Our purpose here is to carry out a gel foam mattress vs. memory foam comparison. I shall first explain the benefits of memory foam and explain why gel foam was developed to resolve some issues that people have found with standard memory foam. I will then go on to tabulate the differences between gel foam and memory foam.
Here is a summary of I shall be discussing:
What is Memory Foam?
Memory foam is made using a type of polyurethane that has added chemicals that increases the viscosity of the foam (how easily it flows) and its density. It is often referred to a being ‘viscoelastic’ or ‘visco elastic.’ This type of foam contains microscopic pockets that are temperature and weight sensitive.
Because of that, it easily conforms to the shape of your body according to its temperature and weight. In fact, it was developed by NASA to protect astronauts from the extreme pressures involved in space travel, particularly when accelerating and decelerating. NASA technology has been applied to the technology of mattress comfort.
When you lie on a memory foam mattress, your body temperature softens it, and your weight deforms it to the shape that you sleep in. If you sleep on your back, it conforms to your natural back shape, thus providing excellent support for your spine.
If you sleep on your side, the memory foam allows you to sink into the foam with good support for your hips, shoulders and any other pressure points. Once that pressure is relieved, the foam relaxes and becomes flat again after a period of time, but then more easily supports your shape next time – hence ‘memory’ foam.
Memory Foam Pros and Cons:
What is Gel Foam?
As stated above, some people find that regular memory foam gets uncomfortable during the night because their body heat is trapped in the memory foam ‘cocoon.’ Gel foam was developed to overcome this problem. The original gel memory foam involved fusing gel particles with visco foam to absorb the body heat trapped in the foam.
This has now been superseded with gel beads. These beads contain a gel that can switch between the liquid and solid states within the gel capsule – the change from solid to liquid absorbing heat to do so. A significant amount of body heat can be absorbed using this principle. Therefore, the term ‘gel foam’ is actually incorrect, because the gel is not present in the mattress in the form of a gel but as a bead, the gel being contained within the bead.
When comparing a gel foam vs. memory foam mattress, it important to understand that the two memory foam mattresses are the same other than the presence of these gel beds within the structure of the foam. These beads absorb heat as explained in the previous paragraph. A so-called gel memory foam is therefore cooler to sleep on that a regular memory foam mattress.
Gel Foam Pros and Cons
Gel Foam and Memory Foam Mattress FAQs
Gel Foam Mattress Vs. Memory Foam: Summary
Gel foam and regular memory foam mattress have the same properties other than their cooling effect. Regular memory foam mattresses tend to heat up in use due to the way they conform to your body shape. They do this due to a combination of the pressure of your body and your body heat on the viscoelastic foam. They retain your body heat, resulting in the mattress heating up during the night.
The only significant difference a gel foam has is that it contains a ‘phase-changing’ gel within tiny beads that are mixed into the matrix of the foam. The gel absorbs your body heat, which changes it from a solid to a liquid. This keeps you cooler at night when sleeping. Once you get out of bed, the gel cools down and turns solid again – although you do not notice any difference in the way the bed feels or the support it provides whether the gel is in the solid or liquid state.
It is accurate to state, therefore, that when comparing a gel foam vs. memory foam mattress, the fundamental difference between the two is the cooling effect of the former. If you prefer to sleep hot, then choose the regular memory foam mattress, otherwise go for the gel.