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As the air bed has evolved, they have started to taken on some of the structural features of ordinary mattresses. Air beds today often had foam reinforcement around the sides, and also a foam layer on top to add additional comfort and softness to the air bed. One might think that they compromises the ability to tweak the firmness on an adjustable air bed, but in practice it doesn't. You can still adjust the firmness very precisely. Moreover, the extra foam helps protect the air bed mattress and gives it greater rigidity. In fact many air beds are better described as a regular mattress with an inflatable core.