Submitted by Dr. Swift
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Many are still confused between the difference between an air mattress and an Air Mattress Bed. Air mattresses are great in a pinch but provide minimal comfort and support and are more for portable use rather than a permanent sleep system. Air Mattress Beds not only give you the feeling of sleeping on air, but with the right materials and construction, it can be a very comfortable and supportive, permanent sleep system. Air Mattress Beds also have the unique property of allowing different comfort levels for each partner’s side of the bed. Priceless!
Not Air Mattress! Air Mattress Bed!
The idea of sleeping on an air mattress bed was first used in hospitals. Patients who were bed-ridden for extended periods of time were able to rest more comfortably, with fewer pressure points and more even support, than on a regular coil spring hospital bed. It didn’t take long before the air mattress beds made their way into the consumer market, allowing the general public an opportunity to benefit from this exciting and revolutionary technology to achieve a better night's sleep.
With air baffles or chambers in an air mattress bed being the primary method of support, each sleeper can adjust his or her side of the bed to whatever firmness level is most comfortable for them. Why toss and turn with an uncomfortable coils and springs mattress when, with the touch of a button, move into hundreds of relaxing positions. All without creating pressure, stress or strain on your body. Touch a button again and experience a new concept in comfort, while your own personal massage system helps to relieve tired, sore muscles, and reduce everyday tension and fatigue and encourage restful sleep through relaxation.
And with air mattress beds, flipping your mattress is a chore of the past. Over time, with coil and spring mattresses a body impression in the coils will appear if you do not flip your mattress regularly, leading to shorter mattress life. Although some of the comfort materials, like foam rails, ticking and any layered foam in an airbed can take an impression just like any soft material, the air chambers will not. All this leads to years of hassle-free operation and the comfort and convenience to boot.
What to Look For:
Most air mattress beds are constructed in a similar way, using the same basic components. The difference from one manufacturer's product to another's is in the design and sophistication of each of these components. The reliability, durability, and quality of these components, and how these components are designed to work together are what make the difference in a top quality product. In all cases, always be sure to check the warranty, good products are usually backed up with a 15-25 year warranty. If you see 3-10 year warranties, keep shopping!
- All air mattress beds use foam rails to surround the air chambers inside the mattress cover. These rails provide the exterior support of the air mattress, giving it its shape and providing the user with the ability to sit on the edge of the bed to put shoes on, etc. The foam rails are absolutely crucial in keeping the air mattress bed corners square and the sides straight and true. Most air mattress bed manufacturers use a straight piece of foam on the side rails, with the ends butting up against each other, this is less desirable as it relies heavily on the mattress cover to provide lateral support for the internal components. -- Look for contoured foam rails with concave sides that form a connection and hold the air chambers in place, and actually work in conjunction with the air chambers to keep the mattress square and true. You won’t find any instability or bulging with this type of construction.
- Air mattress beds have air chambers or baffles filled with air to provide the main source of support. Most air mattress bed manufacturers use a one piece baffled air chamber system where the air is distributed throughout the air chamber. The problem with this system is that if you like your mattress soft, you can get a "hammock" effect where your hips are below your head and feet. If you like your mattress firm, you can get a "tenting" effect, where your hips are too high. Either scenario puts too much pressure on the back, doesn’t provide the spinal alignment you need for a restorative sleep and can cause those nagging aches and pains. -- Look for dual air chambers, preferably horizontal. Vertical chambers running the length of the bed can still have a “hammock” affect. The preferred horizontally constructed chambers form more naturally to your body providing even and comfortable support while helping to keep your head, neck, and spine in alignment. High quality chambers use tough materials and have a lap seam construction and dialectically sealed for stress resistance.
- All air mattress beds come equipped with a pump to get air in and out of the air chambers. This pump and the handheld control allows you to adjust the firmness level on either side of the bed and “should” have the ability to act as a control system to make adjustments. And a few nice features always help. Many air bed pumps are not that well made and have a tendency to fail at the worst times. -- Look for well constructed pumps that can do the job and don’t sound like a leaf blower. Commercial grade pumps designed to last for 15,000 hours of “continuous use”, will do the job but watch for the noise factor. A linear pump means firmness levels can be achieved with a touch of a button with virtually no noise. Allowing comfort levels to be adjusted without waking your partner. Also take a good look at the hand controls, make sure there’s two, one for each of you and look to see if there’s a preset memory function. This is a convenient way to always end up where you are most comfortable.
That’s the basics of the air mattress bed, but there are a few other items that the highest quality air mattress beds have. -- Look for an extra layer of “quality” base foam to provide better support and shock absorbing capabilities. Also look for a layer of memory foam on top of the air chambers in the casing or as a pillow top. Finally, you want your air mattress bed to look and feel extremely luxurious and comfortable, most high quality air mattress beds are sewn with a premium Belgian Damask ticking and use a pressure relieving jump and tack stitching quilted to one ounce of Angel Hair.
Now that you’re armed with the knowledge to shop for an air mattress bed, don’t forget to put it in the lineup when it’s time to shop for that new mattress. It’s a must try!!
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