Mattresses come in different shapes, sizes, and materials. Memory foam is one of the most common mattress materials. But, have you ever wondered what the terms gel memory foam and memory foam mean? In fact, some shoppers believe that memory foam is a general synonym for any mattress, but that's not true. Rather, memory foam is just one of the many materials used to make a mattress. In this article, you'll learn everything you need to know about gel memory foam and regular memory foam.
What is a Memory Foam Mattress?
A memory foam mattress is a type of mattress made with a low resistance polyurethane foam. Polyurethane is a versatile plastic polymer used to create various materials and products. Examples of everyday products made using polyurethane include garbage containers, ice boxes, certain toys, packaging materials, and of course, mattresses.
When used to create a memory foam mattress, polyurethane has heat retention capabilities. It also molds the mattress to fit your sleeping position.
You have two main choices of these types of mattresses: regular memory foam mattresses and gel memory foam.
What is a Gel Foam Mattress?
A gel foam mattress is a memory foam mattress with gel pods added atop the foam. The gel pods provide extra support for your neck and lower back as you sleep. In addition, the gel makes the mattress feel more bouncy. As a result, gel foam mattresses tend to bounce back to their original shape faster than regular memory foam mattresses.
Also, these mattresses have cooling gel, so they help get rid of body heat, keeping you 30% cooler than traditional memory foam, while you sleep. The process of adding gel to this type of mattress varies from one manufacturer to another.
Mattress manufacturers can either add gel beads (gel-filled capsules) to the memory foam, add liquid gel directly into the memory foam, or add the gel atop the comfort layer of the mattress.
Gel Memory Foam vs Memory Foam Mattress: Similarities
Since memory foam and gel foam mattresses share a common material (polyurethane foam), they have lots of similarities and differences you need to know.
Contour to Your Body Shape
One of the most common characteristics of foam mattresses, especially those made with gel, is their ability to contour to your sleeping position. In addition, these mattresses hug different parts of your body, providing the ultimate sleeping experience.
Provide More Stability
Foam mattresses are more stable than many types of mattresses. You've probably slept on mattresses that won't just stay in the same position throughout the night - they move when you do. This can be frustrating, especially when you're trying to enjoy a peaceful night of sleep, an intimate moment with your partner, etc.
Foam and gel memory foam beds are also great if you frequently turn and toss at night, or share the same bed with your pet.
Relieve Pressure and Pain
It's difficult to enjoy a peaceful night's sleep when you're in pain. But one thing that makes memory foam and gel memory foam beds stand out in the crowded industry is their ability to relieve pain. This is because they cradle the sleeper's body, and provide support around pressure points as they sleep.
Older people are usually at a higher risk of developing body pain while sleeping. For this reason, foam memory and gel memory are pretty popular among the elderly.
Different Firmness Levels
Mattresses come with different firmness levels. For example, regular memory foam mattresses used to be extra firm. However, modern memory foam mattresses have firmness levels ranging from ultra-soft to extra-supportive. Again, this is because sleepers have different preferences regarding the firmness level of a mattress.
Gel Memory Foam vs Memory Foam: Differences
Despite having many similarities, here are some of the key differences between regular memory foam and gel foam mattresses.
Regular memory foam mattresses are not so good at body temperature regulation. Instead, they tend to sleep hot. So, if you're the kind of sleeper who sweats a lot at night, you may want to avoid a traditional memory foam mattress.
This is because a memory foam mattress has a closed cell structure, which traps heat. Although they may not be the best choice in the summer, you may enjoy sleeping on them in the cold months when you need to stay home. However, they may still be uncomfortable in colder months if you tend to sweat a lot, or if you share the bed with a partner who does.
On the other hand, gel memory foam mattresses have cooling capabilities, providing countless cool and peaceful nights of sleep throughout the year. It consists of a gel that wicks away heat and moisture from your body, keeping you 30% cooler than traditional memory foam, as you sleep. This is the perfect mattress for you if you share the bed with your partner, a pet, or if you usually sleep hot.
Gel memory foam mattresses may cost a little more than regular memory foam mattresses. Since gel memory foam mattresses cost more than regular memory foam, some mattress companies allow you to save money, without compromising your sleep quality. For example, PlushBeds has a cooling gel memory foam topper you can use on your standard memory foam mattress.
This topper is much cheaper than buying an entire gel memory foam mattress. In addition, it comes in different sizes, ranging from twin to Cal King. PlushBeds also allows you to choose the thickness level of the gel memory foam topper, and select an organic cotton cover to complement it.
The gel memory foam topper is ideal if your current mattress still has many years left in it. In that case, you may not need to buy an entire memory foam mattress - a gel memory foam topper can help you sleep cool and comfortably.
Benefits of Regular Memory Foam
A regular memory foam mattress isn't the best choice if you're looking for a mattress that sleeps cool. But, despite that, it still has many benefits worth knowing about.
Memory foam mattresses have body-contouring capabilities. As a result, these mattresses are comfortable, and especially good if you suffer from constant pain in your neck or lower back.
Suits All Sleeping Positions
From stomach sleepers to side sleepers or anything in between, a regular memory foam mattress can accommodate any sleeping position. Memory foam naturally contours to your body's shape and sleeping position, making you comfortable while you sleep.
This characteristic makes memory foam mattresses ideal for couples. Your partner's movements on the bed won't affect you when you sleep on this mattress.
Drawbacks of Regular Memory Foam
Now, let's look at the cons of memory foam mattresses.
Most memory foam mattresses are heavier than other types of mattresses available today. This could be a huge inconvenience, especially when moving.
As mentioned before, standard memory foam mattresses tend to sleep hot. You won't have fun sleeping on them, if you’re a hot sleeper, or live in areas that experience high temperatures.
