Waterbeds: Everything You Need to Know

three women laying on a waterbed

The water bed was quite popular in the 1970s and 1980s, with millions of people owning one at some point. But, like all trends, the water bed craze died out as other bedding fads took hold. But, water beds are making a comeback. Online sales are skyrocketing, and some brick-and-mortar stores have begun selling them again. And why not? Water beds are comfortable, stylish, and easy to maintain.

What Is a WaterBed?

A water bed is precisely what it sounds like: a mattress filled with water on which you sleep. It sounds funny, but it’s the same idea as an air mattress. You pump air into an air mattress, and there’s no way to take it out. Side note, a water bed has a hose nozzle that you can use to fill and remove water anytime you want. They fill a vinyl mattress (also called a bladder) with water, then cover it with another layer of vinyl. Depending on your preferences and the season, you can heat the bed with cool or lukewarm water. A frame around the mattress keeps it stabilized, so nothing spills out when you get in and out of bed.

Back in their heyday, we knew water beds for being soft and comfortable. Water mattresses are still vinyl today, but they come in various sizes and shapes. As a result, some look more like traditional mattresses than others.

water bed being filled

What Are the Different Types of Water Beds?

Water beds are a unique sleeping surface. While some people enjoy how water moves beneath them, others find water beds uncomfortable. The good news is that several types and constructions of water beds are available to suit anyone’s taste. You can choose from various styles, brands, and even sizes for water beds.

The construction of the bed you choose will depend on your personal preferences and your budget. For example, hard side water beds are more expensive than soft side water beds because of their solid construction and durability. Made from foam materials, soft side beds are less costly, having fewer moving parts than hard side beds.

A hard side water bed is a water bed that has a frame around it. They may make the frame of wood, metal, or plastic. The mattress sits on top of the frame, and they usually cover the exterior with fabric. The hard side water bed looks like a regular bed, making them ideal for those who want to use it in a guest room.

They make a soft side water bed from foam and vinyl. The bed does not require a frame because these soft materials surround the mattress. You can customize the vinyl cover with many unique designs and colors, and fabrics are available in a wide range of textiles, including microfiber, cotton, and leather. The soft side water bed is ideal for people who have back problems or other health conditions requiring sleep on a softer surface.

The main types of water bed mattresses include free flow, semi waveless, and full waveless beds. Free flow mattresses allow the water to move freely within the mattress. 

The soft side free flow mattresses have hundreds to thousands of air pockets that enable the mattress to move with you during sleep while still providing support and comfort. These beds are available in queen and king sizes only. 

The semi-waveless water bed mattress has two separate tubes on each side filled with water that move independently, which provides more support than free flow models but less motion control than full waveless models. 

Full waveless mattresses offer more motion control because they don’t have separate tubes. Instead, they have fiber or foam baffle walls that keep the water from moving around too much. When choosing a mattress, it’s essential to consider what options you want for your bed.

woman laying on a waterbed

What Are the Benefits of a WaterBed?

The most significant benefit of having a water bed is that many people find it more comfortable than a regular mattress and box springs. The main reason is that the bed conforms to the shape of your body as you sleep or move around in bed. It helps to provide much-needed relief to pressure points like your hips, shoulders, and feet while you sleep.

You may reduce the amount of tossing and turning while you’re trying to fall asleep if you have a water bed. Some people also report falling asleep faster when they sleep on a water mattress, which may help you get a better night’s rest daily. If you toss and turn at night or cannot get enough sleep, it can affect your productivity at work, so choosing a comfortable sleeping surface can help you be more productive during the day.

What Are the Risks of a WaterBed?

There aren’t many disadvantages associated with owning a water bed. One issue is that they are often more expensive than other mattresses, but this isn’t always the case. You may also need to invest in additional furniture, as they do not design some frames for use with this type of mattress.

If you’re used to sleeping on a regular mattress, you might roll off the side of the bed more quickly at first because the bed moves when you do. Also, if you’re used to sleeping on an old spring mattress, your body probably isn’t used to getting proper support all night long, so when it gets it, your body might be in pain for a week or two until it adjusts. It doesn’t happen to everyone, though. 

Water beds require some maintenance, but they’re well worth the extra work. First, it’s essential to ensure you don’t overfill your water bed. If you do, it could cause a leak or even burst at the seams! But don’t underfill it either because it could cause the mattress to wrinkle horribly. Don’t worry, though. As long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions, you can ensure your water mattress lasts for years by performing proper maintenance. You should also regularly clean your water bed with a unique cleaning solution for water mattresses and use a conditioner once a month to keep it from drying out and cracking.

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