Can you believe it?

In 1987, 22% of all mattress sales in the United States were waterbeds.

It’s inconceivable! Today, water-filled mattresses have gone the way of rotary telephones, and many kids have never even seen one. That’s also amazing, considering there was a decade during which a waterbed could inspire the youngest of children to abandon the toy section of the holiday catalog and beg for a gargantuan piece of furniture.

Waterbed Hold-Outs

Waterbeds were once the coolest trend in sleep, and they make even today’s trendiest beds look ultra-boring in comparison. Maybe that’s why floating bed fans are so devoted. To find out, I spoke with someone who’s recently made the switch. After 30 years sleeping on the same waterbed, this couple has finally said goodbye to their free-flowing favorite and adopted a more conventional mattress.

A Disappearing Option

These days, waterbeds have a bad reputation for horrible spine support, a weird sleep experience, and significant maintenance demands. Most stores don’t sell them, and the majority of consumers won’t even consider them. After all, they were a fad out of the seventies, and we know a lot more today about the mattress features that promote healthy sleep. Some contemporary salespeople are hesitant to disclose that a mattress is a waterbed, even if a customer on the sales floor is extremely interested. Still, there are those who swear by their tried and true waterbeds.

Why’d they choose a waterbed?

I asked my waterbed aficionado friends about the appeal, and “sleeping in the bed” pretty well sums it up. Any sleep surface takes some getting used to, and this family got used to sleeping in, as opposed to on, their bed. For them, the cushioning, cradling water-filled mattress was completely comfortable and cozy. If it started feeling too soft, they could add water to bump up the support. In the summer, the water kept things nice and cool. The idea of a conventional mattress sounded too stiff and unnecessarily hot.

So why the change?

Ultimately, maintenance became an issue. My friends’ 3-decade-old bed was losing water at an ever-increasing rate, which meant it was on its way out. To maintain a comfortable temperature, the water required constant heating year-round. And the wife in this couple had begun to experience back pain. The decision was looming – find a new waterbed, or make the leap to an entirely different type of mattress.

Shopping for a Switch

Determined to find the best next mattress, this couple took their time and did their research. They spoke with sleep experts from two different stores to compare contrasting perspectives. And they laid on a lot of beds. The first few decisions were easy. Wanting that sensation of sleeping “in” the mattress, they went straight for the memory foam options. The verdict? Way too hot. Then came the other end of the spectrum – traditional inner-spring. They found them shockingly, “remarkably firm.” Throughout the search, they kept the faith and an open dialogue with their sleep experts.

Picking a Winner

After hundreds of questions and dozens of try-outs, this waterbed-loving couple landed on a lycra foam model that they call “the perfect balance between sleeping in the bed and on the bed.” It’s exceptionally breathable for cool summertime sleep, and it has the firm support he needs to avoid back pain. These two are currently delighted and pretty sure they won’t have to exchange their new mattress, but they know three couples who did just that after abandoning the waterbed lifestyle. Only time will tell, but given their thorough shopping process, chances are good they won’t have to think about mattress shopping again for a long time.

When will you make your move?

Have a bed you need to abandon? Your experience isn’t likely to be as extreme as the switch away from a waterbed, but it’s still an adjustment. Our team of sleep experts is here to help you transition seamlessly from your old mattress to a new one and to eliminate your sleep problems in the process. When you’re ready to get an expert opinion, give us a call or start a live chat with a sleep expert on any page of our website. The conversation will flow from there!

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