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Last updated on November 25, 2022
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If you or your partner is a hot sleeper, you've likely experienced a few sleep-related woes. Research1 shows that people who maintain a lower body temperature throughout the night tend to maintain deeper levels of sleep—but hot sleepers deserve a good night's rest too, right? Enter: The best gel mattresses to help keep you cool while you sleep.

To learn more about who might benefit from a gel mattress (and how our body temperature affects our REM cycle), we spoke with sleep specialist and neuroscientist Christopher Winter, M.D., who explains, "It is thought that sleep probably works best at a temperature of about 65 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit, and gel mattresses can absolutely help."

Winter encourages people to also be conscious about the types of bedding they are pairing with their cooling mattress. He advises that it's important to be "thoughtful about bedclothes—or lack thereof—as well as bedding, timing of exercise, bathing, showering, and other bed enhancements."

Keep scrolling to check out our picks for the best gel mattresses.

What is a gel mattress?

Winter explains that gel mattresses are typically exactly what they sound like: mattresses that are gel-infused. These memory foam mattresses can be infused with either swirls of gel or beads that can actually liquefy under hot temperatures. While Winter says non-gel cooling foams have been developed over the years, "gel (or gel-infused) mattresses are cooler on average."

Along with their cooling properties, gel mattresses also tend to have less motion transfer, so you won't feel it as much if you share the bed with someone who tends to toss and turn.

What are the pros & cons of a gel mattress?

Pros:

Gel mattresses are great for hot sleepers, as they help regulate a cooler body temperature throughout the night.

Many gel mattresses are also hybrid mattresses, which maintain their shape for longer, and provide more support and contouring.

Motion transfer tends to be minimal on a gel mattress, meaning it will help to isolate movements rather than the whole mattress moving with you.

Cons:

Unfortunately, gel mattresses tend to use a lot of foam, which isn't the most sustainable material.

The cooling factor can depend on the amount of gel and the dispersal method used.

How we picked:

Sustainability

Since many gel-infused mattresses contain foams that are not the most sustainable, we prioritized CertiPur-US certified options.

Budget

We included gel mattresses at varying price ranges to suit differing budgets.

Reviews

Customer reviews are important—and we scoped out lots of them when putting together this list.

Longevity

We opted for mattresses and toppers that will maintain their shape and support over time.

Our picks for the best gel mattresses:

Best affordable: Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Luxe

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Pros:

  • Cooling
  • Less expensive

Cons:

  • Some say sheets interfere with the cooling cover
Materials: Gel-infused memory foamIndividually encased coils
Sizes available: TwinTwin XLFullQueenShort QueenKingCalifornia KingSplit California KingRV KingRV Bunk
Trial period: 120 nights
Warranty: 10-Year
Height: 14"

With multiple gel layers, this mattress has a true cooling sensation that hot sleepers will love. The cover features gel beads that actually liquefy at higher temperatures and help lower your body's temperature as you sleep. You can choose from three levels of firmness: soft, medium, or firm. 

In each mattress, a 1-inch layer of gel-infused memory foam keeps you cool and also provides pressure point relief. The core of the mattress is an 8-inch layer of up to 1,032 individually encased coils to give your body the support it needs throughout the night. This mattress arrives in a recyclable box and has a near-perfect star rating on the site—even after more than 2,800 customer reviews.

What reviewers say:

One reviewer reports that they love the Aurora Luxe more than other (more expensive) mattresses they've tried in the past, noting that they "will be purchasing two more for the other bedrooms!" Another says, "I love how cooling it actually is!! To the touch! I sweat a lot in my sleep, so this has been pretty helpful at keeping me cooler. I also sleep on my side and back so this is great for both those positions."