Memory foam mattresses usually emit strong odors, especially when still new. This odor could take days or even weeks to disappear.
Memory foam mattresses absorb water, which eventually damages their quality. You may need to invest in a waterproof mattress protector to avoid this.
Memory foam mattresses are still expensive, even though not as expensive as gel memory foam mattresses. But despite the cost, memory foam mattresses don't have so many features to justify the price.
Changes with Climate
Memory foam mattresses may feel too soft during the hot season, and stiffer in cold seasons. This can be quite uncomfortable. To avoid this, consider purchasing a cooling gel memory foam topper from PlushBeds.
Benefits of Gel Memory Foam
Gel memory foam has many benefits when compared to regular memory foam. The most common benefits include:
Since gel memory foam mattresses consist of cooling gel, you don't need to worry about sleeping hot. This is especially helpful during the hot season, or if you usually sleep hot.
It's also important to note that various conditions, including medications, can cause you to sleep hot. Some examples include:
- Low-blood sugar
- Stress and anxiety
- Antidepressants, steroids, painkillers, and a host of other medications
And so much more.
So, even if you live in a cooler location, you may still sleep hot if you don't invest in the right mattress. This further explains why a gel infused mattress suits all instances of sleeping hot.
Although gel memory foam contains cooling gel, it is still made with memory foam, making it comfortable. More specifically, this mattress can absorb motion. As a result, your partner's movements on the mattress won't affect your sleeping position.
Memory gel mattresses offer better, balanced support. In addition, it supports the most important parts of your body while sleeping, such as the neck, shoulders, and lower back. This additional support limits the chances of body aches when you wake up.
If you or your loved one struggles with pressure on your hips, shoulders, back, neck, or any other body part while sleeping, a gel memory foam mattress could help manage the pain. This is because gel memory foam mattresses have pressure-relief capabilities. For instance, the mattress keeps your spine properly aligned, limiting the chances of aches and pain.
Mattresses are expensive. For this reason, you want to purchase the kind of mattress that serves you long enough. But, that's not something you need to worry about when investing in a gel memory foam mattress. The gel added to the mattress makes it even more durable than traditional memory foam mattresses. As a result, you can enjoy many years of cool nights' sleep.
Drawbacks of Gel Memory Foam
The benefits aside, now let's look at the drawbacks of investing in a gel memory foam mattress.
Gel memory foam mattresses are more costly than traditional mattresses. This is because of the introduction of gel to the mattress. But, on the flip side, many consumers argue that the price of a gel infused mattress is worth it when you consider the many benefits this mattress offers. Besides, it is durable, meaning that it will last you for years with proper care.
Additionally, if you can't afford a gel foam mattress at the moment, you can always purchase a cooling gel mattress topper. However, this option works best if your current mattress is still in good condition. If not, you might need a new mattress.
FAQs about Gel Memory Foam Vs. Memory Foam
We’ve answered some of the most common questions people ask about these two types of mattresses.
Is gel or regular memory foam mattress more comfortable?
A gel memory foam mattress is more comfortable than a regular memory foam mattress. This is because gel memory foam comes with a top layer of cooling gel for added comfort and temperature regulation.
Does gel memory foam sink?
No, a gel memory foam mattress doesn't sink. And, when it does, it bounces back to its original position when you get off the bed.
Which provides a cooler sleep: regular memory foam, or gel infused memory foam?
A gel memory foam mattress feels cooler than regular memory foam. This is because a gel memory foam mattress contains a cooling gel, unlike a regular memory foam mattress that only contains memory foam.
Which is more expensive: regular memory foam, or gel memory foam?
Because gel memory foam contains gel, and is more durable, it is also a little more expensive than a regular memory foam mattress.
Which has more bounce: regular memory foam, or gel memory foam?
Gel memory foam is more bouncy than regular memory foam. As mentioned before, the gel in the mattress reshapes itself as soon as you get off the bed.
Which holds its shape longer: regular memory foam or gel memory foam?
Gel memory foam holds its shape longer. This explains why this mattress is more durable than a regular foam mattress.
Which is better overall: regular memory foam, or gel infused memory foam?
A gel memory foam mattress is better than a regular memory foam mattress. Although these two types of mattresses share many similarities, gel-infused mattresses have the upper hand because they have moisture-wicking and temperature-regulating capabilities. In addition, they last longer than regular mattresses.
PlushBeds Gel Memory Foam Mattresses
Now that you know the differences, pros, and cons of regular memory foam and gel memory foam mattresses, here's a quick look at some of the best memory foam mattresses from PlushBeds.
Handcrafted in the United States, the Cool Bliss Luxury Cool Gel Memory Foam Mattress comes with five plush comfort layers. As the name suggests, this mattress provides that cool feeling you need for a rejuvenating sleep. The mattress is also CertiPUR, and GREENGUARD Gold certified, ensuring the highest manufacturing standards possible.
Enjoy deep, peaceful sleep with this high-quality temperature-regulating mattress. It is 30 percent cooler than a regular memory foam mattress, and dissipates heat up to three times faster. It’s spongy cells that allow body heat to escape while you sleep. Its open cell construction creates a better oxygenated mattress with a longer lifespan. Despite providing exceptional comfort and coolness, The Ocean Mist Gel Memory Foam Mattress from PlushBeds comes at a reasonable price.
This memory foam topper from PlushBeds is what you need to add an extra layer of comfort and support to your memory foam mattress. It also helps you sleep cool, and eases pressure in the right places. And, if your memory foam mattress doesn't feel so comfortable, this foam mattress will make a huge difference.
If your memory foam mattress is still in good condition, but sleeps hot, the cooling mattress topper from PlushBeds can help manage this problem. This cooling gel adds softness, support, and pressure relief to the mattress, providing a peaceful night's sleep.
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