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What To Expect When Switching From A Waterbed To A Regular Mattress

In the 1980s, almost a quarter of Americans had a waterbed. They were one of the most popular and enjoyable ways to sleep. Mention a waterbed to someone born in the last few decades and they would likely not know what you’re talking about. Waterbeds are up there with rotary phones and leg warmers. What to expect when switching from a waterbed to a regular mattress or if you are wondering are waterbeds good for your back please read on.

That said, some people haven’t let go of their waterbed. They love them and do not want to give them up. Slowly but surely, though, they are starting to say goodbye and trying to find the best mattress to suit their needs.

Waterbeds have very little spinal support and can be difficult for consistent sleep. Plus, they need constant maintenance. 

They were a 70s fad and quickly becoming a relic of the past, particularly since today’s mattress options have so much to offer when it comes to body health and good sleep. 

For people who love the cushion and feel of a waterbed, though, it’s hard to believe they can find something that feels as cozy and comfortable. 

And, though they don’t take it lightly, what really pushes them to change is maintenance. These beds are getting older, as are their owners, and more difficult maintenance is necessary.

Next Steps     

If the time has come to let go of your waterbed, you need to figure out what type of mattress is best for you. 

The market has changed a lot since waterbeds were in fashion and you need to know what is on the market so you can understand what to expect. 

To do this, the first thing you have to do is determine your sleep needs. Figuring out what your next mattress should take a bit of research but once you figure it out, you can feel confident in your ability to get a good night’s sleep.

For those you of on the fence about getting rid of your waterbed there are new options for better waterbed out there.

Also you can still buy sheets and mattresses.

Types Of Mattresses

Memory Foam – Memory foam mattresses offer good support, cushion pressure point, relief and contour to the body for exceptional comfort. 

When they first hit the market, people thought that these mattresses were hot to sleep on, but new technology has given them ways to keep you cool. 

These mattresses are good for people who want good support and like to comfortably sink into their bed. 

We recommend: Layla Sleep Copper Infused Mattress 

What to expect when switching from a waterbed to a regular mattress can be shocking sometimes.

When I moved from the waterbed to a regular mattress I got a memory foam mattress because I felt it was more similar to a waterbed feel.

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These mattresses are made of latex foam and are really good for cooling and comfort. They respond to your body, are super comfortable, and keep you cool. 

They are good for sleepers who want support and like to feel cool when they sleep. They are not as “huggy” as memory foam so they are a nice midway point between memory foam and coil. 

We recommend: Brooklyn Latex Mattress

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Mattresses with coils are still the most popular mattress that people buy. They are also called innerspring because they use spring coils for support. 

Technology has changed a lot over the years and now the number of innersprings and how they are used offers a lot more support as well as cooling and spinal alignment all at a reasonable price. 

These mattresses have good edge support for those who struggle to get in and out of bed. 

We recommend: Beautyrest Silver.

What to expect when switching from a waterbed to a regular mattressAmazon

Pillow Top:

These mattresses are a good all-around pick. They’re called pillow-top because they have a layer of material that is either stuffed into or sewn on as part of the cover. It adds more comfort and support for the sleeper. 

These mattresses are good for those who like a soft mattress and good support. 

We recommend: Mattress America Pillow Top

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These mattresses are exactly what they say. A blend of different types of materials that can include latex, memory foam, coils, and other options. 

They are specially designed to highlight the benefits of each material while making up for the weaker areas. Hybrid mattresses are great all-around options that cover a lot of ground.

We recommend: Sealy Hybrid

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Beds like this are designed to let you change how the mattress is positioned. You can put the feet, head, and shoulders up. 

Some may offer heat, vibration, or massage as well. These mattresses are really good for people who have medical conditions that need frequent adjustment in bed, older sleepers, and those who snore or have sleep apnea. 

There are also helpful if a person wants to watch tv or read in bed as it supports the back in a more of a seated position. 

We recommend: Vibe Adjustable Bed



Moving from a waterbed to a regular mattress can affect your budget. While you will need a new frame, unless you’re converting, there is also a lot less maintenance to do. 

Knowing what you can afford before you shop is important. Less than a decade ago, you could only buy mattresses from a showroom. Now, you can go online and find a wide variety of mattresses with different options and styles. 

There are a lot of options and so you can still get a good product for a fair price. without the showroom overhead. 

Remember, more expensive does not always mean better. In-store mattresses often have markups of over 300%. Online is much less. 

If you have a budget of around $1000, you’ll have the luxury end of being able to choose from all kinds of high-quality mattresses. 

Don’t go too cheap as you may end up with poorer quality, a short mattress life, and possible toxicity due to poor production facilities and regulations. 

