The best cooling pillows of 2024, tried and tested to prevent night sweats

best cooling pillows
Snuggledown, REM-Fit, JML, Asda, Simba and M&S made our review of the best cooling pillows

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If you struggle to get to sleep because you’re too hot or you toss and turn through the night, flipping your pillow trying to find the cool spots, a cooling pillow could be for you. They’re designed to either actively cool you down in bed or, more commonly, to stop you overheating as you sleep. We tested a range of products to find the best cooling pillow, from those that rely on the material of the fillings or covers to regulate your body temperature to cooling gel pillows that are cold to the touch.

“Some pillows (especially ones filled with feather down or solid memory foam) can trap heat, meaning the sleeper may overheat during the night and wake up because they’re too hot,” says Dr Lindsay Browning, psychologist, neuroscientist and sleep expert for And So To Bed. “Cooling pillows or pillow covers may help you regulate your temperature and stay cooler during the night, potentially helping you to sleep better.”

Who would benefit from a cooling pillow? “If your bedroom is too hot in the summer or your partner likes to keep the bedroom warmer than you’d like, a cooling pillow may help you sleep,” says Dr Browning. “Some people can also be especially sensitive to overheating at night, such as those experiencing menopausal hot flashes or an overactive thyroid. When we’re too hot, it is very difficult to sleep.

“Starting around two hours before we fall asleep and until morning, our core body temperature drops by around 1C. This coincides with an increase in skin temperature through vasodilation. If the room we are in is too warm, then our core body temperature will struggle to drop and we will find falling asleep and staying asleep more difficult.”

Which are the best cooling pillows in 2024? At a glance

What makes a cooling pillow cool?

There’s a variety of technologies that make cooling pillows cool, including fabrics that wick moisture away from your head and neck. The majority work by being more breathable than standard pillows.

“Breathable pillows help to keep you cool by allowing air to flow freely throughout the pillow,” says Dr Browning. “Other cooling pillows use technology (either gel or phase-change materials) to aid the cooling process. Cooling gel pillows feel cool to the touch and absorb heat, using conduction to disperse the heat away.

“Other technology uses phase-change materials (PCM), which are substances made into beads and typically spread throughout the filling. They absorb heat to change from a solid to a liquid within the bead, reducing the temperature of the pillow.’

How I tested the best cooling pillows

best cooling pillows 2024
Lisa tested the best cooling pillows for several weeks each

I slept on the pillows over the course of a month. I was primarily assessing whether they kept me cool as I was going to sleep, whether this lasted with my head in one position or whether I needed to move to or turn the pillow over and how well I slept throughout the night. I also noted whether I woke up feeling sweaty in the morning.

Even if it cools well, a pillow needs to be comfortable, so I also considered which sleeping position they suited (side, back, front), how they felt to sleep on and their level of support for my head and neck. Lastly, I assessed whether they represent good value for money, whether cheap or very expensive.

Best cooling pillows

1. Marks & Spencer Comfortably Cool Medium Pillows (two pack)

£35 for two, M&S

Best cooling pillow overall, 10/10

We like: the effective cooling

We don’t like: doesn’t have a premium feel

Marks & Spencer Comfortably Cool Medium Pillows (two pack) best cooling pillow 2024
Marks & Spencer: wicks moisture from your skin
  • Fill type: 100 per cent polyester

  • Cover material: 100 per cent cotton

  • Firmness: Medium

  • Size 74cm x 48cm

  • Machine washable: Wash at 40C and tumble dry on low heat

I didn’t get the actively cool sensation through a pillowcase of some of the other pillows I tested, but this pillow’s Comfortably Cool technology is designed to regulate temperature by drawing moisture away from you quickly as you sleep. I didn’t overheat or sweat at all on warm nights when I might usually wake up in the morning with a clammy feeling around the neck and head.

M&S says that it’s suitable for both side and back sleepers and I’d agree with that – it’s very comfortable, offering just the right amount of support when I slept on my side, keeping my head and neck level with my body, but not too bulky if I rolled onto my back.

This is quite basic as pillows go (no zip-off cover, thick cover fabric or hi-tech filling) and it doesn’t have the premium feel of some of the more expensive pillows I tested, but it’s well made and the filling didn’t move about or become lumpy while I was testing. It’s good value for money as you get two in the pack, and I like the fact that it’s washable and can be put into the tumble dryer so that you can easily keep it clean and wash and dry it in a day.

It gives a nod to the planet too, with 30 per cent of the polyester being recycled, and the cotton used is from the Better Cotton initiative which means that it is responsibly sourced. As there are no animal products in the pillow, it’s suitable for vegans.

