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It’s not easy to fall asleep when sweat is rolling off you in the fabric sauna your bedroom has morphed into.
However, one often overlooked key ingredient for good sleep is maintaining a cooler temperature in your bedroom. As someone who tends to sleep hot myself, I’ve tested many cooling products over the last decade, with varying degrees of success.
The good news is that whether you’re kept awake by warm weather, hot flashes, or just tend to sleep hot, there are effective ways to cool down your body and bed temperature.
In this article, I’ll be discussing two different ways to keep your bed and body cooler at night: high-tech bed cooling systems that work all night long, and cooling mattress pads that are designed to be breathable or to help wick body heat away.
If you just want a cooler surface to fall asleep on, a more breathable mattress pad or topper might be all you need. But if you’d like powerful or targeted cooling that lasts all night, one of the active bed cooling systems might be a better choice.
Overview of the cooling mattress pads and systems
Eight Sleep Pod 3 Cover
The Eight Sleep Pod 3 cover is my top pick in the cooling mattress pad category. It’s an intelligent bed cooling system that will reliably combat your body heat buildup and create a consistently cool surface to sleep on all night long. The base unit cools (or warms) water that flows through channels in a robust mattress pad. An accompanying app personalizes your experience as the system learns from the sleep tracking data. With a temperature range of 55° – 115° Fahrenheit (12.8° – 46.1° Celsius) and dual-zone controls, you and a partner can independently control your side of the bed. While the price puts it in the luxury category, it’s a worthwhile investment for unbeatable bed cooling.
The BedJet 3 is my top choice if you’d like a programmable bed cooling system that cools with air rather than water. It works with a forced air system that pumps air either inside a boxed cloud sheet or directly under your covers if you prefer. It has excellent fan speed and temperature controls, with a good range of 66° – 104° Fahrenheit (18.9° – 40° Celsius). It’s fully programmable, with multiple timers that let you set the fan speed and temperature at different points in the night. There’s also the option of dual zones if you and your partner have different temperature preferences.
Slumber Cloud Performance Mattress Pad
The Slumber Cloud mattress pad is designed to absorb your body heat and wick away moisture. Using the temperature regulating ‘Outlast’ material that was originally designed for NASA, it’s a good option if you just want a fabric mattress pad that feels cooler rather than one you need to plug in. Just be aware that it has its limitations – if you stay in one position all night, your body heat will eventually win the battle. It’s still a good choice though as the material will feel cool for longer than most standard mattress pads.
Molecule Triple Zone Pro
The Molecule Triple Zone Pro is the most breathable memory foam mattress topper I’ve slept on. It’s air engineered to have an open-cell structure, which creates more space for air to flow than is found in standard memory foam toppers. It provides a soft surface to sleep on, so this is a good option if you like the soft feel and cushioning of memory foam, but don’t want to overheat at night. Like the Slumber Cloud, there’s no active cooling though, so it will start to feel warm if you lie on the same part of the bed all night.
The Leisure Town is an affordable mattress pad that’s more breathable than most other low-cost mattress pads containing artificial fill. The fill is a down alternative, and it comes with a soft cotton cover. It does feel cooler to lie on than many budget mattress pads and will add a comfortable layer of soft padding to your bed. Once again though, the lack of active cooling means it won’t feel cool all night. For the low price, it’s a reasonable choice though – as long as you don’t have serious heat to contend with.
Table 1: Ratings
In table 1 below, you can see how I rate the cooling pads and systems out of 10 in key performance areas: cooling effectiveness, setup and maintenance, comfort, and durability.
The cooling effectiveness is based on two points: how well they cooled me on hotter nights, and how long I felt cool for after initially getting into bed. Those with active cooling naturally score higher because they cope better with the heat buildup from my body.
For set up and maintenance, the toppers and pads are quick to install and don’t require much maintenance beyond a wash or spot clean. The BedJet 3 and Eight Sleep Pod 3 Cover require more effort to install as they come with separate parts. Both need some periodic maintenance, which is quick and easy to do.
