Wednesday Bubble: Cool is the new black

Posted by on May 9, 2012 in hot flash, nightsweats | 0 comments

What are the odds that I would run across yet another cooling product? Seriously, it’s like a flash went off in someone’s brain that every menopausal woman in the United States needed to solve her issues through cooling. Mind you, I do believe that thermoregulation is an interesting strategy to combat the body’s out of whack thermometer. But when does the menopausosphere  reach its saturation point?

Evidently, not yet.

This week, I bring you the Polar Pillow, guaranteed to “calm, cool and soothe you into the best sleep of your life” (as well as soothe hot flashes and night sweats).

This nifty 12+ pound pillow contains cooling gel infused with micro air beads and according to the manufacturer, works on its own by absorbing coolness from the air and then releasing it upon contact. The ‘science’ behind the Polar Pillow is an abstract presented at the Associated Professional Sleep Society 2011 meeting. In this study, researchers asked 12 people with insomnia to wear a cap that contained circulating water at cooling and varied temperatures. With the cap on, study participants with sleep issues took an average of 13 minutes to fall asleep (compared to 16 minutes for the healthy comparators) and they slept for about 89% of the time that they were in bed. Theoretically, the benefits are related to the fact that the brain (namely the frontal lobe) remains too hot to sleep and by cooling it down, one can turn down processes that keep the brain active and alert.

So, where do the night sweats and flashes come in?

They don’t.

At least not in the small pilot research that was conducted thus far.

However, rather than asking you to take my cynical word on the Polar Pillow, I decided to ask my friend Richard Laermer (who I inadvertently learned has used the pillow) to weigh in. And while Richard told me that he likes it because he’s a “hot” sleeper and it does cool him, he said that “it’s ugly and it seems to smell sometimes,” adding that it’s not him since he’s “fairly clean!” But here’s the rub:

” There are really really rough pointy edges that almost blinded my partner,” said Richard. “Go figure. Meanwhile, I wouldn’t recommend it…we can do better for a hundred bucks.” (Richard received it as a gift.)

So, let’s see:

  • It’s ugly
  • It smells
  • It has really rough pointy edges making its utility in bed dangerous for one’s partner

And while it may cool the average hot sleeper, it has not actually been shown to help menopausal women. (Clearly, Richard is neither a women or menopausal.) And, despite being the target  hot sleeper, Richard still wouldn’t recommend the Polar Pillow.

My take away?

Thermal is in. Cool is the new black. Enough said.


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