is it good to sleep on a air mattress every night?
Questions And Answers

Can You Sleep on An Air Mattress Permanently?

Last Updated on September 21, 2023 by Louise Carter

Commonly associated with camping trips and emergency sleeping arrangements for guests, air mattresses come in various shapes, sizes, and quality levels.

An inflatable bed should be restricted to short-term use, as commercial air mattresses have limitations.

There are advantages to sleeping on an air mattress. You can move the bed around a room, efficiently move to a different room, and deflate and tidy the bed during the day.

Air mattresses can be adjusted for comfort by adding or removing air to make the bed firmer or softer. Some hospitals use medical-grade adjustable air mattresses to prevent bed sores.

Unfortunately, prolonged use of an air mattress can cause damage to the back. An inflatable bed will likely deflate at night, especially when cold, making it difficult to maintain spinal alignment.

Maintaining a comfortable body temperature when sleeping on an air mattress is also difficult. They become increasingly humid, and an air mattress will likely creak and squeak with every movement.

Is an Air Mattress Comfortable to Sleep On?

Some people consider air mattresses as relaxing as regular mattresses. Others find that the restrictions associated with air mattresses make it harder to sleep and remain asleep.

Your build is likely the most significant influence on how comfortable you’ll find an air mattress.

If you plan to sleep on an air mattress, especially for a prolonged period, ensure the bed is designed to accommodate your body weight.

Can You Be Too Heavy for An Air Mattress?

A reputable air mattress manufacturer will specify the maximum weight load on the packaging. Air mattresses support the following weights, depending on the product size.

  • Single – 1 user with a maximum weight of 180 lbs.
  • Twin – 1 user with a maximum weight of 300 lbs.
  • Full – 2 users with a maximum weight of 450 lbs.
  • Queen – 2 users with a maximum weight of 600 lbs.

A single person can use a full or queen air mattress but never share a single or twin mattress, even if both sleepers do not exceed the maximum weight limit.

That’s because neither person will be comfortable as the air mattress will be designed to accommodate the pressure points of just one body.

long term effects of sleeping on an air mattress

Is it Bad to Sleep on an Air Mattress Every Night?

Air mattresses are intended for occasional use, whether as a guest bed if you don’t have a spare room, for camping or engaging in other adventure pursuits, or to replace a bed in an emergency.

Throwing away your traditional mattress and using an inflatable as a long-term replacement isn’t recommended. Understanding the pros and cons of air mattresses is essential.

Benefits of Sleeping on An Air Mattress

If you lack access to a bed for a while, an air mattress may seem like the ideal solution for your sleeping needs. There are advantages to using an air mattress:

Affordability

If you can’t afford the financial outlay for a mattress, an air mattress will likely be much less expensive. However, don’t buy the cheapest option because air mattresses vary significantly in quality.

Portability

Air mattresses are portable, so they’re ideal if you aren’t sleeping at home. While it’s preferable not to deflate and reinflate an air mattress daily, it’s an option.

This portability can be beneficial during sleep. If you need to move to another part of the room to manage temperature or noise exposure, this will be much easier with an air mattress.

Customizability

Unlike a traditional mattress, which will maintain the same level of firmness for years, an air mattress can be customized to meet your needs. Air can be added or removed based on your comfort needs.

Disadvantages of Sleeping on An Air Mattress

Here are the risks of regularly sleeping on an air mattress:

Lack of Back Support

Choosing the right mattress is essential for back support and preventing spinal misalignment. This may make you wonder, “Is sleeping on an air mattress bad for your back?”

Low-quality air mattresses offer little support, so you’ll be better off sleeping on the floor. Higher-end models will contain bumps and ridges to provide back support and minimize discomfort.

Back issues with air mattresses arise when the mattress deflates overnight.

As pressure is placed on the bed, it’ll lose some firmness. The back may slip into a groove, causing a curvature in the spine, leading to aches and pains upon waking.

Some hospitals use inflatable mattresses to prevent bed sores. Age and Ageing stated that the variable pressure level afforded by an air mattress may reduce pressure ulcers.

This study involved medical-grade air mattresses, not consumer products from Target.

Temperature Regulation

Keeping cool while you sleep isn’t always easy when using an air mattress.

Applied Human Science stated that air mattresses frequently attract significant humidity due to the materials used in their construction.

