Sleeping too warm is a common complaint of people who experience interruptions to their rest each night, but many are unaware of how much control they have to help alleviate that situation. Your choice of bedding has much to do with your comfort and goes far beyond just which sort of mattress you sleep upon.
Material choices and construction are a big part of what keeps you sleeping cool, and your pillow has much to do with not only temperature regulation, but also your overall sleep health and body alignment. The SleepBetter Iso-Cool gusseted Side Sleeper Pillow was purchased by the The Sleep Judge Team to help provide you our honest opinion about this top rated pillow choice. Our findings are found below.
Breakdown of the Iso-Cool Pillow
SleepBetter is a subsidy of Carpenter Company and was created to help address one of the biggest problems facing adults today: a lack of sleep. Sleep is an important component to your overall well-being, and is a crucial part of body rejuvenation and healing. When interrupted you are unable to enter into the deep stages of sleep that promote this healing, and SleepBetter has focused its products on helping you solve your sleep problems.
Luckily, sleep discomfort can often be remedied with just a little bit of time, research, and the correct bedding materials. Their Iso-Cool collection includes those products to help address cooling sleep needs, since a lower temperature is also conducive to a better rest. The Iso-Cool pillow series offers a variety of choices to meet the needs of different sleep positions, but all contain innovative cooling designs to help you sleep cooler.
There wasn’t much to unpack concerning this pillow. The pillow did have a slight offgassing upon opening, but it dissipated with a few hours- although there have been complaints of it lasting for a few days for others. The company suggests you give it at least one day for the smell to disappear.
The cooling benefits of various companies use many different techniques to provide you with temperature control, and cooling sensations. This isn’t magic, as no material can actually create a lower temperature, but through the use of varying product construction, your body temperature can actually be aided in its regulation.
Fabric and Material Choices
Certain fabrics and material weaves breathe easier than others and are obvious choices when constructing a cooling pillow. Cotton, for example, is often a popular choice due to how it naturally breathes. Low thread-counts, although falsely believed to be of lower quality, allows for increased airflow, while higher thread-counts, although a heavier material overall, does not allow for free air flow from one side to another.
Moisture and heat is also drawn away from your body with the use of natural fibers since it is more absorbent and creates a cooling effect as it lifts away from your skin. Synthetic gels are also cooling as they provide cooling sensations through the use of conduction- when a warm surface transfers heat to a less warm surface.
When you sleep hot you should first try to adjust and control the variables that are already available to you. Creating a cooling sleep environment through thermostat adjustments and fans is a great start. The use of low thread-count, cotton sheets and clothing is also a way to help make this happen.
Iso-Cool Pillow Cooling Claims
SleepBetter is focused on creating a cooler sleep environment to help you recover what you have lost. Their creation of an entire line of cooling comfort has allowed them to apply innovative ideas to better help their consumers get the rest they deserve.
The technologically advanced memory foam design combined with specific scientific heat conductive materials is supposed to provide a cooling situation no matter what the situation. Free-flow of air is provided through the pillow as well, and barring any materials that block this air, such as the pillow case material choice, you should be able to reap the full benefits of this pillow for years to come.
Features and Benefits
This Iso-Cool pillow has a healthy list of features and benefits to help you decide if it is a good match for you. Since your pillow support and comfort is such an important part of your sleep experience, taking the time to decide if this choice is best for you is well worth it.
Unlike many pillows that come in a variety of standard industry sizes, the Iso-Cool Gusseted Side Sleeper is a one-size fits all choice that measures 23×15.5 inches compared to an average standard size pillow of 20×26 inches. I honestly had no problems with this differing size and never even really noticed the difference until I started doing my research specific to the pillow itself.
The Iso-Cool line also offers varying pillow shapes and sizes, all in one-size fits all, as well if a gusseted sidewall is something of a problem and not providing enough support- or to much loft overall.
Since the width of the pillow is slightly less than standard sized pillows, people who have wider shoulders may find it to not be supportive enough, especially if they are a back sleeper. However, checking the sizes of your pillows to what you are already used to is always good practice before committing to a new purchase.
100% Cotton, Washable Cover
The 100% cotton, washable cover is easily removed with a lay flat zipper in order to launder when needed. This breathable cover has a low thread-count as well to allow for free airflow to make sure you are getting the most out of the other quality materials that help aide in your cooling sensations through the night.
I also thought it was a very smooth, comforting surface which translates well against both your skin and any sort of pillow case you provide for it. I did give it a spin through the washer and dryer as well, and it came out feeling just as it had from the packaging.
Double-Stitched, Piped Edging with 2” Gusseted Sidewall
Quality material and workmanship is important to the company and this can be seen in the stitching and piping that defines almost 3” gusseted sidewall. This double stitched seam allows for contained pressure when weight is applied to the pillow, as well as making sure it stays in the shape it was designed as. Created specifically for side-sleepers, the sidewall provides the loft needed so you get the best neck and head support possible through the night.
