Why Do Air Mattresses Deflate Overnight?

Why Do Air Mattresses Deflate Overnight?

Why do air mattresses deflate overnight? You have guests over and you have them sleep on the air mattress, but when they wake up they find they’ve sunk to the floor. Or maybe you’re camping with an air mattress to get off the hard ground but it inevitably lets you down. Whatever reason you may have for using an air mattress they seem to always mysteriously deflate overnight. This has always baffled us too so we set out to find the answers and share them with you.

Causes 

A picture of an air mattress.
Pikist

Holes

So, why do air mattresses deflate overnight? The first and most likely possibility is that there is a hole in the air mattress. Depending on the age, quality, and how well it’s cared for, a mattress will develop holes sooner or later.

Nothing lasts forever. Even newer mattresses can have holes small enough to be unnoticeable until you find it leaking overnight. This could be due to shipping or other circumstances. If this is the case look into returning it for a replacement. Tiny holes can be a pain to patch simply because they can be hard to find. However, there are plenty of methods around the internet to help find holes beyond just carefully inspecting the mattress. Once the holes have been found, duct tape is your friend.

Air Valve

Holes may be the first culprit to be considered, but it could also be the air valve on the mattress. If the cap of the valve is not firmly sealed air could leak out. It is an easy thing to forget, especially late at night. The pump itself could also be the culprit for air leakage. If the air mattress was inflated with a pump, removing the nozzle may let out some air.

Some valves attempt to prevent this with internal flaps, but nothing is perfect. Additionally, the material around the valve may wear out over time leading to minute holes around the valve. Try to be careful with the valve and not jostle it unnecessarily to reduce wear. When inflating the air mattress try to use the pump as directed to avoid air loss.

Physics

While material causes are common, the most unavoidable cause is a law of physics called the ideal gas law. When air, or any other gas for that matter, becomes colder it will condense. This is why you need to inflate your tires more during winter. So while there is the same amount of air in the mattress it will seem less inflated. This will happen anytime there is a decrease in temperature from when the mattress was inflated. When the temperature goes back up the air will expand. If camping with an air mattress there is little to be done. If the mattress is inside try to keep the temperature consistent.

Combination

It is also possible to have some combination of these potential causes as well as others. When trying to determine the cause of the leakage a sharp eye is always helpful. It is amazing how much small holes or worn patches can affect the inflation level of an air mattress.

Preventative Measures

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Unsplash

Each of these causes come with their own complications and potential fixes. As with most things, there is no cure-all. There will always be some form of deflation or condensing with an air mattress. There are a few things you can do to get the most out of your mattress.

Care

The best thing you can do is to treat your air mattress with care. This will prevent holes from forming and slow down the wear and tear that will weaken the air mattress. When using it try not to stand on it or otherwise put too much pressure on one spot. Every once in a while is fine but it can build up over time. Air mattresses are only designed to withstand so much pressure. When laying flat this pressure is spread out and the mattress will be fine. The less surface area you have on the mattress the more pressure there is on a specific point.

Storage

Storing your air mattress properly is also important. Your air mattress should come with instructions on its needs. Following these will help extend the lifetime of your air mattress. In general, make sure the mattress is clean and dry before packing it away. You should also take care in folding it as this can cause stress on the material. After folding be sure to put it in a container that will protect it from sharp objects and other hazards. The mattress should be stored in a location that will not fluctuate excessively in temperature.

Conclusion

If none of these are to your satisfaction, there are air mattresses that come with built-in pumps that will turn on throughout the night to reinflate the mattress. These will of course be a little more expensive but it may be worth the price. That said even a fancy built-in pump won’t be able to stop deflation if there are several holes in the mattress. Taking care of your air mattress is still important to its longevity.

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