Open-Cell Foam Mattresses Versus Waterbeds Health Concerns

Open-Cell Foam Mattresses Versus Waterbeds Health Concerns

Many mattress manufacturers and retailers say their products can cure insomnia and/or many other sleep disorders, back pain, joint pains, and so on. The truth is that no mattress can fix these things but they can help ease the pain and improve comfort during sleep, depending on your medical condition, mattress type, and quality. So what do doctors have to say about it?

Mattress Recommendations from Doctors

Many customer reviews say that a Tempur-Pedic mattress or pillow has helped apnea and fibromyalgia patients, insomniacs and people suffering from back and hip pain. There are no relevant medical studies to back up these effects which is why doctors are still skeptical about recommending (or not recommending) open-cell foam mattresses.

Waterbeds, on the other hand, have been on the market long enough to prove to customers and doctors alike that they can help with several medical conditions. Let’s not forget that waterbeds were used as rehabilitation instruments before becoming commercial products.

Specific studies are again few in number, but there are hundreds of reviews and medical articles that say that waterbeds may:

  • Help pregnant women sleep better.
  • Diminish back pain.
  • Improve circulation, thus helping rheumatism sufferers.
  • Calm joint aches, because it exerts almost no contact pressure and the water is warm.
  • Help insomnia sufferers, because it allows for a more comfortable sleeping position.
  • Reduce back pain, due to the good spinal alignment water provides.
  • Relax sore and tired muscles (due to the warmth of the sleeping environment).

Waterbeds also have some contraindications, like acid reflux sufferers (who won’t be able to keep their head elevated during sleep) and small babies, who shouldn’t be left alone on it (they tend to sleep with their face down and they can be suffocated by the mattress, which perfectly contours their head).

Back Support

  • Open-cell visco mattresses will provide good support as long as it is dense enough (4lb minimum), is layered over a firmer core made of good quality high resilience foam, is firm enough (ILD rating of 14-15) and, most importantly, is sensitive to body temperature.
  • Waterbed mattresses cannot offer support unless they are filled to maximum capacity. They do offer perfect adjustment and spine alignment regardless of your weight (water displaces and contours your body instantly). Water mattresses with additional foam layers and tube structure can offer superior back support.

Pressure Relief

Health care specialists say that to be labeled as providing pressure relief, a mattress has to have a pressure of 32mmHg or lower, whereas pressure reduction performance is agreed to occur between 32mmHg and 50mmHg.

  • A good quality viscoelastic mattress like Tempur-Pedic Swedish mattress and other leading brands were shown to reduce average pressure to around 15 mmHg from nearly 30 mmHg.
  • Waterbed producers don’t mention the mmHg of their mattresses, but since water contours your body as easily as air, we can safely say that pressure points are almost nonexistent. Pressure ratings for these mattresses are almost definitely well within the ‘pressure-relieving’ limits.

Allergy And Mattress Choice

Unfortunately for allergy sufferers, there are no allergy-free mattresses readily available (except for the ones manufactured especially for people suffering from allergies).

Dust-Mites And Open-Cell Mattresses

  • Open-cell memory foam mattresses do not promote dust-mite nesting, nor are they a food source in themselves, but unfortunately they can and do host dust mites.
  • Due to its structure, an open-cell foam mattress (like almost any other type of mattress) cannot be cleaned of these microscopic creatures. The only way to prevent allergy-provoking dust mites in your foam mattress is to use dust-mite resistant encasings and covers.

Dust-Mites And Waterbed Mattresses

  • Waterbeds are different when it comes to allergies. Actually, this is one of the few types of mattresses that cannot host dust mites, since there is no core material in the mattress for the mites to live in (just water)
  • The vinyl surface can be cleaned as often as you like, so mites won’t have time to settle and nest in your mattress.

In conclusion, allergy sufferers can sleep on a water mattress without worrying about waking up with stinging red eyes, head sores, dizziness and a blocked nose the next morning.

Customer Opinions

I’ve had a waterbed since 1976 and wouldn’t consider anything else. I have arthritis besides FM and the warmth really helps both. When I sleep on a regular bed I notice more stiffness that I normally have.

I have chronic low back pain that is muscular. I moved and tried a waterbed which just KILLED my back, as does any soft mattress I have tried at friends.

With the waterbed mattress, I had almost constant back pain and arm / hand numbness that would wake me many times a night.

I have owned this mattress a year and a half and I will NEVER go back to a spring mattress ever! I love foam, and memory foam is the best of the foam mattresses.

We had a waterbed for 13 years. We switched to one of those adjustable air-mattress beds because I was developing some minor back problems, and my physician suggested changing. Overall, I like it just fine. The thing I miss is the nice even heat that the waterbed heater provided. The thing I don’t miss is the cats putting little holes in the waterbed mattress in the middle of the night and waking up to a damp spot. ;).

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *