Gel Mattress vs. Memory Foam — What’s Better for You?
There have been plenty of advancements in the technology that goes into all bedding materials, from the types of sheets you use to the kinds of mattresses you can purchase. While these upgrades are helpful and offer a wide variety of options for all sleepers, the options can easily become overwhelming.
Buying a new mattress is one such instance when looking for the perfect one for you can quickly become complex. In your search, you have probably come across mattresses that have unique elements, such as mattresses made from gel or memory foam.
Not sure about the difference between these two? Don’t worry —we’ll break down the distinctions between these options and help you find out which mattress is best for you.
Gel Mattress vs. Memory Foam: Is There a Winner?
Before we offer an in-depth comparison of these two types of mattresses, here’s the short answer to your question: It depends on what kind of sleeper you are.
One of these mattresses isn’t inherently better than the other. Gel mattresses help with issues for certain types of sleepers, whereas memory foam mattresses do the same — just for a different set of sleepers.
Keep reading to learn more about how these mattresses function differently and which one will help you get the rest you deserve!
Gel Mattresses: The Pros and Cons
Most gel mattresses include gel mixed with memory foam, which adds its own array of unique benefits. Before we discuss some of these perks, let’s talk about what the gel material is and why it’s there.
All About the Gel in Gel Mattresses
The gel found in these mattresses is a polymer created by mixing plastics and other chemicals. This is where one of the cons comes in — while none of the chemicals and plastics present within the gel can cause you any sort of physical harm, the mattress does have a specific scent due to the gel.
The smell of gel isn’t bad; in fact, it’s hardly noticeable. It’s more of a neutral scent. However, if you aren’t expecting your mattress to have its own “clean linen candle-type” smell, you may be surprised at first. Keep this in mind if you plan on buying a gel mattress.
Depending on the type of gel mattress you purchase, the gel could either be an evenly dispersed layer that sits above a layer of foam, or it could be spread throughout the foam in little “droplets.” Both formats still yield all the benefits that gel mattresses offer.
Ideal for Warm Sleepers
Are you a hot sleeper?
If you are tossing and turning throughout the night or constantly woken up by night sweats, a gel mattress may be the perfect solution to help alleviate this issue.
Gel mattresses have the ability to draw heat from the body and are known for wicking away any excess moisture, such as sweat.
There are two types of gels used in gel mattresses, and these two gels work together to cool you down. While they may have different methods, both achieve the same cooling effect that hot sleepers need in order to have a comfortable sleep.
The first gel within gel mattresses is called a thermal gel. Thermal gel is cool to the touch and will keep your mattress at a comfortable temperature at all times. It’s extremely helpful for those who struggle with excessive heat.
The second type of gel is known as phase-changing gel. This type of gel morphs from a solid to a liquid when there is a rise in temperature. This means if the summer sun has been shining down on your bed through one of your windows all day, the phase-changing gel will turn into a liquid to keep the mattresses cool.
Is a Gel Mattress Right for Me?
Gel mattresses are fantastic inventions. They offer many similar benefits to memory foam mattresses since the gel is typically mixed with foam.
When deciding whether or not this type of mattress would be a good fit for you, consider whether or not you are a warm sleeper. If you are a cold sleeper or live in a colder climate, gel may not be the best choice for you.
Memory Foam Mattress: The Pros and Cons
Memory foam is a beneficial component to have as a part of your mattress. This unique foam has a long list of perks that will help you comfortably sleep each night.
Let’s get into some of these benefits down below.
Memory Foam Hugs the Body
The foam in these mattresses is known to mold itself around the shape of your body, which makes it perfect for all types of sleepers.
This molding effect will keep you comfortable all night long and may support your spine’s alignment. Whether you sleep on your back or your side, a memory foam mattress will provide you with the comfort and support you need for a rejuvenating rest.
Memory Foam Absorbs Motion
This is a particularly appealing perk if you share a bed with someone else who is an active sleeper — or if you yourself are an active sleeper.
Memory foam absorbs energy from shifts in movement throughout the night. So, if your partner tends to toss and turn all night long, you can still sleep peacefully: Their end of the mattress is sucking up all of that movement.
Memory Foam May Help With Neck and Back Pain
Sleeping on an unsupportive mattress for long periods can lead to pain in your neck and back.
Almost a third of your day is spent sleeping, so you make sure that your bed offers the most support possible. A memory foam mattress promotes neutral spine alignment, and over time, you may find that the support from this mattress leaves your neck and back feeling less rigid and pain-free.
Memory Foam Offers Pressure Relief
Have you noticed that some regions of your body, such as your knees, shoulders, or hips, feel sore and become bothersome pressure points?
This may be because your current mattress is too firm and isn’t helping to alleviate any of the pressure that you are feeling in these areas. A memory foam mattress distributes your weight evenly across its surface, which will prevent any area of your body from taking on too much weight. This means you can kiss those aches and pains goodbye.
Memory Foam Is Hypo-Allergenic
Memory foam mattresses are ideal choices for anyone with allergies or similar issues like asthma. The foam has the ability to ward off mold and is highly resistant to dust mites and other allergens.
If you live in a hotter climate or are a cold sleeper who struggles to stay warm throughout the night, a memory foam mattress could help. Memory foam is known for trapping body heat due to its density and less breathable nature, along with the thickness of the foam.
This could be either positive or negative, depending on what you are looking for from your mattress. As mentioned in the section about gel mattresses, many people sleep hot at night. For anyone in that camp, a memory foam mattress might not be the best option; the temperature regulation provided by a gel mattress wins there.
If you are a cold sleeper, memory foam can be a lifesaver. This mattress can help you warm during those hours of rest and might eliminate the need for piling up countless blankets on top of your body.
Already a hot sleeper? A mattress made from only memory foam may not be the best choice for cooling you down throughout the night. However, a gel and memory foam mattress with a 10-year limited warranty gives you the best of both worlds.
Gel Mattress vs. Memory Foam: The Basics To Remember
In short, a memory foam mattress would be ideal if you are a colder sleeper or live in a colder area where you need to gather all the warmth you can get. On the other hand, memory foam alone might be too warm for hotter sleepers.
Remember that most gel mattresses are made with a mix of gel and memory foam, so you’ll get a number of the same benefits that a memory foam mattress has — even if you go for the gel mattress!
Gel mattresses are better for warmer sleepers who love to feel a nice cooling sensation when headed to sleep. Still, both options are perfect for most sleepers and will provide substantial rest night after night.
So, one mattress is not inherently better than the other, and it all depends on your specific preferences, needs, and sleeping position. The best way to find out which one fits you is by taking advantage of our 120-night sleep trial.