If wicking away moisture, dissipating the heat from the head, and promoting increased airflow are your priorities, it’s time to shop for pillows that offer a cooling effect.
Cooling Pillow Categories
If you think this type of sleep accessory makes sense, especially during summer, there are three main categories to consider:
- Breathable bed pillows
- Gel fiber side sleeper pillows
- Pillows that have a phase-changing material (PCM)
You can get cooling pillows from a trusted name like Xtreme Comforts that use pure science to offer twice the cooling of a gel fiber bed pillow.
By using the revolutionary technology originally used by NASA, the company’s scientific PCM fabric covers offer a peaceful night’s sleep in the most soothing manner you can imagine.
Think about owning a pillow that has a combination of an advanced soft, quilted, and silky cooling cover and a gel fiber and you’ll realize the extra comfort you are missing.
The PCM technology is based on drawing heat from your body and releasing it at a lower temperature in order to offer you a cooling effect.
You can actually feel the cooler surface by touching the pillow and the same feature will soothe you when you’re sleeping. The kind of comfort you get with a cooling pillow is not available with any standard pillows.
Xtreme Comforts makes pillows with a proprietary blend of soft cooling gel fibers in the filling which helps maximum air circulation during sleep and leads to heat transfer from the heated portion of your head to keep your head cool and comfortable.
There are hypoallergenic cooling gel pillows too. These cater to allergy sufferers who are sensitive to the heat and dust of regular pillows. If you suffer from any such afflictions, do not go for the cheaper standard pillows that are sold at ridiculous prices. It is a complete waste of money.
Gel fiber bed pillows, such as queen or king sized pillows or hypoallergenic pillows, are now part of luxury hotel collections and they last for years.
The hypoallergenic covers are easily removable for machine washing or quick cleaning. The entire pillow can also be washed for intensified cleaning.
Working Process of NASA’s PCM Cooling Pillows
- The breathable pillows allow for a free flow of air through the pillow’s building materials. They also prevent warm air from accumulating inside the pillow.
- Pillows containing the gel usually cool via heat conduction. Once heat is transferred from your body to the water, your skin starts to feel cooler. (Notably, some orthopedic pillows are water-based pillows. These are not actually cool pillows.)
- Pillows that contain phase-changing materials cool differently and the process is a bit more complex than water or gel-based cooling. PCM materials transfer heat both to and from the body. Heat is either absorbed (or released) as PCM, changed from the liquid to solid state and vice versa. It is pure and 100% cool SCIENCE!
More about Phase Change Materials (PCM)
Substances that can change phases, such as from solid to liquid, are known as phase change materials (PCMs). During the change of phase, heat is stored, released, or absorbed, resulting in the absorbance of heat as they change from solid to liquid.
Some types of these PCM’s phase changes occur within a temperature range that is around human body temperatures.
To use the property, fabric and gel fibers are used to store body heat and then release it during phase changes. PCMs are used as microcapsules that are incorporated amidst the fibers. Sometimes they are coated onto fabrics as well.
NASA Utilizes PCM
Since it designed the first space suit in 1950, NASA has been focused on keeping the astronauts cooler and more comfortable.
The extreme temperatures in outer space need to be lowered inside the space suits. To accomplish this, engineers at the JSC (Johnson Space Center) built liquid-cooled suits that had water that ran via tiny channels within the suit. This is known as ACS (active controls system).
Progressing with their research in the 1980s, NASA started using passive control processes that had fabrics controlling the temperature without running water. This was an expansion of the work performed by the Air Force.
NASA’s research and development went on to identify new materials to protect delicate instruments in space from extreme temperatures. NASA started using PCMs with the launch of Lunar Rover and Skylab projects in the 1970s.
To date, NASA researchers have found more than 100 PCMs.
PCMs, or Phase Change Materials, use a process known as a passive control strategy to offer a cooling effect. PCMs change their phases at different temperatures at either end of the spectrum . For example, wax melts at a high temperature and reforms at lower points.
