Gel mattresses are said to be great at regulating temperature and are very popular right now. Overheating at night is a very common problem and all mattress brands know this. Most mattresses today come with long descriptions about their breathability and their cooling properties but are gel mattresses actually any better at cooling us down while we are sleeping?
Although studies✓ suggest that a gel mattress could improve your sleep quality, is this really because the gel is cooling or are there other aspects of these mattresses that could be the reason why we sleep better at night? We have taken a closer look at some of the most popular gel mattresses on the market as well as tried to break down exactly what it is that makes us prefer a gel mattress over other mattresses, such as memory foam for example.
Keep reading this article for an all-encompassing review of some of the top cool gel mattresses available in the UK.
(Important Facts, Studies, Advice, Considerations & FAQs In Conclusion)
|MATTRESS||TYPE||GEL LAYER||FIRMNESS||TRIAL & WARRANTY||PRICE|
|Silentnight Geltex Ultra 3000 Mattress||Pocket Sprung||6cm Geltex||Medium Firm||60 Nights exchange
|TheraPur ActiGel Plus Response 3200 Mattress||Pocket Sprung Pillow Top||4cm ActiGel||Medium||40 Nights
|iGel Advance 2000 Mattress||Pocket Sprung||5cm iGel™||Firm||40 Nights
|Inofia Gel Memory Foam Mattress||Memory Foam||Gel Infused Memory Foam||Firm||100 Nights
|Sleepeezee Poise 3200 PocketGel Pillow Top Mattress||Pocket Sprung Pillow Top||6cm Staycool™ Gel||Medium||60 Nights exchange
|Happy Beds Ocean Gel Memory Mattress||Memory Foam||2cm LayGel infused Memory Foam||Medium Firm||NA Nights
1. Silentnight Geltex Ultra 3000 Mattress
|• 3000 springs
• Breathable hybrid design
• 38 centimetres tall
|• Side sleepers
• People prone to allergies
• Sleepers who enjoy some added bounce
Silentnight’s GoodHomes Approved Geltex Ultra 3000 Mattress is one of many options when it comes to gel mattresses sold in the UK and features the brand's own technology called Geltex. It combines Geltex with Ultraflex to provide support and comfort for the sleeper. Silentnight states that with the help of the University of Central Lancaster (UCLan) they compared Geltex to memory foam and latex mattresses.
According to the brand "Geltex out-performed memory foam and latex in all areas, including comfort, firmness, pressure-relief and spinal alignment". The mattress also features Purotex fibres that are dust mite-resistant and protects the sleeper against allergens, which could make this mattress a good option for those who suffer from allergies or asthma.
Aside from the gel, Silentnight has also chosen to include 2,000 individually nested pocket springs and a further 1,000 mini springs too. The nested pocket springs seek to deliver tailored support for your body. It adds a little bounce to the mattress for you to move around more freely when sleeping.
2. TheraPur ActiGel Plus Response 3200 Mattress
|• Handcrafted in the UK
• Handles for easy rotating
• Soft pillow-top finish
|• Most sleeping positions
• Shoppers on a larger budget
• Single sleepers
At a slightly higher price point than some of the other gel mattresses on the market at the moment, we have the Dreams TheraPur ActiGel Plus Response 3200 mattress. The mattress consists of 4cm of ActiGel zoned and profiled foam. This feature is meant to improve airflow throughout the mattress and enhances temperature regulation. It is also designed to work in harmony with the ActiCool quilted cover. The additional PurFibre layers add to the support and comfort of the mattress.
The TheraPur ActiGel Plus Response 3200 mattress also consists of some hypoallergenic materials which help against dust mites. This is very useful for those who are sensitive to dust and prone to allergies. Apart from the gel and fibre features, this pocket sprung mattress also consists of 2700 springs. These springs work together for enhanced support and are also designed to help with breathability.
The mattress is handcrafted in the UK and stands 32 cm tall. The pillow top finish of the mattress gives the sleeper a soft and comfortable surface to lay down on and it also comes with convenient handles on the side for easy rotating, which should be done regularly.
