Typically, waterbed mattresses are described and priced by
the amount of motion; full wave, semi wave, waveless, no wave, etc. In
my humble opinion based upon over 30 years of industry experience, this is
actually a very poor way to describe "quality" and has led to a lot of
"cheating" in both description and advertising but, never the less, it has
become an industry standard for flotation sleep. The most important
attribute of a comfortable mattress of any kind is comfortable, "cradling,"
equal, all over body support without pressure points.
After making such a bold statement, I owe you an honest explanation that I
feel will make a lot of common sense. Many folks can comfortably sleep
on any of these mattresses, and have or do, but it really has nothing to do with the
amount of "wave" or motion. The cruise industry would go broke if this
was really the case and we wouldn't have a Navy. One must simply think about the dynamics of
floating in a pool and how this applies to flotation sleep. A
comfortable waterbed mattress for you depends upon many personal
Are you typically sleeping alone? If so, you only have
to concern yourself with your own personal habits of sleep and
comfort. I have
never heard a customer say that their own movement has awaken them. We
all do some tossing and turning while sleeping although in a waterbed there
is minimal movement due to the absence of pressure points on our bodies.
Most tossing and turning is due to a cut off in circulation due to one
or more pressure points causing temporary discomfort. Our brain sends the message to our
body, "get me out of this uncomfortable position" and one's body "obeys" the brain
command by changing position. When sleeping alone it is quite easy to
optimally adjust the amount of water in your mattress to just the way you like it to
If you have a sleeping partner the comfort dynamics usually
change considerably. First it is common for couples to each have their
own definition of comfort. This makes a lot of sense since most
couples do not have the same body mass, shape, sometimes age or often
temperature preference. Think middle aged couples going through
change of life. Or when the second person pops into bed their weight
equivalent of water has just been added to the mattress. As we age our
bodies need more support to be comfortable. Please don't be turned off
by this, I assure you that there are simple solutions to these problems
uniquely solved by choosing the proper waterbed sleep system that
I'll cover later on!
Let's go back for a second to the "wave argument". The
importance of "wave" has to do with the number of layers of and thickness of
the fiber raft or in older style baffled waterbed mattresses, the number and size of
the boxed baffles. Scientifically, the importance is the ratio of the
thickness of the raft to the "open" water space or the depth of the
mattress, i.e. the thicker the raft the less wave and most importantly the
increase in support. Let me state this again-the increase in
support is the most important quality of a motion reduced or waveless water
mattress. Less motion is an accidental occurrence that might also
be considered a valid benefit by some who prefer no or little movement. Here is where the deception
often comes into play in the pricing game. Commonly either time of
wave estimated in seconds and / or percentage of motion reduction, both
highly non-scientific and arbitrary measurements become the definition of quality.
But who is holding the stop watch? How is this wave being created;
someone gently rolling over or someone leaping into bed?
How is it being measured? What is the size / width of the mattress being
described? Since there is no real standard of measurement it is easy
for anyone to define amount of wavelessness to their personal advantage and
price it accordingly. The "best top of the line" waveless mattress of
15 or 20 years ago (yes, they can last that long!) would be considered a low
end semi-wave by today's standards as measured by the number of layers of
The best measurement criteria of support in a fiber mattress is the total
thickness of the fiber raft as determined by the number of layers /
thickness and the number of layers of lumbar support, if any. And,
most importantly, this
cannot be fudged! So beware of mattresses that are only described in
seconds of motion or degrees of wavelessness. They could be an
excellent mattress but not worth the quoted price.
Why are fiber rafts important? Let's go back to flotation as it pertains
to people. When we naturally float in a swimming pool of water, it is rare for most folks
to be level with the water surface without a little bit of paddling. This is because body density changes as
one measures and compares from head to toes. Most of us are thicker in the mid-body
region, some more than others and the extra lumbar support layers are designed to mitigate that
problem by increasing the lumbar support to our heavier bottoms and filling
in the natural lower back curve. The purpose of the fiber raft is designed to even out the
support for our "uneven" bodies without creating the pressure points that
are common to most non-water mattress sleep systems. This is what allows optimum
support for unlimited circulation and restful, rejuvenating sleep with less
tossing and turning.
Potential couple issues and their
return to the unique problems for couples and their simple solutions by
addressing each potential issue individually.
Fact: to increase support in full wave mattresses, add water; to
increase support in a waveless mattress, subtract water. What's
going on? Adding water to a full wave mattress increases the
buoyancy and keeps you off the bottom of the bed. Water is the
only thing in the mattress to create support. The heavier person
ends up on the bottom of the bed and the lighter person is on a
mountain. When either person gets in or out of bed, effectively
water is added or subtracted from the mattress. Solution-the
baffle rafts due to its increase in support in a waveless mattress allow
for less water to be in the mattress to sleep most comfortably.
The fiber raft very effectively increases the support for both
individuals. Yes, the water level still goes up and down when one
enters or departs the mattress but it is hardly noticeable because of
the extra fiber raft buoyancy. A really gross weight difference is
easily solved by using dual mattresses. Dual mattresses, two half
mattresses side by side, allow each person to sleep on their own
mattress in the same bed. It's like two beds in one.
Age differences-The need
for more body support and comfortable cradling increases with age.
Our bones and body tissues become more tender especially in the restful
state. In our youth almost any mattress softer than the floor was
comfortable and we could fairly easily "get used" to it. This
obviously changes as we age for the reasons mentioned above.
Rarely does this become an issue because both folks are chronologically
aging at the same rate and the compromise is simple that one person is
more comfortable than necessary; not to tough to take! However,
unfortunately sometimes illness or injury will cause a person's body to
effectively "age" faster than their partner. Again, fortunately a
dual mattress system can easily solve this issue.
Temperature preference issues-
Usually simply doubling or tripling the thickness of the mattress pad
under the partner requiring less heat will solve the issue. This
separates or insulates the person from the more direct warmth of the
mattress. If this doesn't do the trick, then again the dual
mattresses with dual heaters will easily solve the problem.
So what's the bottom line?
My advise would be to clearly think about
your personal situation and your personal needs for comfort before deciding
which mattress is right for you. If you are a couple frankly discuss
your personal needs and potential differences / disagreements to discover
whether compromises are acceptable to both parties or is the dual mattress
the most comfortable solution. We more or less spend a third of our
life in bed and this is where our greatest quality of life determinations
are made; arguably more important or at least as important as exercise
programs. More and more recent studies are coming out on the increased
importance of a good night's sleep. When the body is comfortable more time
is allowed for the brain to do it's other important rejuvenating functions.
The investment in an excellent sleeping system far outlasts and outperforms
the investment in $150 running shoes or $40,000 car! Think in the long
term investment cycle. An extra $100 now is only an extra $10 a year
over ten years. So the bottom line is, invest now in the best
mattress support system that you can afford using the criteria mentioned
above and it will pay you back with a great future lifestyle that you will
never regret for less than the cost of a cup of coffee per day!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor;
simply an acute, objective observer of over thirty years of thousands upon
thousands of customer's personal behavior and discussions related to their
individual sleep issues. In quite a few cases being able to follow
many individual's personal issues for the thirty years or so. I know
of no reported scientific studies that have dealt with the statistics that
have been accidentally presented to me. Hopefully, the above
discussion and recommendations have been helpful in your decision making
process. I welcome your comments, personal experiences, suggestions,
criticisms and questions. Please do not hesitate to
email me at Awesome Waterbeds or call 1-888-288-4523, ask for Henry.
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reproduction allowed without written permission from Awesome Waterbeds.