True life: I don’t have an air conditioner. And it’s not like I don’t have air-conditioning because I live on the north pole and have no practical need for it. Nope. I live in New York City, otherwise known as Swampy Soupville USA in peak summer—and for four years, I have chosen to not procure myself some air-conditioning. Maybe it’s because I’m lazy? Maybe it’s because I’m subconsciously a staunch environmentalist? Or maybe it’s because I’m onto something, because sleeping directly in front of an AC might not do your skin or sinuses any favors. Unclear. All I know for sure is that my masochistic reality of welcoming night sweats into my bedtime routine with open arms makes me the best test subject ever for using cooling bed products alone to manifest the ideal sleeping temperature. Because meeting the National Sleep Foundation’s recommendation of a bedroom temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit just isn’t in the cards for me during the summer without the help of some accessories.
For weeks, I tested three different chilling products—cooling sleepwear, bedding, and a mattress pad—in isolation and then simultaneously to see which is most effective and whether stacking them might transform my inferno of a bedroom into something Elsa from Frozen might approve. Here’s how the products handled the heat.
1. Under Armour Recover Sleepwear
What is it? Pajamas that use infrared technology designed to reduce inflammation and wick sweat away from your skin. So, though not the same as wearing an air conditioner, the duds seem promising for not inducing further sweats—like, say, a flannel robe might.
Does it work? The Tom Brady-approved sleepwear seems to be aimed specifically at sore-muscled athletes more so than those merely sweating out a summer in Brooklyn. That said, wow. The PJs prove to be airy, light, and able to keep me completely dry despite heatwave conditions creeping close to triple digits. So, for athletes and any humans requiring REM-cycle completion alike, I feel confident in reporting this product can help your body stay lukewarm even when the world around you skews sweltering.
2. Brooklyn Bedding cooling bedding
What is it? Brushed microfiber sweat-wicking sheets; a pillow with pin core ventilation for increased airflow and a cooling gel surface that draws heat away from the head and neck; and a mattress protector with conductive material to draw heat away from the body.
Does it work? When my Brooklyn Bedding sleep set arrives, I immediately feel enamored with the sage-colored sheets. And when I give all the products a whirl, the cooling mattress protector seems to live up to its name, and in general, I feel comfy-cozy.
…Until outdoor temperatures spike and I know that these products alone won’t keep me cool—or even not completely drenched in sweat—through 98 degree weather. That said, it’s important to remember that none of these products are meant to substitute air-conditioning; they’re more so meant to help regulate body temperature and try their hardest to keep you dry. Brooklyn Bedding is really good at its intended purpose to regulate temperature, but unless I have my Under Armour sleepwear on as well, I’m still mayor of Sweatsville.
The bold exception: Brooklyn Bedding’s luxury cooling pillow is a real-deal MVP. The contoured cloud does not fail to deliver some chill, despite the rising temps.
3. ChiliPad Sleep System
What is it? A hydropowered mattress pad with a thermal-regulating cube and a temperature-adjusting remote control.
Does it work? ChiliPad boasts its ability to ability to either warm or cool the bed with hydrotechnology. To use it, I fill the cube with water, which is suctioned through tubing and into the mattress pad itself. Unlike the sheets and the PJs, the ChiliPad sleep system does stand to challenge real-deal air-conditioning: Chili products are up to 95 percent cheaper than using air conditioning (though it should be noted the price of the device itself skews high at $699) and can change body temperature up to 15 degrees from ambient (meaning warmer or cooler than at-rest temperature), according to its website. Color me excited.
Once I settle in with ChiliPad, after loading up the cube and outfitting the pad to my bed, I realize quickly that it totally works—and quite well. I don’t toss or turn, and I don’t sweat; the only time I wake up, in fact, is to grab my baby pig blanket for a cuddle. I’m currently in love ChiliPad and can’t wait to see how it warms me come winter.
(Full size “ME” ChiliPad sleep system, $699)
Does the trifecta of chill bedroom products add up to the ideal sleeping temperature?
With powers of all three products combined, was I able to stay cool in the New York heat? Was the sleeping temperature “just right”? Well. Let’s say just right enough.
There was definitely a point during my sleep experiment when I knew for sure my cooling products were working: when the outdoor temperatures hit the humid high 80s. At work the following morning, my coworkers lamented their enduring cases summertime insomnia, but I was able to report I slept through the night—sans AC, no less.
Still, though these products proved to be solid assets for regulating body heat for bedtime—especially the ChiliPad—added up, they’re an expense and a bit of a hassle to add to your every-night routine. A more practical option? Cranking the AC. I admit, the mission to find an ideal sleeping temperature via cooling bed products was a success—especially when I used the items together. But I do think I’d prefer to streamline my routine and finally just get an air conditioner.
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