How Long Do Mattresses Last? The Results May Shock You!
Mattresses are pretty expensive — one quick glance at our buyer’s guide will confirm this fact. This is why many people do not replace them – not even after many years of use.
They do not want to spend a lot of money on a new one. Besides, now you can delay the process of buying a new one if you do an excellent job at maintaining your existing one.So, how often should you replace your mattress?
It doesn’t matter which type of bed you have. Most of them are ready for replacement within ten years to ensure a good night’s rest (old mattresses can hurt your sleep quality). Besides, it can last beyond ten years on average, if the owners maintain it properly.
Also, many different factors affect a bed’s lifespan. You can extend its life expectancy by following a few easy steps in the text below. We prepared and wrote down some tips to boost its longevity.
How Long Do Memory Foam Mattresses Last?
Table of Contents
Thelifespan of a memory foam mattress dependson the type of memory foam, number of layers, thickness, and density of layers, foundation layer properties, and construction strength.There are three types of memory foam namely the traditional, air cool, and gel. Traditional type is more suited if your body mass index is higher than normal and you want firm support for your spine and body. Gel memory foam has thetherapeutic propertiesfor healing lower back pain and aligning the spinal cord in a straight line. Air foam is forcontrolling your body temperaturewithin standard values and cooling your skin.
How Foam Density Effects The Life of a Mattress?
Density is a measure of weight per cubic foot. Low-density mattresses support 1.5LB per cubic foot. Medium density mattresses support 2-3LB per cubic foot. High-density mattresses can support 4 to 6 LB per cubic foot or even more. They have a high resistance to stress factors. It is because they distribute your body weight across the length X width and depth through the other supporting layers. Hence, the stress on individual layers will be relatively less.
Tensile strength is a measure of stretching limits. It is directly proportional to the elongation threshold when your body weight is placed on it. High-density mattress elongation could be hardly 10% to 15% of its original dimension. Medium density mattress elongates to 25%-30% of its original dimension. Low-density mattress elongates to 40% or more. Hence,reaching the breaking point takes more time for the high-density mattress compared to the other two types.Here, our research has been focused only on the memory foam layer. When it is supported by others like comfort layer, transition layer, spring layer, and base layer, elongation probability of memory foam layer gets reduced further. Hence,it can carry more weight per cubic foot and last longer than the other two types.
Weight required for compressing 4” memory foam by 25%. Higher ILD rates can mean more weight capacity and extended lifespan.It also means the mattress is firmer in its construction.It also means the mattress can support your body weight without sinking in. However, it may not be practical to keep this factor always high since it can affect softness factor. Hence, the modern mattresses have introduced an additional layer of Gel memory foam over the polyurethane (PU) memory foam. ILD rating of gel foam is relatively low. But it transfers the weight onto the PU layer. Gelprovides softness for your body, while PU provides firmness. Combination of these two factors increases the comfort level while sleeping.
It is called resilience. You might have seen children jumping and dancing on memory foam mattress in your home.They bounce on the mattress due to the rebound pressure offered by the foam.If this factor is higher, pressure relief points on the mattress can work more efficiently. Me top two memory foam layers can carry weight without experiencing an excess of stretching. It can also mean better body contour support which in turn increases coziness and comfort factors.
Heat absorbing gel memory foam mattress doesn’t retain it with its layers. It is due to increased risk of rupture within a few years. So, the design principles follow two methods of dissipating this heat.Transfer to the base layer or conversion into another form of energy for providing pressure and pain relief for your body while you sleep.The first form of transfer puts extra stress on the base layer. It can transfer heat onto bed frame if it is made of metal. When placed on a wooden bed frame, the heat gets trapped within the base layer. Since it has no way of retaining it longer, it transfers heat back to the top layer. This type of thermal circulation can also significantly reduce the lifespan of the mattress.