You want your new mattress to last eight to 10 years It’s something you use every night so it is important to invest what you can. 

If you pay $1000, over 10 years, your mattress only costs about a quarter a day. Not bad for a good night’s sleep.


Moving from a waterbed to a regular mattress is a significant change. Since waterbeds move with you and are soft, you have to spend some time thinking about how firm your new mattress should be. 

Decide whether you want soft, medium, or firm and then consider your body type, weight, height, and sleeping position. 

Something important to remember is that support does not mean firm. Support means that the mattress can provide good spinal alignment. 

Firmness refers to how the mattress feels, soft, hard, or in between. Each is personal preference. Most prefer firmness between four and seven on a zero to 10 scale with ten being the firmest. 

You can always go to a showroom to try out firmness levels so you have an idea before you buy online.

Sleep Position

Everyone has their favorite way to lay when they sleep. This is something you should consider when you switching from a waterbed to a regular mattress.

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Side Sleepers – Side sleepers tend to move around a lot when they sleep, shifting their arms and legs around to get comfortable. For this type of movement, soft to medium mattresses are best. So aim for a three to six on the firmness range. 

If you find a soft mattress with good support, it can help pressure points, too. Choose a mattress that fits your body contours and is fairly soft. 

If it is too firm, it won’t contour well and you may end up with pain in the back, neck, and shoulders. 

We recommend: Purple Mattress

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Back sleepers need something that’s more firm. If the new mattress is too soft, back sleepers will feel it in their pressure points and the alignment of their spine will be off so they wake with backaches and strain. 

A back sleeper should choose something in the range of four to seven when it comes to firmness to make sure they are not dealing with something too soft. 

A waterbed sleeper may find this a bit firm in comparison but it is a good choice for back health.

We recommend: Casper Sleep Essential

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Stomach sleepers need support since the torso is receiving most of the pressure on the mattress. 

They need to be supported throughout the whole body because any sinking bends the back. They should sleep as flat as possible using a low pillow. 

A firmness level of five to seven is best, maybe even up to an eight.

We recommend: Dynasty Mattress



How much you weigh is important when choosing a new mattress. It affects how much you sink as well as how the mattress feels and how well it cools.

150 Pounds And Under:

Medium feel – These sleepers do not sink much so a firmness of five to seven is good. You may even want to go a little less firm. Dense top layers maybe a little too much so watch how much is on the top of the mattress.

Soft Feel:

Since a lightweight sleeper will not sink much, no mattress will feel too thick. You shouldn’t have heat or edge issues either. Picking a mattress that is a three to four should work well.

Firm Feel:

These are mattresses that are at the eight to nine-level and basically let the sleeper lay on top of the bed. There is very little sinkage, cooling, or other issues. They float sleepers, not hug them.

150-200 Pounds – Medium Feel

This is a good spot because at this weight, you are what the industry deems as average. This range is what the scale is made to so people know what firmness is best. Five to seven is going to be a perfect fit for a medium feel.

Soft Feel:

These sleepers are similar to the lighter ones. If you are closer to 200 pounds, you may want to look at a mattress with less sinkage. Softness affects this so be aware and sure of how much you want.

Firm Feel:

See the firm notes for light sleepers. This applies equally to average weight sleepers as well.

200 Pounds:

People who weigh more and want a medium feel should choose a mattress with a comfort layer thicker than four inches for good support and lots of comfort. You may need a cooler mattress and edge support, too, so make sure you include that in your search. High end innerspring or coil on coil mattresses are good choices.

Soft Feel:

This is a more difficult mattress to find when you are heavier as you may sink too much into the mattress as it is. 

Don’t choose something that is too soft and allows for too much sink. You want no less than four inches of comfort foam so look for a mattress that’s 12 inches or more in thickness. You may want to consider pillow tops

They offer good support but tend to feel a little softer.

Firm Feel:

Heavier sleepers should move the firmness number up a bit for the right amount of support. So, if you want an eight, go for a nine. You will need to add 0.5 to one more point of firmness. 

Be careful about going over a 9, though, because they are quite hard and may not be comfortable enough, especially if you’re used to a waterbed.

Other tips for buying a mattress.

Here are the top 5 mattresses for keeping you cool.

Final Thoughts On:

What To Expect From Switching From A Waterbed To A Regular Mattress
If you have decided to transition from a waterbed to a regular mattress, there are lots of things to think about. 
There are a lot of mattress options out there and knowing what the different factors are can help make the switch from a waterbed to regular mattress a little easier.


Are Waterbeds Good For Your Back?

That is a question that has been debated for years, while some people swear that waterbeds are the savior to all pain there are others that state just the opposite.

When questions like “are waterbeds good for your back” arise I always turn to medical research studies to try and get an accurate answer to these types of questions.

