Replacing water bed mattress with latex?

My wife and I slept on a waterbed for many years, but after several back surgeries for her she prefers a conventional bed. I do not know what I need. I sleep on the couch. I like plenty of “sink down” which may be odd since I have had a fused lower back with a stainless steel loop since L5 was fractured in an accident in 1988.

I do not want to give up the bookcase headboard although I am sure there will be replies that I should not use it for a foundation. Has anyone done this and been satisfied? Our daughter is home for the summer and we could the extra bed.

I want to sleep on my side due to sleep apnea and when I sleep in a bed I prop myself up with pillows. I would always wake up on my back in the waterbed no matter what I tried. My wife is more active side to back and on rare occasion, stomach. I use a thin cushion for a pillow. I am 5’10" and 180 lbs.

I am amazed reading that hotel mattress are considered good. I have never found any I liked. But I am not sure I have liked any conventional mattress.

We checked out a couple of pure Latex Bliss mattress on vacation. I think one was 10 and the other was thicker. I am not sure which I preferred and neither seemed just right, but I do not know if I would know if a mattress was good. I considered a DIY project but maybe SleepEZ would work. I have spent hours here but I will never know without trying something. I do not know how helpful it would be try out mattress in a store. It is awkward for me and I feel rushed and just want to figure it out right away.

We live about 35 miles East of Lexington KY. I do not know of any good local shops.

Hi kmiller,

The first place I would start your research is the mattress shopping tutorial here which includes all the basic information, steps, and guidelines that can help you make the best possible choice … and know how and why to avoid the worst ones.

A headboard is just an accessory that you can use with the bedframe that you choose so there really wouldn’t be any reason to give it up.

You are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress and there are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved for anyone to be able to predict or make a specific suggestion or recommendation about which mattress would be the best “match” for you in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) based on specs (either yours or a mattress) or “theory at a distance” that can possibly be more accurate than your own personal testing or sleeping experience (see mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here).

I would agree with you that Hotel mattresses are among the worst choices you could make (see post #3 here).

There is more about the different ways to choose a suitable mattress that is the best “match” for you in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) in post #2 here that can help you assess and minimize the risks of making a choice that doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for that are involved in each of them.

There is also more about the most important parts of the value of a mattress purchase in post #13 here which can help you make more meaningful quality/value comparisons between mattresses in terms of suitability, durability, and value.

As you probably know SleepEZ is one of the members of this site which means I think very highly of them and I believe they compete well with the best in the industry in terms of their quality, value, service, and transparency and they would be well worth considering if you are open to an online purchase.

The better options and possibilities I’m aware of in and around the Lexington, KY area (subject to the quality/value guidelines I linked) are listed at the end of post #3 here.


I thought I put in a reply, but it is not here?

Well, we went with a SleepEZ talalay mattress. I asked if I could get a 1ooo0 with a 7000 cover and put the bottom layer under it to make it easier to make. We have a 7000 soft-firm and a firm topper on the bottom. This is a nice setup. I would prefer having the split cover option now that I have handled it given how heavy it is.
My wife is happy with it, but I am having problems. It seems very firm after sleeping on an old, saggy couch. and sleep seems to require more work on it. I have slept on it four nights so far. My lower back was a bit sore after wrestling the the layers in place and it seems like sleeping on it is aggravating the problem. I think maybe I will see if I can exchange one of the firmer layers for a second soft layer.

Hi kmiller,

Congratulations on your new mattress … as you know you certainly made a good quality/value choice although you may need to do some fine tuning so that it’s also a good “match” for you in terms of PPP.

I’m not sure what the real advantage of having a separate layer on the bottom may be since you can also remove and move the layers individually if you need to but if you have a separate layer on the bottom it may be a good idea to have it inside a dedicated cover (see post #2 here).

While you may need to exchange the middle layer for a softer layer (I would avoid making changes that are tool big because you may “jump over” the layering that would be best for you) … there is also a break in and adjustment period with any new mattress and I would give it a few weeks (a month is ideal if possible) before making any changes to your mattress (see post #3 here).

If your mattress turns out to be too firm once you have slept on it for a while and your experience or any “symptoms” have stabilized and are consistent then there are also some suggestions in post #2 here that may be helpful as well.


Thank you for the reply. My back does seem to feel a little better this morning. The mattress seems to be softening up a bit.

The main advantage of the separate bottom layer is that it makes it much easier to make the bed. The mattress barely comes above the side rails so the mattress is in a box. Three inches less to to work the sheets down and one third less weight to lift up.

The bottom layer has the cotton topper cover around it. Except for a small cut out in the corners it is on a plywood platform. I was concerned that it would not have enough ventilation. You think it needs another cover? It came from SleeoEZ in the cover and when we flipped it into the frame one of foam pieces worked above the other and we could not work it back down flat. We had to unzip the cover and take out the one side and put it back. Then the cover was not perfectly positioned and we were afraid we were going to tear out the zipper getting it back on. If I ever replace the cover I will get separate right and left covers. Once everything is all set I could imagine not touching it for years.

Hi kmiller,

That makes sense to me.

If it has a cotton cover it should be fine. Being inside a recessed bedframe though on a solid foundation would reduce ventilation which could increase the risk of moisture issues and it may be a good idea to use something such as a bed rug underneath it (see post #10 here).

As you know handling latex can be somewhat tricky because it’s so elastic and “floppy” and also tends to “stick” to the layer below it. The trick is to lift the layer and wave or flick it into position and avoid pulling or tugging which can rip the latex and can leave it sitting unevenly in the cover. There are some videos in post #12 here that may be helpful and once you get the hang of it it’s much easier.


Update: I finally ordered a bed rug. (Price went up $30 in the meantime) I also swapped out the firm layer on the bottom for a 2nd medium layer. So now my side is med-med-soft. I like it! Before it felt like a very thick cushion on top of a board. Now the board feeling is gone. I was skeptical of the 85% recommendation, but I went with it as a starting point. I do not know if one set up is any better or worse for my back than the other. There are too many other variables on a day to day basis to say. Thanks for the help.

Hi kmiller,

As you know personal experience always “trumps” theory or the “averages” of other people and regardless of how many people may prefer a specific combination of layers … one of the advantages of a component system that allows you to customize the mattress both before and after a purchase is that you can use your actual sleeping experience to decide on the layering that works best for you.

It’s great to hear that your current layering combination is working well for you … and thanks for the update :slight_smile: