We recently replaced our old mattress with a temperature-controlled sleep system from Eight Sleep. After the first night, I told my wife that the only thing left to improve was to find a “cooler” pillow, because the one I had was getting hot during the night.
A few days later, I stumbled across the Carbon Air Pillow (also from Eight Sleep), which promises to absorb and dissipate heat away from the body. I decided to give this carbon-infused pillow a try and document my experience in this review.
Eight Sleep Carbon Air Pillow
- Stays cool all night
- Comfortable memory foam
- Five-year warranty
- You can return it within 30 days if you don’t like it
- Might not work for tall side-sleepers
The Hunt for the Perfect Pillow
Ask 10 of your friends and family members if they’re 100% satisfied with their pillow, and I bet the majority of them will say “no.” Based on feedback from those who I talked to about their sleeping accommodations, it seems like finding the perfect pillow is difficult; even more so than finding the perfect mattress.
I assume that’s because there is no one-size-fits-all pillow.
But regardless of your body type and sleep position, a good pillow should meet the following specs:
- Be comfortable.
- Dissipate heat so you don’t sweat or feel too warm.
- Provide sufficient head and neck support to avoid pressure points and neck pain.
While that shouldn’t be too much to ask for, most pillows I’ve tried usually fail in at least one of these categories.
I used to be a fan of pure down feather pillows because I like natural “fibers” and I truly enjoy the feeling of “sinking” my head into them. In other words, I appreciate how comfortable they are.
Unfortunately, regardless of their “fill weight,” none of the down pillows I own provide sufficient head and neck support. Plus, these pillows tend to produce a lot of dust, which some people might find irritating.
If you experience allergic reactions to your bedding, it’s likely due to dust mites and not the bedding material (i.e., down feathers).
As a result, I’ve tried down alternatives, including memory foam and other synthetic materials. The problem with foam pillows is that memory foam is not a breathable material, which means it doesn’t dissipate heat very well. As a result, my head and neck would get too hot at night.
The last pillow I had before getting the Carbon Air Pillow was the Casper*. It’s filled with a synthetic fiber that provides relatively good head support, but it also tends to get warm at night. It’s not as bad as with pure memory foam, but it’s definitely noticeable — especially if you sleep on a water-cooled mattress as we do.
When I learned about the Carbon Air Pillow by Eight Sleep, I got excited because I was hoping that the combination of its ventilation system, heat-dissipating material and memory foam would check all three boxes for me: head support, comfort and breathability.
Carbon Air Pillow Review
By the time you read this review, I will have slept on the Carbon Air Pillow for several weeks. And so far, I have nothing to complain about.
I used to be a side-sleeper, but I transitioned to being a back sleeper several years ago. Occasionally, I turn on my side but won’t stay there for more than an hour — or until my arm starts tingling.
I always thought that people sleep in the position they feel most comfortable in. However, Professor Chris Idzikowski, the director of the UK Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service, thinks that the position a person sleeps in is a reflection of their personality.
I’m mentioning this because most pillows that provide enough head support for back sleepers aren’t thick enough to fill the gap between your shoulder and your cheek when you sleep on your side. I have a good friend who is a side sleeper, and much taller than I am (I’m 6’ 0”). He can’t sleep with most regular pillows because they aren’t thick enough.
The other “extreme” is stomach sleepers who might prefer thinner pillows that allow them to maintain proper spinal alignment while sleeping.
The bottom line is that most of what I share next is based on my experience as a back sleeper; my first-hand experience with other sleeping positions is limited.
However, I gave the Carbon Air Pillow to my wife, who is mostly a side sleeper, and she was perfectly fine with the amount of neck support the pillow provided. But she’s 4’ 11”, and if you are a tall side sleeper, you might need a thicker pillow to be comfortable.
The core of the Carbon Air Pillow is, as the name implies, carbon-infused memory foam. Graphite (which is a crystalline form of carbon) has been used as a thermal management solution in electronics for years, and it recently made its debut as a cooling technology in bedding.
Graphite has small spherical pores that allow the material to absorb heat efficiently. As a result, the Carbon Air Pillow can effectively reduce the temperature of its surface and dissipate the heat through the perforations that are part of its air ventilation system.
Eight Sleep calls it a “phase change” material. That’s just a fancy term for the pillow’s ability to absorb and dissipate heat.
To protect its memory foam core, the Carbon Air Pillow comes with a Tencel mesh cover that you can easily remove and wash. Tencel is a breathable, cellulosic fiber obtained from wood pulp.