3. iGel Advance 2000 Mattress
|• Edge-to-edge support
• 10-year warranty
• Breathable hybrid design
|• People prone to allergies
• Sleepers who tend to toss at night
• Side sleepers in need of pressure relief
The Bensons for Beds iGel Advance 2000 Mattress is said to be a temperature-regulating mattress that features iGel graphene technology that transfers heat 7 times better than their previous models. But starting from the base we find 2000 individual pocket springs that are there to provide the needed support for the sleeper.
Working together with the spring is an AdvantEdge foam that offers better edge-to-edge support, preventing you and any possible partner to roll towards the middle or off the edges of the mattress. This foam is also designed to make your mattress last longer in top shape.
On top comes the 5 cm gel layer that is meant to absorb heat if you are feeling hot and release stored heat in case you are cold. It contains graphene which is free from chemicals and thus more environmentally friendly, as well as better for the sleeper's health. The gel is also designed to provide pressure relief for the sleeper and helping to prevent aching joints.
On top sits a quilted cover that can help to wick moisture away from the sleeper. The mattress comes in various different sizes and is on the pricier end of the scale, so this is worth keeping in mind if you decide to have a look. On the positive side, you get a 10-year warranty included in the price.
4. Inofia Gel Memory Foam Mattress
|• Handy zip-off cover
• CertiPUR-US certified foam
• 100-night trial and 10-year warranty
|• Sleepers who enjoy a hugging feel
• Sleepers in need of pressure-relief
The Inofia Double Memory Foam Mattress is a three-layered mattress that comes with a ton of positive reviews and at a reasonable price. The bottom layer is a high-density foam layer that acts as a sturdy base for what comes on top of it. The middle layer is a classic viscoelastic memory foam layer.
The memory foam helps distribute the sleeper’s weight evenly across the mattress and can help with pressure relief on those body parts that take a bit of extra weight. It is also designed to minimise motion transfer which is especially good if you don’t sleep alone.
The top layer is a gel-infused memory foam layer that is designed to help regulate the sleeper’s temperature throughout the night for added comfort. This layer also adds to the pressure-relief of the mattress as well as the support. The foam is certified by CertiPUR-US which means that it is free from heavy metals and harmful chemicals.
Holding it all together is an elastic, breathable cover that can be zipped off. It is hypoallergenic and meant to add to the cooling properties of this budget mattress. Additionally, it comes with a 100-night trial and a 10-year warranty.
5. Sleepeezee Poise 3200 Gel Pillow Top Mattress
|• 3200 springs
• Handles on the side for easy rotating
• Pillow-top finish for a softer sleeping surface
|• Sleepers who dislike all-foam mattresses
• People prone to allergies
• Most sleeping positions
This hybrid mattress comes with 3200 individually cased springs which are a mix of SoftTouch and SoftTech springs. They all work individually and provide that extra bounce to the mattress which is often appreciated by those who don’t like the feeling of sinking down too deep into their mattress. It also features edge-to-edge support for you to be able to use every inch of your mattress, even the edges, with less risk of it sagging.
Two comfort layers of foam are added for enhanced comfort and temperature regulation. One of the layers includes capsules of gel to help you stay cooler during the night and another layer of reflex foam is meant to give your body extra pressure relief.
The Sleepeezee Poise 3200 PocketGel Pillow Top mattress also, as the name suggests, features a pillow top finish that is filled with Sensifil smart-fibres which are anti-allergenic. It is covered in a micro-quilted, knitted cover that provides a soft sleeping surface.
The mattress also comes with handles on the side for easy rotating and a 60-night trial for you to test it thoroughly in case you have any doubts about it. If you aren’t convinced after the trial you can always swap it for another Sleepeezee mattress.
6. Happy Beds Ocean Memory Foam Cool Gel Mattress
|• Good value for money
• Removable mattress cover
• Non-flipping mattress
|• Most sleeping positions
• People enjoying the hugging feel of foam
• Shoppers on a tight budget
If you are currently on the hunt for a mattress that won’t cost a fortune, then the Ocean Gel Memory & Reflex Foam Cool Orthopaedic LayGel Mattress could be what you’re looking for. This low priced gel mattress has attracted very good reviews and comes with some good features at a kinder price.