Hence,the best method is to convert heat into energy for pain and pressure relief.The sectional memory foam mattress consists of many horizontal sections from head to your feet. It can transfer the heat to the feet and legs section to induce faster and deeper sleep. Hence, the heat gets utilized. It also transfers part of the heat to the abdomen and hips section.If you sleep on back posture, it can help relieve lower back pain.Gel memory foam uses this heat for relieving the stress and eliminating fatigue factors from your body.
Low-density mattress can absorb shocks from abrupt posture change only for short duration. Then the cells start breaking down. You may have to change the foam layer frequently. Our experiments with a body weight of 198LBs and above showed significant differences in reaching breakdown point with time.High-density memory foam mattress with multiple layers can absorb shock better.By keeping the rebound pressure high, it is possible to reduce the impact of shocks on the foam layers.
By increasing base foam thickness to 6” it is possible to provide better support for your body while resting. Transition foam of 3” and memory foam of 3” with gel memory foam of 3” thickness can increase the lifespan of mattresses at least by 5 to 6 years. It is not only due to weight distribution, but also support for different sleeping postures. If you are a side sleeper,the top gel memory foam can adjust its cells around your body to give you maximum support and comfort.PU foam can distribute your body weight around your body with spinal cord acting as a balancing point. Hence, the probability of losing your balance and changing to a back or stomach posture will be almost zero.
If you are a back posture sleeper, the density of PU memory foam will be higher, while the density of gel memory foam can remain the same. This sort of construction can also increase lifespan. If you happen to be a stomach sleeper,the thickness and density of transition and comfort layers have to be more.We have considered the BMI factor from an upper limit of the standard range to the low to high obesity levels. Practical experiments have shown that any mattress which can support higher BMI can certainly extend its support for normal BMI also.
Preventive Maintenance to Increase The Life of Your Memory Foam Mattress
The finest range of quality memory foam mattresses can have a long life when you can follow certain simple preventive maintenance procedures.They can protect your mattress from mold and mildew, dust and dirt, germs and microorganisms.Maintenance keeps your mattress free from moisture and dampness due to sweating.
Vacuum your memory mattress once a week to remove dirt and particles. Make sure you have used the upholstery attachment to regulate pressure.If the mattress has a zipper, you can open it and vacuum the internals also.Such cleaning is highly useful for assembled mattresses.
You can use antifungal and anti-infectious sprays to eliminate the harmful elements from your memory foam mattress. But you have to make sure they are free from moisture and dry off naturally.
Cleaning agents without moisture content such as vinegar can help in removing stains. You may also use the off the shelf products after reading the ingredient specifications.
Drying the memory foam mattress in the open air without exposing it to the direct sunlight is one of the simplest and safest methods after cleaning. It will also eliminate the pungent odor of the spray
How Long Do Memory Foam Mattresses Last – Summary
BMI VS Mattress Density
If your BMI is within the healthy range and you sleep alone, you may opt for amedium density mattress with three foam layers. If you are a couple with healthy BMI, you can opt for thesame type of mattress with high resistance for motion transfer.If your BMI is anywhere near the stage of obesity, it is better to opt for a high-density mattress.
Make sure you check the above-listed parameters in detail before placing an order. Then you can select the best mattress that supports your sleeping posture, Body Mass Index (BMI) and usage pattern. If you constantly change your posture during sleep, it is better to opt for Hybrid /composite mattress with four to five layers of foam. The top layer being Gel memory foam and the layer beneath that being PU foam.You can opt for a mattress company which gives you a free trial period of at least 15 nights.Then you can evaluate the mattress quality and durability.
Buyer Beware: Gel Memory Foam Mattress
A few years ago we saw the introduction of the gel memory foam mattress into the bedding industry. Some thought these new incarnations of the old would be the future of the industry. Though these mattresses do sometimes fair better than their gel-less counterparts in some areas, they share several faults.
If you think developments in mattress technology are keeping pace with computers, mobile communication devices and other rapidly changing industries, you are absolutely right. While it is an exciting time to buy a new mattress, the vast amount of choices available can make it an overwhelming endeavor without the proper knowledge base to make good decisions.
