Can You Sleep on an Air Mattress Permanently?

When it comes to air mattresses, they’re often associated with camping trips or temporary guest accommodations. But have you ever considered making an air bed your permanent sleeping solution?

Surprisingly, this choice has gained popularity among individuals relocating or facing budget constraints that prevent them from investing in a traditional mattress. Conventional mattresses can be quite pricey, making air mattresses an attractive and budget-friendly alternative. But is relying on an air mattress for the long term a wise decision?

In this article, we’ll delve into the concept of using an air mattress as a long-term solution, exploring its benefits and potential drawbacks. We’ll also help you choose the best air mattress product available, ensuring you make an informed decision for your sleep needs.

Benefits of Sleeping on an Air Mattress

Although many of us don’t use air mattresses extensively, there are certain advantages to choosing an air mattress over traditional foam or coil mattresses. Below are some of the benefits:

Saves Money

Saves Money

An air mattress can be a lifesaver if you’re working with a tight budget. It offers comfort compared to sleeping on a sofa, and the best part is that it comes at a fraction of the cost of a regular mattress.

You can find affordable air mattresses starting at around $20 or $30. In comparison, even the cheapest traditional mattresses would cost you ten times that amount, and that’s without considering bed frames and headboards.

However, if you’re planning to use your air mattress on a regular basis, it’s worth considering stretching your budget to get a higher-quality product that will last longer. One potential drawback of air mattresses is their durability; if you opt for a cheap one, it may need replacement sooner rather than later.

Investing in top-quality air mattresses is advisable to avoid this issue. These options are comparable to beds in terms of support, durability, and firmness. The good news is that they don’t cost much and will save you money in the long run because they won’t require frequent replacements.

Saves Space

Living in a cramped space can pose challenges. It’s quite common to find apartments in the US, particularly in big cities where you might only get a couple of hundred square feet of living area. In such cases, having a bed taking up precious room may not be practical.

Air mattresses come to the rescue as they can be quickly inflated and deflated. The advantage here is that you can effortlessly deflate the mattress in the morning, instantly creating space for cooking, washing, and enjoying your apartment.

Single and twin air beds are perfect for this scenario since they usually fold up enough to fit into a backpack. This makes them ideal for storage in a drawer or even a small closet. When night falls, all you need is a minute to inflate the mattress, and voila! Your apartment feels more spacious compared to having a fixed bed frame.

Risks of Sleeping on an Air Mattress

Risks of Sleeping on an Air Mattress

Only a few people opt for sleeping on air beds for longer periods, making it difficult to determine the risks involved accurately. However, sleep experts have extensively studied the significance of body support and temperature regulation over the years, giving us a good understanding of the potential health impacts related to improper spinal alignment and sleep quality.

Lack of Body Support

During a night’s sleep, which lasts eight hours on average, it is crucial to consider how our bodies are being supported. It’s not about the spine; our hips, shoulders, and other joints also need support from the mattress to prevent waking up with discomfort or pain.

The issue with air mattresses is their lack of density compared to foam or coil spring mattresses. With resistance from air-filled surfaces, the focus should be more than just comfort. Rather, ensure your spine remains properly aligned throughout the night while minimizing pressure on other joints.

Choosing the right type of mattress that suits your body and preferred sleeping position is important to achieve the desired state of support and alignment.

People who prefer to sleep on their backs generally find a firmer mattress more comfortable. In contrast, those who sleep on their sides often prefer a foam or memory foam that provides relief from pressure on the hips and shoulders while keeping the spine aligned.

Regrettably, air mattresses don’t offer support in these areas. They lack the responsiveness that can alleviate pressure for side sleepers. They provide little assistance to maintain spinal alignment. Hence, sleeping on your back when using an air mattress is advisable, as it mimics the feel of a coil or spring mattress.

Temperature Regulation

Temperature Regulation

Scientists have been aware for quite some time that the temperature of our sleeping environment plays a role in our ability to fall asleep quickly, experience REM cycles, and wake up feeling refreshed.

Maintaining a temperature range in the room, typically between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit, is essential. Any deviation from this range can hinder your ability to sleep well.

Air beds do not contribute favorably in this matter as they tend to retain heat. They are typically made with materials like vinyl, which restrict air circulation and lead to increased warmth.

On the other hand, traditional mattresses allow for heat dispersion both within the mattress itself and in the surrounding air. However, the trapped air inside the mattress absorbs the room temperature, making it feel like sleeping on a hot water bottle during the evenings.

