The invention of the water bed is credited to Dr. Neil Arnott, a Scottish physician who wanted to make a bed which does not cause bed sores for those confined to the bed. Though Dr. Arnott made the bed in 1833, it didn't catch public attention until the 1980s. The usefulness of the water beds made it the popular consumer item after '80s
How is a water bed made?
Water beds are usually of two types depending on the construction.
In a hard-sided mattress, a water-containing bladder is placed in a rectangular frame of wood. This arrangement rests on a plywood deck which sits on a platform.
Soft-sided bed has the water bladder which is placed inside a rectangular frame of sturdy foam. A fabric casing with a zip is provided which rests on a platform. The platform is like the foundation of a conventional innerspring mattress which gives it an appearance of a normal bed.
You may also want to check out our piece on gel infused foam mattress.
When are waterbeds best used?
Water beds are very suitable for bedridden patients as they avoid bed sores. They can also be used as therapeutic beds by heating the water inside the mattress. It can relieve joint pains, relax muscles and increases blood circulation.
If you are a side sleeper, you can choose water beds as they do not cause pressure point pain.
Where to buy water beds in India?
Normal water mattresses are available in almost all local shops. As they are mostly used for medical purposes in India, they are also available in many medical stores. If you are looking for high-end water beds, you may be disappointed. You can get those types by online purchase or from big stores.
How much does a water bed cost?
Water beds are not as expensive as other types of mattresses available in India. Low-end mattresses are available at a cost as low as Rs 2000. High-end mattress cost depends on the manufacturer. It can go up to Rs 50,000 in India.
What are the advancements in waterbed technology?
Early waterbeds consisted of a single bladder which was filled with water. The wave formation was a big problem for these 'free flow' mattresses. Modern mattresses have solved this problem effectively by employing different methods like fiber batting and multiple interconnected water chambers. Some modern mattresses employ air and water chambers which are interconnected to make completely waveless beds. The problem with them is that they are expensive.
Newer waterbeds have the option of heating the water inside it. A thermostat is used to regulate the water temperature; ideally kept at 30 degree Celsius. This is a very useful feature for people living in cold areas. Patients suffering from muscle pains and joint aches also find this very useful as it relaxes the muscle and improves blood circulation.
Modern waterbeds are usually made from soft polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which means that they can be repaired easily.
What are the different types of water bed mattresses available in the market?
Free flow mattress
These are low-end mattresses which are available at a low cost. Free flow mattresses are practically a big bladder which gets filled with water. There is not much cushioning or wave reducing techniques employed.
This type of mattresses are not completely wave-free but they are not as uncomfortable as free flow mattresses. They employ some fibers and baffles to partially control the waves.
A waveless mattress is a high-end water bed with very little or no waves. They contain multiple layers of fiber inserts and baffles to control the waves. They also have additional layers in the center to provide better support.
Are Water beds available in all sizes?
Waterbed mattresses come in all sizes. In India, it is difficult to get all of them. Some online stores do give a choice for the sizes. If you can't find the particular one that you are looking for in your local store, you will have to depend on them.
What are the pros of a water bed?
There are many advantages for waterbeds. They are:
Waterbeds provide good body contouring and can be very comfortable. The bed adjusts to your sleeping position, which avoids tossing and turning in search of a comfortable position which can give you a peaceful sleep.
Apart from being comfortable, waterbeds gives you very good support. This helps to keep the spine and the joints in a normal, neutral position avoiding aches and pains. They have the property of distributing your body weight evenly, avoiding pressure point pains. If you are a side-sleeper, you won't have to wake up in a water bed with pain on your hip and shoulder.
Water in the waterbed can be heated up. This makes them very comfortable for those living in cold areas. It also facilitates blood circulation and relieves body pain by acting as a hot water bag. It is best suited for those who are confined to the bed as they do not cause bed sores or allergies.
Water beds are long-lasting. They can be used for almost 15 years without problems like sagging which affects most mattress types. Even if the PVC coating leaks, which is highly unlikely, they can easily be repaired by using any vinyl repair kit.
High-end water beds sometimes cost higher than other types of mattresses. With their high durability, they avoid frequent purchases and thus saves money.
Most waterbeds come with an inbuilt system to heat the water inside it. This is a unique feature of waterbed mattresses which helps to regulate body temperature for those living in cold countries. The hot water helps to relax the muscle and improve blood circulation, thus relieving body and joint pains.
What are the cons of a water bed?
There are some disadvantages for waterbeds which affects its popularity among the public. They are:
Difficult to set up
Waterbeds are not easy to set up. Unlike other mattresses which you don’t have to do anything but buy and bring home, waterbeds have to be filled with water and set up according to the manual before it can be used. This process may take a couple of hours which some find very irritating.
Do not provide air circulation
The water inside the waterbed traps body heat and can lead to a sweaty sleep. This is quite unsettling for those who live in a hot and warm climate like India. This is a major disadvantage which reduced the sale of waterbeds in India.
For a low-end waterbed like free-flow mattress, the motion transfer is very high. You will find it difficult to sleep if your partner is a restless sleeper. The waves formed while moving can be very disturbing to some people.
Anyway, this problem is effectively avoided in semi-waveless and waveless mattresses.
They are difficult to move
Once they are filled with water, these mattresses become very heavy. A king size bed can weigh up to 500kg when filled. This makes them very difficult to move around, even inside the house. If you want to move it because of some reason, you would have to drain off the water first.