Comparing the Benefits of Copper-Infused, Silver-Infused, and Gel Memory Foam Mattresses
Just looking at mattresses doesn’t tell you which one is the best, which will be the most comfortable, or which one has the added benefits you’re looking for. Here, we break down the benefits of three of today’s most popular mattresses–copper-infused, silver-infused, and gel memory foam–and compare and contrast what each one has to offer, so you can choose the one that meets your needs for a restful night’s sleep.
Copper’s utilitarian history
The use of copper dates back over 10,000 years ago to 8700 B.C. and is thought to be the first metal used by ancient populations. Copper was an extremely important addition to the ancients’ way of life and was used by the upper classes to fashion jewelry, tools, bells, lamps, and other goods during the Copper Age, a.k.a. Chalcolithic, occurring between the 5th millennium B.C. and the beginning of the Bronze Age.
Ancient people crafted copper-based colors for painting, and by the Renaissance, copper was often used to make engraving plates used for etchings and print. Famous artists, including Rembrandt and Leonardo da Vinci, employed copper as a canvas because Copper’s smooth, durable surface was unmatched by any other material available at the time.
Large-scale copper mining began in the late 1800s with some small mines in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Around the turn of the century, copper mining had expanded to Arizona, Montana, and Utah. Then, open-pit mining techniques came into use, quickly making the United States the world’s largest copper producer. In the late 1870s, copper wire was replacing the iron wire used in telegraph systems, and soon after, large quantities of copper were being used for the expanding electric power industry. In fact, copper was being used in abundance across the entire industrialized world.
Copper has continued to be useful in making artisan tools, like knives and saws, cookware, roofing, musical instruments, pipes, and many car parts as well as being used in electrical power generation and transmission, machine manufacturing, and other industries. Since World War I, we’ve managed to use three-quarters of all copper ever manufactured. And most recently, many products are being copper-infused, including mattresses! That’s because copper has two great benefits that make it ideal for incorporating into mattresses: high thermal conductivity as well as antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.
High thermal conductivity
Copper-infused mattresses are designed with copper woven into the textile fibers or with a full layer infused into the comfort foam. Either way, you get the benefit of copper’s high thermal conductivity, which means that it’s great at getting hot really quickly and then cooling down really quickly. Copper-infused mattresses work by having body heat pass through the copper quickly, pulling it away from you. It also has high moisture absorption and is able to wick moisture away quickly. These features of copper help you stay comfortable and have a cooler night’s sleep.
Why staying cool at night is important
How well we sleep is, in part, determined by temperature. Our bodies follow a 24-hour circadian rhythm, a kind of internal clock, which controls our mental, physical, and behavioral schedules, including our sleeping and waking hours. This circadian clock prepares the body for sleep by reducing the body’s heat production and increasing its heat loss. Studies show that being too warm causes us to wake up, which disturbs deep sleep and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, an essential activity for brain health. Not enough REM sleep can cause sleep deprivation, negatively affect our waking hours, and cause health problems.
However, cool temperatures do not disrupt sleep (that is, excluding very cold conditions. As when the body is very hot, uncomfortably cold temperatures will make sleeping difficult). As stated, prior to falling asleep, our body naturally cools down, and sleeping in cooler temperatures encourages the body to fall asleep. Experts have determined that the temperature range best suited for sleeping is between 60 – 67 degrees Fahrenheit, with 65 degrees being ideal. Sleeping within this temperature range is better for our health because the body is able to fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and experience deeper sleep cycles that are the hallmark of a restful night’s sleep.
Antibacterial and antimicrobial properties
In May 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered five copper-containing alloy products and allowed the Copper Development Association (CDA) to market them, claiming “these products kill 99.9% of bacteria within two hours.” That’s why you’ll often find that high-contact surfaces in doctors’ offices and hospitals are made of copper. In fact, a 2019 study by the American Society for Microbiology found that copper-infused hospital beds reduced
surface-level bacteria by 94%. Historically, copper has also been used in ship making to inhibit barnacles and mussels from reproducing. Even copper alloys, other metals that include large quantities of copper in their composition, have the ability to quickly kill microbes. What’s even better is that this bacterial- and microbe-fighting ability is a natural characteristic of copper. No treatment is necessary for the upkeep of copper-infused mattresses. Copper’s self-sufficient, antiviral, and antibacterial capabilities are great news for all of us, especially those who are immuno-compromised or who have allergies.
