Ever since college, I’ve had some serious troubles with my sleep.
I’m not sure why or how it happened. I’ve always been a great sleeper. My mom enjoys telling people how we would have our extended family over for a party, and I would decide to just crawl under the covers and put myself to bed while my cousins were all still playing in my room.
I love a good sleep.
But during my sophomore year of college, I started developing terrible night sweats.
It got so bad that the dye from my red sheets would even stain my mattress pad underneath. I couldn’t explain it. I’d been to the doctor plenty of times since, and no health issues were present.
I was just a hot sleeper.
My sleeping habits altered to fit this new reality. Every night, I’d kick out the corner of my comforter so that my feet and legs could stick out. I enjoyed wrapping up in a soft comforter. I usually cuddled up with it with my upper body, leaving my lower half to breathe. This usually worked, though there were still plenty of sweaty nights. I kept a tower fan blowing directly on my body most of the time.
When I got married in 2010, my wife had a hard time dealing with this annoyance. She would make the bed and tuck in the top sheet and comforter nicely in the corner, only for me to crawl into bed and shove my feet around until the corner was loosened and I could get my feet out.
Marriage also added the problem of another person in the bed who was not hot. The fan had to be angled at a certain degree so that much of it would not blow on her.
I’d still wake up every few weeks in the middle of the night, sweat running down my body and my legs. I would have to completely change whatever I was wearing, dry off, and then try to get back to sleep in a disgusting wet spot on my side of the bed.
Then, we had our baby daughter.
A new wrinkle in the struggle
My daughter wakes up once a night, usually, to eat.
Because she shares a bedroom with our two boys, her nighttime activities have moved to our bedroom. The diaper change, the feeding… and sometimes the second half of sleeping all happen in our bed.
This isn’t a problem, of course. I won’t argue because I’m the one who gets to sleep while my wife deals with the baby. But when the baby comes to our room, the fans have to be turned off.
So, in the last 4+ months, my middle-of-the-night wakeups have skyrocketed.
Anywhere from 3-5 nights per week, I’m rolling out of bed absolutely drenched in sweat, angrily changing my clothes, and tucking something – a towel, a t-shirt, whatever – onto the sheets while flipping my pillow over to find some dryness on the bed.
My wife finally insisted that I do something about this. There are devices on the market that can cool down your bed for you. They’re so doggone expensive.
In one of our discussions on the subject, she said, “It’s worth every penny if you’re actually going to sleep. How are you supposed to get work done if you’re exhausted every day?”
As always, she was right. So I went a-researchin’.
Why I settled on the ChiliPad
When you start looking around at different devices, you discover that virtually all of them are really stinking pricey.
Hundreds upon hundreds of dollars. I didn’t want to spend that kind of scratch.
I had a few requirements:
- It had to be controllable remotely somehow. I didn’t care if it was a remote control or an app. It had to be something.
- It had to allow me to wrap up in blankets still. I love to snuggle in my covers.
- There had to be an option for my wife to not be cooled off.
Of the devices out there, the three options I came back to the most were the ChiliPad, the BedJet, and the bFan.
The BedJet was a cool option (no pun intended). A fan that blows air into your sheets made sense – air movement seemed to solve the sweating issue. But it would blow air into the entire bed. There is a dual-fan option, but that requires you to buy their dual-zone top sheet. We didn’t want to be tied into their sheets.
Plus, a dual-zone BedJet was the most expensive of any of our options. It was a no-go.
The bFan is a budget brand of BedJet-type fan. It has a great price, but there is no dual zone option at all.
The other problem with the fan solutions is that they would blow up the sheets and covers in the bed. Wrapping up in blankets would pose a problem.
And so I came to the ChiliPad.
The ChiliPad is the original device I discovered, and it always intrigued me. I first learned about it in Tim Ferriss’s excellent book, Tools of Titans.
The ChiliPad is a thin mattress pad that goes under your fitted sheet and on top of your regular mattress pad. Weaved throughout the pad are very thin tubes. They attach to a tank that you store under your bed (or in my case, under my nightstand).
You fill the tank with distilled water, and then you set the ChiliPad to the temperature that you want (it can get all the way down to 55 degrees!).
The ChiliPad cools the water to the set temperature and pumps it through the thin tubes in your mattress pad, cooling you off consistently throughout the night.
You could invest over $1,000+ into a dual-zone ChiliPad, where each of us would have a tank that we could set to our desired temperatures. But my wife didn’t need one. She was sleeping fine.
Fortunately, ChiliPad also sells half-pads. I needed a half-King sized pad that perfectly covers my half of the bed, leaving my wife alone.
After searching for a coupon code, we bit the bullet and ordered one. There was a 90-day return policy, so we felt confident that we could test it out without losing the money if it didn’t work.
That turned out to not be an issue.
Life with a ChiliPad
Many people claim in Tools of Titans that the ChiliPad changed their lives. I was skeptical about this statement.
Then I started using mine.
Regardless of comforter or sheets we use, my legs start heating up about 5 minutes after getting into bed every night to read.
Now, I climb into bed, read for a couple minutes, then reach over to grab my ChiliPad remote control. I turn the tank on and make sure it is set for my preferred temperature of 58 degrees.
My extra-warm body is gradually cooled down by the pad underneath me. I’m stunned by how quickly it works – and how effective it really is!
The first night I slept with the ChiliPad on, I slept so hard that I had very vivid dreams. The second night… the same thing. In fact, I’ve been using my ChiliPad for over a week now, and I am having dreams every night because I am getting so much deep sleep.
Instead of gasping for air or drying out my nose and throat with a fan blowing directly on me, I can sleep – even with a shirt on, which I prefer anyway – soundly and comfortably without waking up at 3am to change my clothes.
I wake up dry and well-rested.
I’m even surprised by how little sleep I need. I used to get 7ish hours of sleep and still be groggy and crabby. Now, I can go to bed anywhere between 11pm and midnight and wake up before 7am feeling just fine.
I can’t believe how effective it is. And it’s not even summer yet, when the heat is going to overwhelm our house.
Is it perfect?
Of course not.
The reason I get into bed first and warm up a little is because it’s a little jarring to crawl into an ice-cold bed, especially if your feet are cold. This normalizes out, but the initial reaction can be a little uncomfortable.
And one night last week, I climbed into bed cold and told myself to give it a couple minutes and then turn on the ChiliPad. I fell asleep and woke up at 4am to change my clothes again. Whoops.
There are higher-end devices that offer timers and app support, but I felt these were unnecessary for me.
There are two sides to the mattress pad – a “cooler” side and a “softer” side. I opted to try the cooler side, which is thinner and keeps the tubes closer to the surface. As such, I can definitely feel the tubes on the mattress pad if I run my hands along the top.
But, I’m so comfortable that it really doesn’t matter, and my body doesn’t seem to be bothered by it. If you are the princess who feels the pea under all those mattresses, this might be a problem. Then again, the “softer” side might be enough for you, but I haven’t tested this yet.
It’s the best solution out there
I can’t believe how well I sleep.
I love how customizable you can make your order.
The 90-day return policy is a godsend for those of us who suffer from sticker shock on these things.
But they always say you invest in your mattress, your shoes, and your desk chair because of how many hours you spend with each. I can honestly say that the ChiliPad is a life-changing device, and the quality of my sleep, my health, and my life is already going way up.
Highly, highly recommended.
Yes, they have lots of coupon codes. Here’s one for 25% off, which honestly I wish I had at the time I placed my order! It’s a referral code, so I get a kickback from it, but I assure you that this isn’t a paid review. I bought one with my own money and I am already a huge fan of it.