In an article published by Science Direct entitled “Bed design and its effect on chronic low back pain — A limited controlled trial” studied the effects of 4 different style beds with people with chronic back conditions.[1]

In this study the 4 types of bed were an orthopedic hard bed, a softer bed, a standard 10 inch thick water bed and a hybrid bed made from water and foam.

The majority of the subject after two weeks said the hard bed help with back pain more, the next largest group showed improvement with the waterbed.

The human body is complex and one thing that I have learned that what works on one person may not work on the next.

There is not a standard answer to most questions about what works for a person concerning comfort level using a pillow or mattress.

One thing this study did show is that most people improved using the hard bed and some improved using the waterbed.

Conclusion: Are Waterbeds Good For Your Back

Like I tell all are readers when looking to try a new sleep product it’s like shopping for a car.  Would you buy a car without testing driving it first? Of course you wouldn’t.

The same thing applies to a pillow, mattress, weighted blanket, or any other sleep device.  If the company doesn’t offer a free trial period and free returns walk away from it and look for one that does.

You need at least two weeks to try out a new sleep product to see if it is going to work well for you and meet all your needs.

These reviews are meant to guide you to the closest choice possible. All of our research and hundreds of hours of reviews and testing cuts the field down to the top 5-10 so you can make a informed choice.

We also make sure that what we recommend has a trial period and or free returns with a specific time frame. 

What we ask of you is that you check current return policy before ordering as these policies can change without notice.

We do all of this so that are readers can save time and effort in searching for the right sleep product.  The rest is up to you to test drive or should I say test sleep the product.

Are Waterbeds Good For Your Back Answer:

What is the answer to “Are waterbeds good for your back”?  Well according to the research done the majority of chronic back sufferers improved with the hard mattress while the next largest group improved with the waterbed.

Again the human body is complex and not everyone requires the same thing.  If you currently have a waterbed and your back is hurting after your sleep then in my opinion you need to look at possible causes including the mattress, pillow and your sleeping position.

Same goes for it you are using a regular mattress and waking up with a sore back you should look at all possible cause as well, the mattress, pillow and your sleeping position.

Root Causing Are Waterbeds Good For Your Back:

The easiest way to trouble shoot this issue is to start with the simplest a lowest cost solution to try first.  Only try one at time until you find the answer, and once you have changed something then continue that for a few nights to make sure it works, if it hurts worse then stop immediately.

With that strategy I would look at your sleeping position first most doctors will tell you that the spine needs to be in a neutral position.

If changing your sleeping position doesn’t work then move to the pillow.  You would be surprised at what a great pillow will do for your head, neck, shoulders and back.

Again, only buy products that offer free returns, I suggest following our link on the sentence above to get the latest products that have been researched.

If the pillow and sleeping position fails then moving towards getting a new mattress may be the next thing to try.  Please use the same advice on mattresses as well, if they don’t let you test drive then don’t buy.  If you really want to sleep in true luxury then check our the best hotel pillows.


Buying Mattress to address “are waterbeds good for your back” is a tedious process.  The best deal I have found are online.  But only the best companies offer a trial period with free shipping back.

I have found it’s sometimes good to go to the mattress store in person and try a few out by laying on them, don’t let the sales person rush you and take your time.

You still won’t be able to make a final decision in that short time buy you can narrow it down.

Second step, write down the mattress information model number and anything else in the description, ask the sales person for their best price and tell them you are shopping around.

Don’t let them pressure you to buy that day, tell them you are going to compare prices and ask about their return policy.

Thirdly, go home and search the internet for that same model and compare prices, make sure you check about returns.

Lastly, buy from the place that offers the lowest price with the best return policy.

There you have the answer to “are waterbeds good for your back”. 

Key Take Away Form Are Waterbeds Good For Your Back

  • Never buy a sleep product that doesn’t have free returns
  • Always test drive a sleep product for at least 2-week (unless it’s causing major pain)
  • Read good reviews to narrow down your search and save you time
  • Look for the easiest solutions first (free returns will protect you)




Robert Frontier

Robert Frontier

Getting quality sleep is important to people of all ages and is just one of many areas of our health we need to be maintaining. When I was younger, I didn’t understand that my health was my greatest asset and took it for granted. I have spent the last twenty years of my life in the pursuit of a healthier life style. I am a parent, grandparent, author, and entrepreneur. My desire is for you and your family to get the best possible sleep and that starts with quality sleep products. Welcome to VJ Pillow.



↑1 Garfin, S. R., & Pye, S. (1981, February). Bed design and its effect on chronic low back pain — A limited controlled trial. Retrieved March 23, 2021, from Science Direct: 

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