The comfort is based on two points: how much they alter the feel of your mattress, and how they feel to lie on in different sleeping positions, based on my preference for a medium-firmness sleep surface.
The durability is based on how long I’ve had them without any faults occurring or flattening under my weight over time.
The first four blue links will take you to the company websites, and the last one to Amazon.
Pod 3 Cover
Table 2: Key features
In table 2 below, you can see which ones tick some of the key boxes I look out for when I test bed cooling systems and mattress pads.
Note that only the Eight Sleep and BedJet 3 have a temperature range because the other three don’t involve any tech, so can’t be programmed to a set temperature.
The Eight Sleep and BedJet do make some noise because they have fans. The BedJet is louder because the fan is larger and used to blow cool air. The Eight Sleep is mostly very quiet, and only tends to be louder when priming (once every few weeks).
Pod 3 Cover
|✔ (54°–109° F)
|✔ (66°-104° F)
The mattress pads and cooling systems in detail
1. Eight Sleep Pod 3 Cover
The best cooling mattress pad and bed cooling system overall.
In the photo above, I’m setting up the Eight Sleep Pod 3 Cover in my bedroom for the first time, adding water to the system. Note how the cover encases my mattress, but I also put my own mattress protector and bedsheet over it to sleep.
The Eight Sleep Pod 3 Cover is the most advanced and effective bed cooling system I’ve tried in the many years I’ve been testing them. I got mine in May 2023, and have been loving it so far, especially during heatwaves in June and early September.
One of the key points that makes the Eight Sleep so effective is that it actively keeps you and your bed cool throughout the entire night. Unlike other mattress pads that just feel a bit more breathable rather than actually doing any cooling, the Eight Sleep system is capable of mitigating the natural heat buildup caused by your body. It creates a cool and comfortable sleep surface that stays cool until you turn it off.
The setup is quite straightforward: you have a base unit next to your bed filled with water, which then circulates through thin channels that are nestled inside a comfortable mattress pad.
With a temperature range of 55° – 115° Fahrenheit (12.8° – 46.1° Celsius), you can program the Eight Sleep Pod 3 Cover to cool or warm your bed, and change temperatures throughout the night.
To personalize your cooling (or warming if you prefer) experience, you download the accompanying app and input your temperature preferences. The app provides initial temperature recommendations for different sleep stages, but the real magic happens when the system starts learning from your sleep tracking data and your habits. It automatically adjusts to optimize your sleep environment, leading to less discomfort and a better night’s rest.
In the photo below, you can see the user-friendly app of the Eight Sleep. I usually set it to be very cool to fall asleep and then warm to wake up. You can also see how I’ve tucked the base unit between my nightstand and the bed. I’m still experimenting with different positions for it though, and probably prefer to have it on the other side of the nightstand.
If you share a bed with a partner and have different temperature preferences, the dual-zone option with separate app controls is great; one of you can sleep on a cool surface, while the other side is warm. My partner and I have very different preferences, and it’s worked very well in letting us both control our own side of the bed without worrying that the other will complain it’s too hot or cold.
The mattress pad has a built-in sleep tracker and monitors various metrics, such as total sleep time, wakings, sleep stages, heart rate, breathing rate, and heart rate variability. While I personally take some of the sleep stage measurements with a grain of salt, and try not to get too caught up checking them every day, I do find the heart rate variability information helpful when planning my workout intensity.
A key point to bear in mind is that you’ll need to find some space next to your bed for the base unit as it’s taller than it is deep or wide. Fortunately, you only need one of them even for the dual-zone functionality, but you’ll need to get used to it sitting next to, or behind, your nightstand.
In the photo below, you can see the base unit, power cable, and instructions. The little white piece is for draining it if you need to move the cover.
Another minor criticism is that the fan in the base unit does make some noise when it’s making significant temperature changes. For most of the night, the fan runs very quietly though. Since I sleep with earplugs or headphones every night, I don’t hear anything at all from it.
For me personally, the key benefit of the Eight Sleep Pod 3 Cover is that it has completely eliminated the issue of warm areas naturally building up under my body when I lie in bed. Since we installed it, I sleep much better in hot weather, even without air conditioning.