What are the advantages of a gel memory foam mattress? How is memory foam better than a spring mattress? These are the important questions that need to be asked when considering the best path to a good night’s sleep. There are many options available on the market. With the advent of latex foam, plant-based memory foam, and now the memory foam gel mattress, consumers can experience analysis paralysis.
Often when faced with staggering amounts of information, people stop processing it. That can lead to a poor decision and less satisfaction. To help you with your decision and decrease the likelihood of regretful purchase, we have done some analysis for you.
Newer Mattress Technology ≠ Better Memory Foam Mattress
It can be tempting to buy the newest version of a product on the market. People often equate newness with value, but newer technologies often have bugs to work out. Mattresses do not escape this reality. Products that have been on the market for awhile are more likely to have been tested by a large number of people and, hopefully, improved. Newer products do not have this advantage.
Memory foam gel mattresses hit the market in 2011 and have quickly become a favorite among many consumers because they embody some of the best aspects of memory foam, including the highest level of comfort available. The gel-infused nature of these mattresses goes a step further by adding extra support while attempting to address one of the biggest drawbacks to standard memory foam – heat retention.
Because memory foam contours to the sleeper’s body and disperses weight across the face of the mattress a highly desirable floating-like effect is created that provides total support and comfort. But it also tends to trap heat in ways that traditional mattresses do not, and that has been a problem for some users.
There are basically two types of gel memory foam mattresses. The first has gel infused throughout the top layer of foam and the second has a layer of gel near the surface. Both of these types do seem to alleviate the heat problem slightly better than traditional foam mattresses, but there are still complaints from overheated customers.
While gel mattresses may feel cool when you first touch them or lay on them, many consumers find after being in contact with the material for a few moments the hot feeling returns. That is because the gel manufacturers use is conductive. It takes on the temperature of the surrounding environment. Once warm, they feel warm.
Alternatives to Gel Memory Foam Mattresses
Buyers should know, while gel infusion may have improved the sleep quality of standard polyurethane-based memory foam mattresses slightly, it is not necessarily the best method available for addressing body heat retention. Without the aid of gel, other manufacturers have found ways to keep the heat off sleepers.
Innovative brands like Amerisleep have been broadening the appeal of memory foam with plant-based products. In addition to being healthier and more environmentally-responsible, plant-based memory foam mattresses have been found to sleep considerably cooler than gel-infused products manufactured by leading brands.
And that’s not just Amerisleep making baseless claims to drive sales. The cooler-sleeping qualities of plant-based memory foam were revealed in a two-year study conducted by Cargill – a nearly 150-year-old producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products. Cargill’s research found plant-based memory foam dissipates heat at a rate that is 25 percent faster than gel-infused products.
Generally, traditional memory foam mattresses have a closed-cell structure, which means they have millions of tiny pockets of air trapped throughout the material. These pockets act as insulation, just as it does in foam coffee cups and the in the walls of some buildings. It is a perfect material for trapping heat, but very poor at releasing it.
Amerisleep’s innovative foam has a much more open structure. This allows far more airflow. As air passes through the mattress, it carries heat with it. This is how these plant-based memory foam mattresses stay so cool, without the use of gels, which are often composed of unnatural chemicals.
Plant-based memory foams typically produce far fewer Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and don’t off-gas as much as most traditional and gel memory foam mattresses. This off-gassing can be more than just an offense to the olfactories, it can cause adverse health effects. Many gel and traditional memory foam mattresses need to be aired out in a well-ventilated space away from living areas prior to use.
It makes sense that a material made from more natural products would contain less hazardous materials. Consumers looking to purchase from more environmentally responsible companies can receive the added benefit of a virtually smell-free, low-VOC sleep system.
