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What Is a Gel Topped Mattress

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Written by Alex Petrović

Sleep Consultant

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10 November 2023 9 min read

The mattress has the greatest impact on the quality of our sleep. Therefore, when buying a mattress, you should be very careful and explore every available option, of which there are many on the UK market.

Ever since memory foam began to be used a few decades ago in the sleep industry, and not just to make space travel more comfortable for astronauts, memory foam mattresses have become among the best-selling. 

The three best-selling types of mattresses are memory foam ones, different types of mattresses with springs and hybrid mattresses that combine memory foam and springs.

However, the biggest problem with memory foam is heat retention and that many people, even those who are not hot sleepers, have complained that they are uncomfortably warm to sleep on memory foam.

Sleep experts worked to solve this problem without compromising other great memory foam characteristics and that is how we got gel foam.

Different types of gel foam

There is not just one gel foam, but there are several types of gel foam. Sleep companies have taken different approaches to creating gel foam, so some have based gel foam on a natural material such as latex foam, while others have focused on synthetic materials. Geltex is one such example.

an image of a smooth surface of a gel topped mattress

Polyurethane foam

Polyurethane foam, also known as polyfoam or just poly, is most similar to classic memory foam and it is very likely that you have slept on it at least once. The process of producing polyfoam differs from the process of producing memory foam because some other chemicals are added that make polyfoam even softer.

Breathability is slightly better with polyfoam, but don't expect miracles. If you are looking for cooling foam, and your budget is very limited, polyurethane foam is a good choice. However, if you have a larger budget, then our recommendation is to consider buying one of the next two types of foam that we will talk about.

Latex foam

Latex foam is eco-friendly and is therefore an increasingly popular choice of customers. When you buy latex foam it helps to reduce your carbon footprint. Because unlike ordinary memory foam, latex foam is obtained from milky fluid that can be found in about 10% of all flowering plants, which means that it is common.

In addition to being eco-friendly, latex foam is more breathable than traditional memory foam. Latex foam is less dense and bounce is great. Latex can also be synthetic so check before buying whether mattress is made of natural or synthetic foam.


For all those who can’t fall asleep if mattress is too hot, and these are primarily hot sleepers, should opt for Geltex when buying a gel topped mattress. Any foam mattress that has a Geltex layer will make sleeping cool even during the summer.

Geltex is a combination of elastic gel and air-permeable foam. All the foam features you love are there, but without heat retention. Geltex is a brand name, so check to see if the gel layer may be called differently in the mattresses of some other manufacturers.

What are the main benefits of gel topped mattress?

Temperature regulation is definitely the main benefits of gel topped mattress and everyone knows it. However, many customers are wondering if this is the only benefit of a gel topped mattress. And that’s a perfectly reasonable question, because the mattress has many other roles to play, not just to keep you from getting hot at night. Learn more about other benefits in this section.

Optimal & full body support

Memory foam mattresses are known for full body support, and the addition of gel further influences the fact that every part of your body receives the necessary support.

an image of a man testing a gel topped mattress

This also applies to edge support, which can be a problem for foam mattresses. Hybrid and spring mattresses generally have better edge support compared to all foam mattresses, but those foam mattresses that are gel topped provide better edge support due to reinforced edges. Also, the plusher the mattress is, the less likely it is to have great edge support.

Optimal pressure relief

Pressure relief is especially important for side sleepers. Since sleeping on the side exposes primarily the shoulder and hip to additional pressure, if the mattress is not pressure relieving, side sleepers will find themselves waking up every morning with pain in those parts of the body.

They will not have this problem when they buy a gel foam mattress, because it perfectly contours to the sleepers and thus prevents you from feeling pain at pressure points. The problem can be much bigger than just the pain, because prolonged sleep in the wrong position can lead to damage to the hips and shoulders. Even weight distribution is one more important characteristic of gel foam because without even weight distribution, pressure relief can’t be complete.

Outstanding spinal alignment

While for side sleepers pressure relief is most important, for back and stomach sleepers spinal alignment of utmost importance. If the spine is not in a neutral position, it can be very harmful in the long run.

That is why it is important that the gel foam mattress provides support and thus keeps the spine aligned. Stomach sleepers need higher density foam that is firmer, while back sleepers need medium firm foam. Stomach sleepers should avoid sinking into mattress to keep their spine aligned.

an image of Dormeo Octasmart Hybrid mattress' illustration of spine alignment

Temperature-regulating & hypoallergenic

Temperature regulation is certainly the primary reason why people buy gel topped mattress. As much as classic memory foam is comfortable, supportive and pressure relieving, in many cases it cannot give you a good night's sleep because you will wake up completely sweaty every night.

Open-cell foam certainly improved the situation, but not as much as Geltex which made memory foam mattresses cool. Memory foam is a hypoallergenic material, which is ideal for allergy sufferers. Allergens, among which dust mites are the main ones, cannot thrive in gel foam.


Durability depends on the foam density but also on the overall quality of the product. Gel topped mattresses have proven to be more durable compared to other memory foam mattresses. Service life is on average 5 years, and often more when you buy a mattress from premium manufacturers.

Geltex Vs Ordinary memory foam

We will directly compare Geltex and ordinary memory foam to show you exactly what the difference is between mattresses that contain one or another type of foam. These two materials of course have many similarities, so sometimes customers think they are practically the same. 

