Be sure to pair yours with a supportive mattress, cozy sheets, and maybe a spritz or two of calming pillow spray to really set a chill mood.

Emma Loewe
Emma Loewe
mbg Senior Sustainability Editor

Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.

Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 articles on mbg, her work has appeared on Bloomberg News, Marie Claire, Bustle, and Forbes. She has covered everything from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping to a group of doctors prescribing binaural beats for anxiety. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.