Safer Materials, Greater Value
Remarkably, these more natural beds cost much less, too. Consumers seeking a cooler alternative to traditional memory foam mattresses would do well to keep plant-based mattresses at the top of their list. They are more environmentally friendly, healthier and cooler than gel memory foam mattresses. At a far lower cost, these mattresses are a great value.
Making a big purchase on a long-lasting item can be a difficult undertaking. Take these facts with you as you shop for a mattress. If you are seeking a memory foam mattress that is much cooler than traditional memory foam, gel can offer a slight edge, but plant-based memory foam may prove even more effective.
What Are Gel Mattresses?
The ‘Cool’ New Material in Your Mattress
Gel is most often touted in mattresses for its cooling qualities, but it can offer several other characteristics, such as enhanced pressure relief, unique support characteristics, and extended durability.
From a scientific standpoint, gel is a material that falls somewhere between a solid and a liquid. Known as a ‘viscous semi-rigid solid,’ gel chemically resembles a liquid but exhibits no ‘flow’ when in a steady state. This means it has the ability to be stretched, squished and pulled, but will always return to its original shape. Gel is similar to rubber, but it tends to be heavier and have more of a delayed resiliency than rubber. Because of these qualities, gel is a great material for shock absorption and pressure relief in mattresses.
What is the Difference Between a Gel Mattress and a Memory Foam Mattress?
Gel and memory foam are two different materials. However, they can be, and often are, combined. Both can have pressure relieving properties, depending on how they are used in a mattress.
There are three gel construction types most commonly seen in mattresses today:
Gel-infused memory foam.The most prevalent usage of gel in today’s mattresses is gel-infused foam. Requiring a lower amount of gel than other gel mattress construction types, this approach involves mixing small flecks of gel into a layer of foam. Technically, this can be done with any kind of foam, however it is most often seen with open-cell foams such visco-elastic foam (resulting ingel memory foam) or Talalay latex (resulting ingel latex). The use of open cell foams creates additional ventilation around the gel, which works in concert with the cooling effect of the gel.
Below: Gel flecks are visible in the top layer of memory foam
Collapsible column (or “honeycomb”) construction.Some mattresses (significantly Purple) utilize a layer of collapsible gel columns in their beds. In this approach, thin vertical ‘walls’ of gel are inter-connected in a square or hexagonal pattern across the bed, so that when viewed from above, this layer resembles a grid or honeycomb. This structure is most well-known for its unique support characteristics. In order to maintain proper spinal alignment, a mattress needs to allow our curvy parts to sink deeper into the bed (but nottoodeep!), while still providing adequate support for the rest of our body.
Collapsible gel columns have a unique property known as non-linear resistance – meaning that once a certain amount pressure is applied, the columns stop providing resistance and completely collapse. This allows our heavy or protruding parts, such as the hips and shoulders, to sink down to the bottom of this layer, while our lighter or more concave parts are still supported on top. For maximum spinal alignment, a layer of collapsible column gel is typically about 2 inches tall, which is the average amount of ‘curve’ that our bodies have between our hips and our waist.
Below: ‘Honeycomb’ gel layer of a Purple mattress
Solid gel layer.Perhaps the most recent innovation in gel mattresses is the use of a solid layer of gel at or near the top of the mattress, or on top of a pillow. Given the weight and density of gel, this layer is usually less than 1" thick. That said, depending on the softness of the gel, a solid gel layer can give the mattress or pillow a very unique yet familiar feel – similar to a gel bicycle seat or gel insoles. For those that tend to sleep hot, a solid layer of gel offers the maximum gel surface area, so the cooling effects of the gel should feel very pronounced. This style of gel mattress tends to use the most gel (by weight), so the coolness of the gel can last longer into the night.
Below: Thin layer of solid gel on top of a pillow
Do Gel Mattresses Keep You Cool?
