Gel has become a much talked about sleep product as of late. You can’t seem to go a day without seeing a mattress ad or commercial about the addition of ‘cool sleeping gel’. Let’s look into the technology of gel, and see if it can actually help you sleep cooler.
When the top layer of the mattress is composed of micro gel beads infused into memory foam, the micro beads are designed to be cool to the touch and add support when the memory foam is compressed. The gel beads are slow to change temperature and become cool during the day, making the bed feel cool when you lie down.
The major drawback to the bead technology is that they are slow to dissipate heat as well as absorb it. Initially the beads are cool, but throughout the night, they absorb the warmth of your body. Take any plastic, metal, or rubber material and put it in the fridge for hours. When you take it out it will be cold to the touch. But, hold on to these materials in your hand for a while and they will become warm. The gel beads work the same way.
TUVRheinland did a study comparing gel infused memory foam to Tempur-Pedic’s proprietary material. Tempur material has an open cell structure, which allows airflow, making it more breathable than traditional memory foam. In the study, the most popular gel infused memory foam actually tested warmer on the sleep surface than the open cell Tempur material, over an eight hour period. Testing anywhere from one to one and a half degree warmer. The gel memory foam may initially be cooler to the touch, but actually gets warmer through out the night than the Tempur material.
Products like Tempur-Pedic , Comfor-Pedic, and other open cell materials let air move through the bed and away from the body, keeping the sleeping surface cooler. This keeps heat from being trapped in the bed, and keeps the bed surface cool throughout the entire night.
If you are hoping to keep cool throughout the entire night, don’t count on gel to make you sleep cooler. You should start by looking for a breathable open cell material first, whether it has gel infused in it or not isn’t going to make much difference to your sleeping temperature. Since you’ll want to sleep cool throughout the entire night.