Sleeping on an Air Bed: How Does It Affect Your Long-Term Health?

The air mattress is a great concept for many consumers. We love that idea of sleeping on a cloud and having perfect comfort. There are no more lumpy mattresses and annoying springs with an inflatable bed. This could be your solution to get better sleep. There are some concerns over the long-term disadvantages of air mattresses or inflatable beds on our health and well-being.

Is this really more of a short-term solution for camping and guest rather than a long-term solution for the bedroom? Here we will look at the pros and cons of using inflatable mattresses long-term, as well as some of the alternative solution.  We found a great guide on inflatable mattresses on if you want to go that route after reading the rest of our article.

Potential Issues With Health & Well-being When Using An Air Mattress

  • Some people struggle to get comfortable over long periods sleeping on their back
  • There isn’t the adaptability in the materials to keep users in a comfortable position
  • Poor temperature regulation
  • The health of our relationship with our partners

Finding the right firmness to align the spine

It can be difficult to find the perfect middle ground between mattresses that are too soft and those that are too firm. Brands that make air mattresses say that they have something that lies perfectly in the middle. Many users would agree, and appreciate that give in the inflatable chamber, with the taut vinyl cover. The other will struggle to get their spine to align correctly. Long-term misalignment can cause long-term back problems.

Adaptability in the materials

This is an interesting issue as there is some disagreement here. Some people love air beds because they can find the perfect level of firmness for their needs. Some of the best air mattress at the top of a line have plenty of controls where users can adjust the firmness and inflation to meet their needs. This is great for those with the money to spend on that sort of comfort feature. The problem is that this firmness extends across the bed. Therefore, one user may have the perfect feel to the mattress while their partner finds it too firm or too soft. Users may find a way to ease their own back pain or joint issues, but then risk passing on the problem to partner.

Temperature regulation

These inflatable mattresses trap heat in the vinyl, which is uncomfortable in the summer. Then the option isn’t all that warm in the winter either. There is no breathability to the vinyl material, which makes the experience clammy, sticky and a bit unpleasant. In time, this can disrupt the sleep of users.

Damage to relationships

Couples can struggle to use these mattresses long term as it is more difficult to become intimate. This comes down to that trench that tends to form between the two air chamber. This can put a strain on relationships. Add in the issues of discomfort and poor sleep and the situation could get even worse.  Added relationship tension is not what a person needs.

breakfast in bed

Choosing The Right Inflatable Mattress To Avoid These Issues

The problems with these mattresses often depend on the quality of the product. The worst cases of back pain and other medical issues tend to occur in cheaper models. Problems with cheaper models tend to include the following:

  1. low-quality materials
  2. loss of inflation
  3. a lack of support

Those that want to use an air mattress as a more long-term solution should look at products that address these issues. Consider strong mattresses with thick, durable materials that are less likely to degrade or pop. This means mattresses with the strength and structure to resist deflation and retain their shape for longer. Also, there are air mattresses that provide more support and stability for long-term use. Of course, this generally means paying out more for a product that many would like.

It is possible to find an air mattress for long-term use that doesn’t lead to quite as many disadvantages with health and well-being. Are there other downsides to using an air mattress long term.

Source: Mark’s reviews and tutorials

Air Mattresses A Short-term Solution For Back Problems

While these more substantial models can help, there is no doubt that these air mattresses really are more of a short-term solution. They have plenty of pros and cons that mean they aren’t the best option for long-term support and comfort.

The main benefit of an air mattress is the ability to inflate it and set it up wherever required. This is why it is such a popular choice for campers and guest rooms. In both situations, this is a temporary sleeping solution. They are simple and supportive for those short stays. They deflate into small, compact packages for ease of storage and transportation. This all means that they aren’t always built to act as a permanent bed.

Other problems with this approach occur with the ongoing maintenance required. The most obvious here is the pumping needed to keep the bed at the right level of inflation. Users need to stay on top of this to maintain the comfort and structural integrity of the bed. There are also the risks of damage and pops in the night from sharp objects in the bed.

What options are available to those that have an air mattress and want to improve their health and sleep?

There are two options here. Either inflatable mattress users can adapt the mattress that they have to suit their needs, or they can buy a new mattress.

