How Does a Water Bed Work?
One of the most important prerequisites for a good, healthy and restful sleep is the correct positioning of the spine, which promotes relief of the intervertebral discs and their regeneration.
In the waterbed, this necessary ergonomic body positioning is achieved through the flexibly “acting” element of water. An amount of water tailored to the body or body weight ensures that the sleeper is optimally bedded.
If someone lies on their back on a water bed, the heavy parts of the body – in this case shoulders and hips / buttocks – sink relatively deep into the mattress. They displace the water and thus create pressure that spreads evenly in the liquid element water. The “hollows” that arise in the areas where the shoulders and hips / buttocks are positioned create “bumps” in the water mattress elsewhere. These elevations appear where the body of the person lying down allows this, which is the case in the support zones of lighter body parts such as the legs or waist. These parts are therefore carried or supported accordingly by the “bulging” water. Overall, a straight spine position is achieved in this way. More on this in the following text section:
Body positioning in the water bed
If you lie on a water bed or on a water mattress, there are fundamental differences to lying on a conventional mattress. In a conventional bed with sprung base and mattress, the body is mainly supported by individual areas. This includes the head, shoulder, hips / buttocks, knees, and heel. Depending on the nature of the mattress, the body can sink deeper into the mattress where it is particularly heavy (shoulder, pelvis), while other (lighter) areas are carried or supported by the mattress.
When sleeping in the water bed, the body lies completely on the water mattress. This offers the physical advantage that the contact pressure of the body is distributed over a large area and not concentrated on individual points. Overall, the pressure is reduced in relation to the area. The contact pressure in a water bed is so low that there is no impairment of the blood flow to the tissue areas on top. Anyone who has ever slept on an unsuitable mattress knows the feeling when you wake up at night because certain parts of the body have “fell asleep” due to insufficient blood circulation. Due to the low contact pressure, such sleep disturbances are excluded in the correctly adjusted waterbed. For this reason, waterbeds are also ideal for bed-ridden people for decubitus prophylaxis. Decubitus is a bed sore or pressure ulcer, which can arise from external pressure on the blood vessels. Further information is available online in CareWiki.
The high pressure relief in the waterbed usually causes a reduction in sleep movements. Since, among other things, there is no “falling asleep” of body parts, one usually remains in a sleeping position in the waterbed for much longer – so sleeps more calmly overall. These reduced movements during sleep lead to a lengthening of the sleep phases. This increases the times of deep sleep in particular (non-REM phase 2 and 3). During these sleep phases, the recovery effect for the body is highest, which is why we can feel much more relaxed in the morning despite the unchanged sleep duration – due to a night’s rest in the water bed characterized by fewer movements.
Quality and durability of waterbeds
As with most products, the quality of a waterbed depends largely on the quality of the workmanship and the quality of the materials used. In contrast to conventional bed systems with mattresses and slatted frames or box spring bed systems, a water bed is not subject to regular wear and tear. Of course, over time it may be necessary to replace an unsightly cover (top plate), but the water mattress itself does not lose any of its comfort properties under normal conditions. Accordingly, there is no “sagging” or “hollows” with waterbeds.
In addition to the quality of the material and workmanship, the waterbed is of course also cared for. If the necessary measures are carried out properly, a high-quality waterbed can be used for 15 to 25 years. The investment in a more expensive water bed or a water bed of higher quality pays off in most cases due to the expected longer service life.
An indication of the quality requirements of a waterbed manufacturer is the minimum lifespan they guarantee for the bed. Five years are the normal rule here, if you have less you should pay attention and take a close look at the waterbed before you decide to buy it. If the manufacturer offers more than five years, this speaks for him.