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It’s time to come clean. I have one very unpopular opinion that almost no one agrees with: I hate summer.
I won’t go into all the reasons (there are many), but will stick with the main issue: the heat. I don’t just hate the heat in the typical, complaining-when-it’s-90-degrees-out way, I get overheated from sitting still and am basically a sweaty mess regardless of what I’m doing or wearing from May through September, which includes every time I try to sleep.
If the temperature is over 50 degrees at night, I toss and turn (and sweat). While I have tried fans and air conditioners to no avail, I am beyond thrilled to say my sweaty nights have finally met their match thanks to Sleepme, a company that makes everything from cooling sheets, pillows and blankets, to a full system that basically turns your mattress into an air conditioner.
While the Dock Pro Sleep System, which uses water to cool down your mattress in the night, arrived to my house first, I resisted trying it out until after I had tested the cooling sheets and pillows for fear that if it worked the way it says it does (making my bed practically a freezer), I wouldn’t know if the cooling sheets and pillow were also doing their jobs. Thankfully, it was only a few more days until the sheets and pillows arrived and I went right to work — i.e., to bed. Tough job, I know.
Testing ChiliSleep’s Cooling Sheets
First up, I used the Cool Luxe cooling sheets and pillow together for three nights to see if I really noticed a difference. The daytime temperatures in my area on those days were 84, 91 and 82, with nighttime temps in the 60s and 70s and my thermostat set to 70.
Priced at $199, Cool Luxe sheets are made with cotton and Tencel blended performance fabric, which quickly moves moisture away from the body. Each set features a deep-pocket fitted sheet, 4-inch hemmed flat sheet and four cooling pillowcases.
The Cool Luxe sheets were noticeably cooler than any sheets I’ve used, and you could feel the difference within seconds of lying down. Honestly, it was a bit shocking how much cooler my bed instantly felt just by changing the sheets. They are quite soft — silky, even — but not too soft. Also, as a very light sleeper, noisy sheets bug me, and I felt these made as little racket as any I’ve slept on.
While I can’t tell you exactly how much cooler my bed got with the sheets, it was not a subtle temperature shift. I did notice, however, that on the day the daytime temperature was 91, the sheets didn’t help cool me down as much, but they worked very well when temperatures were in the 80s. I am very happy to report that I did not sweat during any of my nights using the cooling sheets, which is a massive improvement when compared to any other sheets I’ve used.
Testing The Cool Luxe ChiliPillow
I then added the Cool Luxe ChiliPillow cooling pillow (with the cooling pillowcase), which is made with charcoal-infused ventilated foam to bring the pressure point relief of memory foam, but also with the odor and moisture control of bamboo charcoal. The pillow also has ventilation holes, which help keep it cool.
Priced at $149, it comes with a 30-night sleep trial and two-year warranty. With just 52 reviews on the brand’s website as of this writing, the pillow has earned 4.1 out of 5 stars, with customers saying it is “such a relief to not wake up sweating or tossing all night because it’s hot,” calling it “the best pillow ever,” and one customer saying he bought a second one so his wife didn’t steal his. Negative reviews have tended to focus on the value for the price and how much of a temperature difference the users really felt.
After sleeping on it for four nights, I am in agreement with the majority of customers. I can’t say I noticed a huge cooling affect from the pillow itself, but it did keep my head cooler than my previous pillow, and it is by far the most comfortable pillow I’ve ever used. I have tried a lot of pillows and typically wake up with a stiff neck and headache nearly every morning, especially when trying a new one. To my surprise, not only did I not have a headache, but my neck actually felt great and I felt I slept better than I had in quite a while.
Because of how comfortable it was, I’d recommend the ChiliPillow even if you don’t need a cooling pillow. I found it has the perfect amount of fluff so that my head doesn’t collapse, but is also soft enough that my head and neck sink in just the right amount. “Sleeping on a cloud” is how I’d describe this pillow.
Testing The Sleepme Dock Pro Mattress Cooling System
After using the sheets and pillow for a few days, it was time to test the Sleepme Dock Pro Sleep System, which is from the same parent company as ChiliSleep, and has a free app that works alongside the system. Starting at $1,000 for a half queen or $1,699 for a full queen (with higher prices for king sizes), it is quite expensive, so it is ideal for people who get extremely hot at night, not just those who feel a bit uncomfortable on the hottest nights.
