What’s The Difference Between Memory Foam and Gel Memory Foam Mattress?

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  • Memory foam is a type of material that’s produced from a blend of chemicals and polymers. The general idea behind it is to create a soft and comfortable support for your body.
  • Gel memory foam is a similar type of material that acts as a sleep surface by mimicking the properties of memory foam but with the advantages of being able to quickly draw heat away from your body – giving a cooling effect.

But there’s more to it than just feeling cooler or warmer. In this article, I’m going to go deeper into the differences between the two types of mattresses.

What is Memory Foam?

A clean, bright and new memory foam mattress on a bed frame
Memory foam was invented by NASA in the 1970s to improve seat cushioning for astronauts during flights.

It’s called “memory” foam because it retains or remembers the shape of a body.

Memory foam mattresses are often used as an alternative to traditional ones because they provide more comfort, pressure relief, and support than their counterparts.

The polyurethane used in memory foam shapes and molds itself using body heat. This makes it a great choice for anyone to have a bed specific to their sleeping position.

Traditional memory foam mattresses trap heat with closed cells. But there’s another type of traditional memory foam mattress that not many know about. Open-cell memory foam mattresses have spongy passages that allow the heat to escape as you sleep.

But isn’t trapping heat to mold the shape of the mattress the whole point of the “memory” foam?

Well, the open-cell memory foam mattresses still mold their shapes – they just bounce back sooner. Not to mention these spongy passages help increase the airflow within the mattress. This helps almost all of us who don’t sleep on our backs, at least not after the first 10 minutes.

What is Gel Memory Foam?

So, what is this new type of memory foam? It might surprise you to know that gel memory foams are actually quite old – they are just getting insanely popular lately!

Take a memory foam and add gel pods to its top layer. Voila, you have a gel memory foam bed! This simple difference helps out in three ways:

The gel pods are softer and provide better relief to the areas that push against the bed the hardest such as the neck and lower back.

Gel pods are bouncier and this makes your mattress bouncier – this also enables the foam to revert to its original shape remarkably faster than a memory foam mattress.

Finally, gel pods absorb heat from your body and take it away. This makes you feel cooler than on a traditional memory foam mattress.

In a nutshell, the gel ones are the cooler siblings of the normal ones. Quite literally!

Nectar Queen Mattress 12 Inch - Sleep Bundle (Sheets, Pillows & Protector) Certificate Included - Medium Firm Gel Memory Foam - Cooling Comfort Technology - 365-Night Trial - Forever Warranty

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How are They Different?

Gel foams are mainly different from memory foams in their topmost layer. The gel layer alone creates all differences between the two. For example, you feel slightly cooler on a gel foam mattress as it works pretty much like a cooling gel. This makes them more comfortable.

A memory foam mattress will instead trap heat – keeping you warmer and cozier.

Also, traditional memory foam mattresses will stay in their compressed shape for a while. Gel foam mattresses bounce back to their original shape comparatively faster.

How are They Similar?

Qualities common to both, traditional memory foam mattresses and gel infused memory foam mattresses, include:

  • Softness
  • Moldable support
  • Pain relief
  • Varying levels of firmness to choose from
  • Overall stability

In many ways, a gel infused memory foam mattress is essentially an upgrade over a traditional one. As such, many qualities are common among the two and if you switch from a traditional to a gel one, you will find the same comfort with an added cooling effect.

Both types of memory foam mattresses are a good choice for people who want to sleep on something that conforms to their body, making it easy for them to fall asleep and wake up feeling refreshed.

Signature Design by Ashley Chime 12' Medium Firm Memory Foam Mattress, CertiPUR-US Certified, Queen

Check out this 12-inch memory foam mattress on Amazon

What’s Better About Traditional Memory Foam?

Memory foam mattresses are thick and firm, making them ideal for people who want support without feeling too heavy. The material has a visco-elastic property that allows it to be resilient, so it can adapt to your body shape as you sleep on it.

Traditional memory foam mattresses stay shaped that way for longer – so you can have your cozy cocoon if you take many short naps.

Traditional memory foam mattresses have been called one of the best mattresses available for those who want comfort and support without the extra weight. They’re also one of the most durable mattresses available because they’re made from high-density polyurethane (HDP), which makes them strong and long-lasting.

And of course, traditional memory foam mattresses cost less than gel infused memory foam mattresses.

What’s Better About Cooling Gel Infused Memory Foam?

Memory foam mattresses are designed to be durable and long lasting, but they can become compressed over time. This can cause them to lose their bounce and their ability to provide adequate support. Comparatively, gel infused memory foam can last you longer in terms of bounce and support.

Gel memory foam has all the benefits of memory foam and it’s infused with gel to help keep you cool. If this is something you’re looking for alongside a bouncier bed then a gel infused memory foam mattress is the way to go.

Who Should Get a Memory Foam Mattress and Why?

Memory foam mattresses are made of a dense, firm material that provides good support and comfort during sleeping. The material itself is made up of a series of small cells that conform to your body shape, creating a pressure-relieving effect.

These are great for people who like to feel warm and cozy while they sleep.

Who Should Get a Gel Memory Foam Mattress and Why?

Gel memory foam mattresses are infused with gel cooling materials that provide an extra layer of cooling comfort. Gel-infused memory foam mattresses have a very soft feel, making them ideal for those who prefer softer surfaces when sleeping on their backs or stomachs.

People who generally like a cool-to-the-touch mattress and live in warmer climates should get a gel memory foam mattress.

Next Read: Is Memory Foam Good for Side Sleepers?

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