7 Ways to Make an Air Mattress More Comfortable

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If you are far away from home or find yourself in a situation where there are limited beds, an air mattress can provide the best in convenience. The level of comfort, though, is a whole other story.

Instead of lying on your back and thinking about the several ways to make your air mattress more comfortable, read this article and learn about the latest tips and lifehacks to turn your inflatable mattress as soft as possible.

Based on many customers who have also suffered from the same problem, we’ve researched the internet and found the best advice to accommodate any air mattress with maximum comfort.

This article will list why air mattresses are so uncomfortable to sleep on and some easy ways to make them less strainful on your back.

By the time you finish reading, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to prep your air mattress with comfy accessories and the ways to improve comfort.

Why Are Air Mattresses Uncomfortable?

For starters, why are air mattresses so uncomfortable? Here are a couple of reasons why most people can’t find comfort on an air mattress.

Temperature

One of the main reasons why air mattresses are uncomfortable to sleep on is because of how cold they can get overnight.

Because the mattress has poor insulation, the heat exchange between your body creates hot air but doesn’t stay on top. Since the mattress is made entirely of air, there is no separation between the cold and hot air.

This results in the two temperatures mixing, and the mattress will also absorb cold air from the surrounding environment. 

In other words, your body is feeding heat to the air mattress, but none of it stays in place. The air mattress traps the heat and continues to take in all the cold in the room, leaving your body in the middle.

Without the proper warmth, you’re putting your own health at risk of catching a cold in the middle of the night.

Material

If you have ever slept on an air mattress, you understand the material can feel cheap and lacks comfort.

Most air mattresses use rubber and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to allow the pumped air to expand and shape the inflatable bed. With that design in mind, the material is too stiff, thin, and elastic that it feels like you’re laying on nothing at times.

There is also a noticeable odor caused by the PVC material and can be dangerous for some with an allergic reaction to phthalates.

Little Back Support

If you are sleeping on literal air, that means nothing is supporting your back while you sleep.

Your back can survive one night, but if it’s a week-long trip or more, you will probably prefer the floor instead of the mattress.

If you can’t find the sweet spot, you’ll be turning a lot in the middle of the night until you drift to sleep in an uncomfortable position. 

By the following morning, you will feel the consequences of sleeping on a naked air mattress.

Noise

Air mattresses are not known for their silence. Not only are they equipped with loud air pumps, but because they are always on the floor, they are prone to squeaking and rubber chafing. 

These mattresses are also not designed for prolonged use. After a while, air bubbles can start to form on your air mattress and produce lumps too awkward to sleep soundly.

Leaks or tiny, punctured holes can also happen over time, and the slight hissing sound of escaping air will most likely keep you up at night and deflate the bed.

What Are Some Ways to Make Air Mattresses More Comfortable?

Now that we have covered some of the reasons that make an air mattress uncomfortable, you’re probably wondering: What can I do about it?

Here are some helpful tips for sleeping on an air mattress that won’t get your body strained in the morning.

1. Do Your Research

Instead of picking out the first air mattress you see on the shelves, take the time to do research if you know you’re going to need one.

Your options don’t have to go over budget, but looking over customer reviews and knowing the offered features will save you money from buying a cheaply made mattress and getting one that can last you for years.

When looking for an air mattress, you want to settle on a single or double height. A Single-height air mattress is convenient and portable but provides little back support and deflates quicker. Double-height air mattresses are thick like beds and come with their own pump and vinyl surfaces to help sheets stay in place.

It also helps find an air mattress with a claimed capacity that can support your weight. You don’t want to end up with an air mattress that deflates overnight because of pressure.

2. Cover It With Thick Sheets

Since there is no layer thick enough between you and the air mattress, consider padding the top layer with bed sheets and a cover for comfort.

With thick sheets, your body heat won’t lose to the mattress, and you’ll feel less cold while sleeping. Topping yourself with a wool blanket or a comforter of that quality will secure even more heat and give you more control over the temperature.

3. Use a Mattress Topper

Some mattresses come with a weird design pattern that is bumpy and uncomfortable to lay down. The right air mattress topper can hide the grooves underneath and make the bed softer.

The toppers are also removable and can go whenever you need them; This allows the air mattress to stay top quality and prevents any damage or accidental puncture holes. 

There are many different kinds of mattress toppers that are good and affordable. Some of the more popular ones are breathable memory foam that can trap heat and regulate the sleeping temperature. Wool toppers are expensive but are great for all-season use and have natural air pockets to hold in the heat.

When looking at air mattresses, find one with lips on the side to make it easier to hook down sheets and toppers.

4. Soft Surfaces

Most people settle with whatever floor they have, but it matters when making your air mattress comfortable. Padding the bottom layer is just as important as covering the top.

Hardwood floors or other sturdy surfaces aren’t compatible with air mattresses because of how thin and fragile the air is. If the weight capacity doesn’t support you, you risk sinking into the air mattress and touching the rough floor with your back.

Placing the mattress on top of a blanket, rug, or carpeted area will improve the quality of your sleep. You can also guarantee a soundless sleep as the mattress won’t be moving so much and squeak.

5. Elevation

The next best thing after covering the floor is not sleeping on the floor. If you can find some way to elevate the air mattress off the ground, you can save your back from a rough, sleepless night.

Foam tiles are ideal in this situation. The same soft tiles used in nurseries can also give your air mattress slight elevation off the ground.

If you choose this method, remember that you need an even amount of tiles that support all corners of the mattress. Improper balancing can feel awkward at night, and you’ll keep catching yourself from slipping off.

6. Pillows

Not only should the quality of your air mattress be comforting, but also your pillow. A pillow is responsible for aligning your spine while sleeping and prevents you from getting backaches and neck strains.

Don’t think that crossing your arms under your head will be enough. If you have the time and money, invest in a top-quality pillow with your desired fill type and a style that supports your neck and back.

The more you prepare for a night on an air mattress, the more comfortable you will be overnight.

7. Air Levels

Nothing feels more uncomfortable than lying on a half-inflated air mattress. Overnight, you could feel your body sinking into the air mattress and by morning, you’ll be closer to the floor.

Before calling it a night, inflate your air mattress properly and make sure that there are no holes. Have a roll of tape close by in case some unexpected damage happens to the mattress.

Conclusion

Air mattresses can be comfortable if you treat them like a real bed. If you know you are going to need one, do some quick research about the types that exist and find one that matches your taste.

Using bed sheets and toppers makes the mattresses softer to sleep on, and having the right pillow adds to that softness. Any tools that can help support your back will be good in the long run.

Do you have more tips for making an air mattress more comfortable? If so, leave your thoughts in the comments below and let us know how helpful this article was for you!

Nate Devore
Nate Devore
For over 15 years Nate has been obsessed with solving his own personal and difficult health challenges related to sleep, energy, and fatigue. As one of our sleep experts at sleeping.com, Nate is passionate about helping you get the best night’s sleep possible.

Medical Disclaimer: The content on this page should not be taken as medical advice or used as a recommendation for any specific treatment. Always consult your doctor before making any decisions.

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