How to stay cool while sleeping — 7 best cooling mattresses, toppers and pillows

A woman with long brown hair smiles at the camera while lying on a cooling pillow placed on a cooling mattress
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Feeling too hot to fall asleep is miserable, as is waking up in the middle of the night because you're too warm. This could be down to room temperature or the weather (summer heatwaves are just around the corner), but it could also be because you're dealing with overheating, night sweats or hot flashes (flushes). 

While all of this year's best mattresses for all sleepers offer temperature regulation, you may need a specialist cooling mattress if you’re a hot sleeper. Temperature regulation can come from naturally breathable and organic materials (such as latex) through to high-tech cooling technology Fortunately, there are plenty of options available to you. 

Here we’ve picked out the best cooling mattresses, cooling mattress toppers and cooling pillows to help you sleep well in summer and during any major heatwaves.

How does temperature affect sleep?

Body temperatures fluctuate throughout the day, but it drops closer to bedtime to help us fall asleep easier. A cool bedroom helps this process of getting our bodies ready faster for sleep.

A woman with curly dark hair lies awake in bed fanning herself because she's too hot to sleep

(Image credit: Getty Images)

While we sleep our bodies go through a process known as thermoregulation – maintaining a stable internal temperature. If your mattress and pillow aren't helping to keep you cool, and are instead causing you to overheat, thermoregulation can be interfered with. In turn you could struggle to stay asleep or experience frequent wake-ups. 

You should be aiming for a room temperature of around 60-68F, as this will mirror your body’s temperature curve.

How to stay cool while sleeping: Top products

Cooling mattresses

Cooling mattresses dissipate heat and promote better airflow to stop you overheating. The best cooling mattresses are made with either naturally cooling materials like latex, or use app-controlled cooling solutions.

Cocoon by Sealy Chill Cooling Mattress: Was from $619$399 at Cocoon by Sealy

Cocoon by Sealy Chill Cooling Mattress: Was from $619 $399 at Cocoon by Sealy
The Cocoon by Sealy Chill is remarkably good value for a cooling mattress (it costs $699 for a queen on sale and you'll get $179 of free bedding). It offers pressure relief and some light contouring from the memory foam. The mattress stays cool to the touch thanks to its Phase Change Material (PCM) cover that helps regulate temperature by dissipating heat. It is perhaps too soft for heavier bodies and for maximum cooling, we would recommend upgrading to the hybrid version, which will cost you more.

GhostBed Luxe Cooling Mattress: was from $2,595$1,298 at GhostBed

GhostBed Luxe Cooling Mattress: was from $2,595 $1,298 at GhostBed
The GhostBed Luxe has is the best cooling bed we've tested. Starting with the brand’s Ghost Ice cover that remains cool to the touch, next up is a layer of cooling fiber followed by a layer of gel memory foam. Underneath this is the Ghost Ice layer, featuring patented thermos-sensitivity technology designed to sense heat while you sleep and adjust the temperature accordingly. As we explain in our GhostBed Luxe mattress review, it's great for side sleepers too thanks to ample contouring and pressure relief.

Cooling mattress toppers

Many of the best mattress toppers contain materials similar to those found in cooling mattresses to help regulate temperature. Cooling mattress toppers, usually two-four inches tall, are a cheaper way to cool your existing bed.

Saatva Graphite Mattress Topper: from $325 at Saatva

Saatva Graphite Mattress Topper: from $325 at Saatva
The Saatva is a luxury mattress topper that doesn’t appear in the monthly Saatva mattress sale. But if you’re prone to back pain and struggling to get comfortable on your existing mattress, it could be a godsend. As we explain in our Saatva Graphite Mattress Topper review, not only does it help with aches and pains, but its graphite layer draws heat away from the body to help keep sleepers cool through the night.

Casper Comfy Mattress Topper: was from $199$179 at Casper

Casper Comfy Mattress Topper: was from $199 $179 at Casper
Casper's popular mattress topper is particularly well-suited to side sleepers, thanks to a deep contouring feel and excellent pressure relief. It keeps sleepers cool using Casper’s AirScape perforated foam which, despite its seeming simplicity, does an excellent job of drawing heat away from the body and keeping sleepers cool at night. We rated it highly for cooling in our Casper Comfy Mattress Topper review and feel its good value for the performance.

Cooling pillows

We can carry a lot of heat in our heads, so a cooling pillow could be enough for many people to sleep well during summer. The best pillows for hot sleepers are made with sweat-wicking, temperature-regulating gels, foams and latex.

Casper Foam Pillow with Snow Technology: was from $139$125.10 at Casper

Casper Foam Pillow with Snow Technology: was from $139 $125.10 at Casper
The Casper Foam Pillow with Snow Technology is packed with features to keep your head cool. Made up of three layers of memory foam dotted with hundreds of perforations to help wick away heat, the pillow is supportive in all sleep positions. There are also graphite strips positioned between the foam layers and the brand’s ‘Snow Technology’ with a cover infused with PCM material.

Layla Kapok Pillow: from $109 at Layla Sleep

Layla Kapok Pillow: from $109 at Layla Sleep
The outer cover of Layla’s pillow is made from a polyester / viscose blend with copper fibers woven in for cooling and antimicrobial properties. Copper is an excellent conductor of heat and helps to keep sleepers cool. Adjustable loft means that you can add or remove the fill to your liking and customers say the pillow provides excellent neck support.

How to sleep better in hot weather: Top tips

Sleeping well when the weather turns hot is down to a number of factors. These are our top tips for keeping cool...

  • Invest in a cooling mattress topper, mattress and / or pillow: As we’ve discussed in this guide, investing in cooling products for your bedroom can make a huge difference to your sleep. By keeping your body cool throughout the night, you’re less likely to wake up or have disturbed sleep.
  • Create airflow in the room: As well as your bed staying cool, you want the ambient temperature in your bedroom to be as cool as possible as well. Throughout the day, keep windows on both sides of the house open to create airflow and shut curtains, blinds or shutters to keep the sun from heating a room. 
  • Consider a fan: Some people find even quiet fans too noisy for sleep, whilst others find them soothing as well as cooling. If you can sleep comfortably with a fan on, try adding some cool water in a bowl in front of the fan to help blow cool air around the room.
  • Switch to a summer duvet: Some people prefer duvets to sheets, but if you’re one of them make sure you choose one of the best duvets with a low tog rating. Most summer duvets have a tog rating of 4.5, and a thinner duvet will help to keep you cooler at night, which in turn will help you sleep better.
  • Invest in breathable bedding: Lastly, make sure that you’re using breathable bedding that won’t trap heat and make your bed warmer. Linen and cotton are both breathable materials that will help to keep air circulating and you comfortable.
Jo Plumridge
Mattress tester and sleep writer

Jo Plumridge is an experienced mattress reviewer with several years' experience covering all things mattresses and sleep, and who tests memory foam, hybrid and organic mattresses. What Jo doesn't know about a boxed mattress isn't worth knowing, so naturally we tasked her with producing a series of features for Tom's Guide looking at all aspects of mattresses, from how to pick between latex and memory foam (it's a tricky one), to the seven mistakes people make when buying a mattress for the first time. When testing the DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid for Tom's Guide, Jo said: "I loved the back support and pressure relief it offered. Plus, it looks far more expensive than it is." When she isn’t writing about sleep, Jo also writes extensively on interior design, home products and photography.