I tested the Medium firmness, but you can also buy the pillow in Firm if you prefer less give in your pillow. No bells and whistles here, but it does what it says on the tin.

£35 for two

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2. Silentnight Cool Touch Pillow

£30, Amazon

Best value cooling gel pillow, 9/10

We like: the cold feel of the gel inlay

We don’t like: lying on a gel pad takes getting used to

Silentnight Cool Touch Pillow best cooling pillow 2024
Silentnight: uses cool-to-touch gel
  • Fill type: 100 per cent polyester

  • Cover material: Polyester with gel inlay

  • Firmness: Medium

  • Size (in cm) 74cm x 48cm

  • Machine washable: Inner pillow 40C/outer cover sponge wash only

This pillow has a bobbly cooling gel pad built into one side, which I thought might feel strange under my head when I ran my hands over it, but I didn’t notice it all once I was lying on it. Sleeping on a gel surface takes getting used to compared with a regular pillow, but I adjusted after a couple of nights.

The coolness of the gel inlay is pressure activated and I could feel it immediately through the pillowcase. If it takes you a while to get to sleep, you need to move your head across the pillow as the patch you’ve been lying on feels less cool after a few minutes, but I didn’t wake up feeling hot or sweaty on warm nights. The outer cover with the gel inlay zips off so you can put it in the fridge for a short time to make it extra cool on hot nights, which I really liked.

It’s a good height for people who like to side sleep and back sleep as it’s not too high, and has the perfect level of support – not too cushy and not too firm. A good value pillow and it does its job well.


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3. JML Chillmax Pillow Insert

£13.99, Amazon

Best cooling pillow for night sweats, 9/10

We like: the active chill

We don’t like: the change in pillow feel

JML Chillmax Pillow Insert best cooling pillow
JML: designed to fit between a pillow and pillowcase
  • Fill type: Gel

  • Cover material: 100 per cent polyamide

  • Firmness: Soft

  • Machine washable: No

This clever insert is a flexible, gel-filled pad that you slide between your pillow and pillowcase. It actively cools you down, rather than just stopping you getting hot. It feels very cool to the touch and can be used as it is if you want to lie on it directly. Even when used inside the pillowcase, its coolness really comes through and feels refreshing. For extra coldness, you can put it in the fridge (but not freezer) before bedtime.

It fits well across a standard-size pillow and is comfortable to lie on, moulding well to your head, although you do lose the plush softness of the pillow underneath and it takes getting used to. It’s worth it, though, if you struggle to fall asleep because of being too hot and it’s a cheaper option than buying a whole new pillow. You can wipe it clean, which makes it a good gel option. Most are built into the pillow, meaning the pillow itself can’t be washed.

It’s portable, so it could be taken away with you if you’re going somewhere hot, and it can also be used as a laptop cooling pad, seat cushion or for putting hot feet on during the day or at night.


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4. Simba Hybrid Pillow

£109, Simba

Best customisable cooling pillow, 9/10

We like: the height adjustability

We don’t like: the price

Simba Hybrid Pillow best cooling pillow
Simba: an impressive five layers
  • Fill type: Nanocube core filling foam

  • Cover material: Cotton with ‘Stratos’ finish

  • Firmness: Firm but adjustable

  • Size: 45cm x 70cm

  • Machine washable: Cover washable at 40C

This has Stratos temperature control (a patented technology) on one side of the pillow that draws away excess body heat and it has a cool feel when you lay your head on it. A bonus is that you can lie directly on it without a pillowcase as it’s washable.

The ‘cool’ side of the pillow is indicated by the blue piping. I used it on several warm nights and didn’t sweat at all. The inner is filled with small foam cubes which allow more air to flow through the pillow than one made of solid foam. A breathable mesh border helps with this.

Its height is adjustable by removing some of the foam cubes from the inner pillow, which is good because it felt quite high for me with all the cubes in there, but better once a few were taken out. It also reduced the firmness of the pillow, which I found to be too firm with all the cubes in. It comes with a little storage bag for the cubes, so you can take them in and out if you want to. It’s hard to find a pillow that suits you perfectly, and the adjustability of this one perhaps justifies the high price.


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5. Tempur Cloud Smartcool Pillow

£149, Tempur

Best cooling pillow for combination sleepers, 9/10

We like: plush comfort

We don’t like: the price

Tempur Cloud Smartcool Pillow best cooling pillow 2024
Tempur: washable cover
  • Fill type: Viscoelastic spherical shaped, open cells

  • Cover material: 61 per cent polyester, 38 per cent polyethylene, one per cent elastane

  • Firmness: Medium

  • Size: 74cm x 50cm

  • Machine washable: Cover can be washed at 40C/pillow not washable

The cover is woven with Tempur SmartCool Technology that’s designed to absorb excess body heat. It feels cool and refreshing to the touch even through a pillowcase, although you can sleep directly on it for maximum cooling effect as the cover is washable, and it kept me cool throughout the night.