So if you’re someone who struggles with heat (or cold) in bed and you have the budget for it, I highly recommend giving the Eight Sleep Pod 3 Cover a try. It’s a superb bed cooling system that has the potential to significantly improve the way temperature affects your sleep at night.
Warranty / trial period
You can return the Eight Sleep Pod 3 Cover if you’re not happy with it within 30 days for a full refund. It comes with a two year limited warranty, and you can also purchase the higher subscription tier to get a five year warranty.
The Eight Sleep Pod Cover 3 falls into the luxury category with a high price point. In addition, there’s an ongoing subscription required for at least the first year to access the intelligent features.
The exact cost depends on the bed size, ranging from $2,195 for the full up to $2,495 for the Cali King. This is for mattresses of 10 to 11 inches thickness. For thinner or thicker mattresses, you’ll need the perfect fit version instead, which costs around $100 more.
As for the two membership options, the standard subscription is $15 per month, and the plus is $24 per month if you want the five year warranty. After the first year, you can cancel the subscription if you prefer and only use the manual settings.
After using mine for the last eight months, I would say the automatic feature is useful if you don’t want to open the app regularly to change settings. But if you’re happy to adjust the temperature yourself as the weather and your preferences changes, you can still fully benefit from the cooling and heating of the Eight Sleep without an ongoing subscription.
- Active cooling and/or warming all night.
- Excellent temperature range.
- Good app controls.
- Single or dual zones.
- Comfortable padding.
- Robust design.
- Sleep and health tracking.
- Vibrating and/or temperature alarm function.
- Makes a soft fan sound.
- Need space next to the bed for the base unit.
- You need to add water periodically (the app tells you when).
- High price point.
2. BedJet 3 Climate Comfort
The most effective fan-based bed cooling system, giving you control over the fan speed and temperature.
In the photo above, I’m using the BedJet 3’s advanced remote control. Note how you can adjust both the fan speed and temperature to adjust the feel of the airflow.
The Bedjet 3 is my top pick if you’d prefer a bed cooling system that works with cool air rather than water. It has a sleek design and provides effective, fast, and targeted cooling all night long. I used mine for several years before giving it to a friend when I moved country, and it was a huge help in the warm summer months.
It’s made so that it can be quickly installed with any bed size and mattress, and comes with easy-to-understand instructions. You can choose to have cool air blowing gently over your body, or inside a boxed top sheet. So it will cool both you and your bedding, helping wick away the heat which gets trapped under your covers.
If you sleep with a partner, you can either share the cool air or keep it to just one side. There’s also the option of a dual-zone version for independent temperature control. With the double setup, you’ll get two remote controls so you and your partner can control the temperature on your side. There’s also an app if you’d rather control it with your smartphone.
The remote control has a color screen, and you can use it to adjust a wide range of settings, such as the temperature, fan speed, and auto-off timers. You can also program it to change temperatures automatically during the night. One of my favorite things about the BedJet 3 is just how much flexibility it gives you to adjust the temperature, air speed, and direction of the airflow.
You can also use the BedJet 3 as a heating system in colder weather. I found it to be more effective and energy efficient than heated bedding, and it also heats your bed much quicker. If you have dual zones, you could even have cooling on one side of the bed and heating on the other – if you and your partner have very different temperature preferences.
One downside to consider is that you need to keep the base unit somewhere. I could tuck it under my bed as you only need a clearance of six inches. If you don’t have that, you’ll need to keep it next to the bed instead. At least you can get it under some bed frames though, compared to the Eight Sleep Pod 3 Cover which is unlikely to fit under any bed.
In the photos below, you can see two ways I set up the BedJet 3 in my previous bedroom. In the first photo, I’ve placed the base unit next to the bed, and I’m demonstrating how the air flows from the tube into the cloud sheet so you have cool air over your whole body.
In the next photo, I put the BedJet 3 under the bed, which is more convenient if you have six inches of clearance for it. There’s no cloud sheet in that photo, so the air is targeted toward your feet.