The Dock Pro Sleep System works by pulling water into tubes that are attached to the included ChiliPad Pro mattress pad — which fits on your bed just like any mattress protector — and cooling it to your desired temperature. Because the system uses water, you will need to keep some distilled water on hand. You won’t need to refill it every night, but because of evaporation, you’ll want to check the water levels every so often and refill as necessary or the system won’t work.
Setting up the Sleepme Dock Pro system is the first step out of the box. Because I was testing the full queen-size system, the setup time was also doubled. Unboxing, putting the cooling mattress pad on the bed, plugging in and connecting the tubes only took a few minutes. After reading the instructions, you will then pour a solution into the machine, along with water, and let it clean itself before use. That step took quite a bit of time, which I used to download and set up the Sleepme app, which you can use to control the temperature during the night or turn it on before even setting foot in your bedroom.
Setting up the app actually took longer than setting up the physical system itself because I had some trouble getting it to connect to Wi-Fi and find my Dock Pro Sleep System, but it eventually connected and worked well. Some reviews in the iPhone App Store mention the same issue, so if you have trouble, just keep trying and it should eventually link.
If you have a double Dock Pro, the good news is you can control both sides separately so that you and and whomever shares your bed can have different temperatures. It’s kind of like the Sleep Number system but with temperature instead of position control.
Once everything was ready to go, I turned it on and let it get cold for about 30 minutes before going to bed. I set it to 60 degrees because I really wanted it cold, but you may want to start at a higher temperature. To say the Dock ProSleepSystem made my bed cold is an understatement; to my surprise, I actually had to turn it up during the night because it was too cold.
I prefer sleeping in cozy pajamas and socks over light summer clothing, so after using it for a few nights, I found that 64 degrees and winter PJs make the perfect sleeping conditions for me. Of course, everyone is different and the Dock Pro Sleep System goes as low as 55 degrees or as hot as 115 degrees — despite the ‘Chili’ in the mattress pad’s name, this system can also be used as a bed warmer during the frigid months — so there is a lot of room for adjusting.
One word of warning: If you’re a light sleeper, be aware that the Dock Pro Sleep System does make some noise. I am very sensitive to noise while sleeping and can’t even use a window air conditioner or fan, but the Dock Pro is much quieter than I expected and actually worked a bit for me like white noise and helped me fall asleep. The ChiliPad Pro mattress pad itself also makes a noise I’d describe as crinkly when you move around on it, but it wasn’t as bad as even some sheets I have used before and didn’t bother me.
One of the only downsides I could find with the system was that if you’re a side sleeper, only one side of your body will be against the mattress pad, so while one side is kept cold, the other may still be warm. It still cooled down my entire body even though I sleep on my side and I got used to it after a few nights, but it was a bit strange at first to have one side of my body colder than the other. I was also disappointed that the actual Dock Pro devices are too big to slide under my bed, meaning they’re just sitting next to it, out in the open.
It should be no surprise that I got the most cooling effects when combining all three products, but they all also stand on their own and I am happy to report I did not sweat when using them together or separately. If you tend to run hotter while sleeping, but aren’t as bad as me (i.e., you can still sleep, don’t wake up drenched in sweat, etc.), you likely don’t need to invest in the pricey Dock Pro Sleep System. Instead, maybe start at the Cool Luxe cooling sheets, then upgrade to the Dock Pro if you need a bit more temperature control, including something that can warm you up at night.
If summer is as miserable for you as it is for me or you live in an area that frequently gets hotter than 90 degrees, you might want to go straight to the Dock Pro Sleep System. While the sheets and pillow definitely helped cool me down when the temperature was below that mark, on sweltering nights, it took the full system to allow me to sleep comfortably.
Of course, ChiliSleep is not the only brand that makes cooling pillows, cooling sheets and even a full temperature-controlled sleep system. You can find a handful of similar products on Amazon, like these 100% bamboo cooling sheets for $119, this cooling memory foam pillow from Tempur-Pedic for $189 and the BedJet 3 climate control system, which is priced at $1,289 for a full king but for sale now at less than $1,000.
Whichever products you choose, I wish you a very cold and restful sleep!