Updated: July 16, 2020
Why Sleeping Cool Is Important
The optimum room temperature is between 60° and 67° F, but some mattresses (especially foam) compress and trap your body heat. After a few hours, the trapped body heat can cause you to get hot and can negatively affect your sleep as lower body temperatures can stimulate melatonin production (the sleep hormone). For this reason, some sleep experts recommend a hot bath before bed as when you get out of the bath, your core temperature starts dropping.
Those who sleep on a box spring mattress won't have an issue with trapped body heat, but box spring mattresses tend to be a lot firmer than foam mattresses. For those who need a softer mattress, and find themselves heating up at night, the ChiliPAD is a great option. It's also great for a couple that fights over the temperature at night. One person can use the ChiliPAD and the other person can get the warmer air temperature that they want.
Sleep.org, the website of the National Sleep Foundation states, "Wearing special clothing that lowers skin temperature by one degree Celsius can reduce middle-of-the-night arousals and early morning waking."
I first heard about it from Tim Ferriss, famous bio-hacker and author of the 4 Hour Work Week, who raved about it. Mark Sisson, health expert and founder of the Primal Blueprint, also uses it.
Quick Summary on the ChiliPAD
- You can set the temperature anywhere from 55-110°F
- The unit is very simple to set up and attach to your mattress
- You can use the controls to conveniently change the temperature during the night
- Electromagnetic field (EMF) free
- It's 95% cheaper than air conditioning
- 90-day return policy
- The cost of the unit ranges from $499 for a half queen to $1199 for a California King
- The fan creates a bit of noise (though some feel that this white noise helps them sleep)
- The light on the controls is very bright
- No warning before the water level gets too low and the unit shuts off
- Water needs to be refilled around once per week, depending on how much you use it
The ChiliPAD has 4 parts: the cube, the mattress pad, the hydroponic tubes, and the remote.
To get started, follow these steps:
- Fill the cube with water (ideally distilled water).
- Attach the mattress pad to your mattress underneath your cover.
- Connect the tubing to the cube.
- As the water in the cube disperses into the tubing in the mattress, add more water to the cube.
- Turn on the unit, set the temperature, and give it time to reach the desired temperature.
Before I bought the ChiliPAD, I read a lot of reviews. One of the most common critiques is that the motor made too much noise. This is a personal preference regarding how much noise you consider white noise (that helps you sleep) and how much disturbs you. I have enough space to keep the cube under my bed which muffles the sound and helps keep me asleep.
I recommend putting the mattress pad on the bed so the end of the pad that has the plastic tubing attached to it goes at the foot of your bed. If you leave it at the head, the soft plastic is slightly uncomfortable if you rest your head or hand on it.
The first night I assumed that being in the range of the ideal sleeping temperature (60 to 67° F) would be best, and when I woke up in the morning I was really cold. Each night I raised the temperature by 2° F until I landed at 75°. I tend to sleep better with a slightly warmer room and bed, so I recommend taking a few nights to find your optimum temperature.
If I feel the need to change the temperature during the night, I try not to look directly at the controls. It has a really bright blue background, and as a sleep nerd I'm always telling people to reduce their blue light exposure before bed and if you have to get up at night. The background only lights up for a few seconds if you press one of the buttons; it's not on all the time. But in the future, I'd love to see the manufacturers modify the remote so that it isn't so bright. Other than that I like the remote in that it's simple and has 3 buttons: on/off, raise the temperature, and lower the temperature.
The material is a poly-cotton top that has the plastic tubing running throughout it. When you lay on it, you can't feel the tubing. It's comfortable.
I've found that I need to add water once every 2 weeks. When the cube runs low, the cube will stop running and you'll see an image of a water drop on the cube. The manufacturer recommends that you use distilled water. I often forget to add water and I'll wake up during the night because the unit shut off while I was asleep. This has happened a few times, so now I have an alarm on my phone to add water once per week.
The ChiliPAD comes in several sizes for you and/or your partner:
- half queen (single) 30" x 74"
- half king (twin XL) 38" x 80"
- half cal-king (split cal-king) 3" x 84"
- full 53" x 75"
- queen 60" x 80"
- king 76" x 80"
- cal-king 72" x 74"
If your partner doesn't want to use the ChiliPad, you can buy one of the half sizes so you can sleep on it and it won't affect them at all, unless they're sensitive to the fan noise.
Should You Buy the ChiliPad?
I've been using the ChiliPAD for a month and I love it. It's not cheap, but the value of being well-rested is more than worth the price for this high-quality product. I've contemplated using a box spring mattress instead of a gel/foam hybrid mattress, because box springs are are much cooler, but my low back does so much better with a very soft gel/foam hybrid mattress.
I did a lot of research and only found one competitor, and based on the user reviews, I chose the ChiliPad. If you're not sure, there's a 90-day return policy. Give yourself a month to find a temperature that works for you and see if it's worth it. It may be a good idea to start a sleep journal, which can be as simple as noting how well rested you feel when you wake up with a few notes (such as what temperature you set the ChiliPAD to) in order to track what's affecting your sleep.
Some people sleep with their cats or dogs in their bed. If they're making you hot by touching you to take advantage f your body heat, this may be one way of getting them off the bed-they may not like the cooler surface. If that doesn't work, it will definitely keep you cooler.