Science is behind those who find it hard to sleep during heat waves or unending hot summers. Research has determined the best temperature for sleeping is 60 degrees to 67 degrees.
Many people, though, have difficulty sleeping no matter what the thermostat is set at because their internal temperature doesn’t drop the average of 2 degrees most people experience as they drift into sleep.
You can experience night sweats and other heat-related disturbances because your body’s ability to regulate its temperature can be disrupted by many factors, including menopause, hypothyroidism, raising metabolism by eating or exercising too close to bedtime, low blood sugar or certain medications.
Cooling pillows are one of the most accessible solutions to overheated slumber, using materials developed by NASA or in other high-tech settings to enable a more comfortable, restful night of sleep. They are made in three basic forms that can serve slightly different functions.
Breathable pillows are designed to circulate air throughout its filling and cover, using a cotton cover and microfiber fill to create a cooling effect and prevent perspiration from pooling on the surface. They don’t actually bring your temperature down but can be effective by altering your perception of the conditions. These are the most affordable of the three cooling pillow options, but aren’t always effective when ambient temperatures are elevated.
Cooling gel pillows
Produced from memory foam infused with cooling gel, these do aim to lower your bodily temperature. The gel is usually concentrated on one side of the pillow and feels cool to the touch through the effects of transference, or continuously transferring heat to a surface which can disperse it. These products allow you to enjoy the benefits of memory foam without trying to sleep through the downside of its lack of breathability.
Phase-changing material (PCM) pillows
PCM is the option that originated at NASA, a fabric created from beads containing a type of wax to trap, hold and then release heat. It’s usually contained in the cover over the pillow to act as a buffer between you and the heat your body creates, reducing perspiration. Prices can vary but these tend to be more expensive than breathable or cooling gel versions.