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What ever happened to waterbeds?

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#41 of 50 OFFLINE   Ryan Wright

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Posted April 08 2003 - 06:28 AM

So I've been doing research on water vs air beds... I emailed a large number of bedding outlets on the net and have received over a dozen responses thus far.

The conclusion? There isn't one. Nobody agrees on anything. I focused on outlets that sold primarily water & air beds (no traditional mattresses). Some insist that waterbeds are really good for your back and airbeds are horrible. Others are the opposite.

I think this is really going to boil down to personal comfort here. For everyone who says a waterbed hurt their back, there's someone else who says they solved their back problems. We're just going to have to lay down on a few of these beds and decide for ourselves.

#42 of 50 OFFLINE   videoguy



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Posted June 04 2009 - 04:48 PM

I happen top know a bit more than I should about this topic, so I'm going to share as my first post...

Waterbeds were totally hot stuff in the 80's, and even before. The industry quickly grew a bad reputation for itself however by racing to the bottom. More and more manufacturers began making their beds cheaper and cheaper until people were bringing home beds made from thin plastic that sprung leaks, stretched out, did not provide proper support, and did not relieve pressure as well as they should. Today's waterbeds are very different, and come in 2 MAIN categories, with a couple sub categories.

The first category is the classic HARD SIDE waterbed. These are what you probably remember. A big wooden frame, with a giant sack of water in the middle. These come in everything from what is know as "free flow" meaning it has lots of waves, and if you jump on one side throw your partner out of the bed, all the way to motionless...where you can feel the water, but your partner doesn't feel you getting in and out of bed all that much.

The second category are the newer types of beds referred to as SOFT SIDE waterbeds. These beds LOOK like a normal mattress. They sit on a type of strong box spring on a regular bed frame, but have a fluid support. The can have very little quilting on top, or they can have a pillow top made from different material and in different thicknesses. The softside waterbed addressed all the issues people had with hardside beds including lack of support, looks, and ease of getting in and out of bed.

The subcategories would be for Softside Waterbeds, and they are "Mid Fill" and "Deep Fill" Most softside waterbeds are midfill, meaning there is less water in them. True waterbed enthusiasts, generally prefer url=http://www.restonclouds.com/memory_foam_mattresses/prod/water_bed_perfection_deep_fill.php]DEEP FILL waterbeds[/url] since they provide a truer floatation support. Most people just looking for a nice mattress are perfectly happy with midfill beds.

waterPosted Image vs. airPosted Image
Yes, a lot of people with water beds are excited to try switching to air, but I would estimate that 80% or more of the people who currently have a waterbed, and switch to air end up very unhappy. The reason is this - Water, being dense, holds your body in true, almost pressure free floatation, meaning pressure points on your body are eliminated. Air beds simply give the illusion of changing pressure, but what they are actually changing is body alignment and support. No matter how low or high you set the pressure on your air bed, when you lay down on it, the SAME AMOUNT of pressure is exerted against your body. Memory foam mattresses and latex mattresses are the only beds that come close to the pressure relief provided by waterbeds.
I a nut shell - If you have water and like it - don't change. Just because you saw a cute commercial on TV making Sleep Number look like the best mattress in the world...stay with what you've got. There is an 80% chance you'll HATE and air bed. If you're thinking about an air bed like Sleep Number, or any of the many knock offs, consider what I've said and think about fluid support instead. PLUS YOU CAN HAVE WHATEVER TEMPERATURE YOU WANT IN THE BED!

Back problemsPosted Image
Sounds like I think waterbeds are the best thing ever, huh? Well they're pretty great, but if you sleep on your stomach FORGET waterbeds! Waterbeds are mostly for people who sleep on their back. When you sleep on your stomach on MOST waterbeds, it's like sleeping in a hammock face down. You put excess pressure on your lower back. If you sleep on your back, however, the waterbed will keep you in perfect alignment. Now that said, half of the people that sleep on their stomach WOULD sleep on their back if they had a waterbed. Many people sleep on their stomach because of pressure points when they lie on the back. Since the pressure is eliminated with waterbeds, those people can sleep comfortably on their back.
Fact is, if you sleep on your back, a waterbed is a GREAT OPTION.

There is one other, newer technology to consider as well. It's a mattress called the Perfect Harmony. It's a hybrid bed that is a cross between a waterbed and a memory foam mattress. It provides a firm support, but with wonderful pressure relief. I think it's possible the worlds best mattress.

The reason I link to the same store is because I know the people there, and I know their stuff is good, but there are a lot of online shops that sell waterbeds still.

OK- now that all of that's done, be sure to check out my Theatre Room/Bar/Nightclub on youtube. Posted Image

#43 of 50 OFFLINE   Steve Berger

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Posted November 16 2010 - 12:55 AM

I've been using one since the 70's. A friend had broken his back in the military and they gave him a medical prescription for one.

They had no heaters or even frames back then.

If you sleep on your back or front, or engage in "bed sports" then a conventional mattress is possibly equal or better.

If you sleep on your side like I do, then I think a waterbed is the best choice - long term.

I cannot see "foam" lasting 20 years. Latex has a limited lifespan.

#44 of 50 OFFLINE   Martino


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Posted November 16 2010 - 08:57 AM

I might have some insight into the waterbed/air bed debate.  I had an old waterbed, a newer model, and I now have an air bed (but don’t like it as much.)

