I got the Simba Cooling Body Pillow in to review simply because I took one look at it and decided that it was something I had to experience it for myself, for better or worse. Here's the problem, though: the Simba Cooling Body Pillow isn't really something you'd consider if you were shopping for the best pillow.
When you're buying a pillow, you're looking for something to rest your head on when you go to sleep at night. This very much isn't the Simba Cooling Body Pillow, which instead is designed to provide full body support, particularly for side sleepers and expectant mothers. The idea is that you cuddle up to the body pillow at night and it'll help keep your spine and hips aligned, as well as giving your knees a bit of cushioning, all of which could have a positive effect if, despite sleeping on the best mattress, you're waking up troubled by back, neck or joint pain. As an added bonus its case is made with Simba's cooling Stratos material, which I can confirm is definitely cool to the touch.
Simba describes Cooling Body Pillow as long and gently curved; it's 120cm long and 35cm wide and basically, it resembles a giant sausage. I love a good sausage as much as anybody, but do I really want a giant one in my bed? Let's find out.
Simba Cooling Body Pillow review in brief
Simba Cooling Body Pillow at a glance
Type: Microfibre body pillow
Best suited to: Side sleepers, pregnant people
Trial period: 30 nights
Warranty: 1 year
I'm a combination sleeper: I change position a lot in the night but I generally end up sleeping on my side, and while this is the best position for most people I have a distinct lack of cushioning, which means I often end up with aches and pains. Because of this I was intrigued by the Simba Cooling Body Pillow and hopeful that it could provide me with a more soothing night's sleep.
What I wasn't quite prepared for was its size. It's enormous, and I'll say this much: if you share a bed, I'd think very hard about taking a punt on the Simba Cooling Body Pillow, because you might not have room for it. I've had to resort to testing it when my partner's away.
Because this isn't an ordinary pillow, I'm not entirely sure it fits our standard pillow review brief, but I'll do my best here. Essentially I think that it's well-made and that it delivers on most of its promises; that said, I'm not entirely convinced by its cooling prowess, I feel it's overpriced and ultimately it's not quite right for my sleeping style. Your mileage may vary, however.
Simba Cooling Body Pillow review: Price and deals
Sells at Simba for £109
35% discount if bought with a mattress
Not available on Amazon
As far as I can see, the Simba Cooling Body Pillow is only available via Simba's own website, where it's on sale for £109. That feels just a little on the steep side to me, which is kind of how I feel about the Simba Stratos Pillow, too; both of these are reduced by 35% if you buy them with a Simba mattress such as the Simba Hybrid Luxe, but so far I haven't seen them reduced on the Simba site when you're buying them on their own.
The Stratos Pillow is also available on Amazon, where it's occasionally sold with a 50% discount, which to me is a great price. The Simba Cooling Body Pillow, however, isn't sold on Amazon; you'll find a lot of body pillows there, at much lower price points and in a range of interesting designs that go well beyond the Simba's "giant sausage" look, although none of these appear to offer any cooling features.
Simba Cooling Body Pillow review: Materials and design
Recycled fibre fill
Responsibly-sourced cotton cover
The materials in the Simba Cooling Body Pillow are largely the same as you'll find in the Simba Stratos Pillow that I reviewed recently. The filling is what Simba calls Renew Bio fibres: polyester fibres made from recycled PET bottles, combed into clusters to deliver a breathable, down-like feel. The inner pillow cover is made from responsibly-sourced cotton, and the outer cover is again cotton but with Simba's cooling Stratos print – a thin layer of phase change material that makes the pillow cool to the touch.
Obviously this doesn't look like your average pillow; it's tube-shaped and gently curved, and it feels a lot more substantial than the Stratos Pillow, with a much denser filling.
While with most pillows I'd strongly recommend putting your own pillowcases on them, with this one that really isn't an option because of its shape and size. Fortunately both the Simba Cooling Body Pillow itself and its outer case are machine-washable; I'd hesitate to put the actual pillow in my washing machine, mind.
Simba Cooling Body Pillow review: Performance
Carbon neutral delivery
Cool to the touch
Well-made and supportive
I've been sleeping on the Simba Cooling Body Pillow on and off over the past five weeks to assess it in terms of setup, support, comfort and temperature regulation. Because it's not a standard pillow it's not one that entirely fits our usual review schema; nevertheless, this is what I've found out...