Gel is most commonly promoted by mattress companies as a solution for "sleeping hot." So, is gel really "cooler" than other materials? Well, technically no – but it doesfeelcooler. The reason is that gel is a conductor, like water or metal. Because our bodies are generally much warmer than the ambient temperature of our bedroom, the gel’s conductive properties act to ‘pull’ this excess heat away from our bodies, making us feel cooler.
To better understand what this means and how it works, think first about sitting in a bedroom that is room temperature (
72° F). Now think about sitting in a swimming pool that is 72° F. Which one feels cooler? Of course, the pool feelsmuchcooler!! This is because our body temperature is much warmer than 72° F (the surface of our bodies is normally
90° F), and the water (an excellent conductor) allows this excess heat to travel away from our bodies very efficiently, making us feel cooler.
How much cooling do you really get from a gel mattress?
The amount of cooling provided by the gel depends mostly on three key factors:
- How close the gel is to your body.The cooling power of the gel is based on its conductive properties, so layers of other materials between you and the gel tend to act like insulators, reducing the transfer of heat from your body to the gel. This means that minimizing such layers – e.g., additional padding above the gel, mattress protector, thick sheets, and even pajamas! – will maximize the cooling effect of the gel.
- How much gel there is.The more gel there is, the longer it will take your body to warm the gel from room temperature to body temperature, after which the gel will cease to feel cool. Beds with less gel are generally designed to remain cool for 15-30 minutes – long enough for you to fall asleep, but perhaps not long enough to remain cool throughout the entire night. Beds with thick layers of gel (e.g., 50-100 pounds of gel in a queen-size mattress) are designed to remain cool for several hours or more.
- How the gel is constructed.Because gel itself does not allow air to flow through it, layers of gel in a mattress are often structured in such a way as to enable or create air flow. With gel-infused foam, an open-cell foam is typically used to create added ventilation. With collapsible columns, the hollow columns allow plenty of air circulation. And with solid gel, channels are typically carved in the gel (giving the gel a waffle iron appearance) to enable air flow along the gel’s surface.
How Long Do Gel Mattresses Last?
In general, gel is considered to be among the most durable materials used in mattresses today. As a semi-rigid solid, it should not lose its shape or its flexibility over time. That being said, the gel used in mattresses can be made from either polyurethane or plastic. Because plastics are known to become brittle with age, polyurethane-based gels are more desirable from a durability perspective.
It should also be noted that in the case of gel-infused foams, the gel represents a relatively small portion of that material. As such, the durability of that type of material will have much more to do with the quality of the foam that is used than with the gel that is mixed into the foam.
Gel Mattress Brands
Thanks in large part to the breakout popularity of the iComfort mattress line from Serta, including the iComfort Blue 100, there are now many manufacturers that have either created a special line of gel mattresses or added gel as a feature to their existing lines.
In addition, there are several smaller manufacturers that specialize entirely in gel mattresses, some of which have been working with gel as a mattress material for decades. Purple is the best known example. GoodBed has reviewed the original Purple mattress, as well as the Purple 2/3/4 line, all of which use a wide layer of honeycomb gel.
Most commonly, you will see gel incorporated into memory foam and used as one of the comfort layers of a mattress. Examples include the Bear mattress, the GhostBed Luxe bed, and the Lull mattress.
Do Gel Mattresses Deliver?
Last updated on March 2nd, 2020 | By Lauren Monroy | 8 Comments
If you’ve entered a mattress store recently, chances are you’ve came across the latest “it” item in the bedding industry,gel mattresses. Almost every major bedding manufacturer and brand is jumping on the gel bandwagon and singing its praises. But, whenever a new technology comes out it is always a good idea to look through the hype, read the best mattress reviews, and see how the claims compare to the facts. In light of some surprising developments in the world of gel mattresses, we decided to dig a little deeper and see if these type of beds really deliver what they claim.
What are Gel Mattresses?
The gel trend was largely sparked by Serta, whose iComfort gel memory foam mattress line made a splash in 2011. Originally, it was introduced to help combat the notion that memory foam mattresses sleep hot. The idea is that including a layer of gel in the mattress will offer cooler sleep and assist with pressure relief. Many people often wonder what the gel is, and the best way to get an idea would be to think of the ice packs used for injuries and keeping your lunch cool.