Tempur Adapt Material within the pillow is billed as body-conforming pressure relief and it does just that – when you lay your head on it, it sinks slowly but surely into total, blissful comfort. I found it comfortable for both side and back sleeping, and even front sleeping if you sleep on the edge of it, but the Soft option might be a better bet if that’s your preferred position.

One thing to note is that this is a heavy pillow, which isn’t a problem if the pillow stays where it is, but might be if you like travelling with your own pillow.

It’s very expensive, but the brand offers free delivery to mainland UK addresses and a 30-night pillow trial, so if you can decide for yourself whether it’s worth the investment or not. It feels high quality and comes with a three-year guarantee.


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6. Snuggledown Bliss Extra Deep Cool Touch Pillow

£48.50, Amazon

Best cooling pillow for side-sleepers, 9/10

We like: the defined shape

We don’t like: the height

Snuggledown Bliss Extra Deep Cool Touch Pillow best cooling pillow 2024
Snuggledown Bliss Extra Deep Cool Touch Pillow best cooling pillow 2024
  • Fill type: Memory foam

  • Cover material: 50 per cent polyester, 50 per cent polyethylene

  • Firmness: Firm

  • Size: 38cm x 64cm x 10cm

  • Machine washable: Zip-off cover is washable and tumble dry on low heat

This pillow is a cuboid shape (with rounded edges) and has a memory foam filling. The cooling cover feels refreshing to the touch and kept my head and neck at a nice temperature throughout the night. I didn’t get sweaty at all as you might expect with memory foam, aided by the inner memory foam section having air holes through it to allow air to flow through it and help keep it breathable. You could sleep directly on the soft, Cool Touch cover as it’s machine washable and you can tumble dry it, while the inner has a protective layer around it that is sponge clean only.

My head sank comfortably into it, but not too far. It’s billed as a pillow with firm support. If you don’t like cushy pillows that swamp your head and prefer something offering resistance combined with just enough give to feel comforting, then this pillow is a good option. It’s described as ‘extra deep’ and suitable for side sleepers, but I found it quite high even for that so it would probably suit broader people.

Overall, it offers good value for money as it’s not overly expensive but has good technical features.


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7. Just Wellness by George Tencel Summer Cool Pillow

£13, Asda

Best budget cooling pillow, 8/10

We like: the support

We don’t like: sleeping on our back on it

Just Wellness by George Tencel Summer Cool Pillow best cooling pillow 2024
Asda: washing machine and tumble dryer friendly
  • Fill type: 100 per cent polyester

  • Cover material: 32 per cent polyethylene, 30 per cent Tencel, 21 per cent polyester, 17 per cent nylon

  • Firmness : Medium

  • Size: 74cm x 48cm

  • Machine washable: Wash at 40C and can be tumble dried

Although I didn’t get the actively cool sensation through a pillowcase that I did with some of the other pillows I tested, I slept through the night and woke up at a normal temperature with no clamminess. The cover contains Tencel lyocell fibres, enhancing its breathability and making it extremely soft against the skin. You could sleep on this without a pillowcase if you wished, since the whole pillow is washable and can be tumble dried as well. However I don’t think this would add much benefit and would require it to be washed more often.

It says it’s ideal for back sleepers but I found it too high for that, with my head being pushed towards my chin. For a side-sleeper, it’s about right if you like a pillow towards the higher side (although it’s not too high). I found that it kept my head and neck level with my spine in that position. The medium support is just that – firm enough to provide support, but soft enough to sink into for a comfortable night’s sleep. This is a well-made pillow and a good budget option.


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8. iGel Side Sleeper Deep Pillow

£79.99, Bensons for Beds

Best high cooling pillow, 8/10

We like: a nice balance of firm but supportive

We don’t like: the height, for a shorter person

iGel Side Sleeper Deep Pillow best cooling pillow
iGel: designed for side sleepers
  • Fill type: Memory foam and foam blend: 100 per cent polyurethane

  • Cover material : 100 per cent polyester microfibre

  • Firmness: Firm (in our opinion)

  • Machine washable: No, spot clean only

The memory foam filling of this pillow is described as having ‘phase change crystals’ inside that respond to your temperature to absorb, store and release heat as you need it. It uses graphene in place of the usual synthetic materials. It didn’t have an actively cool feeling when I laid my head on it, but I didn’t sweat during the night or wake up feeling hot. You do need to use a pillowcase as it’s not washable.

