It can feel like you are sleeping on the surface of the sun. On a hot summer night your pillow is radiating enough heat to power a small town.
And this fluffy furnace is right next to your cheek! How can you fall asleep when all you can think about is how hot your pillow is?
The answer is quite simple.
As you are no doubt aware, a cold pillow makes it much easier to fall asleep than a hot one.
And I have a solution to cool your pillow down to a comfortable sleep inducing temperature. In fact, I have six.
Let’s take a closer look at how you can keep your pillow cool at night.
1. Buy a cooling pillow
Forget trying to cool your pillow. Why not have your pillow do all the work for you?
If you sleep hot then the worst possible thing you could do is purchase a pillow that traps heat. Take your standard memory foam pillow for instance, the foam conforms to the shape of your head. As you can imagine, this does not leave a whole lot of room for air circulation, which in turn can lead to that ‘warm pillow’ sensation.
There are numerous solutions here. Cotton stuffing breaths, preventing head from becoming trapped in your pillow and radiating out. Buckwheat pillows also provide excellent air circulation but many people complain that buckwheat pillows are too firm.
Having tried a buckwheat pillow myself, I will personally attest to this pillows ability to remain cool through the night. But If you are used to sleeping on a feather pillow then a buckwheat pillow may feel like you are sleeping on concrete.
Many modern pillows are infused with a gel designed to remain cool, even as your hot head presses down upon it.
With so many pillows to choose from, you will not have to sleep on your old pillow that feels like a furnace. While it may be sad to say goodbye to your regular sleeping pillow, a cool night of sleep is more than worth it.
2. Flip it over
If you fall asleep quickly, you would be amazed at how much cooler the reverse side of your pillow actually is. Seriously, slide your hand under there and you will see what I mean.
By flipping your pillow over you will be able to rest on the cooler side, which may be all that is needed to take your mind of your warm pillow and drift off to sleep.
But even your flipped pillow will quickly warm up. And unfortunately you can’t keep flipping it, otherwise you will never fall asleep.
I do not fall asleep quick enough for this cooling method to be successful. I found that the cool side of the pillow heated up just as quick as the side I rest on when I first get into bed.
3. The Ice Pack
The next best way to keep your pillow cool is to use an ice pack. While ice packs are not suitable to sleep with when applied to injury, they do a great job at cooling your pillow down.
Simply place an ice pack in your freezer a few hours before bedtime. Just before your about to slide between the sheets, remove the ice pack from your freezer and slide it underneath your pillow case.
Now all that’s left to do is to place your head on your pillow as you normally would and doze off, as the ice pack chills your pillow.
Now while you can use any old ice pack, I found that the gel type worked bed. Those hard plastic ice packs are not particularly comfortable to sleep on. Instead, I used a flat gel pack that was designed to treat injury.
When choosing your gel pack, pick one with a large surface area. This way your head will remain cool even as you toss and turn at night. Smaller gel packs can get bunched up or squashed to the side of your pillow.
If you got the extra cash to drop you could even purchase a purpose made ice pack for your pillow, like the Chillow.
At first I used a smaller gel pack which, while effective, felt awkward. My face slept half on the ice pack and half on the pillow. While my pillow did remain cool, it was far from my most comfortable sleep.
But swapping out to a larger gel pack did the trick. My head rested square on the ice pack, cooling every part of my face that came into contact.
I would just like to point out that this method is best for those of you who find your pillow too hot to comfortably fall asleep. While the gel pack stays cool for the first few hours, if you awake in the middle of the night you will be rewarded with a gel pack that is now room temperature.
Don’t forget to stick your gel pack back in the freezer the next morning. This way it will be ready to cool your pillow the next night.
4. Recycle an old t-shirt
We all have one laying around. A printed t-shirt that’s too embarrassing for to wear in public.
For me it’s a vintage Aqua 1998 Tour T-shirt I picked up at the thrift shop for a 90’s dress up party.. Remember when Aqua were a thing?
Come on Barbie, let’s go party…
As much as I love the song, I wouldn’t wear a t-shirt with the band members faces on it in public.
While it may seem like I am getting side tracked, a printed t-shirt can actually keep your pillow cool at night.1
Simply wrap your pillow in your t-shirt and sleep on the print. The print remains cooler than the surface of the pillow, which may be all the relief you need to doze off.
I had mixed success with this method of cooling my pillow. While the print remained cool, the years had not been kind to the t-shirt and there were areas that were starting to flake. This felt uncomfortably scratchy against my skin.
5. Freeze your pillow
I am listing this method last because It was the method I found to be the most impractical. But More on that in a minute.
Anything that goes in the freezer gets cold. By wrapping your pillow in a plastic bag (to stop it from getting wet) and placing it in the freezer, case and all, you will cool your pillow down and give you an icy surface to sleep on.
Sounds simple enough, right?
In practice, it just doesn’t work that well.
I don’t know about you but my freezer is typically overflowing with freezer meals and frozen meat. I couldn’t possibly squeeze in another container, let alone a whole pillow.
So for the purpose of testing this I called in the help of my neighbor. It just so happens that he had a chest freezer with enough free room to freeze every pillow in my entire house, if I wanted.
So I wrapped my pillow up in a plastic bag and left it in the freezer for 8 hours. I removed the pillow before bed and raced home to try it out.
While the pillow felt cool to the touch at first, it warmed itself back well before I had fallen asleep.
I thought perhaps it might have been the material of my pillow, which at the time was synthetic. So I repeated my test with foam and cotton filling. The results were much the same. A cool pillow that quickly warmed.
Maybe you will have more luck. For me, this pillow cooling technique failed to impress.
6. Splash cold water on your face
If cooling your pillow seems impossible then I have one last thing to try – cooling the very thing that is responsible for your pillow heating up. That’s right, your head.
Before your head hit’s the pillow, wash your face with cold water. Patting your neck and shoulders will help too. Now all that’s left to do is to dry your self off and rest your face on your pillow.
Because your face is cold your pillow won’t warm up as quickly, allowing you to drift off to sleep without your mind getting distracted by your boiling hot pillow.
Now the only thing left to do is repeat these steps on each hot night until winter comes. And then it’s time to do the reverse… Warming yourself up on a cold night. Wouldn’t it be great if temperature didn’t fluctuate?
How do you cool down your pillow? Let me know in the comments below!