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How long can you leave air in an air mattress?

Mar. 07, 2024
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Why do you need an Air Bed?

Gone are the days of flimsy inflatable mattresses that just don’t provide the full night’s rest you need after having to painstakingly inflate them! Air beds are now more portable, comfortable, and user-friendly than ever.  

You need an air mattress for all the times you can’t have an actual bed, but don’t want to forgo comfort. The right blow up bed is perfect for a camping staycation or for when the in-laws come to stay, and won’t break the bank.  

Take a look below to find all the answers to the air bed questions you didn’t know you had! 

How do Air Beds work?

Aside from the obvious, what actually goes into an air bed? Almost all inflatable beds are made from vinyl, also known as PVC. All decent air beds have chambers inside that when inflated, help with reinforcement and ensuring the air bed retains its shape.  

Due to the nature of vinyl PVC, it will take some time for the material to stretch out completely, and the material will continue to stretch during the first few uses, leading to the sensation of a deflating mattress. If you experience this, top up the mattress as needed while the material settles.  

Here’s where it gets more technical, as air does have changing properties. When the air inside an air bed is warmer it expands, and when it’s colder it contracts. This leads to the sensation of a deflated air bed when temperatures drop, as the same amount of air occupies less space.  

The opposite can be true as well, and as the air expands when its warmer, your air bed can be at risk of bursting! Good air beds will allow some air to leak from the seams during normal use to try to prevent this, which can also lead to you waking up to a slightly softer surface.  

In most cases of air bed deflation not due to a leak, the best solution is to blow up the airbed hours before you need it, let it rest, and then top it up slightly before you sleep on it. While they are finicky products, their ease of use, comfort level provided, and general inexpensiveness make them the best option for camping or hosting overnight guests.  

Choosing the right Air Bed




While an air mattress’ firmness is pretty customisable as you can choose how much to inflate it, that’s not the only factor that matters! 


Regardless of the height you choose, inflate your air bed with your comfort level in mind. For a softer, more hammock-reminiscent sleeping experience, do not fill to its entirety, and if you prefer a firmer bed, be sure to fully inflate it. Just remember that your air bed is likely to deflate slightly during the night in its first few uses! 

The next important factors are size and shape. Always be sure to check the weight limits for your chosen air mattress, as some just will not cope if being used by two people at once. You’ll also want a double or king-sized mattress if you’re sharing! If you don’t have pillows to spare (or space to bring them), opt for an air bed with a built-in pillow. These allow you stable neck and head support for a comfortable rest, leaving you refreshed for all your adventures in the morning! 

Finally, you’ll need to choose the material of your new inflatable mattress. Most are now made of vinyl PVC, as it is stretchy and strong enough to keep air in and hold you up! Make sure it’s puncture resistant and that the surface is flocked so it’s comfortable enough for you to use without extra sheets. For the perfect versatile and hard-wearing air bed, try the Comfort Air Bed with Built-In Electric Pump here.



How your air bed needs to be inflated is a very important factor in your decision-making process. With a few methods available, you need to consider a variety of options. 

An airbed that does not come with a built-in pump will require you to pump it up yourself. This can be done with a manual pump, or an electric one which is far quicker and easier. If a pump is not included in your air bed purchase, you can easily buy one for between £5 and £25. 

Inflatable beds that come with a built-in pump will usually require you to plug them into electricity. This method is best as it takes no effort, and your bed can entirely inflate in minutes. The downside is that if you’re camping and don’t have access to electricity, things can get a little trickier. For these occasions you should get an air bed that comes with a pump with a USB port, so that you can power it with a power bank. 

Another built-in pump method is a foot pedal pump, which is convenient as you don’t need to bring any other external pumps with you on your trip. Enjoy the extra space for those all-important camping snacks! 

Ideally choose one that has multiple options of inflation, so the quicker and easier electric methods can be used where possible, but if you’re in a pinch, you can still make use of your air bed. Shop the Active Era Camping Air Bed with multiple inflation methods here.

Added extras:


While not a necessity, these extras will improve your air bed experience (and it’s always nice when your purchase comes with some extra bits and bobs).  

Try look for an air mattress that comes with a travel bag. While deflated air mattresses are not too hard to manoeuvre, that 2-6 kg weight is pretty bulky and a carry bag makes it far easier to chuck it in the car and go! 


