Innovation is part of what has kept waterbeds going strong in the marketplace. A waveless waterbed mattress is today’s answer to yesterday’s innovation. The traditional waterbed required special bed frames and sheets, and heaters were important for most people too. The channeled waterbed didn’t change any of the special requirements but it did reduce one common complaint — the motion. The waveless waterbed not only has reduced the motion even further, it has removed the need for the extra supplies.
Waterbeds still account for about 80 percent of alternative (non-spring) mattress sales, despite inroads made by memory foam, latex and air-inflated mattresses in recent years. There are three general types of waterbed mattress marketed by the industry: free-flow, semi-waveless, and waveless waterbed mattresses.
A waveless waterbed mattress provides the fullest support and the most restful sleep for many people. At the very least, a waveless waterbed mattress does not exhibit the Jello-like “jiggliness” of a free-flow waterbed mattress. It is interesting to see how waterbed manufacturers manage to take the waves out of a waveless waterbed mattress.
A waveless waterbed mattress’ bladder is partially filled with a fibrous, flexible mat of polyester. This foam impedes the flow of water and dampens the waves that would otherwise form. A semi-waveless waterbed mattress contains a fiber mat that takes up only about one-quarter to one-half of the bladder’s depth. A fully waveless waterbed mattress may contain a fiber mat that takes up three-quarters to 100 percent of the mattress’ depth.
Often the fiber mats are made in a single thickness and layered atop one another to create the desired degree of wave dampening. Sometimes a layer of solid material is added between fiber mat layers. The solid material dampens up-and-down movement of water, making an even more waveless waterbed mattress.
The more water that’s taken out of a waveless waterbed mattress, the more features can be built into it. One of the firmest kinds of waveless waterbed mattress features a lumbar support, a region of reinforced fiber layers near the lumbar region of the back - assuming you are an “average” sized sleeper who sleeps in the “average” position so that your lumbar region is in the right place.
So how waveless do waveless waterbed mattresses get? Typically, wavelessness is measured in terms of how long a waveless waterbed mattress takes to become motionless after it is compressed and released. A “zero-motion time” of one second or less is considered outstandingly waveless.
A waveless waterbed mattress does have its downside. It may weigh less than a completely water-filled mattress, but it also weighs more than a completely empty bladder. Those fiber mats trap water; it’s impossible to get every last drop out without using an electric vacuum pump. Fortunately, waterbed stores often rent these indispensable tools – for rather unfortunate prices.
Another downside to a waveless waterbed mattress is that it is difficult to fold for transportation. Those fluffy fiber mats and semi-rigid vertically-dampening baffles make the waveless waterbed mattress stiff and hard to fold, and thick and prone to unfold unexpectedly.
A waveless waterbed mattress is the most expensive kind you can buy. Obviously, it contains more material so that increases the cost. A waveless waterbed mattress is bulkier and heavier to ship, raising the shipping component of the retail price. Finally, most people prefer the still, tranquil night’s sleep that a waveless waterbed mattress provides. Supply and demand push up the price. But if you want a waterbed and you’re not used to sleeping on a rolling ship deck, a waveless waterbed mattress is probably your best bet.