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Head/Pillow Heat Sink Materials Answered

I'm wanting to build a heat sink for my head/pillow at night. The reason? My head frequently gets too hot at night giving me bad dreams, headaches, and sometimes keeping me up for hours.

What I've come up with is steel or copper BBs contained in a thin plastic bag to prevent corrosion and enclosed in fabric for comfort and durability. Does anyone have a better idea, especially for the heat sink (metal) part?



7 years ago

Thank you, everyone for posting ideas and products! It's been difficult for me to figure out which to choose from, but I think I'll see how the water hose cap works. Reducing hair loss during cancer treatment is a nice thing to learn too.


7 years ago

If you can't lower the temperature of your room enough I think a pillow is only half solution, a hat would be better.

Water has huge thermal capacity and is simple and safe medium to transfer the heat.

You could make a hat which has some softer hose sewn in it. (Not so soft that the weight of your head would collpse it, but not hurting stiff either.) It should come into the hat from a spot that stays lower when your head is on the pillow, then goes on such a route that it can cover the whole head and go up or evenly all the time, not much downward. Then comes out from a highest spot. The ends of that hose go into a side of a tank which is placed higher than your head, one that was lower on the hat would be attached near bottom of the tank, higher one to the top.

The tank should be quite big, so you can fill it with comfortably cool water and it does not heat up too much during the night. It also should be insulated to keep room warmth from coming in. Insulation on the outside of hat and connecting hoses would help too.

The cool water from the bottom of the tank will drop into your hat as this is even lower, then while taking some heat it will move upward through the hat and back to the top of the tank. Warmer water might not stay on top but dissipate the heat, but if the tank is big it stays cooler than you overall. For sure the warm water is not coming straight back.

Hardest part would be to find the route around your head that does not block the thermal movement of the water by going downward too much.

By the way you can experiment with this trick first to find out if the cooling thing helps. Wet a towel and as the water evaporates it stays cooler than its surroundings. Put it onto your head for night. Preferrably put something waterproof between yourself and the towel but keep the other side open for evaporation.


7 years ago

Hi there,

If you mean putting a bag of bb inside your pillow, then this will not necessarily dissipate the heat as much as store it in the manner of thermal mass. So it would work if you took it out each day and put it in the fridge, then back in your pillow overnight, this means you are taking the heat from your head, and moving it to the bb's, then taking that stored heat out of the pillow and releasing it to the atmosphere (or the inside of your fridge) during the day.
This could work, but if you want something to actually remove the heat from your pillow during the night, in a true heatsink manner, then you need to move the accumulating heat from the bb's, outside your pillow and dissipate it. You could do this by blowing air across the heatsink, but I am not sure this would be good for sleeping! Another way might be to run liquid through a heatsink in the pillow, then out to a radiator away from your pillow. For this to work, the heatsink must have good thermal contact with the liquid, so loose bb's probably won't be the best.
I would give the fridge thing a try as its the simplest.