I live in a one bedroom apartment with no pull-out couch, so whenever guests come to stay, either they or I usually end up sleeping on my inflatable air mattress. Due to these adventures, I have collected a list of tips and tricks to make the night more bearable (and perhaps even comfortable) if you're sleeping on an inflatable.
See below for my list, and of course add your own.
1. If you haven't yet purchased an inflatable mattress and are planning to, splurge and get the double. I'm a small person with a five pound chihuahua, and somehow one of us is always falling off the edge of the twin.
2. Skip the bells and whistles. Air mattresses don't last forever, and a basic inflatable can be just as comfortable as a more expensive, air-chambered version. I have the Guest Choice from Aero Bed, which is as basic as they come, and have had it for nearly ten years with no problems. Make sure to find one that has a pump which can adjust air. This one has a release button for perfect inflation. Also, find a mattress that is at least 20 gauge vinyl or higher to prevent tiny holes from developing.
3. Utilize your sleeping bags: the original air mattresses. Create a pillow top over an inflated air bed with open sleeping bags, blankets or memory foam. The air inside of the mattress will gradually cool overnight, and likely make you colder than a regular bed. Pad it for comfort and warmth.
4. Make it like a real bed. After creating the pillow top, make up the air mattress like you would any other bed: with a sheet set, blanket and comforter. It's tempting when you're tired to just drop down and use a blanket to cover you, but making it up like your regular bed will provide a better night's sleep.
5. Make sure to place the bed on a soft surface. Most air mattresses have vinyl or plastic underneath to prevent movement and sliding. That will squeak all night on a hardwood floor. Opt to place it on carpet, a rug, or drop a blanket under it.
6. Create a headboard. If your air mattress doesn't already have one built in, create a faux-headboard by placing the mattress in front of a wall. Beds have headboards for lots of reasons, but one of them is to keep your pillows from falling backwards off the bed.
7. Keep pets away from the unmade mattress! Especially cats. Air mattresses are fun and exciting to curious pets, and claws can damage them with one quick pop. Plus, if you have future guests that happen to be allergic, it will be hard to remove all traces of their dander.
8. When in doubt, have a glass of wine. That always puts me right to sleep!
Goodnight and good luck!