How To Make An Air Mattress More Comfortable

Charlotte Corbin in Air Mattresses

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Air mattresses typically provide a comfortable night’s sleep. However, there are a few pain points that an air mattress can present.

We have some great tips on setting one up, so you wake up rested and recharge the next morning!

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Many of us have, at some point in our lives, slept on an air mattress while camping, sleeping over at someone’s house, or as a temporary bed when moving. Then there are a select few who opt to sleep full time on one. It might surprise you to learn that the air mattress has been around since the 1800s!

The concept of sleeping on a “cloud” of adjustable firmnesses sold consumers long ago to trade in their traditional heavyweight cotton mattress for a lightweight option.

Today, the air mattress is not only used when camping or for overnight guests, but the medical industry uses it for patients bedridden or recovering.

Why Aren’t Some Air Mattresses Comfortable?

Because an air mattress is so lightweight, it tends to slide easily when getting onto it or turning over. Sliding extends over to sheets coming off due to lack of a proper fit, or they don’t have something to grip onto.

Perhaps the biggest complaint regarding sleeping on this type of mattress is waking up to little or no air left inside of one. During the colder months, air mattresses can be quite cold. Air offers no insulation when the mattress is directly lying on a cold floor or ground.

So, just how do we stay warm on something that won’t deflate or slide around while keeping the bed linens intact?

Don’t Skimp On Bed Linens

Whether you are going camping, having a guest over, or using an air mattress temporarily or full time, having lovely bed linens is a must! A bed is only as comfortable and plush as the bed linens you place on it.

Mattress Topper

Adding a lush, plump, comfortable air mattress topper is a must to stay warm and to be comfortable. For the colder climates or seasons, a down-filled topper provides a toasty barrier of insulation between you and the mattress.


Unfortunately, some raised air mattresses lack the form that a fitted sheet requires to hug to stay on. In cases like this, you can purchase a deep-pocket (up to 21”) fitted sheet that will cover the entire mattress. Trust us; if you try putting a standard-size fitted sheet on a raised air mattress, you will fight with it all night long!


Along with sheets, your comforter will make a big difference in the quality of sleep you get. Use the appropriate weight of comfort for the season. Remember, think plush regardless of the season, and be sure the comforter will adequately cover the air mattress.


If there’s one thing we know, it’s the fact that built-in pillows on air mattresses are less than ideal. They are uncomfortable. A pair of fluffy pillows will cradle your neck and head just the right way. Pillows can easily slip off the mattress, so to prevent this, we recommend purchasing a mattress with a built-in headboard, placing the head of the mattress against a wall, back of a sofa, or tent wall.

Create An Anti-Slide Surface On The Bottom Of Your Air Mattress

Air mattresses notoriously slip and slide because the bottom side just doesn’t have anything to grip to. Plastic is slippery on any surface, whether it’s carpeting, wood, linoleum, or a tent floor.

We have an ingenious way to put a stop to the sliding!

Use a thick non-skid carpet pad/underlay for hard floors. These pads are easy to cut-to-size and fold up nicely to store. If you happen to take it camping with you, any dirt can easily be washed off because it’s waterproof.

Purchase An Air Mattress With Never Flat Technology

The dreadful slow, leaking air mattress is something that some of us have dealt with. Waking up to a deflated bed and a sore back is very unpleasant. It’s a given that any mattress will lose air. Several factors encourage deflation.

  • Pinholes cause slow air leakage.
  • Cold or high altitude environments.
    • Cold temperatures cause the air to condense, resulting in air loss.
    • Air is much thinner at higher altitudes resulting in air loss.
  • Weight and position on the mattress.
    • Mattresses have weight limits. Too much weight causes air loss.
    • Sitting on the edge of the mattress can cause air loss.
  • Haphazard folding of a mattress causes pinholes.
    • Air mattresses should be carefully folded and stored in a proper bag to avoid damage to the overall integrity of the mattress.

There’s an option that’s affordable and not near as costly as a sleep number bed. The Never Flat pump works all night long to silently keep the mattress consistently inflated. Many of your higher-end airbed systems have similar secondary pumps that maintain inflation.

Raising The Mattress Off The Ground Keeps You Warm

Air mattresses come in either a single or raised design. Raised air mattresses are taller in height to get you up and off the cold floor/ground while making it easier to get in and out of bed. The single mattresses are low and not much taller than 10”. Because these are lower and closer to the ground/floor, raising it up will keep you warmer. The warmer your mattress stays, the less air it will lose.

So, how do you raise an air mattress up on the floor/ground? An air mattress foundation/base is perfect for getting your bed up and off the floor/ground. Air mattresses on frames are great for supporting your air mattress. For camping, you can use folding cots or an inflatable bed base.

Choose Your Desired Level Of Firmness

One of the pros of using an air mattress is the ability to add or subtract air to make the bed exactly as firm as you want.

This one’s pretty simple but just stop inflating the air mattress as soon as you get it to the point you prefer. Alternatively, just open the valve and let air out if it’s a little bit too firm…simple as that.

Add Complimenting Comforts

If you are camping or having overnight visitors, create a homey, welcoming retreat for sleep by adding a few elements. So, you have that fluffy bed all complete with marshmallow-like bedding; before you or your guests sink into all of that relaxing goodness, don’t forget just a few more things.

Get A Headboard

Either that or just put the air mattress against the wall. Just something for your pillows to rest against…sleeping on an air mattress without a headboard sort of feels like you’re on an island and doesn’t let you use the entire air mattress since you have to worry about pillows falling off.

Bedside Table

Place a small bedside table or make-shift table (box, ice chest, stacked luggage) within arm’s reach of the mattress.

Add Lighting

Add a small lamp (battery or electric), a bottle of water, a few tissues dotted with lavender, a small flashlight, and an interesting book for bedtime reading.

Get A Rug

Put a small foot rug just next to the mattress for bare feet to enjoy.

Install A Power Strip

It’s pretty inconvenient to sleep on an air mattress and not have anywhere to charge your phone or laptop. A cheap power strip placed next to the bed can be really helpful to help your visitors easily charge their devices.

In Summary

We hope our tips have given you some valuable information on ways you can take a simple air mattress and make it a cloud of comfort.

By adding these little touches, you will surely find sweet slumber on air!

Charlotte Corbin

Charlotte is an avid hiker, camper, traveler and home maker. She enjoys writing about sleep, especially ways to sleep comfortably while not in her regular bed at home.