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by Amanda Mears
Air mattresses have come a long way from the simple blow-up air beds that took superhuman lung capacity to fill and often left guests sleeping miserably on a partially deflated plastic mat. From everyday uses like sleepovers and quick naps to special occasions like a remote camping getaway or out-of-town guests, air mattresses are now made to fit your lifestyle. They can stow away neatly or claim a permanent spot in your bedroom, but there are a few facts you may not know about the buoyant beds.
There are three main categories for air mattress use. Air beds are typically set up for temporary guest use in the home, permanent use in place of a regular mattress and camping trips. Different air beds are designed to fit these categories. While you'll find some beds that make storage easy, others are meant to be left inflated round the clock.
Air mattresses come in two heights. Traditionally, air beds are comprised of a single mattress that sits low to the ground. Modern styles have introduced the concept of raised beds, however, for even more comfort. A raised air mattress mimics the look of a box spring and mattress set, but it can still be fitted with standard sheets to match your home decor.
There are many ways to inflate and deflate an air bed. You may remember spending copious amounts of time blowing up an air mattress by hand, but those labor-intensive models are largely a thing of the past. Most modern air mattresses come with an electric pump that makes filling an air bed to the desired fullness easy. Some even feature automatically inflating pumps that take under a minute to fully inflate the mattress -- no additional huffing and puffing necessary.
Adjustable air mattress support can mean a better night's sleep. If you suffer from lower back pain, air beds can be a great alternative to a standard mattress. Specialized remote-control features on some air-mattress models let you adjust the firmness, giving you a low-cost option for a customized mattress.
Despite myths, air beds are not easy to pop. Although it's easy to imagine an air mattress as a giant balloon, it's actually almost impossible to pop an inflatable mattress with pressure or sharp objects. New air bed designs feature tough materials and several air chambers, so you'll never have to worry about a blow-up blow out.
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