Do you feel lost when it comes to buying a new mattress? Have you heard 100 different terms to describe the same mattress? Do all mattresses start to feel the same after you lay down on them? Are you just confused? Well allow me to shed some light on the issues. Today we will focus on memory foam and more importantly gel cool memory foam!
History lesson time!
Memory foam was designed for NASA not by NASA. They contracted Charles Yost in the 1970's to create a new form of seating to make plane and car rides more comfortable, it eventually found it's way into the space shuttle seating. Yost referred to the foam as temper foam. NASA released the technology into the market place in the 1980's. 1991 was the year that the foam was first massed produced in mattresses. A Swedish company named Fagerdala World Foam released the Tempur Bed. The very next year they incorporated in the USA and become the well-known Tempur-Pedic brand.
Over the next decade or so memory foam had very little impact on the mattress industry. The foam was very expensive to manufacture and so it made the mattresses a hard sell. In the mid-2000's Charles Yost who at this point was the founder and CEO of Dynamic Systems a special cushion manufacturer, introduced a gel cool infusion for the open cell memory foam that he had originally created over 30 years earlier. This technology would allow the foam to pull heat away from the body and dissipate it through the lower layers of foam.
While the technology was fascinating to mattress manufacturers, it too the industry another 5-6 years to get into the market. In 2011 Serta introduced the icomfort with gel cool memory foam. The new line up made an immediate impact on the memory foam market. Tempur-Pedic finally had some real competition, they had been the king of the hill for almost 30 years and now Serta was a very close second. While Tempur-Pedic was selling mattresses in the $4000 price range Serta was selling in a $2000 price range.
So back to the original question. What exactly is the gel cool foam? Let's get technical for a minute. Memory foam is composed of viscoelastic polymer compounds. The viscoelastic allows the foam to be responsive to movement and the polymer allows the manufacturer to increase or decrease the density of the foam for comfort. Now the COOLING!! The gel beads that are infused into the memory foam absorb your body heat slowly and dissipate the heat slowly by either returning the heat to your body if it's no longer producing high amounts of heat or by pushing the heat out through the lower levels of the foam if your body continues to produce high levels of heat. The gel will constantly attempt to remain at its natural temperature of 70-72 degrees. This constant battle allows you to sleep in a more heat regulated environment.
Now let's discuss the myths and misunderstandings of gel cool foam. Just because the foam is blue does not mean that it is actually gel cool foam. Some manufacturers like to cut corners and spray a dense compound on the foam. This will give the foam a semi-cold feel but it will crack and flake off quickly leaving you sleeping on very basic foam. The foam should have little gel beads infused in the
foam. A mattress store should be able to show you exactly what you're buying. The second myth is that the gel cool foam will make you cold at night, which to some people sounds like a dream ad to others a nightmare. It won't make you cold period! Don't make your decision based on that notion, it's simply not true. The truth lies in the middle. If you sleep hot naturally the gel cool foam will be of some benefit to you, if you don't suffer from sleeping hot than you will not notice the cooling foam. It should not be pitched in a way that you believe it cures everything, no mattress can do that.
I hope this small education has helped you feel more empowered for your next mattress shopping experience!