If you wake up with your air mattress soaked, it isn’t necessarily because you sweat overnight.

Resolving this seems simple – reduce the ambient temperature in the room that you’re sleeping in. Unfortunately, when an air mattress is cold, it deflates as the air condenses.

You can combat this by laying a blanket under the air mattress to prevent it from absorbing cold from the ground. Temperature regulation will likely be an ongoing concern while sleeping.

Noise

If you’re a light sleeper, you may find an air mattress too noisy for restful sleep. They frequently make squeaking and creaking sounds with every movement.

You may hear a range of popping sounds from your air mattress when you apply weight. This suggests the mattress has a tiny hole creating air bubbles.

Air bubbles in an air mattress aren’t just noisy, as they can cause the bed to burst at night. Place pressure on air bubbles with the palm of your hand to pop them.

Wear and Tear

Most air mattresses have a comparatively limited shelf life. Over time, wear and tear will take a toll on air mattresses, potentially leading to holes and punctures.

There’s no fixed answer to the question, “How long do air mattresses last?” because it depends on the model, how often you use it, and the floor conditions.

A good model could last up to a decade if you only use an air mattress occasionally. Put a blanket under it to prevent exposure to tiny stones or anything else that could cause small punctures.

Other ways to prolong the usefulness of your air mattress are to avoid inflating it every day, not to sit on the ends or sides, and to keep pets with sharp claws away.

Alternatives To Air Mattresses

Here are some air mattress alternatives you may wish to consider:

Floor

Sleeping on the floor without support or cushioning may feel like a last resort, but it can have long-term health benefits, especially if you have back pain or a spinal injury.

Is it better to sleep on an air mattress or on the floor?

This depends upon your preferred sleeping position. If you need to lay on your front or side, sleeping on the floor will likely exert too much pressure on your joints, leading to hip and knee pain.

If you adopt the supine position, sleeping on the floor is better than using an air mattress.

This is because your spine must maintain its natural alignment as there is no soft mattress to wrap around it, slowly deflating and changing your posture. 

Couch

Sleeping on the couch is most people’s preferred alternative to using a bed. Some people consider a sofa more comfortable for sleeping. Naturally, how suitable this is depends on the couch.

A couch may offer better back support than an air mattress, as the base will be more stable. Furniture can also usually support a greater weight than an air mattress.

The issue with sleeping on the couch can sometimes be space, especially if you need to share.

Remove any unnecessary cushions from a sofa before attempting sleep, like back cushions, but you may still find that a double air mattress offers more room.

Camp Bed

Consider a fold-up camp bed if you want a portable sleeping arrangement, but an air mattress is unsuitable. These comprise cloth stretched tightly over a lightweight metal frame.

A camping bed (sometimes called a cot) will offer more back support than an air mattress but isn’t recommended if you’re taller or broader in build.

Some people may find that the metal joins of a camp bed dig into their bodies overnight.

Futon

While many Western nations refer to a pull-out sofa bed as a futon, we refer to the small, quilted mattresses most commonly found in Japan.

Futons are popular with people seeking a minimalist bedroom arrangement as they occupy little space.

Futons are available with soft, medium, and firm hardness, meaning you can choose the ideal level of support. Sleeping on a futon is better for your back than using an air mattress for several days or weeks.

are air mattresses good to sleep on?

Hammock

If you’re without a bed for a prolonged period, consider sleeping in a hammock.

These furnishings can be surprisingly comfortable once you’ve assumed the ideal sleeping position and can be used indoors or out, assuming you follow safety protocols.

A hammock is much better than an air mattress if you have back problems, as dozing in a hammock means that no one part of the body will be subjected to pressure points.

The gentle swaying of a hammock can also help you fall asleep faster than tossing and turning on an air mattress, seeking the most comfortable posture.

Memory Foam Pad

A memory foam pad is a block of foam you lay on the floor and use as a mattress. This solution may not look like much, but it’s arguably the best alternative to sleeping on a traditional mattress.

Memory foam will mold itself to your unique body shape, so you’re likelier to feel comfortable. Weight will be even distributed to avoid excess pressure on particular parts of the body.

An air mattress is a beneficial addition to any home as an emergency sleeping solution, but it shouldn’t be considered a permanent substitute for a traditional bed and mattress.

Most air mattress users are happiest when they’re used for 1-2 nights at a time.