5 out of 5 stars
Simba promises 100% carbon neutral delivery, and the Cooling Body Pillow arrived in 50% recycled plastic packaging containing a recycled storage/carry bag, inside which was the body pillow itself, neatly folded.
The pillow was easy to remove from its storage bag and regained its shape instantly. It wasn't vacuum-packed so there were no issues with off-gassing.
3 out of 5 stars
First things first: the Simba Cooling Body Pillow really does feel cool to the touch, which is entirely down to the Stratos tech – a print made using phase change material – on the outer case.
Does this translate to a properly cooling pillow, though? See, having a cool-to-the-touch cover is one thing; however, inside the pillow is a dense filling made of polyester fibres, and it seems unlikely that this won't absorb your body heat in the night.
And that's just what I found with the Simba Cooling Body Pillow; it felt nice and cool as I was going to sleep, but there would generally come a point in the night when it felt just a little too warm for comfort and I'd have to shrug it off for a while in order to cool down a bit.
Firmness and support
4 out of 5 stars
This is where I go off-script a bit; this isn't a standard pillow, and so where I'd normally be rating it according to how well it performed when sleeping on my front, side and back, and how well it supported my head and neck, none of these criteria really apply.
Rather, the job of this pillow is to promote spinal alignment; you kind of hug it as you lie on your side, with one leg on top and one underneath, and that apparently keeps your spine straighter and reduces pressure on your shoulders and hips. The science checks out, but because I'm very bad at staying in one position all night I can't really report on how well it performs in that regard.
Nevertheless it feels substantial and very supportive, and the foetal sleeping position that it encourages feels very comfortable and natural to me, even if I am incapable of staying in it for the whole night.
People less tall than me may be able to use this both as a body pillow and as a normal pillow; unfortunately for me it doesn't have the reach to cushion both my knees and my head. However if you think this arrangement might work for you, it's worth knowing that the Simba Cooling Body Pillow seems to have a soft end and a firmer end, so that you can find the right level of comfort for your head.
Simba Cooling Body Pillow review: User reviews
29 reviews at Simba
Reviews note it's helped with pain
Mixed opinions on the cooling
The Simba Cooling Body Pillow went on sale around the same time as the Stratos Pillow, which hasn't had many reviews so far, so I was expecting the body pillow to have a similar paucity of user reactions, especially given its price and its niche appeal.
Surprisingly, though, it's picked up 29 reviews on the Simba site so far. Most of them are positive and its overall score is 4.6 out of 5, with a number of reviews stating that it's helped with different sorts of pain including back pain, leg pain and sciatica. There's also mention of its comfort and firmness and the way in which it holds its shape, and a few reviews find that the cooling works as promised. It's not a perfect score, though, with one review saying that the pillow didn't live up to expectations, and another noting that the cooling was no better than in cheaper store-bought pillows.
Should you buy the Simba Cooling Body Pillow?
I have mixed feelings about the Simba Cooling Body Pillow. It's not quite right for me for any number of reasons, such as the fact that I change position a lot in the night, its tendency to get a bit too warm for my liking as the night goes on, and the fact that most of the time I share the bed with my partner and a quite hefty cat, and there's no room in the bed for it when we're all there.
And I haven't even covered the issue of what the hell you do with the Simba Cooling Body Pillow when you're not sleeping with it. During my testing I've put it under the duvet, but it makes the bed look like there's someone in it and, frankly, it looks untidy.
I also think that the price is a little (okay, quite a bit) on the high side, with little chance of getting a discount outside of buying a new mattress to go with it. And that's a shame, because despite all my reservations and quibbles, there's something I really quite like about the Simba Cooling Body Pillow. I think it could be quite helpful with aches and pains brought on by bad sleeping positions, and honestly there's something rather comforting about drifting off while wrapped around it; it's like a big cuddly toy for grown-ups.
You could get most of the benefits of the Simba Cooling Body Pillow by sticking an ordinary pillow between your knees when you sleep on your side, but that feels like a bit of a hack to me; I know for a fact that if I tried it, I'd just end up with a stray pillow loose somewhere under the duvet. Basically I think that if you fall into the very small subset of people who'd benefit from what the Simba has to offer, and if you don't object to the price, you'll be very happy with it.