Keeping Warm On An Air Mattress

Charlotte Corbin in Air Mattresses

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The basic understanding behind air mattresses feeling cold, is the air itself. A thin bit of plastic filled with air, 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 make the situation worse, the handful of air particles you manage to heat up, are quickly replaced with cool ones all night long.

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So how do you save yourself or your guests from these cold nights? Well, 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, as well as the feasibility of using the solution in the outdoors. At home use allows for more flexibility. With more storage area and amenities, you won’t have to worry about the same variables campers do.

Mattress Modifications

This suggested solution can be as simple or as creative as necessary to suit your needs. A lot of the modifications include items you most likely already own, or can easily acquire. The cold spreads from the ground to the air mattress, and ultimately onto you. To combat this, it is ideal to put as much space between yourself and the ground as possible. 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

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 top of 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. Simply add a couple 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 or two under a mattress pad for clean, secure, extra warmth in the night.


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

Investing In Technology

When I first think of air mattresses, I think of the one in my basement that I bought in university for weekend camping and friends crashing over. We didn’t have an electric pump, so that thing was a pain to fill. I spend most of my time trying to keep it inflated, that I don’t even consider the warmth. If you’re like me, investing in a new air mattress is probably a good call. If you already have an air mattress that doesn’t leave you with your back on the ground by 4am, 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

Just 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 definitely a feature I seriously want to consider when purchasing a new one. The extra insulation built-in makes it that much easier to have a warm night. You can always pair it with a mattress modification listed above for absolute comfort.

Cot-style Air Mattresses

If you want something more on the luxurious side, 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

Lastly, but not least, changing variables around the bed can help you stay warm on your air mattress. Follow these few tips to save heat.


Make sure 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. If you’re in a tent, position the air mattress in the middle. 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, if you’re setting up an air bed in your home it’s something to consider.

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’re feeling 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 a cold one. 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, you can make sure your next camping trip or house guest is comfortable and warm.

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.