The PCM research gained momentum in 1987 when NASA started looking for collaborations with the industry to develop advanced PCMs.
Although it was primarily for use in the gloves of space suits to help astronauts during specific activities, the research also had far-reaching impacts in other domains.
To understand the phase change process, consider ice cubes in a drink. When ice changes from solid to liquid, it absorbs heat from its surroundings and cools the drink. Phase change materials in space suits, as well as cooling pillows for sleeping, work similarly. These PCMs, though, are micro-encapsulated, enclosed and encased in a polymer shell for longevity.
Encapsulation lets the fabric stay exceptionally durable and useful for many occasions. Having the capacity to absorb, contain, and release excess heat, any product containing PCM technology is then able to regulate the skin’s microclimate. When skin gets hot, the heat is absorbed, and when skin cools, heat is released.
PCM technology is not similar to wicking. Wicking manages moisture by moving sweat away from the skin. PCM technology does not remove sweat but usually manages temperatures during moisture production before it begins. This is a significant difference.
How Do Phase Change Materials Work In Fabric?
When PCM capsules inside fabrics are heated to their melting point, they absorb heat energy while changing from a solid to a liquid phase.
This results in the temporary cooling of the clothing layers. The heat energy may either come from the human body (like when a person wears the garment) or from the warm surroundings.
When PCMs are melted completely, the heat-storing process stops working. A PCM garment in an environment that is under the PCM’s freezing point temperature will cause the fabric’s temperatures to go below the transition temperature.
As soon as this occurs, the micro-encapsulated liquid PCM starts to change phase and return back to a solid state, releasing heat and making the surroundings warmer.
Such heat exchange during phase transitions produces a buffering effect in clothing, leading to minimimal skin temperatures and prolonged comfort for the wearer.
Cooling Levels of Gel-Filled Pillows or Gel-Infused Cooling Pillows
The breathable pillows on the market are built to circulate airflow via the filling or the pillow’s external cover. These breathable pillows help make the environment a little cooler than what you’d achieve with a normal, synthetic fiber pillow.
Cool pillows are, however, much more effective in lowering the temperature of the body, offering a seamless comfort not available in general or breathable variants.
The gel fiber used in cooling pillows has many benefits.
First, the gel fiber offers far more support than general down-filled or cotton alternatives. With a gel-based bed pillow you are less likely to experience neck or shoulder pain.
Memory foam pillows usually heat up around the shoulder and neck. Gel pillows can counter this heat retention by providing a more breathable, cooler effect. This usually prevents feelings of excessive warmthe.
The common and widely-available gel pillows offer a cool sensation when you go to sleep, enabling you to fall asleep faster.
The Coolness of a PCM Pillow
PCM-induced cooling lasts the entire night, even if you switch sleeping positions. You will have a cooler and more long-lasting comfy sleep, the kind thatb cannot be obtained with general pillows.
PCMs are often used to cover gel pillows. As tahe properties of the fabric are unique, you should check the care instructions before sending them for laundering so that the cooling properties remain optimal.
Washing or drying the cover of a cooling pillow in a high-heat situation may erase the cooling effect.
Choosing a Cooling Pillow for a Child
Children sweat more than adults, especially during the most intense sleep cycle known as REM sleep.
Children are lucky to get such great sleep, but the body’s temperature and sweat production must be kept under supervision throughout the night for enhanced baby sleep. A cool pillow may help the child sleep more comfortably as they keep them cooler and help with air flow.
Say Goodbye to Sleepless Nights
Unlike general side-sleeper pillows, cooling pillows can offer a good night’s restful sleep to those who suffer with insomnia, menopause, or pre-menopause symptoms; this is equally applicable to people who have sleeping disorders.
There are many variants of cooling pillows available today, meaning that there’s bound to be one that will suit your sleeping habits. Don’t forget to check the luxury of a cooling side sleep pillow at your nearest store.
Take a look at some of the finest cooling gel pillows for sleeping from Xtreme Comforts.