Whether you prefer old flannel pajamas, a silk nightgown, or nothing at all, what you sleep in (or more importantly, on) can affect the quality of your sleep. If you are a sweaty sleeper or looking to avoid restless nights during the summer months, cooling bedding can help you get better rest in addition to a quality air conditioner.
Constructed with lightweight materials and moisture-wicking fabrics, cooling mattresses can help regulate temperature for a dry and comfortable snooze. However, with more and more fabrics on the market claiming to have cooling properties, it can feel overwhelming to figure out the right product for you. To help, we consulted experts on what to look for when you’re shopping and rounded up some of the best cooling bedding options based on their feedback.
How we picked the best cooling bedding products
To find the best cooling mattresses, sheets and pillows, we spoke to experts who recommended prioritizing the following factors. We also relied on Select staff favorite options and included products picked as Select Wellness Awards winners for their overall quality and effectiveness.
- Materials: Experts told us that lightweight or moisture-wicking fabrics do the best job of keeping you from overheating at night by keeping water (like sweat) on the surface of your bedding, where it can more quickly evaporate. They recommended looking out for fabrics like bamboo, cotton, microfiber and Tencel.
- Ventilation: Some mattresses and pillows are constructed with foam, which can trap heat. Built-in vents (often in the form of perforations in the foam) can help that heat escape.
- Special cooling features: Some items offer things like cooling gel or a cool-to-the-touch feeling as an added benefit. The first is commonly found in pillows and can absorb body heat and dissipate it. The latter often involves a brand using proprietary material or technology that provides instant relief when you crawl into bed, which can be nice during the dog days of summer.
Eight Sleep’s Pod Pro is a mattress for techies who want to track and control different aspects of their sleep, like temperature. You can set the mattress temperature for either side of the bed from your phone, ideal for partners with different sleeping preferences. This mattress is equipped with embedded sensor technology that responds to factors like humidity and local weather. This mattress might be best for people who are very specific about what temperature they want: It’s basically like having an AC unit in your bed.
This mattress is recommended by neurologist and certified sleep specialist Dr. W. Christopher Winter, who also served as an expert panelist during Select’s Wellness Awards. The M3 allows you to choose a different level of mattress firmness than your partner and its ventilation panels are meant to help air circulate and keep humidity from accumulating. The top cover is made from the brand’s proprietary fabric, which they say feels silky and cool, and is removable, making it easier to wash. You can use this mattress on either an adjustable, slatted or box spring base.
If purchasing a brand new mattress is out of our budget, consider a cooling mattress pad or topper—which can be placed on top of your regular mattress. This option has a 4.4-average star rating from 21,858 reviews on Amazon and is made with a moisture-wicking, breathable microfiber to help air circulate around your body more easily. In addition to cooling you down, it adds a plushness to your mattress, making it ideal for those who prefer a softer sleep surface.
This machine-washable mattress pad has a 4.4-average star rating from 8,443 reviews on Amazon. It’s made from bamboo, which experts told us is cooling and breathable, and has a thin layer of down alternative filling to add extra cushion to your mattress. This item is also Oeko-Tex certified, meaning the product has passed testing for harmful substances. The topper fits mattresses that are up to 18-inches deep and comes in twin, twin XL, full, queen, king and California king sizes.
Best cooling sheets and comforters
Winter also recommends this Tencel sheet set with the brand’s CoolX Technology that wicks away moisture while you’re sleeping, according to Sheex. The set is designed to get softer the more you wash them, says Sheex. This sheet set can be purchased in queen, king or California king and comes in charcoal, denim, silver and white.
A Select Wellness Award winner, these 400 thread count sheets are 100% cotton and are a great budget option. They’re Oeko-Tex certified and the two Select editors who tried them found them breathable and cool. “I tend to run hot and found these sheets breathable and crisp,” says editor Christina Colizza. “I also really appreciated the smart ‘head’ and ‘foot’ tags that made making the bed easier.” Each set comes with a flat sheet, fitted sheet (for low profile or tall mattresses) and two pillowcases and are available in over 20 colors and patterns.
Another Select Wellness Award winner, these sheets are made of 100% long-staple Egyptian cotton, a material both of our experts said was good for cooling. Reporter Zoe Malin says they strike a nice middle ground between feeling structured yet smooth to the touch. They’re “very crisp, lightweight and breathable sheets,” says Malin. The Oeko-Tex certified sheets soften with each wash, according to Parachute. The set comes in eight colors with a fitted sheet and two pillowcases but no top sheet.