The pillow is billed as having gentle pressure relief and it does offer that, but with firm support – I didn’t sink far into it. Designed for side sleepers, this pillow is only for people who like a very high pillow (it does say that it’s specially designed to be higher than standard pillows), so it’s perhaps best suited to tall or broad side-sleepers who often find pillows too low.

It was far too high for me. For reference, I’m 5ft 5in, and prefer having my head level with my spine when I’m on my side. It feels well made and durable and comes with a one-year warranty.


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Bensons for Beds

9. REM-Fit 500 Cool Gel Pillow

£49.50, Rem-Fit

Best support for all sleep positions, 8/10

We like: the comfort and support

We don’t like: not as cooling as others we tested

REM-Fit 500 Cool Gel Pillow best cooling pillow 2024
REM-Fit: supports spinal alignment
  • Fill type: Viscoelastic polyurethane foam with gel powders and gel pad

  • Cover material: 40 per cent Lyocell from Tencel/60 per cent polyester

  • Firmness: Medium/firm

  • Size: 64cm x 40cm x 12cm

  • Machine washable: Outer cover wash at 40C/inner pillow sponge clean only

This is a cuboid-shaped pillow (with rounded edges) with a cool gel-infused memory foam inner pillow and a cover with hypoallergenic Re-Ax fibres, designed to absorb excess heat and wick sweat away from the body during the night. The mesh borders are supposed to help to make it more breathable, but I found this pillow to be less breathable and cooling than others I tested.

However, I still slept very deeply on it as it’s incredibly comfortable. It’s billed as being perfect for any sleeping position and I’d agree – I found it to be the ideal height for side, back and front sleeping. The gel memory foam inner allowed my head and neck to sink in just the right amount to be supported, but without feeling propped up. The outer cover zips off so that you can wash it, and the pillow as a whole feels well made and has a five-year warranty.


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10. Slumberdown Luxury Cool Touch Medium Pillow

£14, Asda

Best cheap cooling pillow, 8/10

We like: the price

We don’t like: sleeping on our backs on it

Slumberdown Luxury Cool Touch Medium Pillow best cooling pillows 2024
Slumberdown: Hydrocool technology absorbs moisture
  • Fill type: 100 per cent polyester

  • Cover material: 100 per cent polyester treated with Hydrocool

  • Firmness: Medium

  • Size : 74cm x 48cm

  • Machine washable: Wash at 40C and can be tumble dried

The cover of this pillow uses Hydrocool technology to absorb moisture and transfer it to the face of the fabric where it can evaporate. I didn’t sweat while sleeping on this pillow or wake up feeling clammy. The quilted cover is soft and comfortable with a subtly cool feel against your face and has a nice piped edge. You could use it without a pillowcase as the whole pillow can be washed, but it would need washing often if you did that and I don’t think it would add much.

Designed for back sleepers and billed as providing medium support, I found it just a touch too high for back sleeping and it strays slightly into the firmer category for me, which makes it a better option for a side sleeper who doesn’t like to sink too far into pillows. It’s a palatable price so it’s easy to try it to see if it suits you without too much of an investment.


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Cooling pillows FAQ

Do cooling pillows wear out?

“All pillows have a finite lifespan, since we shed dead skin cells and sweat through the night, which are absorbed within the pillow itself,” says sleep expert Dr Lindsay Browning. “This is why it is so important to regularly wash pillows. Cooling pillows with a gel layer or phase-change materials can be difficult to wash.”

How do you use a cooling pillow?

“Cooling pillows don’t need any special way of using,” says Dr Browning. “Simply put your normal (but preferably non-polyester) pillowcase on them as usual, and then lay your head on the pillow to activate. You shouldn’t need to turn them over to get cool because they will already regulate the temperature more easily. Pillows with a gel layer can’t be turned over because the gel layer is only on one side. For maximum cooling, especially during a heat wave, you may want to put the gel layer of your pillow into the fridge before bed, but make sure it’s not too cold directly on your head before going to sleep.’

How do you wash a cooling pillow?

This depends on the composition of the pillow, so follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Some can be washed by putting the whole pillow in the machine and then air dried (make sure you have enough time to allow it to fully dry out before sleeping on it) or tumble dried.

Memory foam pillows don’t tend to be washable, but look out for removable covers that can be zipped off and washed and tumble dried. Pillows with gel pads are less likely to be fully washable, but the pads are generally wipe-clean, and you can use a pillowcase to protect the pillow. Opt for cotton, bamboo, linen or hemp pillowcases for breathability.