In addition to the aforementioned benefits of copper-infused mattresses, researchers have found other advantages of copper. Copper is an essential nutrient needed to maintain healthy organs, bones, the brain, and heart. Copper also stimulates the immune system, repairs tissues, and promotes healing. According to the National Institutes of Health, copper helps the body form connective tissue and red blood vessels. Strengthening muscles and taking stress off the joints eases inflammation and arthritis. That’s why copper is touted for its inflammation-reducing and arthritis-relieving tendencies, and it’s thought that copper-infused mattresses may also . . .
- Promote muscle recovery
- Relieve arthritis pain
- Lessen inflammation
- Boost circulation
So while the benefits of copper have been known for millennia, we can now add another one to the list: copper-infused mattresses that offer a cool, comfortable, clean slumber.
Silver’s illustrious history
The first evidence of silver mining is from Turkey and Greece in 3000 B.C. Ancient artisans crafted silver into jewelry, utensils, dishes, pans, masks, decorations, religious ceremonial objects, and inlaid it in weapons, armor, and furniture. Silver coins came into use in Greece possibly earlier than the 6th century BCE and soon spread throughout Greece thereafter. Between 1500 – 1800, silver was found in abundance in Mexico, Bolivia, and Peru.
Presently, silver is used in silver oxide or silver-zinc batteries that are light and better performing than other batteries as well as in laptops and as electric car batteries, electrical switches, cars, and as silver paste in vehicles’ rear defrosters. Plasma televisions, DVDs, and CDs also contain a thin silver layer. Anyone who has labored to polish good silver knows that it is possible to gain a reflective shine from it. The practice of covering glass with a thin coating of silver was common in the 19th century, and a transparent layer of silver was also used on the windows of building as a way to deflect sunlight away and maintain a cool interior. Silver was regularly used in photography before digitization took hold, a technique that spilled over into film and X-rays, which today still uses silver halides for image reception.
Silver is abundantly useful in medicine and is found in many medications, including silver sulfadiazine to dress burns and silver nitrate to treat warts. In addition, implants, prosthesis, dental fillings, and needles all contain silver. Silver is so extremely versatile it appears that its usefulness can be found in everything, including mattresses.
Antimicrobial and antibacterial
Like copper, silver also fights bacteria, but in a different way. Scientists have used silver’s antibacterial properties for years. Specifically, silver ions do the heavy lifting by working
themselves inside the bacteria where they cripple their ability to function. The dying bacteria then continues to absorb the silver, which eventually dribbles out, infecting other living bacteria. This is the idea behind how wound dressings provide effective protection from microbial and bacterial contaminants.
Silver is also an anti-allergen and believed to kill dust mites by disrupting their digestive functioning. According to a 2011 German study, the use of silver-infused mattresses showed a considerable allergen decrease in comparison to mattresses not manufactured with silver. Because of silver’s ability to kill off bacteria and repel dust mites, it is likely that your mattress will both last longer, and need less upkeep– a great option for people who like to get their money’s worth. Plus, it’s comfortable and eco-friendly.
The invention of memory foam
A United States Ambassador for many countries and the United Nations for most of his career, Charles Yost, an aeronautical engineer by trade, worked with the Systems Dynamics Group at North American Aviation and helped to build the Apollo command module’s recovery system in
- This experience was useful when, four years later, NASA contracted Yost to work with Stencel Aero Engineering Corporation to improve airline seats that would enhance crash protection and increase survivability rates. It was then when Yost created this high-impact absorbing, soft foam material. Its viscoelasticity characteristics have improved airline safety and provide comfort. When the pressure and heat of one’s body come in contact with memory foam, it yields to match the body’s shape and evenly distributes weight for optimal comfort. Once heat and pressure are removed, memory foam reshapes to its original form. First dubbed “slow spring back foam,” memory foam has become quite popular.
Gel-infused memory foam
While memory foam has been popular for quite some time for its ability to form to the body and relieve pressure, one of the downsides has been its heat retention. Not to be confused with memory foam, gel memory foam, developed and patented by Peterson Chemical Technology, entered the market in 2006. Just as the name implies, gel is infused into memory foam for added benefits. Quasi-solid, gel has characteristics of both a solid and a liquid. Its firmness is determined by the amount of water it contains and the temperature of the room it’s in.