Another potential issue is that the fan does make some noise, which is fine if you like fan sounds. It’s quite a soft hum on low to medium speed settings and pleasant to have in the background.
But if you need complete silence to sleep, the noise on the highest speed setting might be too much. Personally, I rarely used it on the highest speed settings anyway, as it’s effective on gentler settings. Note that it is louder than the Eight Sleep Pod base unit.
Overall, if you’d like an active cooling system that will reliably keep you cool and comfortable throughout the entire night, the BedJet 3 is an excellent choice.
Warranty / trial period
It comes with a 60 day trial period. They have an extended two year manufacturer’s warranty and will fix or replace any parts if needed.
The BedJet 3 starts at $599 for a single unit on the company’s website. If you want two units with the cloud sheet, the queen size is $1329 and the king is $1349.
They regularly have sale prices though, which are typically considerably lower than those starting prices. For example, in December 2023, the single unit was just under $450, with the queen and king both under $900.
If you sleep alone or share your bed, and one of you is fine with the ambient room temperature, you can save money and just get the single unit to adjust the temperature on one side.
Take a look at my full BedJet 3 review to find out more.
- Active cooling all night.
- Wide temperature range.
- Dual zones if needed.
- Cools or heats.
- Good controls.
- Works with any mattress.
- Makes a fan sound.
- Need space under or next to the bed for the base unit.
- Expensive if you want dual zones.
3. Slumber Cloud Performance Mattress Pad
A mattress pad that helps dissipate body heat and feels breathable to sleep on.
The Performance cooling mattress pad by Slumber Cloud is designed to keep you comfortable during the night by absorbing the body heat that builds up between you and the bed.
It works thanks to some clever technology that was originally designed for NASA. The pad uses a special fabric called Outlast, which is made from thousands of tiny beads called ‘Thermocules’. The beads absorb your body heat, changing from a solid to gel as they do.
Outlast, the company that creates the cooling material, describes the effect like an ice cube in a drink. The ice melts as it absorbs the heat of the drink, keeping it cool for longer. Similarly, the thermocules turn to gel as they take in your heat, helping you stay cool for longer.
The Performance is the latest of four cooling mattress pads made by Slumber Cloud. The main improvement in this one is that the outlast material is now paired with Tencel Lyocell for better moisture wicking in addition to the heat absorption.
With the exception of the Eight Sleep Pod 3 Cover, I found it works really well compared to other cooling pads I’ve tried. And it’s significantly better than a normal mattress, topper, or pad. It helped me feel more comfortable during some unbearably warm summer nights.
In the photo below, you can see the SlumberCloud mattress pad set up on my bed. On top is the comforter, which I’ve also made good use of during the last three summers as it’s very lightweight and breathable.
The main downside is that it’s not an active cooling system and it can’t change the actual room temperature. What it will do, however, is stop you from feeling like you’re lying on top of a radiator.
Another point to keep in mind is that it’s not as thick as many toppers as it’s only a pad, so it won’t provide a significant amount of extra softness. Perhaps that’s a good thing though if you’re already happy with the level of support your bed currently provides.
For me, it’s the best cooling solution in the form of bedding that you don’t need to plug in to work. The BedJet 3 will keep a larger surface area of your body cool with its air stream and the Eight Sleep will actually cool your sleeping surface. But the Slumber Cloud mattress pad is a good option if you don’t want to spend big on expensive tech and just want a cooler fabric to lie on.
Warranty / trial period
Slumber Cloud offers a 60 day trial period, so you can test it out and send it back if you don’t like it. They have a 180 day manufacturer’s defects warranty too, which allows plenty of time to discover any defects.
The pad is available in seven sizes, and the price varies accordingly. On the company’s website, they range from $239 for the full size up to $259 for the king size.
Find out more in my full Slumber Cloud cooling pad review.
- Outlast material helps wick body heat.
- Cooler fabric than standard bedding.
- Well constructed and robust.
- Reasonable price.
- No active cooling.
- Doesn’t add much padding.
4. Molecule Triple Zone Pro Mattress Topper
A breathable mattress topper that also provides comfort and pressure relief.