Gel Mattress Types
The different brands incorporate gel in various ways. Some include a gel-pad layer on top or beneath the padding layers. Others pour it into the foam as it sets, or incorporate beads of gel into the foam. Gel memory foam mattresses are the most popular combinations, though gel mattresses are also springing up in latex and and innerspring styles, and even mattress pads.
The Cooling Claim
The key selling point of gel is that it is supposed to sleep cooler than beds without gel. The idea was generated based on complaints from owners of traditional memory foam beds involving overheating. This issue of sleeping too hot affects about 10-15% of all memory foam owners, who report that during the night body heat gets trapped and the bed becomes uncomfortably warm. This seems to be most linked with higher density, high-conforming, and closed cell foams.
By incorporating gel, the manufacturers hope to assuage consumers’ worries of beds sleeping too hot and get an edge over other brands. They tend to explain the “gel action” in fairly vague terms, usually stating the the gel will absorb body heat and transfer it away from the sleeper.
The Facts About Gel Mattresses
If you have used a gel ice pack before, you may have noticed that gel, an aqueous substance, tends to take on the temperature of its surroundings. It may be cold when it comes out of the freezer, but before long it takes on the temperature of your body or the room. There is no reason to think that the gel would behave any differently in a mattress. Initially, it will adopt the room temperature, which will feel cool against your warmer body. However, before long it will match your body temperature and the cooling effect will fade.
- Foam manufacturer Cargill conducted studies showing that plant-based memory foam slept 25% cooler than gel memory foam.
- Consumer Mattress Reports 2013 guide found no discernible differences in breathability from gel mattresses versus standard mattresses.
Others have questioned the durability and longevity of gel mattresses. Due to the opposite natures of water-based gel and oil-based memory foam, there are concerns about how these materials will hold up over type and whether or not the inclusion of gel will affect the structural integrity of the foam. It is also not known how long the gel would continue to offer the claimed cooling properties.
Because this type of bed has only been on the market for a couple of years, reviews are limited especially in regards to durability. There does seem to be slightly fewer complaints of heat percentage-wise, but reviews can still be found that mention overheating on gel mattresses. On leading brands of gel mattresses, reviewers also seem to be more likely to mention quality issues compared to similar types without gel.
Given the recent studies and mattress comparisons examining gel brands versus their regular counterparts, it appears that gel mattresses cannot conclusively claim any major benefits. For consumers, this means that paying premium prices for mattresses just based on the inclusion of gel may not be a smart buying decision.
Rather than falling for the latest gimmick, consumers would be wise to consider the underlying value of the product and its reputation among consumers. For example, in our comparison of leading memory foam brands which included Serta’s iComfort line, we found that overall, plant-based memory foam mattresses from Amerisleep.com led the group in terms of owner reviews and performance. If you are considering gel mattresses, make sure you research the product quality, cost, owner reviews, and guarantees compared to other options, as purchasing based solely on cooling claims may leave you feeling burnt.
Medical Disclaimer: The information contained on the site should not be used as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other health care provider. The information provided here is for informational purposes only.
8 thoughts on “Do Gel Mattresses Deliver?”
In may purchased new mattress from leons brantford canada woke up wet every morning for 21 days went back to leons and paid extra $100.00 for simmons beauty rest and was told boh mattresses had coolin gel in them was not told this wen originally purchased and was told the simmons one had the least amount still wake up wet tried everything still wet I have 877.00 dollars tied up in this twin size mattress my other mattress was 22 yrs old nothin wrong just too big for tiny bedrom gave it away slept on my pullout love seat wake up dry but I am 77 and very hard to setup I don’t have money for a new one contacted simmons and wont do anything and leons only sells gel or memory foam mattresses didnot know this efore
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