The mattress falls within the medium/firm rating which tends to suit a wide range of sleepers and positions. The Ocean Gel Memory Mattress is 21cm deep and consists of 20mm of gel memory foam and 180mm of reflex foam. The gel and foam combination is designed to create a balance of comfort and support.
The Reflex foam is added for extra support and for the mattress to maintain its shape, while the LayGel infused memory foam has cooling properties which are added with the aim to cool down hot sleepers. The mattress cover is removable and washable in order for you to keep your mattress fresh for longer.
What Is A Gel Mattress?
A gel mattress is a mattress that incorporates gel into its layers in an effort to reduce heat retention or increase breathability. You will find some that include a complete gel pad (usually on top). Many manufacturers pour gel into the foam or at least gel beads. The most common type you should find is a memory foam gel infusion, this is to combat the heat retaining properties commonly associated with memory foam mattresses.
Some gel mattresses are hybrid models, meaning that they combine the gel infused foam with a layer of springs, often individual pocket springs, and others are gel foam only.
Do Gel Mattresses Really Keep You Cool?
The gel layer in a mattress is meant to act as a conductor to help draw away heat from the sleeper's body and to provide a cooler sleeping surface. The gel itself is not actually cool but it is a good conductor to transport heat away from your body, similar to water for example.
You will find when brands talk about the cooling properties they will use very vague wording such as "heat regulation", "heat dissipation", "absorb body heat". As for studies, there is limited independent research done on gel mattresses except for the brand's own studies which, of course, will produce outstanding results.
We did find some answers:
- Consumer Mattress Reports stated that overall, their tests showed that pocket sprung and hybrid mattresses that also contained gel tended to sleep cooler, whereas gel-infused foam beds seem to produce opposite results.
- A foam manufacturer by the name of Cargill announced that their BiOH® soy-based ingredient dissipates heat 25% faster than memory foams using traditional infused-gel technology.
While it seems like gel mattresses can help to cool you down better than a regular memory foam mattress, it is worth mentioning that most gel mattresses are still made with foam which tends to do the exact opposite - retain heat. If you are worried about overheating at night you should take a closer look at the materials used and how much of the mattress is actually made with gel.
If a mattress contains four layers of different types of memory foam and only one thin layer that features gel technology, chances are that this is only a marketing trick and that the mattress won't cool you down very much.
Pros And Cons Of Gel Mattresses
|✓ Gel-infused foam mattresses are often more supportive than other types of foam mattresses which can result in better spinal alignment.||✗ Because of their sturdier nature, gel mattresses can sometimes feel too firm for lightweight sleepers or side-sleepers.|
|✓ Gel mattresses can help you sleep a bit coolers thanks to their heat-transferring properties, but also thanks to a more open cell structure in the foam, allowing for higher breathability.||✗ Gel-infused foam mattresses are often more expensive than normal memory foam mattresses.|
|✓ Gel mattresses tend to be good at isolating movements which can be helpful when sleeping next to someone.||✗ Gel-infused foam, like other types of foam mattresses, tends to absorb more bacteria and can be less hygienic than other types of mattresses.|
What To Look For In A Gel Mattress
If you are curious to try a gel mattress and hoping for some improved rest thanks to sleeping a degree or two cooler you should keep a few things in mind. Same as with any other mattress it is not only the type of mattress that you should pay attention to but also some other aspects that could impact your nightly comfort:
Apart from the gel, what other materials does the mattress include? Gel mattresses often come in combination with other layers of pure memory foam which, despite the brands best efforts of giving them "breathable" and "cooling" names, are experts at trapping heat inside the mattress.
Hybrid mattresses containing pocket springs usually have a better chance to cool the sleeper down thanks to the possibility for air to flow more freely between the springs. You can also look for other types of fillings in a mattress that allows for better airflow than dense foam layers.