In case your air bed springs a leak, you’ll need a repair patch kit. These cost between £6 and £20 and can be found widely online and in sporting goods stores, but having them included in your original purchase just makes life that little bit easier. You’ll also be sure they’re of good quality and will work with your mattress. Some repair kits include patches that stick straight over the hole, and some will require an adhesive, which isn’t always included in your purchase.  

Tips and tricks to getting the most out of your Air Bed

As simple as the concept of filling a PVC structure with air is, there are some tips and tricks you can try to ensure you get the most out of your inflatable mattress. 

Where possible, try placing your air bed on a softer surface before you sleep on it. This will prevent damage being done to the material, as well as keep you warmer. This layer of insulation raises your blow up mattress from the cold ground, which can seep a chill into the plastic of your air bed, which keeps you cold.  

If you fear your air mattress has a puncture and you’re having trouble locating it, try the soap method. All you need to do is dilute about a tablespoon of dish soap in a bucket of water and wipe the mattress down with the mixture. The air coming out from the leak will form a little patch of bubbles on the surface.  All you need to do is mark the spot, deflate the mattress entirely, wait for it to dry and repair it with a patch. Voilà!  

‘Breaking in’ your air bed

Much like a pair of new shoes, air beds are at their most comfortable once they’ve been ‘broken in’. As the PVC stretches the most during the first few uses of an air bed, it’s good to trick the air bed into thinking this has happened before you ever even sleep on it. Here’s how to go about breaking your air bed in:

  1. The day before you intend to use the air bed, blow it up entirely and let it sit for two hours.
  2. Let out about a third of the air in the bed. You can do this by pinching the valve open and pressing on the mattress, or by turning the electric pump to ‘deflate’ for about 40 seconds. Let it sit for an hour.
  3. Blow the bed back up to its full capacity and let it sit overnight.
  4. In the morning, completely deflate the air bed and leave it flat for an hour.
  5. Blow the air bed back up to its full capacity and leave it for the entire day. We recommend lying on it periodically to help it stretch.
  6. In the evening, partially deflate the bed again by removing a third of the air. Let it sit for an hour.
  7. Completely reinflate the bed and enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep!

While your air bed may still lose a bit of air during the night due to temperature changes, stretching it out before you use it will definitely help it remain inflated during use.

Choosing an Air Bed with Active Era

All Active Era air beds come in both single and king sizes with free UK next working day delivery and friendly and attentive customer care.  

Our camping air bed is everything you need to rest comfortably on your next camping adventure.  It comes with a handy travel pack for quick and easy storage and transport, repair patches, and an electric pump that is USB rechargeable and a built-in foot-pump. The tough material handles outdoors well, and the flocked surface means you don’t have to worry about sheets – just one less thing to pack. Shop the Active Era Camping Air Bed with USB Rechargeable Pump here.

For the perfect versatile air bed, our premium range is everything you need. The extra-thick, hardwearing material makes it puncture resistant, while the built-in pillow and flocked surface allow for an extremely comfortable sleep; minimal accessories required!  Although it has an electric pump, it does have a manual valve as well, for flexibility wherever you are. Shop the Comfort Air Bed with Built-In Electric Pump here

The ultimate bed-like comfort – our luxury air bed range. Tall enough to mimic an actual bed experience, with built-in neck and head support and created with 5 I-Beams, your guests will have never been so comfortable.  The electric built-in pump makes inflation and deflation a breeze, and it includes a carry bag and repair patches.  Shop the Active Era Comfort Plus Air Bed with Built-In Electric Pump here


If your mattress is in good condition, all you need to do to make it comfortable for sleeping is pump it up to the desired level, turn off the pump, and get into bed. You will ruin the mattress and the pump if the pump is left on. You should fix the mattress if it leaks enough to make sleeping on it uncomfortable, or you should obtain a new mattress. A reasonably decent air mattress could require a little pumping every few days to maintain the firmness you like.


Never attempt to re-inflate your air mattress while laying on it. It makes it impossible for the mattress to inflate properly. Alternating air pressure pad pumps may wear out when you repeatedly pressurize your air bed with additional pressure. Additionally, if you press down on the bed while the pump tries to force air into it, you risk damaging the bed’s fabric.