Best memory foam: The Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

Pros:

  • Cooling
  • Eliminates motion transfer

Cons:

  • Some say it's too firm
  • Some say it takes too long to expand from the box
Materials: Gel-infused memory foam
Sizes available: TwinTwin XLFullQueenKingSplit KingCalifornia King
Trial period: 1 Year
Warranty: Lifetime
Height: 12"

This mattress features five layers of materials, starting with a stabilizing 6-inch base foam and building to a quilted heat-wicking cover. The two tiers that set this design apart are the dynamic response layer and gel-infused memory foam. The former is 4 inches deep with a split down the middle to restore airflow and bounce, while the latter provides 2 inches of pressure-relieving, cooling support.

There's also an option to upgrade to the Nectar Premiere, which includes an additional inch of the gel-infused memory foam, for an even cooler sleep. The brand says this mattress is good for any type of sleeper, whether you sleep on your back, stomach, or side.

The Nectar mattress arrives in a box that is perfectly sized to fit the mattress, in order to eliminate waste. 

What reviewers say:

With more than 48,000 reviews on the Nectar website, this mattress has maintained a near-perfect rating of 4.8 out of 5. One reviewer shares that both she and her husband sleep better with this mattress, and she sleeps on her side while her husband sleeps on his back—confirming that this is a great pick for multiple sleep positions. The same reviewer goes on to report that "you can't feel motion transfer when your partner rolls over or when the dog jumps up onto the bed."

Best soft: DreamCloud Hybrid Mattress

Pros:

  • Hybrid design
  • Great for side & back sleepers
  • Cooling

Cons:

  • Not sustainable
  • Some feel it's too soft
Materials: Gel-infused memory foamCoils
Sizes available: TwinTwin XLFullQueenKingCalifornia King
Trial period: 100 nights
Warranty: 10-Year
Height: 10"

This hybrid mattress gives you all the comfort of foam with the support of the coils. It boasts a seven-layer foam construction, which includes gel-infused memory foam. Equal parts cushioning and pressure relief, the gel contours to your body and adds cooling relief to make it feel like you're sleeping on a cloud. (Hey, the name gives it away.)

At the base, you'll find an 8.5-inch coil layer; it better eliminates motion transfer while still providing edge support and adding to the overall breathability of the design. One of the softest picks on our list, it's a great choice for stomach and side sleepers.

What reviewers say:

This mattress has a 4.8 out of five-star rating overall after nearly 9,000 reviews—so you know it's a fan favorite. There are a seemingly endless number of reviews touting this mattress' cooling properties, and one says, "A superb comfort mattress. Don't feel when my husband gets in and out of bed. Luxurious look and feel. I also am very pleased with the mattress protector that helps me feel cool and comfortable." As expected, stomach and side sleepers like it best, while some back sleepers feel that it is too soft.

Best for back pain: WinkBeds Luxury Hybrid

Pros:

  • OEKO-TEX certified
  • CertiPur certified
  • Multiple firmness options

Cons:

  • Contains foam
Materials: Gel-infused memory foamTencel coverIndividually wrapped coils
Sizes available: TwinTwin XLFullQueenKingCalifornia King
Trial period: 120 nights
Warranty: Lifetime
Height: 13.5"

Also featured in our roundup of the best mattresses for neck and back pain, this cushioned pick layers together a Euro pillow topper, gel-infused memory foam, and base of individual coils in a hybrid pick that's cushioned yet supportive. While the memory foam is key to pressure relief, the individually wrapped pocket coils offer optimal support, especially for back sleepers. However, the choice of four firmness levels (softer, luxury firm, firmer, and plus) allows for all sleeping styles and bodies to find comfort in the design—including heavier individuals who need a bit more support.

Plus, the breathability of this mattress makes it a great choice for anyone who tends to run hot, as the gel-infused Euro top helps limit motion control and ease muscle tension.

All of the brand's mattresses are handmade in the United States, using CertiPUR-US® certified foams, recycled steel coils, and sustainably sourced Tencel for the cover. The cover is also OEKO-TEX® Standard 100, Class 1 certified, ensuring that it's safe enough for children, too. Like most mattresses, it's compressed, rolled up, and shipped in a box directly to your door.

