Waterbed Facts - Insomnia

Sleeping Facts

Between the ages of 20 and 60 you are likely to spend more than 15 full years in bed. In a 50 year span, you can be expected to fall asleep almost twenty thousand separate times.
We all know that sleep is essential to maintain good health and enhance the quality of life. It is basic medical knowledge that:

  • The nervous system cannot function indefinitely without sleep.
  • The quality of sleep can be measured and described by bodily functions.
  • Many known disorders of sleep can be corrected with proper medication, changes in lifestyle or sleeping habits.
  • A "good sleep" usually results in muscle relaxation by decreasing metabolic activity and enhancing recovery from muscle fatigue.
  • During sleep, changes occur in the position and the size of the eyes. They roll from time to time, but are usually positioned in the centre.
  • Dreaming is associated with rapid (vertical and horizontal) eye movements (REM).

Temperature - On an average, body temperature will be lowest in the early morning hours, approximately 0.5 degrees fahrenheit.

Respiration - Periodic changes in rate, depth and form of breathing will occur with falling asleep. The character and rate of breathing is slower and more shallow.

Circulation - The heart rate is reduced. Studies show rate changes of 10 to 30 beats per minute is not unusual. Blood pressure is reduced as well.

Digestion - Our evening meal continues to be digested while we sleep. This explains why ulcer patients still suffer while sleeping.

A good night's sleep is essential to good health. Our body functions and chemical changes are generally predictable and profound. Sleeping is a shutting down of the nervous system reflected in the relaxation of voluntary muscles.

Biologically, sleep is absolutely essential to normal health. Experimental animals deprived of sleep will die within a few days regardless of how well they are fed, watered or housed. You owe it to yourself to do as much as possible to secure a good night's sleep.

Controlling or Enforcing Sleep

Chemicals that produce sleep are classified into several categories:
Sedatives - Dampen the brain activity to allow natural sleep centres to take over.

Hypnotics - Work on the natural sleep centre.

Tranquillisers - Reduce anxiety and tension and also act as muscle relaxants.

Antihistamines - Usually cause drowsiness. Some do not require a doctor's prescription.

How Many Hours Do I Need?

The general statistical range of normal sleep is from six to eight hours. This will vary in some individuals. Women generally sleep longer than men.

Sleep Disturbances

Approximately 30% of a normal population sample will have some form of sleep disturbances; trouble falling asleep, waking up during the night or early awakening.

The Insomniacs

Despite all the natural laws of sleep, many people find it difficult to get to sleep or stay asleep. In the United States, approximately 20-25 million people have sleep problems. The steady shift away from manual labour removed much of the natural muscle fatigue that induces sleep.

Temporary insomnia is usually characterised by a high level of anxiety and physiological arousal. This is usually a carry-over from a busy day, acute problems, frustrations, anger, hostility or the working of a "chattering mind". This form of insomnia is usually temporary. As the psychological problem is solved, the sleep pattern will change.

However, there are individuals who have abnormal sleep patterns that will take years to improve. The heated waterbed should be considered one of many factors that can minimize the problem. It certainly can help in a total relaxation program. Medical studies have shown that heated waterbeds have played an important role both in accelerating and facilitating better sleep patterns. Many patients showed improvements in ease of falling asleep, stabilizing the sleep onset, increasing the total sleep time and reduced night awakenings.

Why Waterbeds?

The medical community has found that heated waterbeds can have a profound affect on inducing a good night's sleep. The soothing warmth and even support of tired muscles is definitely therapeutic. As you now know, the body temperature is reduced at sleep. Using a standard mattress without heat can further reduce the body temperature. Heating blankets are insufficient. Unlike heated waterbeds they provide heat on top of the body.

Many hospitals in nursing homes are using heated waterbeds for disabled and chronically ill patients. Patients who are confined to bed because of surgery, burns, stroke, even premature babies all drive benefits from using heated beds.


Dr. M.V. Kline - Some Clinical Sleep Parameters with the Innerspace Flotation Bed.
"For people with histories of disturbed sleeping patterns, the documented therapeutic effects of sleeping on flotation mattresses include increased ease in falling asleep; the ability to sleep with minimal use of medication; longer periods of sleep with less movement and fewer reawakenings during the night; a feeling of 'refreshment' and reduced depression in the morning".

Dr. J. Silver - Santa Monica, California
"Waterbeds are?almost the perfect surface to sleep on. The heat, the subtle movement of the water, the fact that the body is totally and evenly supported, are very important to its beneficial qualities".

Dr. D. D. Stierwalt - Davenport, Iowa
"Ninety percent of those (patients) we spoke to reported a strong definite benefit from sleeping on waterbeds".

Steven R. Garfin, M.D - Arch Phys. Med rehabilitation Sept. 1980, University Medical Centre, San Diego, CA
"Paraplegics, diabetics and other patients with sensory neuropathologies should choose a bed with the most even pressure distribution to help minimize the chance of tissue damage and this will aid in their total care".