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The Health Benefits of Sleeping on a Waterbed Mattress

By Richard Morse @insidebedroom

There are several health benefits of sleeping on a waterbed mattress. First, let's have a brief look at the history of the waterbed. It all started in 1833 when Scottish physician Dr. Neil Arnott devised a 'Hydrostatic Bed' to help prevent bed sores in people confined to bed for long periods.

The Health Benefits of Sleeping on a Waterbed Mattress

This bed took the form of a bath of warm water covered with canvas that was impregnated with rubber to make it waterproof. It was sealed to make it leak-proof then lighter weight bedding was placed over it. However, the waterbed as we know it today was created by Charlie Hall, a San Francisco State University design student in 1968, as part of his Master's thesis. Among his first customers were Hugh Hefner and Jefferson Airplane!

Health Benefits of Sleeping on a Waterbed Mattress

History aside, what are the health benefits of sleeping on a waterbed mattress? Apart from health, one of its benefits is explained by one company's advertising: "two things are better on a waterbed - one of them is sleep." Certainly a benefit, but is it related to health? Here are some genuine health benefits of waterbeds.

1. Support for Pressure Points

A waterbed mattress helps absorb the pressure on your shoulders, hips, and knees, and also on your buttocks if you sleep on your back. When supported properly, your spinal column is maintained in its natural position: Straight from your neck to the bottom of your spine (the coccyx) for side sleepers, and with its natural curvature for back sleepers. Stomach sleepers also get better support from a waterbed mattress than from a regular foam or innerspring mattress.

The support provided by a waterbed helps to prevent joint pain, pain in the neck area and lower back pain. The only foam mattress that comes close to this level of comfort and support is a memory foam mattress. Hard mattresses are not the answer to orthopedic pain, but waterbed mattresses do provide an affordable solution.

The support provided by a waterbed, and the facility to adjust the warmth of the mattress, will offer a significant level of relief for those suffering from arthritis, lower back pain or any other orthopedic conditions. Once they have experienced the benefits of a waterbed, many such people will sleep on nothing else.

2. Motion Isolation and Lack of Movement

Some waterbed mattresses are constructed with baffles to provide maximum support with minimum movement of the bed. Many normal foam or innerspring mattresses transfer motion and energy, and the movement of one partner can disturb the sleep of the other. A baffled waterbed construction avoids this, and it is possible to purchase waterbeds with completely separate halves of the bed.

Each side can be filled to different levels for personal adjustment of pressure and support. In addition to the firmness of the mattress, the temperature can also be more precisely controlled for each partner. This is why many couples prefer waterbed mattresses to regular mattresses - the movement of their partner can be isolated, eliminating disturbance of their sleep during the night.

3. Allergies and Hay Fever

Those who suffer hay fever and other types of allergy will certainly benefit from a waterbed mattress. Dust is easily cleaned off, and dust mites are unable to survive for long on the surface of a waterbed. The vinyl surface is completely impervious to dust mites, and the entire surface of the mattress can be cleaned of dust, mites, mildew and molds, and also of bacteria. That helps to maintain a healthy sleeping surface and environment.

Anybody suffering from hay fever, asthma or eczema will find it far more comfortable to sleep on a waterbed mattress than on any other type of mattress. Cleaning is simply a matter of wiping the mattress surface over with a damp cloth - you can use bleach or antiseptic solutions if you like. The surface is impervious, so you can do no harm, irrespective of the cleaning fluid you use.

4. Easing Sleep Disorders

Many people who find it difficult to fall asleep have found that, among the many health benefits of waterbed mattresses, they tend to fall asleep easier and quicker on this type of mattress. If you have been having problems getting to sleep at night, then perhaps a waterbed might help you. Many people find that the surface of a waterbed mattress is the most relaxing surface they have found. If this is a problem for you, then it's probably worth a try!

One of the significant benefits of a waterbed is that you can adjust the bed's temperature to one which is comfortable for you. You can adjust the fill pressure of the water to make it harder or softer. Temperature and hardness/softness adjustment are not available with any other type of mattress. Whether you work days or nights, a waterbed may help cure your sleeping difficulty and make life a lot easier for you.

5. Waterbed Benefits and Risks: Newborn Babies

Water mattresses are available in standard crib sizes and are recommended by many companies for use with newborn babies. Such mattresses claimed to offer growth and development benefits for newborns. They claim that it has been established that premature babies that have been placed on a waterbed mattress tend to grow more rapidly and without any skeletal deformation.

Not only is a healthy blood circulation system developed, but incidences of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) have been found to be reduced. But Note:

SIDS and Waterbed Cot Mattresses: Never place your baby on an old-style hard-sided waterbed. This type of waterbed is designed for adults and young children can get trapped between the mattress and the frame. We believe that more research is needed before we can recommend a waterbed for newborn babies - premature or not. Some physicians believe that a water crib mattress is good for premature children. Others advocate against it.

Hardside and Softside Waterbed Mattresses

Hardside Waterbeds: There are two types of waterbed mattress: hardside and softside. The hardside type comprises a wooden frame that holds the water mattress. The solid side prevents the side of the waterbed mattress from bulging out but instead gives a clean regular bed appearance. The hardside mattress will generally sit on a hard base or pedestal and is ideally suited to a substantial headboard and storage drawers beneath it.

Softside Waterbeds: Softside waterbed mattresses look just like regular mattresses. You can use your existing mattress foundation or bed frame to support it. This type of waterbed mattress is available in regular mattress sizes such as twin, full, queen and king. They are also available in the single format, where the entire mattress has the same water fill or dual format where each side of the bed has its own water fill, heating system and foundation to provide totally different sleeping surfaces for each partner.

Pillowtop Softside Waterbeds are fitted with a 'pillowtop' which can consist of memory foam to combine the best of the two technologies. Also available are alternative variations such as mattresses without waves or with semi-motion waves. This is in contrast with hardside waterbeds that generally provide more wave action. Softside mattresses enable you to use regular mattress protectors, sheets, and standard headboards. They also look just like regular mattresses - but with benefits!

The Health Benefits of Waterbed Mattress: Summary

There are several health benefits of sleeping on a waterbed mattress. The benefits to those suffering from orthopedic conditions such as arthritis, neck pain, and lower back pain make a waterbed worthy of consideration.

You can choose between a hardside waterbed and a softside waterbed mattress, though the softside option is the nearest you will get to the look of a regular mattress. Hardside mattresses offer good value, and although they lack mobility they are fairly durable. Softside waterbed mattresses are closer in appearance to regular foam or innerspring mattresses, and your regular bedding should fit.

Continue Reading: Waterbed Sex: Is Sex on a Waterbed a Good Idea? "

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