If you’re the kind of person who needs a comforter to sleep, but also runs hot during the night, this top-rated cooling comforter could be a good option for you. Made with a 100% Tencel eucalyptus shell, it’s cool-to-the touch and breathable. Buffy also allows customers free returns within 50 nights, if you use it and decide it is not for you. This comforter has a 4.7-star rating more than 6,400 reviews.
This pillow, a Select Wellness Award is made from the brand’s cooling foam and is customizable to your preferences. Shoppers fill out a questionnaire to customize their cooling pillow to their unique sleep position (like side, back or stomach) and preferred level of firmness. If you tend to run extra hot, the brand will incorporate your customized pillow with their silk-like cool-to-the-touch fibers, according to Pluto. If you don’t need the extra cooling, Pluto will send along an option with a crisp and breathable eucalyptus surface. “I’ve probably never spent more than like $30 on a pillow, but after trying this one, I completely understand why investing in a high quality option is worth it,” says Malin. “This pillow is a great thickness and made my head, neck and back feel supported while sleeping.” The pillow Malin slept on is designed for hot sleepers who need a plush feel.
Winter considers Tempur-Pedic’s cooling products some of the best available. The washable and removable cotton cover of this pillow is cool-to-the-touch, according to the brand. The pillow also is made with a dual-sided cooling gel and is meant to adapt to your shape. It also comes with a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty and Temper-Pedic says they’ll either repair it or replace it for free should it not hold up to normal wear and tear.
This option is made with foam, graphite and a cooling gel — the latter two are meant to pull heat away from the body, according to the brand. The foam is designed to adapt to and support your body while still maintaining its shape. The cover is both washable and breathable. This pillow boasts a 4.4-star rating from 4,381 reviews at Tuft & Needle.
What to look for when shopping for cooling bedding
Both Winter and Dr. Arun Badi, a certified sleep specialist at ENT & Sleep Medicine in Dallas, Texas, say temperature is one of the most important factors that can affect quality of sleep. To achieve an optimal sleeping environment, Winter recommends a temperature of about 65 degrees Fahrenheit. However, he doesn’t recommend relying solely on air conditioning to achieve this: “It’s expensive [and] a bit wasteful to cool an entire bedroom just to make your bed cool,” he says. Instead, he recommends investing in cooling bedding products.
Many brands have specific products they market as cooling bedding — for example, Casper has an entire cooling collection. However, there are other products that contain cooling properties even if they’re not marketed as such. For that reason, it’s helpful to understand exactly what to look for when shopping for bedding that will cool you down. Top qualities to look for are:
- Breathable fabrics: Both Winter and Badi say that materials play a significant role in how cooling bedding is — sometimes even more so than the flashy proprietary technologies that some brands boast about. Look for terms like “moisture-wicking” and “breathable,” as well as materials like cotton, Tencel and bamboo. Moisture-wicking properties refer to a product’s ability to move moisture to the surface of the material, thereby making it easier for it to evaporate, and subsequently dry. Similarly, breathable bedding means a material or product allows air to pass through it more effortlessly, often through to the skin, making it easier for moisture to evaporate. Conversely, our experts recommend avoiding materials that are thick and likely to retain moisture at higher levels, like foam.
- Ventilation and airflow: Many cooling bedding items have ventilation or air flow capabilities. This means fresh air is able to come into the material, pushing old, hotter air out. Similarly, if you’re looking into memory foam, ventilation and airflow features are a must since that material has a tendency to retain heat.
- Cooling gel: A common feature of cool bedding — particularly pillows — cooling gel works by absorbing body heat and dissipating it throughout the pillow. Gel is able to do this without losing its shape, keeping the temperature down throughout the night. Cooling gel is most important in mattresses and pillows that use memory foam, which, again, tends to trap heat.
Meet our experts
At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.
- Dr. Arun Badi is a certified sleep specialist at ENT & Sleep Medicine in Dallas, Texas.
- Dr. W. Christopher Winter is a neurologist, sleep specialist and author of The Rested Child and The Sleep Solution.
Why trust Select?
For this story, we interviewed two experts to gather their guidance and product recommendations. We also researched highly-rated cooling mattresses, sheets and pillows based on their advice.