Molecule designs both mattresses and mattress toppers in a way that makes them more breathable than traditional memory foam mattresses. They say their cooling toppers are air-engineered using processes they created themselves to ‘maximize airflow and facilitate cooling’.
When you look at the materials of the Triple Zone Pro mattress topper, you might think it’s unlikely to feel particularly cool: there are two layers of memory foam and a polyester cover.
However, I’ve found that the heat builds up much more slowly than standard memory foam, especially lower-quality memory foam toppers.
The manufacturer claims their open-cell memory foam has five times more airflow than standard memory foam, but with the buoyancy of latex. And when you take a closer look at the inner material, I found it does appear to have considerably more space for airflow, yet it remains strong enough to hold even my relatively heavy body.
What I really like about this one is that it feels like a plush, comfortable, and supportive mattress topper when you lie on it. It’s the kind of topper I’d be happy to have just for the level of comfort it provides and the relief from pressure points across the whole body.
The main downside is that no matter how diligently the material is engineered, it won’t cool you as effectively as an active bed cooling approach like the Eight Sleep or BedJet 3. On the other hand, it’s considerably cheaper and serves a dual purpose.
So my feeling is that this could be a good choice if your main desire is for a comfortable and supportive memory foam mattress topper that doesn’t sleep too hot for once. But it might not be right for you if maximizing the cooling is your only need because you already have a comfortable enough bed.
Warranty / trial period
Molecule has a 30 day return window so you can try it out, and a five year limited warranty for materials and craftsmanship defects.
The price will depend on your bed size, with six sizes to choose from. They range from $179.99 for the full size up to $249.99 for the Cali king on the Molecule website.
- Breathable foam.
- Excellent cushioning.
- Reasonable price.
- No active cooling.
- Not everyone likes the cushioning of memory foam.
5. Leisure Town Cooling Mattress Pad
A low-cost, breathable mattress pad.
Finally, we come to a budget option that won’t break the bank and should feel more breathable than some of the denser mattress toppers and pads out there.
The Leisure Town cooling mattress pad tackles the issue of overheating in bed with a breathable structure and soft cotton cover, and it does a reasonable job on the whole. There’s no tech to plug in, and there’s no memory foam to be worried about.
To keep it feeling cooler, the manufacturer says it’s made using ‘new HNN cooling technology’. What that actually means is a bit of a mystery though, and I still haven’t found a formal definition that isn’t simply repeating the product description.
The manufacturer states that the HNN technology increases airflow in the mattress pad, which makes it more breathable and reduces heat build-up. And in my experience, the pad does feel cooler under the body than many dense memory foam and thick polyester toppers I’ve tried.
Perhaps it’s helped by the fact that the cover is a 300 thread count cotton, which is also a good fabric choice to place under you in warmer weather. The fill itself is described as ‘state of the art snow down alternative’. It’s basically fiberfill, but still breathable while being comfortable to sleep on.
It’s worth bearing in mind that although it does have some fill to add comfortable padding, it’s more of a pad than a topper; the thickness just isn’t as substantial as more heavyweight toppers. However, the lack of extra padding does contribute to it being conveniently machine washable.
Overall, this is a reasonable option for warmer summer nights that aren’t too hot. Just be aware that it has limitations: it might add some extra breathability and comfort to your bed, but it won’t provide active cooling.
Warranty / trial period
As it’s sold on Amazon, you’ll get the standard protection of 30 days to return the pad if you’re not happy with it.
Compared to the high price of specialist bed cooling products, the Leisure Town might suit those on a budget. All eight sizes from twin to Cal king cost under $100 on Amazon, which is at the lower end of the price spectrum for mattress toppers and pads in general.
- Breathable fiber-fill.
- Cotton cover.
- Feels soft to lie on.
- No active cooling.
- Relatively thin padding.
You might also like
There are many ways to keep your bedroom, bed, and body cool at night and the surface you sleep on is just one piece of the puzzle. I recommend taking a look at my tips for keeping cool in bed. There are lots of ideas that don’t cost anything and tips that previous readers have shared too.