Is Sleeping On A Waterbed Bad For Your Spine?

Top Ten Waterbed Problems: Are Waterbeds Bad For You

January 4, 2022
In the Bedroomwaterbeds

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Here are the top ten waterbed problems. Are waterbeds bad for you? Are waterbeds bad for your spine? Today we will find out.

  1. Will My Waterbed Fall Through The Floor? In all my years of the waterbed business, I have only heard of one instance of a waterbed in fact falling through a floor and this involved a weakened floor from a house fire. Let’s face it waterbeds have been on the market since the ’70s, who do you know who have had a waterbed that has fallen through his or her ceiling? My guess is no one. For more info contact your insurance agent, local contractors, or structural engineer, they will put to rest this waterbed myth and other waterbed problems you hear about.
  2. Waterbeds Problems Include Popping, Bursting, or Leaking that Leave the House Stained or Ruined
    Sure it is possible to have a leak but the majority of them are either small fatigue cracks or pinhole size punctures that can be repaired. Leaks usually only consist of a few gallons of water that are held by a safety liner. Interestingly I have seen mattresses filled to twice their normal fill capacity and not pop or burst, as compared to daily normal usage these excessive pressures don’t exist. Back several years ago Bigfoot demonstrated the strength of a water mattress by driving over it in a TV commercial.
  3. Waterbed Heaters Are Expensive To Operate.
    Today’s average waterbed heater costs approximately $7.00 – $12.00 a month to maintain. This is usually offset by the fact that the temperature in the bedroom can be lowered dramatically saving you money. Most people do not take into account the health benefits of a heated waterbed such as muscles that are soothed and relaxed. This benefits us by falling asleep faster and waking up less stiff store in the morning.
  4. It Is Not Easy To Get In And Out Or Even Turn Over In A Water Bed.
    It is true that hardside waterbeds are hard to get in and out of and turn over. Some ease of movement and surface transition can be gained by purchasing a more stable and supportive baffled replacement mattress. A better choice is the softside waterbed with its softer foam racetrack edge that makes getting in and out of a waterbed incredibly simple.
  5. Waterbeds Are Unhealthy And Bad For Your Back.
    Skeptics who know little to nothing about mattresses including waterbeds usually bring about comments like these. Unfortunately, many of these remarks come from professionals that include doctors and chiropractors who have had little if any training whatsoever in mattress construction, mattress support, or anything else to do with a mattress for that matter. Many people feel that waterbeds’ benefits and comfort exceed that of mattresses and box springs, especially with the newer soft side waterbeds.
  6. Waterbeds Are Hard To Take Care Of.
    Common waterbed problems include being difficult to take care of. They simply require adding conditioner one time a year with the correct treatment that is quite inexpensive. The waterbed mattress must be burped to extract the air that makes noise, but also makes the water mattress more comfortable to sleep on. No turning, flipping, or heavy lifting is required in the regular care of a waterbed. These beds require more time to move, but for the few times this is done, most waterbed owners find it is worth the extra effort.
  7. Waterbeds Use Odd Size Sheets And Comforters That Are Expensive And Hard To Find.
    This is true of hard side waterbeds. They use special-sized water bed sheets. This is not true of soft side waterbeds, which use the same conventional sheet sizes that are used on conventional coil spring mattresses. Softside waterbeds are much easier to make and have virtually no weight in the corners while lifting to put on the sheets.
  8. A Common Misconception of Waterbed Problems is that the Movement Of Waterbeds Will Wake their Partner.
    Most people are unaware but waterbed technology often exceeds most mattresses and boxsprings when it comes to motion transfer. This is because of highly baffled mattresses that not only increase support but also eliminate movement in the water mattress. Dual configured waterbeds help chamber and isolate the water for each side of the bed while reducing weight displacement.
  9. Waterbeds Are Known For Making People Seasick.
    Over 22 years of people trying our waterbeds I have never had to make the infamous call over the intercom “clean up in aisle 5”. Sleeping on a waterbed mattress is similar to floating on your back without the feeling of possibly drowning or an occasional wave splashing your face. This is not like being in a boat. I like to assimilate it to food; you will never know if you like it until you try it. The same can be said for waterbeds and most people who try a water bed really end up liking a water bed.
  10. I Had A Waterbed And Hated It.
    I cannot tell you how many times I heard this and I wanted to simply scream. 9 9/10 out 10 (and yes that’s a real stat) people who claimed not liking their waterbeds owned free flow or Semi waveless or waveless waterbeds. Let’s get real here, these particular models are the cheapest, least supportive, and most uncomfortable waterbed mattresses offered. Often people chose these products thinking little money invested, little money to lose. The problem is to this day these same people swear that waterbeds are junk. I think they got exactly what they paid for. These same people often spent $1000. on a pretty bed frame and headboard with drawers and  $40. – & 200. on a low-priced, poorly constructed, back aggravator of a waterbed mattress that they may as well not bought in the first place.

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Is Sleeping On A Waterbed Bad For Your Spine?

Waterbeds. If this brings nightmarish images of the 80s to mind, banish them! Today’s waterbeds don’t move as much as their earlier brethren did. Newer technology allows you to change positions without disturbing your partner’s sleep.

