There are several types of waterbed frames: hardside waterbeds, soft side waterbeds and tube water mattresses. But regardless of what type of waterbed you might be interested in, they all offer the same benefits that have helped to make sleeping on water a more and more popular choice.
The concept of the waterbed has been around for a long time, even before the development of the modern waterbed that we are familiar with today. In fact, three thousand years ago, Persians slept on water-filled goatskin bags which were heated by the sun. Even back then, it seems that people had recognized the benefits of using water as body support.
In 1851 Dr. William Hooper, a British doctor, realized the benefits of a pressure-free sleeping surface and began using waterbeds to treat particular medical disorders. He managed to patent a simple rubber water mattress design and put these first modern variants of the waterbed to good use. And finally in the ‘60s an American named Charles Hall further refined the waterbed concept. Using modern production methods and materials, he came up with the PVC waterbed, which is common today.
Hardside waterbeds were one of the first incarnations of the waterbed. This design has the water mattress placed inside a strong wooden box type frame that provides support and helps the mattress keep its shape. This box with the mattress inside it then rests on a base frame supported by a plinth and also by weight distributors. A safety lining can also often be found between the mattress and the wooden support to catch any water in case of any leakage.
Softside waterbeds, on the other hand, do not use a wooden surround to provide support. Instead, the waterbed is supported on the sides by foam edging. These are of a more modern design than hardside beds. The support provided by this foam edging means that the waterbed can usually stand alone by itself. In addition, some newer models have divided foam edging with the lower foam edge fixed and an upper foam rail that is hinged. This divided foam edging makes it easier to fit these softside waterbeds into an existing bed frame.
The other common type of waterbed is the tube water mattress. These are technically not waterbeds, as tube water mattresses are thinner than actual waterbeds and are meant to be laid on top of a foam or spring mattress. The thinner water layer means that these tube water mattresses are much lighter than either softside or hardside waterbeds. However, this also means that some of the benefits of sleeping on a waterbed is lost, sort of defeating the purpose.
Softside and hardside waterbeds work on the same principle: using water to support your body’s weight naturally and evenly. This is akin to floating, as the water can instantly adjust to your body shape and weight. The warmth from waterbed heaters can also add to the pleasant sleeping experience.