The benefits of using air mattress with a mattress topper

Mattress toppers made from foam and other supportive materials can provide the comfort and support missing in air beds. They have better cushioning and support, which can then help to decrease issues of back and joint pain. This could help users which more specific back and joint issues to make the most of their air bed. The other benefit to this option is that it would reduce costs. These toppers are far cheaper than a new mattress.

mattress toppersThe disadvantages to enhancing an air mattress with a mattress topper

The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t really deal with any of the other problems that come with an air mattress. There is still the issue of maintenance and damage to the air mattress below the topper. Couples may still struggle to use the bed to their liking. The issue of temperature regulation is unlikely to resolve itself, as there is now the hot mattress with the addition of memory foam.

Choosing the right topper to improve your air mattress

Those that like the sound of this solution can invest in a high-quality topper for a fraction of the price of a mattress. Look out for models with the right materials. Memory foam with adaptive layers of strong materials can provide the support missing. It might also be worth looking into a model with special cooling materials to decrease the risk of overheating.

The advantage of buying a new mattress

Those struggling with their health, and that dislike the idea of the topper, may benefit from a new mattress altogether. A new mattress provides the opportunity to really figure out what issues are inhibiting sleep and back health. If poor sleep is an issue, look for a comfortable mattress that won’t overheat and works on the right comfort levels. If back and joint pain worsen, focus on the materials and support in the mattress.

The disadvantages of buying a new mattress

The problems here are the cost and hassle of getting a new mattress. The best models that will deal with those health issues won’t be cheap. However, a well-made, advantageous mattress should be a good investment. Then there is the issue of finding, buying and delivering the product. This isn’t as hard as it once was. There is the choice of the online store or the brick and mortar showroom. The former means great choice and purchasing from the comfort of the home. Many brands ship mattresses out in small boxes, where the memory foam then expands out in the bedroom. Showrooms require more time and effort but allow users to test out models and comfort levels.

What Mattress To Use Instead Of An Air Mattress?

If it comes to the point where there is no saving or modifying the air mattress, it is time to invest in something new. Buyers should make the most of this time to browse options for the best possible solution.

guest bed

Memory foam has its pros and cons

The benefits to memory foam come in the support and comfort offered by all those materials. The deep layers of foam provide a great support system for those that want to sink into the mattress but still find pain relief. These mattresses have also become much more affordable and available. Ongoing developments in materials and features mean a wider range of products across different brands. This competition means a fall in prices and a great choice for the consumer. Buyers can head in store or online and browse different options, test them out and enjoy better warranties.

Still, there are some downsides to memory foam mattresses. The first is that these beds can retain heat as much as air mattresses. Some struggle to get comfortable here. Then there is the waiting period while they find their form and air out. Those that don’t give them enough time find that they get quite lumpy and smelly.

What about the SAT bed?

This is where adaptive firmness comes back into this equation again. We had the idea of adaptive firmness with the high-end inflatable mattresses. Yet, this had its issues and wasn’t as customizable as some would have liked. The Self Adjusting Technology or SAT bed is different. The materials and tech within are much more adaptive and change to meet the needs of users as they move in bed. This means permanent support for those that toss and turn in their sleep. Therefore, it is a great idea for those that already have some problems with back pain and joint problems.

The downside to this approach is that these beds are incredibly expensive in comparison to other options. They are also not that common in the consumer market. Some people with back problems and other health issues have invested in these beds. However, we will find most in the medical industry as high-end hospital beds that are leased on an as-needed basis. This also isn’t the sort of mattress to come compressed in a compact package through the door.

Air mattresses have a mixed reputation, and they aren’t perfect

There are some people that are clearly stuck to this old image of the unhealthy, impractical air mattress. Some believe that this is still nothing more than a temporary solution for guests and campers. This is understandable when we consider the issues faced by couples over long periods. Then there are the health issues of poor sleep and back pain. Yet, top of the range models do have some helpful adjustable features. The best is tough enough to avoid damage, adaptable enough to find comfort and good long-term beds. The worse still have that large trench and deflation issues.

The alternative is to turn to a different type of mattress for long-term comfort and a new approach. There are many people pleased to switch to high-end memory foam or Tempurpedic mattresses instead. They have greater support for back health and could fix some strained relationships. Still, there is the issue of cost. This is quite an expensive investment for those that could make do with an air mattress. Some also won’t fix the issue of overheating.

The best solution is the one that reduces pain and stress for a better night’s sleep

There is no single, perfect solution here that will suit everyone. Air mattresses will be a nightmare for some couples and will exacerbate current problems. In these situations, it really is best to invest in a new mattress that will fix the issue.

Then there are those that say air mattresses are a health miracle, and they do not have any problems with them. Single users and those with high-end products can still sleep soundly in most cases. In the end, users have to pick the solution that suits their personal preferences, medical needs, and their pocketbook.

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