This brings to mind back pain. Older waterbeds like free-flow mattresses may not have provided sufficient spine support, giving sleepers backaches when they got up in the morning. Today’s waterbeds especially softside varieties have a new technology that helps with entry and exit. They have less motion than regular beds and have increased back support for sleepers so that they wake up virtually pain-free. Another thing that helps with reducing pain: is water heaters. These also help to relax tired achy muscles and alleviate pain and stiffness.

Are Today’s Waterbeds Less Sloshy Than Waterbeds Of The Past?

Yes, they are. The “ocean ride” of the 80s has been replaced by a quiet waterbed mattress that doesn’t mimic the Atlantic Ocean in the middle of a hurricane.

This also means that, if a waterbed owner shares their bed with a sleeping partner, they aren’t going to be subjected to sudden, unexpected motions that have them feeling like they are in a sailboat in a stiff wind. Even if they don’t share their bed with someone, they don’t have to fear changing position from their back to their side. The motion is so minimal in today’s bed most people agree they feel less disturbance than if they were on a regular innerspring mattress.

Today’s technology means the mattress (a queen or king) can be divided into two separate mattresses. Each side’s support and wave motion is controlled by inserting a wave reduction system that includes fiber and stiff foam, especially in the middle where we need it most. This foam deadens the movement of the water when a sleeper shifts position or gets out of bed.

Result: The other sleeper doesn’t feel the motion. Even better, waterbed enthusiasts can now choose a mattress that has different attenuations on each side. (Attenuation just means the reduction of the movement of the water within the chamber and from one side to the other.) There are many options to choose from and for some mattresses, you’ll notice that the mattress stops moving after zero seconds while others can take up to 25 seconds to stop moving.

If one partner wants to be closer to the water, they can. Should their partner want to sleep on a conventional mattress without giving up sleeping with their partner, they can. With today’s fluid mattresses, one partner can sleep directly on the water while their partner is sleeping on a standard cushion like a topper placed on top of the water acting as a cushion that makes the bed feel more like a regular bed.

Does The Body Get Full Support In A Waterbed?

Today’s waterbed mattresses do provide full-body support for sleepers. The waterbed acts like water in a pool—it supports the sleeper’s body perfectly, conforming to their body’s shape. Even if the sleeper is heavy or overweight, their body will be gently supported.

Over the life of the waterbed bladder, it will hold its shape, which means the sleeper won’t eventually notice their sleep is interrupted by having to change positions to find a comfortable spot.

In addition, because the person is sleeping on a thin membrane of vinyl with perhaps a fabric encasement or pad (for hard sides and softside waterbeds) to give separation from the vinyl surface, there are virtually no pressure points to cause a sore back, neck or lower back.

The heat emanating from the mattress is soothing, helping their body to relax. Beyond that, the bed’s vinyl surface is also hygienic—they won’t be bothered by dust mites and can easily be cleaned.

Heated Waterbeds Benefit Sore, Stiff Muscles

Young woman suffering from muscle pain. Are water beds bad for you?

If the sleeper suffers from a pain condition, such as a bad back, the heated water in the bladder can really soothe a sleeper’s muscles. In the morning, they wake up feeling refreshed, with none of the pain they would normally have felt on a cold conventional mattress.

In the winter, the water heater can be edged up to a higher temperature. If the sleeper keeps their bedroom at a cooler temperature, they will still be able to get to sleep, their muscles will lose their tension and they will experience more restful sleep. During the hot summer months, the heater’s temperature should be turned to a cooler setting. Speaking of warm and cool settings, the annual spending for someone who owns a waterbed will be between $84 and $144.

The Conforming Ability Of A Waterbed Means Even Weight Distribution For The Sleeper

The ability of a waterbed’s mattress to conform to a sleeper’s body is unmatched. When they lie down on the mattress, the extra vinyl found in more supportive models allows each sleeper to lay down into the water stopping displacement from one sleeper to another that used to be described as sleeping on the bubble. This not only makes the bed more dreamy for both sleepers but the water inside of the bladder moves and shifts, to accommodate the shape of their body.

Areas such as shoulder blades, shoulders, hips, and buttocks when the sleeper is lying on their back are gently supported. When the sleeper shifts to either side, the sides of their hips, shoulders, ribs, and arms are supported with no unneeded pressure. If they sleep on their stomach—which is not recommended—their pelvis and chest will be supported.

The water redistributes itself almost completely evenly, giving gentle, consistent support to the sleeper’s pressure points. If any of these pressure points have given the sleeper problems in the past, they will notice they have either greatly reduced or have no pain when they wake up in the morning.

Percentage Of People Who Say They Get Relief From Back Pain

Fifteen percent of new waterbed owners report they have less back pain than when they slept on a conventional mattress; in contrast, 9 percent of sleepers report they do experience back pain.

Newer mattresses called soft sides to make the old problem of getting into or out of the bed much easier than their predecessors the hard side wooden framed waterbed.

A bar graph illustrates the degrees of pain relief and prevention, depending on the type of mattress used. On a waterbed, the amount of pain experienced was reported to be average; on a futon, the sleeper experienced the most pain.

A firm mattress gives good support, but it can’t conform to the sleeper’s body very well. A softer mattress can provide good support and a higher level of conformability for the sleeper—however, bigger people may find they don’t get enough support on a soft mattress.

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