Can You Sleep on an Air Mattress Permanently?

Campers and regular sleepers alike have asked the question, “Can you sleep on an air mattress permanently?”

And it’s no wonder – air mattresses can be cheaper, more portable, and just as comfortable as regular mattresses when you purchase a high-quality product! 

But is sleeping on an airbed something that you should do permanently?

In this article, we explore the idea of a permanent air mattress and the advantages and disadvantages of this kind of long-term lifestyle change. Then, we discuss ways to make air mattress living more comfortable and how to choose the best product on the market for maximum durability and a positive experience.

Air Mattress vs. Traditional Mattress

Where a regular mattress has metal coils or memory foam, an air mattress has just that – air. Most people don’t rely on these air-filled beds for everyday use, but that shouldn’t necessarily stop anyone from doing so if it makes the most sense for their life. 

While some people prefer the support and firmness of a regular bed, others like the soft, fluid support of an air mattress.

For some, the sturdiness of a regular bed is helpful for health conditions or to avoid motion transfer when sleeping with a partner.

For others, they prefer the extra give of an air mattress, especially when sleeping alone.

What are some of the other benefits of an air mattress? Let’s take a look.

Benefits of an Air Mattress

There’s more to sleeping on an air mattress permanently than the savings and the portability. Some of the most notable benefits of sleeping on an air mattress long-term are:

  • Comfort – Campers and non-campers alike can all enjoy the comfort of an air mattress. One of the beautiful things is that you have full control over the firmness by how much or how little air you allow into the mattress while you sleep.
  • ​​​​Affordability – When you don’t want to sleep on the ground in a sleeping bag, an air mattress and an electric pump can make all the difference without breaking the bank. It’s an easy way to get a little bit of luxury cushioning at your campsite without shelling out tons of dollars for it.
  • Portability – A queen-size air mattress can fit inside of a car, a tent, a van, and just about anywhere! It’s large enough to spread out and get a good night’s sleep but small enough to fit into these common traveling shelters. Their size and the fact that you can deflate and re-inflate whenever you need to make them perfect for camping trips or on-the-go adventures. 
  • Easy to store – When you need extra space fast, you can easily deflate your air mattress and tuck it away so there’s more room to sit, stand, eat, or just hang out. 

Disadvantages of an Air Mattress

Sleeping on an air mattress permanently isn’t all good, however. These are some of the most commonly reported drawbacks of sleeping on one long-term:

  • Lack of temperature regulation – While most regular mattresses can absorb and trap body heat to help you stay cool or warm at night, air mattresses don’t have these extra features. They are made up of synthetic materials like vinyl that are essentially useless at regulating temperature. In the winter months, you’ll find that the material won’t retain any of your body heat, making it impossible to stay warm. In the summer, the material can hold heat, making you hot and sweaty as you sleep.
  • Deflation – Deflation will always be part of having an air mattress. You’ll need to keep it away from all sharp objects to avoid premature deflation. 
  • Risk of developing back problems – There’s always a risk of developing back pain if you sleep on an air mattress with poor spinal alignment. Since there are no coils to support the middle of the body, the weight tends to weigh down the center part of the air mattress which can lead to posture problems, lower back pain, upper back pain, or neck pain.
  • Unavoidable motion transfer – There’s nothing you can do about the motion transfer on an air mattress. When one person moves, if another person is sharing the mattress, they will feel it.

Making It the Most Comfortable

There are plus sides and downsides to sleeping on an air mattress permanently. However, if you’ve decided to start sleeping this way, there are a few tips and tricks you can follow to make it as comfortable as possible. 

From treating it like a real bed with quality linens to investing in accessories like a bed frame or headboard, here’s how you can make air mattress sleeping feel like a luxury:

Treat It Like a Real Bed

There’s nothing worse than having to fall asleep against the fake velvet texture that typically tops an airbed. If comfort level is important to you, treat it like a real bed – complete with pillows, a top and bottom sheet, and a comforter or quilt on top. Being able to climb under the covers like you’re used to is a small comfort you will be glad to have night after night.

Re-Inflate As Needed

An inflatable mattress won’t be able to last a long time without getting deflated, it’s part of its nature. Rather than waiting for it to deflate and getting upset about it, set up an inflating schedule that you follow closely to avoid any major deflations or disappointments. When you top up the air every so often, you start to forget about the old days of waking up on the ground.

Choose a Mattress Topper

One small change that can make a major difference is investing in a high-quality memory foam mattress topper for your airbed. This can help with heat retention and temperature regulation as well as absorbing a bit of the motion transfer energy. It can also help mimic the texture and feel of a real mattress and make it feel less like an air mattress.