Organic and natural mattresses also tend to be more breathable than mattresses made with synthetic materials. Look for natural materials such as latex, horsehair, coconut fibre, bamboo or others that, in combination with the gel, could help you get a cooler night's sleep.
Your sleeping position plays an important part in any mattress decision, including gel mattresses. Take a moment to consider how you usually fall asleep and if you tend to wake up in the same position or if you sleep for longer periods in other positions.
The firmness of your mattress should be decided with your sleeping position in mind as you might prefer a firm mattress if you normally sleep on your stomach or on your back. Side-sleepers often wants a soft mattress or medium-firm mattress as they like when their hips and shoulders can sink down slightly into the mattress, providing some pressure relief on these parts.
This goes hand in hand with the firmness rating but one thing does not exclude the other. You can find soft mattresses that still provide excellent support thanks to double spring layers or similar. People who suffer from back problems will want to look for mattresses for back pain that can provide the support they need.
Overheating While Sleeping
Overheating at night and waking up sweaty or feeling suffocated is a common problem, but why is that? In some cases, such as in warmer countries, it is simply due to hotter environments and can be fixed by regulating the room temperature with a fan or an air conditioning system. But others suffer from overheating because of hormonal changes, such as pregnancy, menopause, pre-menopause or other hormonal problems such as hyperthyroidism or diabetes.
In these cases, it can be a good idea to look for a cooling mattress to help you get better rest. But there are also other things you can do to try to combat the nightly sweats, that won't cost you too much money. Sometimes the answer is easier and cheaper than you think.
Five Easy Steps Towards A (Hopefully) Cooler Sleep
- The most obvious step is to lower your room temperature. Start by investing in a cheaper fan rather than an advanced and expensive AC system. Chances are that you just need to get some extra airflow going, or that the problem simply lies elsewhere and has nothing to do with the temperature.
- Invest in a cooling mattress topper. There are plenty of mattress toppers with cooling properties on the market today that might help you chill a degree or two. This is a much cheaper option than buing an entire mattress.
- Avoid eating and drinking certain things. A study✓ shows that diets containing lots of fat or sugar can lead to nightly sweats and hot flushes in menopausal women while a mediterranean diet or diets containing lots of fruits can decrease these symptoms.
- Drink water. A glass of cold water next to your bed that you can sip on throughout the night could potentially help avoiding you waking up feeling overheated.
- Use breathable textiles. Think about what materials are used in your pajamas as well as in your bed sheets and try to opt for highly breathable materials. Studies✓ have shown that sleepwear made of wool significantly reduced the sleep onset latency in older participants compared to cotton and polyester sleepwear.
If you are unsure about why you have hot flushes or night sweats you should always consult with your doctor or a specialist.
Should I Get A Gel Mattress?
If you tend to wake up at night in a pool of sweat, thinking about getting a gel mattress, then go for it. There are plenty of great options on the market that could potentially help you sleep better. However, we would recommend you to go to the bottom with the reason behind your nightly sweats first. If you have a medical or a hormonal problem you should seek professional help for this first and your doctor might be able to recommend you a certain type of mattress that is suitable for your condition.
While there are some great gel mattress options available, there are also lots of mattresses that are advertised to have cooling effects but actually do the opposite. We believe there are other types of great mattresses that could be more breathable than a gel mattress and thus solve your problem anyway.
If you have already found a mattress that you are interested in, go through our checklist for things to keep in mind before making your purchase and chances are you find a great fit for your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a gel mattress?
A gel mattress is a mattress that contains one or more layers that features cooling gel technology. They are often made of gel-infused foam and sometimes in combination with pocket springs or other types of support layers.
What is a gel mattress topper?
It is a mattress topper that contains gel, sometimes in the shape of beads and sometimes the foam in the topper is gel-infused. The gel acts as a conductor to transfer heat away from the sleeper's body to prevent overheating at night.
What is the best gel memory foam mattress?
It is individual what works best for each sleeper but to find the best gel memory foam mattress for you, you should look at the support, firmness and materials of the mattress to make sure they suit your sleeping preferences.