What reviewers say:

Even after obtaining more than 8,000 reviews, this mattress maintains a 4.8 out of five-star rating overall. One reviewer who is prone to back pain says that the WinkBed "combines just the right levels of firm and soft to provide good support but still feel like a comfortable, premium item." Another writes, "Most supportive 'soft' mattress I've ever slept on. Get your blankets out, this mattress also sleeps very cool."

Best cooling: Purple Hybrid Premier 4 Mattress

Pros:

  • Cooling and breathable grid
  • Offers equal parts support & pressure relief

Cons:

  • Grid-like design may take some time to get used to sleeping on
Materials: Gel-infused memory foamStainless steel coils
Sizes available: TwinTwin XLFullQueenKingSplit KingCalifornia King
Trial period: 100 nights
Warranty: 10-Year
Height: 16"

Like all other Purple mattresses, this pick uses the brand's proprietary GelFlex technology, a grid-like layer of injection-molded polymer originally designed for patients in hospitals. The unique gel-infused material contours to pressure points without reducing support, making it a top pick for those who like the feel of memory foam but worry about overheating, as the material is temperature-neutral and constructed to allow airflow.

However, this hybrid design doesn't rely on just foams alone. It also features a layer of responsive stainless steel coils for added support and bounce. Wrapped in noise-reducing fabric, the coils boost the mattress' responsiveness and help the grid better return to its original shape.

The brand makes all its mattresses in the U.S. and ships them compressed and rolled in a recyclable box. The materials are CleanAir GOLD and CertiPUR-US certified—and while some report a smell when unboxing, others say it goes away soon after the mattress expands.

What reviewers say:

After nearly 2,000 reviews, this crowd-pleaser has earned 4.4 out of five stars on Purple's website. Hot sleepers, side sleepers, back sleepers all praise the design, as well as people with back and joint pain. One shopper raves, "Very comfortable and [I] love the cooling technology, as I sleep very warm and never wake up hot with this mattress."

What is considered a gel mattress?

Gel mattresses are infused with cooling gels. These gels will typically be most concentrated on the top layer, but they can also be found throughout the mid and lower layers as well.

What to look for in a gel mattress.

Mainly, it's important to look for gel-infused mattresses that feature gel in the top layer so that its cooling effects are closest to your body. That said, some mattresses have gel in the core or base levels as well, which can prevent heat from getting trapped inside the foams and other materials.

As our expert mentioned, when picking out a gel mattress, you will also want to be thoughtful about bedding. If you have the wrong bedding, you could risk blocking out the top layers of the mattress' cooling gel—so make sure to opt for breathable fabrics like bamboo, Tencel, or cotton, for more cooling sheets.

FAQ

What are the benefits of a gel mattress?

Gel mattresses are particularly beneficial for people who sleep hot or who need more motion control. Many of the gels used in these mattresses will liquefy under body heat, which helps neutralize hotter temperatures.

Is a gel mattress better than foam?

Most of the time, gel mattresses include foam. The foam will hold the gel beading or swirling in place so that its cooling qualities are more evenly dispersed.

How long does a gel mattress last?

Gel mattresses last between six and 10 years, depending on all of the other materials used in the mattress layers. In general, fully foam mattresses, as well as options that combine foams and coils are likely to wear at a slower pace. The gel will also help mattresses maintain their shape over time.

The takeaway.

If you find yourself struggling with sleeping hot, a gel mattress could be a great solution for you, to help you achieve the level of deep, restorative sleep we all need to be our healthiest selves. Gel mattresses are available in a variety of materials and firmness levels, with many of them even tailored to side or back sleepers. If you're not quite ready to invest in an entirely new mattress, there are also cooling mattress toppers to help you out in the meantime.

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Meet The Experts

Brittany Loggins is a freelance writer covering health, wellness, and all things lifestyle.