They share many positive features, but there are certain parts where Geltex stands out, and elsewhere ordinary memory foam is a preferred choice. In this part of the guide we will talk about temperature regulation, bounce, support, pressure relief and other most important characteristics for every mattress.

Breathability & temperature regulation

In this category winner by a wide margin is Geltex. Probably in no other category we have such a clear winner as we have here. As we have already said, Geltex has been made exactly to solve the problem that ordinary memory foam has with breathability and heat retention.

Although there are other types of memory foam where breathability has been improved, no type of memory foam is as cooling as Geltex. So if you live somewhere where it is very warm or you are hot sleepers, Geltex is the only type of foam you should consider when buying a mattress.

Response rate

Memory foam is generally very responsive and this is what all users live. This is especially beneficial for combination sleepers, as the mattress quickly adapts to any change in the position of the sleeper.

In each position you will feel as if memory foam is hugging you and that is why you will be very comfortable. It is not possible to say whether Geltex or ordinary memory foam has a better response rate, because it primarily depends on the density and other characteristics of memory foam. Nevertheless, both Geltex and ordinary memory foam will not disappoint you.

An image of a young family laying down on a gel topped mattress.


Both are great at providing soft support. Unlike springs that are usually firmer, foam first allows you to sink to some extent, before giving you support and keeping you in that ideal position. Geltex is even more elastic than memory foam so we can say that the support is even better, especially for side sleepers.

However, for heavier people and stomach sleepers, high density memory foam can be a better option than Geltex.


Whether something is comfortable or not depends primarily on personal preferences. Some like a completely soft mattress to sink into, while others like a mattress hard as stone. What makes Geltex and memory foam great materials is that they are mostly in the middle on the firmness scale, which means medium firm.

There are soft to medium and firmer mattresses, but in general they are all comfortable due to the characteristics of memory foam and elastic Geltex. As most mattresses come with a trial period that lasts at least a month, and usually longer, you will be able to see for yourself which one is most comfortable for you and which one you want to keep.

an image of a man lifting up a gel topped mattress

Pressure relief

In the pressure relief category, there was a very serious “fight” between memory foam and Geltex, but as far as we were concerned, Geltex won. Precisely because of its elasticity, pressure relief is even better than ordinary memory foam, which also provides great pressure relief.

Many side sleepers told us that they stopped feeling pressure and pain only when they bought a mattress that has a Geltex layer. Surely, you won’t go wrong if you buy memory foam mattress either.


The quality of the mattress and the foam in it affects the bounce much more than the difference between Geltex and memory foam. Latex is definitely the best material when it comes to bounce.

Memory foam and Geltex are also great, and how good the bounce is, is closely related to durability. If you buy a premium mattress, the bounce will probably be top notch and for years you will notice the same bounce as on the first day.

Our 3 top gel topped mattress picks UK in 2023

The sleep industry in the UK is very developed, so you can find whatever you need on the market. And not just one or two models from the same category you are looking for, but numerous. The same goes for gel topped mattresses. That's why we had a hard time to single out only 3 top gel topped mattress picks UK in 2022 because there are many great products available to you, but the following 3 have stood out.

Silentnight Studio Mattress

a product image of Silentnight Studio Eco

If you like to sink in your mattress, Silentnight Studio is perfect choice for you.

Silentnight Studio mattress has a total of 4 layers plus casing, and it is 24 cm deep. The quilted sleep surface is stitched directly onto the mattress to be completely smooth.

Below the sleep surface is Geltex. This layer will give you everything like a classic memory foam, which is support, bounce, motion insulation and pressure relief, but it will also cool you down.

Mirapocket is a single spring unit in charge of even weight distribution, as well as additional support.

  • Eco-friendly
  • Durable
  • High level of support.
  • Poor edge support
  • Too firm for lighter side sleepers
  • Short warranty.

Silentnight Geltex Ultra 3000 Mattress Medium Firm

Product image of Silentnight Geltex Ultra 3000

This is 36 cm deep premium hybrid mattress ideal for twisters and turners.

This is a medium soft mattress that is 36 cm deep and this ranks it among the deepest mattresses on the UK market.

These two features make it ideal for side sleepers as well as for back sleepers, while it is probably too soft for stomach sleepers.

However, it is so comfortable that we advise stomach sleepers to at least try it, so they can return it during the first 60 days if it is unsuitable.

Here is our Silentnight Geltex Ultra 3000 mattress review.

Vesgantti Gel Memory Foam Mattress

a product image of Vesgantti Gel Memory Foam mattress

Avoid breaking the bank and enjoy high quality mattress!

It's hard to believe that a mattress of such high quality is so affordable and even comes with a 10-year warranty. Vesgantti sleep company did a true marvelous job with Gel Memory Foam mattress on all fronts.

This all-foam mattress consists of three foam layers, and all three layers are made of different types of memory foam. The closest to you is a memory foam gel that will keep you cool and it is the thinnest of the three layers.

Take a look at our Vesgantti memory foam mattress review.


Memory foam has revolutionized the sleep industry. But nothing is perfect, not even memory foam. For years people have avoided buying memory foam mattresses even though they are the most comfortable, they provide great support and unmatched pressure relief because memory foam mattresses are too hot. That is why it was necessary for an improvement to appear on the market, and that improvement has arrived, and it is called Geltex.

Gel topped mattresses have retained all the positive characteristics, and because of their even better elasticity, many believe that they have improved not only temperature regulation, but also comfort. When it comes to breathability and temperature regulation, thanks to the gel, now even hot sleepers can buy this type of mattress.

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