How Cool Is Gel Memory Foam?

The industry is flooding the market with all sorts of memory foam products, including many mattresses that have some sort of gel additive designed, in theory, to reduce heat. As I have posted previously, I, the hottest man on the planet, sleep on a Tempur-Pedic® and sleep cooler than at any time during my time on the S-brand mattress before.

I sold Tempur-Pedic for a decade. It was my number 1 selling brand, least returned, and NEVER during that time did one come back for heat. You can see a related post here: Tempur-Pedic Sleeps Hot.

So, if there is not a problem with heat, why are so many manufacturers jumping on the cool bandwagon? And I might add, it seems to be at the expense of more important features like support, proper alignment, durability etc. Let’s face it, if you are not aligned properly, or experiencing poor support, you will experience higher blood pressure, anxiety and a higher core temperature. This will not be offset by any temperature gimmick in the mattress. Alignment, durability and support are key. Heat is a bit down the list in importance.

But let’s assume that memory foam mattresses do sleep warmer than regular mattresses. I have heard this claim about Tempur-Pedic for years. Generally after asking follow-up questions, it is almost always a case of hearsay. Rarely has the individual actually spent quality time on a true, Tempur-Pedic.

One of the latest fads to address heat is to infuse, or merge gel with memory foam. Gel is probably best known as shoe inserts, providing additional comfort. The concept is that the gel will help transfer heat away from your body giving you a cooler night of sleep. If the gel is not at the top of the mattress, I would not think it would be very effective, but I digress.

Manufacturers have also tried all sorts of fabrics and substrates designed to wick away moisture and/or regulate body temperature. Some are more effective than others.

After testing the theory on a couple of different foam samples with a heat source and a Thermo gun, I was shocked to see the difference. There was as much as 7 degree variance between some of the top gel memory foams and Tempur® material. And even 2 minutes after the heat source was removed, Tempur-Pedic outperformed the alternatives. You can see info on Tempur-Pedic’s own sleep study here.

By no means am I saying that any gel memory foam product is inferior. On the contrary, almost any mattress may be the right solution. Just don’t make the decision to buy based on some claim of temperature differences. My personal experience, and decades of evidence shows that this may not be the case. But if the alignment, comfort, support and price are all better on the gel memory foam product, by all means buy it. Just make sure that you have a trial period in case it does not perform as advertised.


And of course my obligatory mattress disclaimer:

BTW – I do not work for Tempur-Pedic or own any stock in the company. However, you may see Tempur-Pedic ads on this site – along with many other manufacturers. These are served by Google and I have no control over which ads appear at any given time.

PLEASE NOTE: The Tempur-Pedic that I sleep on, or any Tempur-Pedic mattress, may not be the right mattress for you. I do believe that Tempur-Pedic makes some of the best mattresses on the market today. But please do not buy a mattress based on someone else’s experience. You need to try each mattress and determine which one will be the best support and comfort for YOUR BODY.

Happy Mattress shopping!!

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  1. Pat Wright says:

    We are seriously looking at buying the Yu Me climate control mattress. I noticed in your review of memory foam mattresses dated Dec. 2012, you did not mention this product. You had written a review a year or so and seemed positive at that time. Do you have any updates or opinions about this product. Thank you.

  2. says:

    I like the YuMe product. Its a good looking and feeling mattress. The mattress itself is manufactured by New Wind, an Italian company that specializes in foams made from organic materials. The warranty is solid at 20 years. Amerigo makes the air control unit and they certainly know their business from putting similar products in car seats for over a decade. If you are challenged by temperature issues, or your spouse requires cold/heat therapy, the Yume with the climate control unit is a great solution. If you aren’t considering the climate control feature, the mattress is no better/worse IMHO, than any other major foam brand. Comfort and support should be the primary concerns. Have someone check your alignment on the model you are considering. The very soft 600 version was a little too conforming for my taste (too soft – poor alignment), and would be problematic for a heavier adult. The 650, the replacement, feels more supportive to me in the few minutes I was on it. I believe that Tempur-Pedic is the best in the category, especially in the all important alignment category. But Mattress Firm has slowly built themselves a pretty nifty exclusive niche in the climate control sector. Let comfort and support drive your model choice if you go with YuMe for the climate control option. If its just about the mattress, and there are no alignment issues, pick based on comfort.

    For clarification, when I mention alignment, what I mean is on your back you should NOT be in a hammock position. The spine should be positioned very similar to the way you stand. On your side, your spine should be a relatively straight from your neck down to your hips. If there is much deviation from these, you will have issues.

    BTW – I would take almost every big name visco foam product over any innerspring, or air bed on the market.

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