This is incredibly important as a neck that is left unsupported creates tension upon both the upper and lower back, and results in back pain and possible poor spinal alignment. Overtime this translates into headaches, balance problems, hip and shoulder pain, as well as poor posture.
Outlast Adaptable Comfort Material
The patented Outlast Adaptive Material is layered within the pillow to help pull heat from your head through the process of conduction. Made with thousands of microscopic gel beads, these regulate temperatures by providing heat transferability from one warmer surface to a cooler surface. The gel then traps the heat until it comes in contact with another, cooler, surface upon which it then transfers the heat again to create an equilibrium.
When the cooler, room temperature Outlast Material comes in contact with your warmer skin, you can feel a cooling sensation as this heat transfer occurs. It may last through the night depending on your ambient room temperatures and personal body heat, and it is able to transfer it back to you if you begin to get cold, hence, why it claims a temperature regulation process.
I definitely could feel the cooling sensation coming off of this pillow when I placed my hand upon it. It is a subtle cool, but consistent, and made me look forward to my nights with it as I felt it would be just perfect for the warmer, late summer evenings we’ve been having.
Visco-Elastic Memory Foam
This pillow is also made from the contouring, visco-elastic memory foam that provides pressure point relief and a cradling of weight without sacrificing a firmer, more supportive feel. Memory foam first made its way into the sleep industry in the 1980’s as an adaptation of materials first created for the NASA Space Program. Since then it has become an integral part of innovative sleep comfort due to its many positive properties.
I found it to be a perfect combination of both firm and plush, providing me with a shallow cradled comfort that didn’t sink too deep, but which kept my head and neck well in alignment with my back.
Active Air Technology
Since memory foam is often quite dense and doesn’t breathe very well as a stand alone material, it can create heat sinks which influence a warm sleeping environment. Many techniques have been applied through the years to get it sleeping cooler, and this particular pillow is made with a series of air pockets deemed an Active Air Technology System that allows for a free flow of air through the pillow.
Although it doesn’t send out a burst of air when you lay down upon it, it does provide an increase of airflow that you can feel initially- which is comforting. At first I thought for sure this would compromise the integrity of the memory foam and make it sink more, or lose its shape somewhat, but that was not the case at all, and compression was consistent overall across the surface of the pillow.
Although this pillow only boasts a 5 inch loft, which is the measurement of the pillow’s height, it acts a bit more like a loftier side-sleeping pillow once you lay down upon it. The foam contours nicely to both head and neck, and also provides a good surface for your shoulder to press against.
Since the sink is shallow, no materials rise up over your face, making it the perfect size. Unfortunately, larger people than me with wider shoulders may find this not tall enough to properly support their neck between their head and shoulders if they are a side sleeper, but it should still comfortably work as a back sleeping pillow despite this.
Pillow Cleaning- Cover ONLY
Obviously, since memory foam is the main material used, the inner workings of the pillow cannot be washed other than the occasional spot cleaning that may be needed. Memory foam does not take kindly to moisture as it can break down the cellular structure and create poor compression rebound overtime.
If liquid is spilled on the pillow, blot the spill up immediately and allow to air dry. As mentioned the cover is machine washable, but if you are considering a pillow protector of any sort, be sure to get one that allows for good breathability, or you may interrupt the cooling that takes place.
Consumers have provided a consistent series of positive experiences with this pillow through the years: commenting on how comfortable it is, how well it keeps its shape, and making note of a more comfortable sleep temperature all top their reviews. In digging for complaints all I was really able to find surrounded issues with it being too firm before it was allowed to be properly broken in, as well as off gassing that lasted for days, rather than hours.
My Cooling Sleep Trial Experiences
The cooling sensation provided by this pillow was a noticeable quality, and although I wasn’t 100% sold on the rectangular, sidewalled shape, I found the pillow to be very comfortable both on my side and back. I am not a hot sleeper, so I made sure to try out the company’s claims by using differing temperature variables to to rate my sleep experiences.
My Trial Room Temperatures Variables
My average room temperature each night is right around 72 degrees which is comfortable for me with a light blanket. I rarely get warm at all, so I made sure to also sleep in a much warmer ambient room temperature to see how well the pillow held up in the heat. Since afternoons here in late summer are still well into the 90’s, it didn’t take much to heat the house to the low 80’s in order to better see if these cooling claims could hold up through the night.
My Trial Thread Count Variables
The thread-count of your pillowcase if often your number one culprit of heat retention around your head each night. In my case I made sure to sleep with a 250 thread-count, 100% cotton pillowcase as well as a 750 thread-count, cotton/poly microfiber blend within both room temperature variables in order to see how much of a difference could be seen with a less breathable material.
I was very impressed with this pillow as it generally felt both comfortable and cool in almost every sleep scenario. For me, sleeping on my side was the most comfortable with this pillow, and I was impressed with how well I could feel my neck being supported which hasn’t always been the case when trying out pillows that are specific to side-sleepers.
