Keeping Warm On An Air Mattress

The basic understanding behind air mattresses feeling cold is the air itself. A thin bit of air-filled plastic isn’t exactly an award-winning insulation solution.

The air inside will be more or less equal to the ambient temperature of the room or tent it is situated in. Drop the temperature a few degrees, and you’re sleeping on a cloud-refrigerator hybrid.

To worsen the situation, the handful of air particles you manage to heat up is quickly replaced with cool ones all night.

So how do you save yourself or your guests from these cold nights? This article will walk you through three objective ways to keep you warm; modifying the mattress, investing in technology, and changing the variables around the mattress.

The solution best for you will vary on how you use your air mattress. For camping, keep in mind your size and weight restrictions and the feasibility of using the solution outdoors. At-home use allows for more flexibility.

With more storage areas and amenities, you won’t have to worry about the same variables campers do.

Mattress Modifications

This suggested solution can be as simple or creative as necessary to suit your needs. Many modifications include items you most likely already own, or can easily acquire.

The cold spreads from the ground to the air mattress, ultimately onto you. Putting as much space between yourself and the ground as possible is ideal to combat this.

Adding a layer between the ground and the mattress is good, but the best solution is to put a layer (or two) between yourself and the air mattress.

Since both the ground and ambient air could be cold, adding insulation on top of the mattress is the most efficient way to keep warm. Below are a few layer options that work well.

Sleeping pad

Sleeping pads can be quite packable and lightweight for camping. Their dense material is great for insulating.

Put one on top of your mattress to stay warm all night. If you have extra, adding one under the mattress is also helpful for added mattress protection, comfort, and warmth.

Reflective Insulation Roll

This a quick and easy solution to add on top of your mattress. Pick up a roll from your local hardware store and cut a few pieces to tape together.

Then lay it on your mattress for an effective and light solution. For those who love the best camping gear, there are reflective foil-insulated sleeping pads.

Blankets/Sleeping Bag

This has to be one of the easiest solutions on the list. Add a couple of blankets on top of the mattress, and they will reduce the heat you lose through the mattress. Keep in mind, carrying multiple blankets can be bulky for camping purposes.

Mattress Pad

Similarly to the previous options, a mattress pad adds additional insulation. Consider layering a blanket under a mattress pad for clean, secure, extra warmth at night.


A slice or two of high-density foam will stop the cold mattress air from sending a chill up your spine the night. Pair it with any of the other options mentioned above for warmth.

Investing In Technology

When I first think of air mattresses, I think of the one in the basement I bought at university for weekend camping and friends crashing over.

We didn’t have an electric pump, which was a pain to fill. I spend most of my time trying to keep it inflated so that I don’t even consider the warmth. Investing in a new air mattress is probably a good call if you’re like me.

If you already have an air mattress that doesn’t leave you with your back on the ground by 4 am, then some of the products below can help you maintain a more comfortable sleep.

Electric Mattress Pads

These are grand. If you have an outlet or source of power, then this is the perfect addition to keep you warm all night. Just wrap it around the bed and adjust the heat as needed, no questions asked.

Heated Blankets

Like the electric mattress pads, heated blankets are ideal if you have a power source. The only difference – the heat is coming from on top of you, instead of below. Choose your preference and feel the heat.

Insulated Air Mattresses

Yes, there are air mattresses that come with insulation. And since I bought the cheapest air mattress over a decade ago, this is a feature I seriously want to consider when purchasing a new one.

The extra built-in insulation makes it much easier to have a warm night. You can always pair it with a mattress modification listed above for comfort.

Cot-style Air Mattresses

If you want something more luxurious that will keep you warm, a cot-style air mattress will do the trick.

The heat-saving benefit comes from the raised bed. When the air mattress is off the ground, it is not as susceptible to the bone-chilling temperatures of the floor.

Thinking Outside the Box… Or Mattress

Last, changing variables around the bed can help you stay warm on your air mattress. Follow these few tips to save heat.


Ensure your mattress is placed as far away as possible from windows, doors to the outside, and other drafty areas.

This will reduce the cold air inside your mattress. Position the air mattress in the middle if you’re in a tent. Cold moisture can seep through the tent when your mattress is pushed up against the side.

Get It Off The Floor

Raising an air mattress off of the floor is a good way to keep the air inside of it from cooling down (especially if it’s a hard floor).

While this may not be an option on a camping trip, it’s something to consider if you’re setting up an air bed in your home.

Hot Water Bottle

Keeping a toasty bottle by your side is a great option to stay warm. Put it in the sheets before bedtime to preheat the bed if you feel fancy.

More Clothing

Nothing like more layers to keep you warm. If you’re in a bind, wearing as much as possible can keep you from freezing in the night.

This isn’t the most glamorous option, and shouldn’t be a lifeline – make sure you have the proper gear for the trip.

In Summary

While sleeping on an air mattress might not be your ideal choice, it does not have to be cold. There are a variety of modifications you can supplement your air mattress with.

Additionally, purchasing new products or adapting the space in which you put the mattress can go a long way to having a warm night.

Using the tips above, ensure your next camping trip or house guest is comfortable and warm.