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Gel mattresses contain a cooling gel in addition to memory foam, or viscoelastic foam. For anyone considering buying a mattress, gel mattresses may be a popular option due to their supportive and cooling properties.
In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of gel mattresses and suggest some of the options available to consumers.
A gel mattress contains a mixture of gel and memory foam. The gel works to absorb and draw heat away from the body. Therefore, a gel memory foam mattress may provide a cooler surface to sleep on.
Manufacturers have developed different ways of incorporating gel within the mattress. Some mattresses have gel microbeads mixed, or infused, into the memory foam. Others have gel layers either near the surface of the mattress or deeper down.
Most memory foam mattresses provide good body support and have low motion transfer. This means that when a person moves on one side of the mattress, a person on the other side stays relatively undisturbed.
Gel-foam mattresses offer similar support and stability, but their biggest selling point is their added cooling effect. This also makes them popular in mattress pads and mattress toppers.
Some benefits of a gel mattress include:
- cooling effect
- pressure relief
- good body and spinal support
- added comfort
One complaint against gel mattresses is that their cooling effect wears off quickly. It may feel refreshingly cool at first, but as the gel conducts heat from a person’s body, it gets warm and stays warm.
Gel-foam mattresses consist of synthetic materials and usually include polyurethane (PU) foam. PU foam and other chemicals used in gel-foam mattresses emit varying levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). When inhaled, VOCs can have certain adverse health effects.
People can look for mattresses with a CertiPUR-US certification, which conveys that their production did not involve harmful chemicals and that they have a low VOC emission.
Some drawbacks of a gel mattress include:
- short-lasting cooling effect
- synthetic materials
- higher VOC levels than some organic mattresses
- less sustainable production
Before buying a mattress, it is important to decide what a person’s priorities are. This will help guide their searching and buying decisions. For example, people may consider:
- sustainable production and materials
- CertiPUR-US certification
- free trial period
- reviews by previous customers
The International Chiropractors Association also note that the following elements are important factors to consider in a mattress:
Many gel mattresses are available on the market. Below, we list five products that people may wish to try.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All product information is purely research-based.
Saatva Loom & Leaf mattress
The manufacturer of this mattress state that its higher price point is reflective of the high quality of its materials and construction. This mattress contains a 5-pound memory foam and high-density foam layers, both infused with gel.
It is available in two firmness levels — relaxed firm and firm — and has an antimicrobial, quilted top layer. The foams used have CertiPUR-US certification and are free of harmful chemicals.
The standout feature of this mattress is its Celliant cover, which the manufacturer say may improve muscle recovery and optimize restorative sleep.
According to the company’s website, Celliant is a performance fabric that helps increase tissue oxygen levels, improves athletic performance, and enhances sleep quality.
The Bear Mattress consists of three layers of CertiPUR-US certified foam, including a top layer of graphite gel memory foam. It has a medium to medium firm feel, which may suit most sleeping styles.
DreamCloud luxury hybrid mattress
This mattress is 14 in thick and offers medium-firm support and low motion transfer. It has a layer of individually wrapped coils, which the manufacturer say adapt to the sleeper’s body position. Further layers of memory foam and gel-infused memory foam add softness and help create a cooling effect.
This mattress contains CertiPUR-US certified foam and does not contain harmful materials. It also comes with a lifetime warranty and a 365-night free trial.
eLuxury gel memory foam mattress
This is an option for those with a smaller budget who want an environmentally friendly mattress. It consists of a CertiPUR-US certified foam, forming a 3-inch (in) top layer of gel memory foam and a 7-in bottom layer of base foam.
The manufacturer delivers the mattress compressed into a box, which means it may take several hours for it to expand. It comes with a 120-night free trial, so a person can return it if they feel it is not quite right.
SweetNight Breeze mattress
This affordable mattress has the option of being flippable. The user can choose between lying on the soft, plush side or the medium-firm side made of gel-infused memory foam.
The foam in this mattress is CertiPUR-US certified and contains soft Rayon cotton, which naturally prevents the growth of mold and mildew. It also comes with a 10-year warranty.
Gel mattresses are only one of many options available on the market. Research suggests that a medium-firm mattress that can be self-adjusted is optimal for promoting sleep comfort and quality and spinal alignment.
Other types of mattresses that people may consider include:
A spring mattress contains one or more layers of metal coils, which provide a bouncy feel to the bed. An insulating material wraps around each coil to cushion it. These mattresses are typically some of the least expensive options available.
These mattresses are naturally hypoallergenic, as they contain natural latex derived from tree sap. They may also help distribute body pressure more evenly in different sleeping positions.
Memory foam mattresses
Memory foam gradually forms around the body shape of a person lying on the mattress. Memory foam mattresses are a popular option due to the cradling feeling they provide. They are good for pressure point relief and promoting proper spinal alignment.
Traditional memory foam uses a PU substance that is flexible but firm. Memory foam mattresses can also contain other layers of foam, which may provide additional support.
A hybrid mattress typically combines springs with layers of latex, memory foam, or gel memory foam. A hybrid aims to combine the best of these other types of mattresses and eliminate their individual issues.
These mattresses contain environmentally friendly materials, such as wool, cotton, and latex. They may help a person avoid exposure to VOCs, which can be harmful to health and the environment.
Gel mattresses may be a suitable option for people looking for comfort, spinal support, and a mattress to keep them cool. People with conditions that cause increases in body temperature or night sweats may prefer gel memory foam mattresses.
These type of mattresses are typically more expensive than other options. However, many companies offer free trial periods, so people can try the mattress to see whether it suits their needs.