As a back sleeping pillow it was also very comfortable for many of the same reasons. My head was held at a proper level for spinal support, and my neck wasn’t lifted too high to create undue strain on my back.
– 72 Degrees/Cotton Casing
This was a perfect sleep scenario for me and I fell asleep to the cooling comfort of a smooth pillow surface and woke in just about the same position. Come morning the pillow felt just about exactly the same to me, making it a successful night overall.
Result: Cooler room temps and a cotton casing is a perfect combination to create an all night cooling sensation.
– 72 Degrees/Microfiber Casing
Again, this was a comfortable night’s sleep although I didn’t really pick up on the same cooling effect I had with the cotton casing. I slept well and never felt as if a heat sink was occurring, making it a win in my books.
Result: It seems the microfiber case may have interrupted the amount of airflow through the pillow, and perhaps the heat conduction as well even though it was a very comfortable night’s sleep.
– Hot Room/Cotton Casing
Even though this wasn’t a horribly uncomfortable room temperature at rest, it was noticeably warmer and the coolness of the pillow seemed even more so- possibly perhaps my skin temperature was slightly higher than previous scenarios. This was a comfortable night’s rest as well and I slept uninterrupted. The following morning, the pillow still felt cooler to the touch, although the room cooled considerably through the night.
Result: Despite the warmer room, the pillow still felt cooler to the touch and provided a good night’s rest. The cotton casing definitely is supportive of the innovative cooling processes this pillow has and doesn’t hinder it by being an extra layer.
– Hot Room/Microfiber Casing
Although a bit of a warmer overall sleep experience, it wasn’t because of the pillow and I still had a comfortable sleep. The pillow still did what it was supposed to do and never created a heat sink, meaning the gel was most likely still pulling heat from both myself and the pillowcase fabric despite not breathing as well as the cotton casing.
Result: Microfiber definitely will create a situation that doesn’t allow the pillow to feel as cool since the higher thread count disallows such a free flow of air through its surface. The pillow was obviously still doing its job to help void any heat sinks that may have been occurring.
To put it bluntly: this is a great pillow. I found no issues with it overall, and really did hold to it’s claims of a cooler sleeping pillow. The slight coolness that you can feel off it is actually the loss of heat from your hand as it transfers, and it’s important to know that your choice of materials, as well as ambient room temperature can affect this.
As a side sleeping pillow it really does provide proper head and neck support, especially for a woman of shorter stature and average weight. As you will see below, for a larger male this might not work as well- although it is a great back sleeping pillow as well.
Naturally I wanted to run this cooling sensation by a trial member who admits to sleeping hot in almost any condition. They created some alternate variables concerning room temperature as well as using differing pillowcase thread-counts. Overall they too felt a cooling sensation on the surface of the pillow with a cotton casing in any temperature variable, as well as a lack of it in differing conditions- although they never felt the pillow to be a cause of heat or to be uncomfortable at any time.
As a larger male who sleeps on his side, this wasn’t really the best choice simply due to overall pillow depth. It didn’t give him the proper height for his head and neck to be supported with a wider shoulder width. Although he felt it to be a comfortable back sleeping pillow, to make it effective for some people as a side sleeper it may need to be propped up by another pillow layer.
Result: This pillow seems to do what it claims, which help regulate your skin surface temperature to provide some cooling relief. Even in warmer rooms it still served as a comfortable pillow temperature wise.
By the end of our trials we had determined a few things concerning the SleepBetter Iso-Cool Pillow. To start, it claims to help regulate skin surface temperature through the use of gel beads that help pull heat from your skin through the physics of conduction. Even though this is affected by environmental variables as well, it seemed to serve its purpose well and provided a comfortable sleep temperature without any type of heat sink through the differing trials we put it through.
The SleepBetter Iso-Cool Pillow really can help you get a better night’s sleep, especially if you are a warm sleeper. Depending on personal preference and body type, you may need to adjust the pillow somewhat for your perfect comfort, and it doesn’t claim it’s the best fit for everyone, but we gave it a good two thumbs up through our experiences with both back and side sleeping.
It does provide a plush, subtle sink with a firm, underlying support, but it is not a hard firm by any means, and cradles your head comfortably without any undue pressure points. The combination of the Outlast Adaptable Material and Active Air Technology for increased air flow through the memory foam really does help create a comfortable sleep surface and keep any heat sinks from occurring through the night.
When looking for a comfortable side sleeper pillow that also boast a cooling technology, you may just want to consider the SleepBetter Iso-Cool Gusseted Side Sleeper Pillow to help maximize comfort and get the rest you deserve. Your sleep comfort is only a small part of your overall sleep experience, and making sure you have a pillow that addresses the many small variables that make up a restful whole is important to your health in the long run. Taking control of your sleep variables one small step at a time can lead to a more rejuvenated, refreshed you each morning, and choosing the correct pillow is a great place to start.