Conversely, during winter months, the air inside the bed may become cold, resulting in sleeping on a surface that can lower your body temperature below desirable levels. To address this issue, you can manage room temperature by using heating methods or create a barrier between yourself and the cold air bed using cotton sheets.

Motion and Noise Transfer

Air mattresses often encounter noise and motion transfer issues due to their design. Unlike mattresses that utilize foam layers or springs to absorb movement, air mattresses primarily consist of air chambers encased in materials like PVC or vinyl. As a result, even the slightest adjustment can generate sounds.

Whether it’s simply shifting positions in bed, getting in or out, or even slightly readjusting your posture, these actions can cause squeaks or creaks. Such disturbances can be quite bothersome, especially when sharing a sleeping space where one person’s movements can disrupt another’s sleep.

This problem becomes more frustrating when using air mattresses for a long time since constant noise interruptions can lead to sleep deprivation and irritability.

Moreover, the noise associated with air mattresses also affects your sleep quality. Frequent awakenings caused by these disturbances can disrupt your sleep patterns and prevent you from reaching restorative sleep stages.

Over time, this may result in fatigue and reduced cognitive function, negatively impacting your well-being.

Air mattresses may not be the choice for couples or individuals who prioritize sleep due to potential noise and motion transfer concerns. People often attempt to mitigate these issues by adding padding or blankets to the air mattress.

However, using this method can only give short-term relief.

Risks of Allergies and Skin Irritation

Risks of Allergies and Skin Irritation

Sleeping on an air mattress might be unpleasant even if you don’t have sensitive skin. Air mattresses aren’t the most comfortable option due to the vinyl or other irritants utilized in their construction. Air mattresses are much less comfortable since they provide no support.

The friction and contact between a person’s body and the mattress may irritate those with sensitive skin. Rash, redness, or dry, rough skin are some possible side effects. WebMD notes that some individuals still have a hard time wrapping their heads around the idea of allergies.

People who are physically strong and healthy may think they don’t need to worry about avoiding potentially dangerous materials. However, it is important to remember that allergies are not selective in terms of who they impact. Allergens are a common source of discomfort and difficulties for those with asthma, hay fever, and eczema.

How to Choose a Permanent Air Mattress?

The choice doesn’t matter much if you plan to use an air bed occasionally. However, if you intend to use it regularly, selecting the air bed that will provide proper support and ensure you wake up refreshed each morning becomes crucial.

Adjusting Firmness

Adjusting Firmness

Air beds have evolved significantly since your childhood. They no longer have fixed inflation limits; you can now electronically adjust the bed’s firmness according to your comfort level.

For those who don’t sleep on their backs and prefer a softer surface, having the ability to adjust the firmness without partially leaving the bed inflated can make a difference. The top-quality air beds even utilize multiple chambers to offer support across different parts of your body.

Surface Durability

Taking care of your bed will prevent wear and tear. However, repeatedly sleeping on a synthetic surface can gradually degrade its quality over time. Opting for an air bed with an upper layer can extend its lifespan, ultimately reducing the cost per night and saving money in the long run.

You can easily assess the durability of the surface by inspecting it and feeling its texture. It would help if you looked for a bed that has a sturdy surface on top. It’s a sign that the bed has upper memory foam layers with plenty of support and thickness between you and the air chamber.

Electric Pump

Electric Pump

Having a pump is essential these days. Most beds in the middle to upper tier range come with pumps that inflate and deflate the bed. This makes it much easier and quicker to pack away the bed, giving you space in your home.


No matter how good a product is, there’s always a chance that something might go wrong. It’s important to look for beds that come with manufacturer warranties of one year or multiple years.

This way, you can have peace of mind knowing you’re covered if anything happens. It also gives you an idea of how the manufacturer expects their products to last for their customers.

Parting Note

An air mattress’s adjustable firmness and low price make it a viable alternative for some people’s primary sleeping surface. However, finding your optimum hardness level and considering extra padding are essential to a good night’s sleep on an air mattress. Keeping up with routine maintenance is also crucial for extending its useful life and avoiding leaks.

While air mattresses may not provide as much support as traditional beds, many individuals still find them cozy. Regularly using an air mattress is a personal decision that needs serious thought. If you’re prepared to make the required upkeep and comfort adjustments, purchasing an air mattress might be a good choice.

Sarah Wagner

I'm Sarah Wagner, and I founded Sweet Island Dreams in 2022. It's a blog dedicated to helping people mental vacation virtually anytime they want. By providing information about the best sleep of your life, I help people drift away to paradise without ever having to leave their bed!