Is It Safe to Sleep on an Air Mattress Every Night?

When you’re camping, an air bed can seem like the height of luxury, but would you sleep on one every night? They may not be the first mattress you think of when furnishing your bedroom, but their low price and portability mean that some people consider them a permanent option. 

If you’re thinking of using an air mattress for the long term, you’re likely wondering if it’s safe. This guide will introduce you to the risks and provide some suggestions on enhancing the comfort of your air bed.

is it safe to use air bed long term

What Are the Risks of Sleeping on an Air Mattress?

Even if you feel perfectly comfortable sleeping on an air mattress for a long weekend, using one for months or years comes with additional risks:

1. They Can Be Uncomfortable

Whether it’s for months or just one night for some people, air beds are not an option. They find them uncomfortable and are unlikely to get any decent rest. Even those who started out enjoying their air mattress soon got sick of it after a month or so.

On a warm night, the PVC construction makes you hot and sweaty. On a cold night, the large pocket of air underneath you will likely keep you chilly and wide awake.

Tips to make your air bed more comfortable:

  • Shop around – Don’t just choose the first air mattress you can afford; take your time and find one that feels good to you. Our list of The Best Air Mattresses in Australia will point you in the right direction.
  • Use a mattress topper – A simple mattress topper is a simple way to add warmth and comfort to your air mattress. If you don’t yet have a mattress topper, our list of The Best Mattress Toppers in Australia will help you out.
  • Use a breathable cotton sheet – Many people use a sleeping bag on their air mattress, but if you want to sleep on it permanently, you’ve got to make it up like a standard bed. This will dramatically increase your comfort and reduce any unpleasant sweatiness.
air mattress with mattress topper

2. They Can Cause Back Pain

Air mattresses have very little support, resulting in back pain and muscle spasms. This is particularly true for cheaper models with one large air pocket and no supportive coils. 

Most air beds are low to the ground, making them tricky to get into and even harder to get back out of, particularly if you’re already feeling uncomfortable. Patricia Camerota reported on her experience of four months on an air mattress for reviewed.com. She concluded, “Using an air mattress as a bed is NOT for people who suffer from back pain.”

Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals, and you should not take this as medical advice. If you suffer from back problems, speak to your doctor before using an air mattress.

Tips to prevent your air bed from hurting your back

  • Choose a double thickness mattress – An extra high air bed is easier to get on and off, which puts less strain on your back.
  • Use a built-in pump – Having the pump attached to the mattress means you won’t have to hunt for it every time your bed needs adjusting. 
  • Look for air mattresses with internal reinforcement – Internal structures give the bed extra support and prevent the air from pooling in certain areas. This will keep you level throughout the night and will prevent you from slipping into an awkward sleeping position.

3. They Deflate Overnight

air mattress leak deflate

There are few things worse than going to sleep in a comfortable bed and waking up on a hard floor. Most of the air mattresses that I’ve ever tried have done this to me more than once. Even if there’s no puncture, they’re never wholly airtight, and they’ll likely lose pressure in just a few hours.

This problem also has a knock-on effect that results in other issues, including back pain and general discomfort.

Tips to stop your air mattress deflating:

  • Invest in a good quality air mattress –Spending a little more means that your bed will likely be made from better quality materials and be much less likely to deflate.
  • Keep an electric pump nearby – This isn’t ideal, but if you have your pump handy, you can reinflate whenever you feel your mattress getting a bit squashy.

4. They Get Damaged Easily

The soft PVC used to make air beds is soft to lie on but easy to damage. Unfortunately, some are prone to getting punctures and can be unusable within just a few months. Even if you carefully repair every hole with the kit provided, it will likely still deflate faster overnight.

air bed leak tear

How to reduce damage to your air mattress:

  • Don’t jump on it – Landing heavily on your mattress will put extra pressure on the weak spots and worsen any damage.
  • Keep pets off it – Sharp claws on an air bed can easily cause the kind of damage that’ll have you reaching for the puncture repair kit.
  • Keep it covered up -Wrapping your air bed in sheets will add an extra layer of protection to reduce the risk of a puncture.

FAQs

A good-quality air mattress should last for several years of occasional use. But, with continuous use, it may not last more than three or four months. 

If you intend to use your air mattress for the long term, it’s best to keep it inflated instead of deflating it every morning. Reinflating it every time you want to use it may put extra strain on the seams and gradually cause damage. Also, pumping up your mattress every night before bed is a noisy ritual we can all do without.

Air mattresses are great for camping on the weekend or staying around a mate’s, but they don’t do as well when it comes to long-term use. 

No matter how well you prepare, after a few weeks, you’ll likely notice discomfort in your back from the lack of support. Your bed will also show signs of wear and tear.

Some excellent air mattresses are available, but they’re likely to cost more than $300. At that price, you’d be better off taking a look at our handy list of the best cheap mattresses in Australia.

Tom Russell

Tom Russell

Tom Russell is a web content writer who specialises in health and wellness. He has a particular interest in sleep quality and how it can affect our day-to-day lives and overall health.

Five years ago, Tom was suffering from regular bouts of insomnia, which led him to explore the concept of sleep hygiene. He learned that a few changes and the introduction of a night-time routine could improve his chances of a good night's sleep. Now he avoids caffeine after 12 pm, puts all screens away at least an hour before bed, and sleeps like a log.

Tom and his wife share their home with two daughters and a lifetime's collection of books. He grew up in Norfolk, UK, and graduated in English and History at Anglia Ruskin University.

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