It’s not easy to sleep when you can feel your sweat tickling your skin as it rolls off you in the fabric sauna your bedroom has morphed into.
We often overlook it, but keeping your bedroom at a cooler temperature is a key ingredient for good sleep. For me personally, it’s as essential as darkness and silence if I want to sleep well.
The good news is that whether you’re kept awake by hot flashes, warm weather or are a naturally hot sleeper, there are effective ways to lower your temperature in bed.
In this review, I’ll be looking at the two main approaches: cooling mattress pads and bed fans. Depending on your budget and the level of cooling you require, they range from specialty mattress pads to complex bed cooling systems.
Hopefully, you’ll find something here which helps make your bedroom the cool sanctuary of rest it should be.
1. ChiliPAD Sleep System
The best cooling mattress pad overall – works on a cool water system
The ChiliPAD Sleep System tackles the concept of bed cooling in a unique way. Along with the BedJet 3 (below), it’s one of the few bed cooling products which can handle more serious heat problems.
It works by what’s essentially a water cooling system. It contains semiconductor technology, adjusting the temperature of the water as it flows through the base unit.
You place the mat on your bed, set the temperature you want, and cooled water will flow through the tubes buried comfortably inside the mat. The mat and tubes are well designed so that you don’t feel them underneath you, and are durable enough to last the test of time.
The most important point is that it can keep you cool all night long. And that’s an advantage compared to most gel pads and fabric toppers, which tend to work for a couple of hours before your body heat overwhelms them. And the cooling will be evenly spread across your entire bed and body, which feels great in warm weather.
The temperature range means you can use it for cooling or heating, with a range of 55° – 110° Fahrenheit (12.8° – 43.3° Celsius). And with the option of dual zones with separate remote controls for larger bed sizes, you and a partner can have the exact temperature you need on your side of the bed.
The main downside is that it’s a luxury item that not everyone will be able to afford. It’s also worth bearing in mind that some periodic maintenance is required – though it’s easy and quick to do.
Overall, the ChiliPad is a very effective cooling system for your bed, and one to consider if you need a way to keep the rising heat at bay throughout the whole night.
Update: Chili now also offer a more advanced version called the Ooler. The Ooler has a smaller design to fit under more beds, a quieter motor, programable hourly temperature changes, and is self-cleaning. It’s more expensive though, so whether it’s worth it or not will depend on both your budget and how useful those features seem to you.
2. BedJet 3 Climate Comfort
The best fan-based bed cooling system
In contrast to the ChiliPad’s water system, the BedJet 3 uses targetted cool air to help keep you comfortable in bed at night.
It works with any size bed and mattress and is very easy to install. You can choose to have cool air blowing gently over your body or inside the custom-made boxed top sheet. So it will cool both you and your bedding, helping wick away the sweat and heat building up around you at night.
If you sleep with a partner, you can either share the cool air or keep it to just one side using the boxed sheet. There’s also the option of dual zones for independent temperature control.
The advanced remote control (or smartphone app if you prefer) has a color screen which makes it easy to see the current settings. It lets you adjust a wide range of settings, such as the temperature, fan speed, auto-off timers, and memory setups.
You can also program it to change temperatures automatically at different points in the night. For example, you could have cooling when you go to bed, turn off after an hour, then some gentle warming to wake you up gently. This level of control and flexibility is one of the points I really like about the BedJet 3.
I know you’re probably reading this article because you need cooling, but it’s worth pointing out that the BedJet 3 is also a very capable heating device. So you can use it all year round instead of switching between a fan and heated bedding.
The main downside is that there’s only so much it can do if you sleep in an extremely hot bedroom. It’s not as powerful as an air conditioning unit, though some people prefer the targeted cooling to their body instead of having the air conditioning on for hours every night (it’s also cheaper to run).
On balance, if you need a bedroom upgrade that will help keep you cool and comfortable at night, the BedJet 3 is a good option – especially if you like the feel of fans in general.
3. SlumberCloud Nacreous Cooling Mattress Pad
The best fabric only cooling mattress pad
The nacreous cooling mattress pad by Slumber Cloud attempts 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. It contains 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, describe 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.
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.
That said, it’s important to remember that it can’t change the actual room temperature. What it will do, however, is stop you feeling like you’re lying on top of a radiator.
For me, it’s the best cooling solution in the form of bedding. The BedJet 3 will keep a larger surface area of your body cool with its air stream. But the Slumber Cloud mattress pad is a good option if you want to reduce the unpleasant hot feeling that can build up underneath you during the night.
Note that SlumberCloud’s new website design is meant to walk you through the process of choosing different cooling bedding, and adding extras if you want to. I think their new system is a bit difficult to navigate, so be prepared for that if you visit.
4. Molecule AirTEC Mattress Topper
A good choice if you want a comfortable mattress topper that sleeps cooler
Mattress toppers that supposedly provide extra cooling don’t always hold up to closer scrutiny. I sometimes wonder if using the word cooling is more of a marketing ploy than a factual description.
So when a mattress topper comes along that’s thick enough to be comfortable and supportive, yet doesn’t result in the kind of overheating that memory foam is notorious for, it catches my attention.
Admittedly, Molecule also use impressive descriptions that are kind of hard to visualize, such as ‘unique AIRTEC core material for unsurpassed airflow’. Nevertheless, it’s an excellent mattress topper that manages to keep you cooler than most mattresses and mattress toppers I’ve tried.
What I like about this one is that it actually 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 fact that they’ve done some clever engineering to make it sleep cooler is almost a bonus rather than the only reason to use it.
Consisting of several distinct layers that combine to provide support and breathability, the magic really happens with the extra airflow they use in the construction of the main layer.
They say it 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.
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 BedJet or ChiliPad. But when it comes to providing an even balance of breathability and supportive comfort, I think Molecule has just about nailed it.
5. Leisure Town Cooling Mattress Pad
For those on a tight budget who need a more breathable mattress pad
The Leisure Town cooling mattress pad tackles the issue of overheating in bed from two angles, and it does a pretty good job on the whole.
Firstly, the manufacturer claims it uses ‘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.
They say 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 sleep less hot than many others – especially dense memory foam, for example.
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 fiber-fill, 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. But that 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 overbearingly hot. Compared to the high price of specialist bed cooling products, it might suit you if your budget is on the tight side. 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.