Invest in Accessories

If you’re going to be sleeping on this mattress every night, you’re already saving a ton of money. 

Use a bit of your savings to invest in a few accessories that can make your nights more enjoyable and comfortable. 

Some of the top-recommended accessories include a headboard, mattress stand, or bed frame. Depending on the permanence of your living situation, you may also choose to invest in a side table, shams, or additional throw blankets for extra comfort. 

How to Choose a Permanent Air Mattress

Not all inflatable beds are made the same. When you buy a cheap one, you can usually tell the difference from a higher-quality product.

Before you make your final selection, here’s what you need to consider to make sure you’re choosing a good air mattress for long-term or permanent use.

Comfort

What is more important for sleep than your comfort? Nothing! Do whatever you can to find a product that will support your comfort at night. Some mattresses have features that others do not that make them more attractive, like air coils. These act similar to regular metal coils in providing additional support throughout the middle of the mattress to keep the center from dipping and resist motion transfer.

You can also find air mattresses with built-in accessories like a headboard or bed stand for extra support and stability.

Air Retention

Air retention is an important feature you’ll find only in the best air mattresses out there. So many of the lower-priced air mattresses can give out on you thanks to pin-prick holes that seem invisible to the eye but can let the air out like crazy. So, it’s a good idea to check for reviews about air retention to see what previous buyers have to say about how long the air stayed inside. 

Material

Most inflated mattresses are made from materials like PVC, vinyl, or other types of plastic. For most people, this is fine because this is what they expect. If you’re looking for a nicer mattress, however, you can look for more eco-friendly options that are PVC-free.

Durability

Another concern about the synthetic materials typically used to make inflatable mattresses is their durability. Something as small as a rock underneath the tent can lead to air leaks. To combat this, look for mattresses with reinforced bottoms or double lining.

Warranty

Some air mattresses come with a warranty that protects you against problems and leaks caused by manufacturing defects. If you’re worried about the longevity of your bed, look for a product that features a good warranty before you buy anything. 

Maintenance

Are you okay with an air mattress that you have to maintain regularly with air top-ups and maybe a few patches here and there, or are you only looking for something that can go the distance without much maintenance from you?

Checklist for the Ideal Air Mattress

Ready to purchase your long-term or permanent air mattress? To ensure you come home with a good air mattress, make sure it checks off all these items:

  • Can stay filled with air for long periods
  • Size fits where you need to sleep
  • Comfortable material on top
  • Resistant to tearing
  • Additional accessories like headboard or mattress topper

These are our top recommendations and qualifications for a good air mattress. 

If you’re looking for more specific recommendations on what brand to buy, some of the highest-rated and best-known brands include Intex, Neverflat, SoundAsleep, or Insta-Bed. You can typically find all of these brands available from retailers like Amazon.

FAQs for Sleeping on an Air Mattress Permanently

Do you still have questions about sleeping on an air mattress permanently? You’re not alone. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on the subject:

How Long Can An Air Mattress Go Without Deflating?

A new mattress should be able to go at least several days without deflating. The goal is to at least be able to sleep through the night without waking up on the floor because all of the air came out of the mattress. If you can make it through three or four nights with a still-filled air mattress, that’s a pretty good record.

Will Long-Term Use of an Air Mattress Hurt My Back?

There will always be a risk of back pain with the long-term use of any improper sleeping method. It has less to do with the mattress itself and more to do with the alignment of the spine when sleeping. If you can realign your spine or sleep in a different position, you can sleep on a mattress filled with air for a long time without negative repercussions. However, if you’re waking up with back pain and continuing to sleep the same way night after night, you’ll likely experience more problems. 

How Long Can I Continuously Sleep on an Air Mattress?

Can you sleep on an air mattress permanently? Maybe not permanently, but you can sleep on a quality one for months or even a year. Most sleep experts recommend that you change your mattress out every eight years, but it would be surprising for an air mattress to last anywhere near that long. 

You shouldn’t continue to sleep on an air mattress if it’s causing you pain or keeping you from getting quality sleep. As long as you are waking up feeling good and healthy in the mornings, there’s no problem with sleeping on an air bed every night.

Conclusion

Can you sleep on an air mattress permanently? Of course, you can! As long as you consider your spinal alignment and aren’t waking up on the floor every morning due to air loss, there’s nothing that should be keeping you from at least trying to sleep on an air mattress long-term. 

Not only are these mattresses affordable, but they’re also incredibly affordable and can be just as comfortable as a regular bed when bought with care and spruced up with a few extra accessories. 

Use our recommendations and checklist for a good air mattress to ensure you make the right purchasing decision –  and sweet dreams.