Why use a cooling pillow?
Cooling off is a necessary step in order to sleep. Our body temperature, which varies throughout the day, needs to drop at night for us to catch some Z's. This is where cooling pillows enter the dance.
You may think maintaining a cool bedroom temperature would enable this natural process to take place... and you may be right! It's enough for plenty of people. But some of us will spend hours sleepless in our bed, repeatedly switching our pillow in search of this fleeting cooler side. Based on my non-scientific research, I would say flipping the pillow to the cooler side is done by more than 50% of the population. Don't trust me? Ask ten of your friends, you'll see!
This is completely logical as we sometimes struggle to drop our core temperature and the head is one of the major heat exchangers in the body.
Your beloved pillow may also be responsible for some of that struggle. Memory foam pillows do not let your head breath. They are made from viscoelastic polyurethane which has a low breathability and doesn't release heat.
Air conditioning? It can help, no doubt. Remember, ideal bedroom temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67°F (16 to 20°C). But it also comes with tradeoffs: AC can be noisy, it decreases room humidity, it uses a lot of power, it's always hard to find the right temperature for both you and your partner, ...
Cooling pillow options
Luckily, there are plenty of options on the market, from bamboo covers to gel pads and high-tech solutions. Here are the available solutions, ranked by category.
- What is it?
They come in two forms, with either the gel integrated in the pillow or simply as a gel pad that you can insert on top of your existing pillow.
But it also came with a lot of issues: the Chillow would become warmer, sometimes more than your regular pillow, it would also leak and smell plasticky. Poor quality and a lot of negative reviews explain why its production has since been stopped.
There are still a few knockoffs available on Amazon. Buy at your own risk.
Then came cooling-gel pillows. They look like your regular pillow except they include a gel layer to keep you cool. The gel layer regulates temperature, disperses heat and promotes airflow.
Some of our favorites include the Cloud Memory Foam Pillow with Dual Option Cooling-Gel ($55) and Classic Brands Reversible Cool Gel and Memory Foam ($24):
- How does it work?
Similarly to a "classic" pillow, the gel layer falls to room temperature, which feels cool for our body. The difference is that the gel will then maintain that cool sensation for a longer time.
The problem? Your pillow will still end up hot, even if it takes longer. Depending on the quality of the pillow, the cooling effect may not last more than ten minutes.
Gel pads can start at less than $10. Cooling-gel pillows will usually be priced between $30 and $200 depending on the quality, with some premium options at even higher price point.
- What is it?
Bamboo fibers are combined with other natural or synthetic threads to create a uniquely soft pillow casing. Please note that the bamboo fibers are only part of the casing. The "bamboo pillows" are generally filled with a shredded memory foam.
- How does it work?
Natural fibers are more breathable and bamboo-based materials have above average airflow. They also provide micro-venting and great absorbency that will move moisture away from your skin surface.
That makes bamboo pillows slightly better than regular pillows at keeping your head cool. But that's not their main feature.
Bamboo pillows are mostly advertised for their comfort and their hypoallergenic qualities.
Also, be careful about the quality some of the claims made bamboo pillows manufacturer. Savvy Rest has listed some facts to remember about bamboo pillows, including their potential toxicity.
Cheapest options start at $20 with the most premium choices being close to $300.
- What is it?
Pretty much what you would expect from its name: a pillow filled with buckwheat hulls! This is the opposite of bamboo pillows, here the casing is standard and the name comes from what is filling the pillow.
They are known for their support. You can add or remove buckwheat hulls to adjust the thickness and malleability. You can also move them around to to shape your pillow to your unique contours.
- How does it work?
Buckwheat hulls make heat retention minimal. The triangular shape of buckwheat hulls allow air to pass through easily making it very breathable.
Prices often range $25-$135 depending mainly on size and hull quantity. The average price paid is about $70.
Why is Moona is better than other cooling pillow options?
Ok, I know what you're thinking: "Moona is writing an article about cooling pillow options and conclude that its product is the best. I didn't see that coming". Well, give us a chance to explain.
First, we tried the existing options. Our two founders, Coline and David, both had important sleep issues (see our story here). We looked at the science around the underrated link between sleep and temperature and we did a lot of market research. We believed there was a void to fill. None of the options were entirely satisfying. This is something that has been confirmed over and over. Here are some of the emails we receive every week:
The reason we spent so much energy, and money, developing Moona the past two years is that we're convinced we could offer a significantly better option than what currently exists.
But what exactly makes Moona the best option?
1) Our thermoregulated pad keeps your pillow at your desired temperature CONSTANTLY. This is something no other option can claim. Thanks to water always flowing between the pillow pad and the bedside device, it doesn't warm up with the contact of our skin.
When you go to bed at night, look at what happens to your pillow temperature depending on the option you choose:
2) You can select different temperatures for each moment of the night. That's right, not only will Moona make you fall asleep faster, it will also keep you asleep! This functionality is especially useful for those that struggle with night sweats or hot flashes.
3) The third temperature you can choose on the top right? This is for our delightful "warm wake up" feature. While our body needs to cool down at night, the opposite is true in the morning: you will become more alert by raising your body temperature. Moona gives you the option to set up an alarm and it will progressively raise the temperature of the pad to wake you up. This was one of the favorite features of our testers. They felt like they were waking up naturally every morning.
4) Moona gets better with time. Thanks to a motion sensor located at the edge of the pad, we're able to know the quality of your sleep (Please note: the data is anonymized). We're then able to offer tailored suggestions and improve the efficiency of the product. This is very important to us as we know sleep preferences are very personal.
5) Our app offers sleep coaching. Learn about the healthy sleep habits you could adopt thanks a dedicated section within our app. You can also checkout our blog if you would like to know the 5 habits to adopt for better sleep or the breathing techniques to reduce stress and sleep better.
6) Moona fits will all pillows! You love how comfortable your current pillow is but it just keeps your head warm? We heard you! That's the reason we decided to NOT develop a thermoregulated pillow but a thermoregulated pad. This brings all the benefits of temperature regulation with the ability to keep the pillow that you love. The pad is very thin (19 millimeters, less than one inch) and very comfortable.
It's true, at $399 ($299 if you pre-order before the end of October) Moona is more expensive than the most options mentioned here. This is easy to understand given the technology used and the research behind the product but still. We know this is a big investment. But it is what it is, a long-term investment that will greatly improve your sleep quality. When you put things in perspective, you see that:
- this is cheaper than a cup of espresso a day for a year. As crazy as this sounds, the average workers spends $1100 a year on coffee (source: ABC News)
- better sleep will make you more happier and more productive at work, and thus more likely to get promoted.
You quickly realize that the investment is more than worth it. Sure, you may want to start with a cheaper option. This is likely to make you spend more in the long run as you'll quickly discover its limitations and you'll come back to us sooner or later.
One last word
If you're not convinced yet, we strongly encourage you to listen to the testimonials of our first users. Check out also what the BBC or Engadget had to say after trying one of our early prototypes (and the product is now much better!)
Thanks for making it all the way here. Please tell us if you think we missed something or if you have a question.
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