     I bought a California king waterbed in college – with the old style mattress.  I have a problem with my back for years and sleep on my side.  The back problems got a little better after switching to the waterbed.  After I got a job and moved, the mattress was getting old and brittle.  I ended up keeping the frame and getting a new “wave less” mattress.  This was even more comfortable.  The best part for me is that the bed was always warm when you got into it.  After I got married, my wife, who likes to sleep on her stomach, didn’t like the bed.  We ended up getting one of the dual air mattress and donated the waterbed to some friends of hers who worked at a monastery.

     I miss having the water bed and have been having many issues with the air bed.….it takes a while to find your correct sleep number.  When we first got the mattress, I set the number too high and had a back ache for a week.  My wife’s side seems to have a small leak and is always going down.  You pick up the controller, and the number shows up as the same, but if you try to change the number, the actual and much lower number shows up in the window.  She is always messing around with the settings.  It can also be a pain to keep sheets on the thing – as it has two hoses that come out in the middle of the top of the bed that the sheets will not go around.  Her side of the bed has an indentation in it and is lower than my side – probably do to the different firmness setting or that her side is just messed up.

#45 of 50 OFFLINE   mattCR


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Posted November 16 2010 - 09:32 AM

I'll sound like an bad person here, but I loved my waterbed.  I can sleep on almost anything, and often enjoy sleeping just straight up on a floor (seriously) for the firmness.  And, no joke, I do find sleeping on flat slab, or flat wood flooring to be the best (for me).   I wake up in the morning and feel like I need to jump up and just go.

But, I miss my waterbeds.  The one thing I did love about them was the ability to crank the heat way up.  I remember nights in college I'd set the waterbed up to 75 or 80, and just damn near turn the heat off in the apartment, lay in bed and sweat like a banshee, get up and leave.  I saved a crap load on utility bills those winters; I remember one January paying $44 in electric and thinking I had really worked a trick.. (I am not -that- old, it was a 1 bedroom apartment).   But I did really love that.

I love my wife, but I think after about 5 years of being married, we started sleeping seperate; because despite bed sizes, nothing solves getting kicked in the freaking back at 3AM.  :)  Despite all of the relationship gurus who tend to pretend it dooms a marriage, I will tell you waking up rested cuts down a whole hell of a lot of potential frustration for the day, and not having to crawl over someone to go to the bathroom at 3AM?  Priceless.  She has a queen Sterns and Foster - which is a decent mattress, but it's way too "mushy".  I've tried "sleep comfort" beds, but there really isn't anything to them that I really like, they can't get firm enough and they always have to frill it up.  So, I redid our other room with Bamboo flooring, installed radiant heating, and I have been in heaven.   My wife loves the soft type nature of the Sterns and Foster, but I would trade almost nothing for radiant heat and the flat firm bamboo.  It allows me to keep the room exactly as I want, I don't have to worry about floor space, and with newer timers, the floor 'stays warm' until about 1am, cools off, then starts to warm up right before I get up.  In years, I have never slept as well, or felt as good getting up.     We joke about it sometimes, when my wife tells a friend "Oh, he sleeps on the floor" and we laugh, but damn straight.. getting that setup took me about a month and a half to get it all installed the way I wanted, but flat out awesome.

It doesn't get as hot as I wish it would (the best I can reliably get is about 75 without feeling like something may be wrong)  but I'll work on that.

See: we all just have different sleeping styles.


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#46 of 50 OFFLINE   Scott McGillivray

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Posted November 16 2010 - 10:49 AM

Yeah, waterbeds were a huge fad in the city where I grew up.  We wound up having 4 waterbeds in our house at one time.  I enjoyed it (as far as I remember) but I had to get rid of mine because of an acid-reflux issue.  Turns out, with a waterbed you tend to sleep a little bit skewed towards your head since your upper body weighs more.  So, at night, the acids from my stomach were trickling up my esophagus and I wound up having some real issues.
Still, waterbeds were pretty cool at the time.  I just remember SO many waterbed stores opening up in our little city.  It was amazing.

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#47 of 50 OFFLINE   Steve_Tk



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Posted November 18 2010 - 03:05 AM

I can't imagine how some of you share a bed with someone on a full size bed!  I'm a thin guy, but when the time comes to actually stretch out and go to sleep, I need my space.  Even a Queen is not enough, I really need a king.

#48 of 50 ONLINE   DaveF



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Posted November 20 2010 - 11:52 AM

Originally Posted by DaveF 

unless you're over 6' tall, who needs a Queen of King or California King size bed?
You're asking about "needs" on the Home Theater Forum ?!? Posted Image

I'm 6' and my feet hang off the end of a twin (and a full is the same length). My new bed is a Queen size, and it's almost too short. But it's far wider than what I really want.

As a single guy, my ideal bed would be one-and-a-half times as wide as a twin, and a bit longer than a Queen.

Always funny to find my own posts from different phases of life. Then, I was single and sharing an apartment. Now, I'm married and in a house. That too-wide Queen bed is great now that I'm married. And now that we've got a pair of cats that want to lounge there too, it's maybe too small :)

But I still have no waterbed. Probably not a good thing with cats. ;)

#49 of 50 OFFLINE   Marianne


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Posted November 22 2010 - 05:53 AM


#50 of 50 OFFLINE   Scott Burke

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Posted March 12 2014 - 08:01 PM

I have had a waterbed since elementary school and love it. I have never had back problems for it. In fact, my back only hurts when I try to sleep on something else. I like the free flow the best. I tried other waveless options but didn't like them. LOVE MY WATERBED!

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