Mattresses that incorporate gel seem especially interesting for people who are quickly too hot. The gel absorbs heat if you have ‘too much of it. However, the evidence for this is rather thin. The pressure-reducing properties are also disappointing. What exactly is the situation?
The gel is usually smeared in your hair as a reinforcement or a foam base to shave.
The gel is also processed in mattresses. Sometimes that is a layer in the mattress (together with different foam layers), and it can also be incorporated into the foam. It would be cooling, and that is nice for people who are (too) hot in bed quickly.
Memory foam or cold foam mattresses with gel incorporated are touted under various names such as cold foam with gel beads, Gelinside foam, Geltex inside, BlueFlex, Cool gel memory foam, foam with gel capsules, Sensa Coolgel, Visco Gel and Gel foam.
It sounds good, but does it work well?
Cooling effect gel mattresses are temporary.
I tried gel in different ways with different types of foam. If you hold a small sample in your hand, you will feel that it works; It’s cooling. The gel absorbs the heat from your hand.
But how does it work when you lie on a mattress with gel for hours? Does it not become ‘saturated’ so that the gel can no longer absorb heat?
For years, textiles have incorporated the so-called Outlast, which also incorporates gel that gives a cooling effect. But after a few minutes, it just takes on the temperature of your body.
Also read: Compare mattresses before you test lie down
As a mattress maker, I was quite wrong and disappointed a lot of people with this. I thought gel would cool down, but in practice, that isn’t very pleasant.
Less pressure reduction
I haven’t come across excellent research into mattresses’ cooling effect with ‘gel foam’. However, studies have been carried out on memory foam (pressure-reducing foam) with gel for use against pressure ulcers (bedsores).
It turns out that the pressure-reducing properties of memory foam with gel work less well, and that is especially important for people who need to lie in bed for a long time. Anti-decubitus mattresses with gel cannot, therefore, be recommended as prevention against bedsores. The pressure-reducing effect of memory foam in which gel is incorporated is, therefore, decreasing.
More research needed on gel mattresses
I do not yet know the effects on cold foam in which gel is incorporated, and I look forward to good research. In 2015, I tested a laying mattress (topper) in which gel is incorporated; the first results were disappointing.