There are so many options for mattress toppers that it can be overwhelming to sort through which type of topper is best. In this post, we’ll highlight common problems with two popular products: gel mattress toppers and memory foam mattress toppers.
What is a Memory Foam Mattress Topper?
Memory foam toppers are made from viscoelastic foam. Originally developed by NASA in the 1960s to improve airplane seat comfort, foam toppers have a lot of “give,” creating a feeling of gently sinking into a soft surface.
Common Problems With Memory Foam Mattress Toppers
Memory foam is made from petrochemicals and is not biodegradable. While some companies are adding “green” components to their memory foam products, the base material itself is not biodegradable. Therefore, both memory foam and gel mattress toppers are not ideal options for eco-conscious consumers.
For the first several days after bringing a memory foam mattress topper home, it can give off strong odors. Known as off-gassing, which refers to the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), these compounds are generally considered safe if you buy from a reputable company that is transparent about its manufacturing processes. However, if you have allergies or are sensitive to chemical smells or emissions, memory foam may aggravate these conditions.
Another common problem with memory foam mattress toppers is that they tend to hold in body heat. Many people who prefer to sleep in a cooler environment find this effect unpleasant.
Lastly, over time, memory foam starts to lose its form, which results in indentations in the surface of a mattress topper. This can result in decreased comfort and may signal that it’s time to replace the topper. Memory foam toppers can vary widely in terms of both composition and quality. It’s best to do careful research before selecting a memory foam mattress topper and choose one with a clearly outlined warranty.
What is a Gel Mattress Topper?
Gel mattress toppers are made with gel memory foam. The addition of gel was developed as a solution to the heat retention qualities of standard memory foam toppers. Combining viscoelastic memory foam toppers with a cooling gel mitigates the “too hot” feeling of a memory foam mattress topper.
Common Problems With Gel Mattress Toppers
All of the problems listed above for memory foam mattress toppers apply to gel mattress toppers, because they are made from a combination of memory foam and cooling gel.
The main benefit of gel toppers over memory foam toppers without gel is that the gel adds a cooling effect to offset the tendency of memory foam to hold in body heat. However, not all gels are created equally and not every product provides the same cooling effect. The variability in quality found in foam toppers is also an issue for gel toppers, so research these products before buying.
Learn More About Latex Mattress Toppers
There is an eco-friendly alternative topper that doesn’t retain body heat, offers soothing comfort and supple support, and will last longer than gel or memory foam mattress toppers. Read more about the common types of latex mattress toppers available today.
As with any mattress topper, read up on the components of a latex topper and look for certifications that confirm a manufacturer’s claims for 100% natural or organic latex toppers. (Skip synthetic latex if you prefer an eco-friendly alternative, as toppers made from synthetic latex are also made from petrochemicals.)
You can also check out our guides to which type of latex mattress topper will work best for you in terms of firmness and depth or shop the Naturally Nestled selection of latex toppers and pillows.