The function of gel
Gel has three functions: to cool, to reshape quickly, and to increase softness. The flowable flexibility of gel allows for extreme comfort, stable sleep support, and cooler sleep than memory foam (without gel) can provide. Because gel is affected by ambient heat, the amount of gel and its placement within the mattress affects its cooling duration. Thus, the more gel inside the mattress and the closer the gel layer to the top of the mattress, the longer the cooling sensation will last.
Gel infusion – how it works
Gel can be infused into memory foam in several ways: the most popular is by using gel beads, but gel can also be mixed into the foam along with its other ingredients, added to the foam before it’s set, or placed as a layer atop the memory foam. Infusing gel into memory foam allows the air to circulate through the mattress, increasing breathability and preventing heat from getting trapped. As stated above, a cooler mattress helps ward off those middle-of-the-night hot flashes and aids in healthier, steadier sleep.
An added bonus to gel
Another advantage to gel memory foam over memory foam is that while both conform to the body to support it and provide a comfortable night’s sleep, gel-infused memory foam regains its shape quicker once the pressure is removed. This enables the mattress to conform to your shape as you move throughout the night, rather than retaining its shape longer and getting stuck, as memory foam might do.
With so many options, it’s hard to decide which mattress to buy. But while choosing the perfect mattress may be difficult, we should be thankful for all these choices, as the following explains, mattresses have come a long way.
The history of mattresses
In 2011, Archeologists located evidence of the first mattress ever made in Sibudu, South Africa. Dating back some 77,000 years ago, the bedding’s construction included insect-repelling grass and leaves–proof that a comfortable night’s sleep has always been an important feature.
Prehistoric beds were not much more than plants placed on the ground. But between 3000 and 1000 BCE, people began raising their beds off the ground. This provided better protection from ground animals and fluctuating temperatures of the landscape. At this time, wood construction was a popular choice. Even in Egypt, where wood was not a commodity, they would import it. The beds of the elite class, however, were much more than just a rudimentary design. Often, they were bejeweled, gilted, and included sheets for additional comfort.
By the Medieval period, approximately 500 to 1300 AD, bed materials had not changed much. Wood remained the popular frame for the newly-advanced construction of straw- or hay-filled mattresses. However, poorer classes did not have the luxury of a wooden frame and often made do with sleeping on the ground atop a mound of hay or leaves. In the latter part of the Medieval period, the beds of the wealthy became even more extravagant with elegantly decorated bed frames accompanied by embroidered mattresses, which evolved into being down-filled for better comfort, a trend that became increasingly popular and eventually more widely available. The wealthy classes, however, in keeping with their love for luxury, began the fashion of surrounding their beds with drapes to eliminate drafts and insects, a style that would become synonymous with elegance, beauty, and affluence and continue into the Renaissance period. These elegantly ornamented four-poster beds included decorative headboards and footboards with columns to support a draped canopy that also provided privacy.
The wealthy styles of the Renaissance period, approximately 1300 to 1600 AD, continued until the 19th century when ornamentation was replaced by the usefulness of more practical designs. The box spring came into fashion, offering more stability and support while sleeping, as did metal frames. Once the 20th century began, mass production allowed nearly everyone access to a well-made, comfortable bed. In addition to these improvements came innerspring and pocket coils that provided better support and minimized motion.
During the 20th century, mattresses underwent many more improvements. An entirely new type of mattress material was invented in the 1920s, latex foam, which was first used in mattress manufacturing beginning in the 1930s. After that, polyurethane foam replaced latex foam, which paved the way for memory foam, a type of polyurethane, which was further modified in 2006 to include gel, creating another new mattress option–gel memory foam. Luxurious sleeping
conditions were no longer limited to the wealthy, as the latter part of the 20th century focused on improving materials and technology to provide consumers with indulging comfort.
Using modern inventions as well as materials discovered thousands of years ago, mattress makers are continuing to offer improved comfort and extraordinary benefits in an effort to give us our best night’s sleep and so much more. Read on to discover the ingenuity behind today’s most popular mattresses, and decide for yourself which one is right for you–a decision that might be more difficult than you think.
You deserve to have the mattress you want at a price you can afford. At BoxDrop, we’ve got all the leading mattresses, including copper, silver, and gel-infused, at prices that are 50% to 80% off retail. Contact us today.