Your extremely little air mattress pump engine, pump, and tiny hoses, valves, and connectors are sized and built to “lift” (pressurized) an empty bladder, not another. It is not intended to move a 250-pound person seated on it only because they are “weary.” If you decide to sit on the air mattress, the motor and pump will deteriorate more quickly, and the air mattress won’t fully inflate. But you’ll still need to re-inflate it.


An air mattress might rupture.


Typically, a mattress that has been overinflated won’t immediately burst. If you routinely overinflate your mattress before usage, the seams could “pop.” As the air inside the mattress will be at a higher pressure than the pump can create, a pump used to inflate air mattresses would typically cease pushing air into the mattress before you reach the point when the air mattress would “pop” or burst. At this point, continuing to pump will result in air being blown out of the pump nozzle.


Most contemporary air mattresses have a built-in electric pump, which also shuts off when the pressure inside the mattress reaches its limit. However, suppose you overfill an inflatable mattress with air (i.e., fill it to over 80% capacity). In that case, you risk placing too much pressure on the seams, eventually leading to a seam rip that allows the mattress to lose air and “burst.”


What happens if an air mattress is overinflated?


Yes, it is possible to over inflate an air mattress. Your air mattress will feel less comfortable than one with less air pressure inside of it. Additionally, you risk permanently straining and harming the air bed’s material if you overinflate your hospital bed air mattress. You may shorten your air mattress’ lifespan due to cracks and holes forming. These are the other factors of over inflating your air mattress:


  • Uneasy air mattress


Another consequence of over inflating your air mattress is that it will become quite rigid. It may make the mattress uncomfortable to sleep on and make it challenging to get into and out of bed. Furthermore, if you’re not careful, the mattress’ bounce caused by the stiffness can be difficult. Resting on an air mattress that is too full of air can damage your back.


  • Tamper with the mattresses fabric


The first thing that happens when you over inflate an air mattress is that the fabric begins to stretch. The seams may crack or even rip as a result of this. If it does, your mattress will have a significant hole, and the air inside will begin to flow out. Even if you don’t immediately create hold in your air bed, overinflating will harm the mattresses material, which will eventually cause cracks to form.


Do’s and Don’ts for air mattresses.


The cost of air mattresses might vary depending on the level of construction. Follow these air mattress usage and storage tips to get the most out of your purchase.


  • Avoid using sharp objects near the air mattress.


Your air mattress may be difficult to patch up with holes. The air mattress will probably need to be completely replaced because even interim fixes like duct tape and vinyl repair kits are ineffective. Avoid using anything with a blade near the mattress, such as sharp containers, safety pins, needle clippers, paper clips, or other objects. It is important to remove any potentially damaging items from your pockets before resting down on the mattress.


  • Do maintain inflation while in use



Your air mattress’ seams become overly stressed if you often inflate and deflate it. For instance, instead of blowing up and deflating the mattress daily, leave it inflated for the duration of the guest’s stay if they will be visiting for several days. Note: Don’t sit, lay, or crouch on the air mattress while in the middle of pumping. It may damage both the air mattress and the pump.


  • Avoid overfilling


When air mattresses are fully inflated, the seams are under excessive tension. It is advised to only blow your air mattress to about 90% of its capacity, especially the first time you use it. The likelihood of the mattress rupturing increases as you overfill it.


  • Deflate the airbag for storage


Air mattresses can be fully inflated in just a few minutes using battery-operated or electrical pumps, but they can take much longer to decompress. Unplugging the air valve and rolling the mattress to release the air before storing it could be tempting. However, the mattress might suffer harm as a result of this.


  • Don’t permit animals.


Pets should not be allowed near air mattresses, even if they are accustomed to lying on hospital beds or reclining furniture. Any animal with razor-sharp claws can rip holes in the air mattress that are challenging to patch. The propensity of animals to push off or jump off furniture might strain the mattress seams.


Final Thoughts


It’s simple to fill an air mattress, but you should take care not to overdo it. Use caution when following the instructions for using an air mattress. It is best to avoid lying, sitting, or crouching on the air mattress while it is still inflating. Utilize an air pump with a pressure gauge or determine the mattresses width before inflating it to ensure a restful night’s sleep.

If you plan to use a mattress for more than one night, you should leave it inflated to prevent stress on the fabric from inflating and deflating the air mattress. For more information about air mattresses, contact AvaCare Medical‘s expert medical team through email at [email protected] or by calling at 1-877-813-7799.

How long can you leave air in an air mattress?

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