Comfort and Support
What I’ve always liked about memory foam, a technology NASA invented in the 1970s, is the excellent support and comfort it provides.
So I had high expectations. And I’m happy to report that the Carbon Air Pillow hasn’t disappointed.
As I mentioned above, I usually sleep on my back. And when I rest my head on the pillow, it sinks in just enough to take the pressure off my neck and to allow for natural alignment of my spine.
Those few times where I turned to my side during the night, I did not feel the need to stuff more of the pillow under my head to better support it (like I usually have to do with other pillows).
It’s perfectly normal to wake up several times a night as part of the natural sleep/wake cycle, even if you don’t remember it.
Based on the (limited) experience I have sleeping on my side, I think the Carbon Air Pillow should also be sufficient for supporting chronic side sleepers who are of a similar height as I am.
The ability to prevent the surface of the pillow from becoming too hot was the main reason why I decided to try the Carbon Air Pillow.
I’m thrilled to say that this pillow delivered on its promise by staying much cooler all night than any other pillow I’ve tried so far.
As I mentioned above, my wife and I swapped pillows a few times while I was working on this review. That gave me the opportunity to better assess the differences between the Carbon Air Pillow and “regular” pillows, as far as temperature control is concerned.
While I didn’t sleep badly on the nights I used her pillow, I could clearly tell the difference in pillow surface temperature between the Casper (the pillow she normally uses) and my new Carbon Air Pillow.
In fact, right before we turned off the lights on the night of our first pillow swap, I asked my wife to touch the cover of the Carbon Air Pillow and that of a 100% down feather pillow — one of the six pillows we have on our bed for decorative reasons that I can’t quite understand. The difference in surface temperature was significant.
You can get the Carbon Air Pillow in queen or king size for $150 (it’s the same price for both sizes). If you decide to get a two-pack, the price-per-pillow goes down to $132.50. I know you can find pillows for less money, but I think the Carbon Air Pillow is worth it because of how much it improves the quality of your sleep. It might also be the last kind of pillow you’ll ever buy.
The Carbon Air Pillow also comes with a five-year warranty, and you can return it within 30 days if you don’t like it.
Note that if you purchase the Carbon Air Pillow together with Eight Sleep’s Pod* or Pod Pro, you can save an additional 20%.
If you want to give the Carbon Air Pillow a try, make sure to use discount code KUMMER20 to get 20% off your order.
Frequently Asked Questions
The queen size is 16 inches wide, 29 inches long and 6 inches thick. The king size is 16 inches wide, 29 inches long and 6 inches thick.
No pillow I’ve tried stays cool, because unlike the Eight Sleep Pod, it’s not actively cooled. However, the Carbon Air Pillow doesn’t get hot, and its surface stays cooler than other pillows I’ve tested.
Coop allows you to change its firmness and thickness by removing some or adding more of the filling (shredded memory foam pieces). That can help tall side sleepers who don’t get sufficient head support from pillows with a normal thickness.
As far as temperature regulation is concerned, I don’t know how well the Coop works because I don’t own one.
I’ve slept on a Casper pillow for several months and generally liked it. However, I did have to adjust the Casper at least once a night to get the right amount of head and neck support. Plus, the Casper pillow tends to heat up a bit, especially during the warmer months of the season.
I never felt like I had to adjust the Carbon Air Pillow and it stays at a comfortable temperature all night.
The pillowcase/cover is washable, but the memory foam core isn’t.
No, I haven’t tried any other pillows with cooling properties.
Yes! You can use code KUMMER20 to get 20% off your order.
No, the Carbon Air Pillow doesn’t use a cooling gel, as some other brands do. Instead, this pillow has cooling features that rely on phase-shifting materials, such as perforated graphite that dissipate heat and increase airflow.
Yes, it is and it’s also CertiPur certified.
Yes, by increasing the airflow and dissipating excess heat, the pillow reduces the chances of moisture build-up.
Yes, you can — but I recommend a pillow case that doesn’t negatively impact the airflow. We use a 100% cotton pillow case that matches our sheet set.
Eight Sleep Carbon Air Pillow
After having slept on the Carbon Air Pillow for several weeks, I conclude that it’s the best pillow I’ve owned so far. It’s incredibly comfortable, it provides just the right amount of support, and it stays cooler than any other pillow I’ve ever used.
If you’re a hot sleeper and are looking for the right pillow to get a better night’s sleep, I recommend you give this memory foam pillow a try. In the unlikely event that you don’t like it, you can return it within 30 days.
If you decide to give the Carbon Air Pillow a try, let me know in the comments how you like it — especially if you’re a tall side sleeper!