Sleep problems are a major concern while RVing. Even the most experienced adventurer can struggle with getting enough restful sleep when away from home. With so many new sights to see and exciting activities to participate in, finding time for much-needed sleep can be hard. Are you planning an RV trip and worried about getting a good night’s sleep? Don’t fret; we are here to help!
This blog post will discuss avoiding sleep problems on your RV trip by providing some key tips to follow to maximize your success at a good nights sleep. If you are sleeping in a tent instead of a vehicle, read our tips on sleeping in a tent.
Tips For Better Sleep
Here are Tips and tricks to avoid sleep problems on your RV trip.
Invest in Comfortable Bedding
One of the best ways to avoid sleep problems on your vacation is to invest in a comfortable mattress designed for travel. Memory foam beds provide superior comfort and conformity, while air mattresses are lightweight and easy to inflate. Even camping cots can be used for sleeping outdoors on the ground. A sleeping pad for car camping or tent camping is absolutely essential not just for padding, but for warmth. If car camping, or RV camping, extra pillows, and extra bedding goes an extremely long way to making it easy to get comfortable.
For Vans, SUVs, or RVs where there is space, investing in a permanent bedding solution, or a short queen size mattress can make your space just as comfortable as sleeping at home.
Whatever you choose, bring plenty of blankets and pillows for extra comfort during the night. A comfortable bed will ensure you get a relaxing sleep after a long day of sightseeing and exploring the open road.
If sleeping in a car with limited space, bedding may not be available. This is where a quality sleeping bad rated for the proper temperatures can make a giant difference in comfort. Read our guide on the best sleeping bags for more information.
If you are sleeping in a sleeping bag, a sleeping pad is 100% essential for comfort. Not just for padding, but sleeping pads are essential for staying warm on cold nights. Read our guide on the best sleeping pads for more information.
Short queen RV mattresses are designed to fit in the limited space of an RV (recreational vehicle) and provide a comfortable and supportive sleeping surface for travelers.
These mattresses are typically 60 inches wide and 75 inches long, 5 inches shorter than a standard queen mattress. They are also typically made with a firmer, more supportive foam to withstand the rigors of travel and provide a stable, comfortable sleeping surface.
A wide range of short queen RV mattresses is available on the market, made from various materials such as memory foam, polyfoam, and hybrid combinations of foam and innerspring coils. Some mattresses also feature additional features such as cooling technology, removable covers, and edge support. If you have the space, investing in this will basically change the game for comfort in your vehicle.
Sleep On Flat Ground
Park in such a way that your bedding is as flat as possible. If an angle is impossible to remove, park, and sleep at an orientation that keeps your head above your feet, and keeps the angle as minimal as possible. Even small angles can get surprisingly uncomfortable.
Avoid Electronics Before Bed
The blue light emitted by electronics can interfere with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Avoid screens for at least an hour before bedtime to help promote better sleep.
Get Physical Activity
Exercise can be important in getting quality sleep. One of those steps should be getting plenty of exercise during the day. Regular physical activity during the day can contribute to longer, deeper, and more restful sleep since exercise stimulates muscle activity while releasing hormones and endorphins, which help regulate your circadian rhythm.
Set a Consistent Sleep Schedule
When planning your trip, establish a consistent sleep schedule and stick to it to ensure your body and mind gets enough rest at night.
Planning and assessing your time zone and ideal bedtime can help regulate your internal clock. Aim to wake up every day around the same time, even on weekends–you don’t have to be strict about it; try to stay close to that pattern. It can be tempting and easy to deviate from this pattern, especially when adventuring regularly where waking up early is necessary for an adventure. That being said, do your best to keep it as consistent as possible.
Plan To Sleep 7-9 Hours
Nearly 99% or more people require 7-9 hours of sleep to maximize health and performance. Therefore, you need to make sure that you are planning a bed time, and a wake up time that is giving you that amount of sleep. If you are going to bed at 12, with a plan to wake up at five, you are setting yourself up for failure. Plan your sleep, and attempt to execute that plan.
Use a Noise Machine, Fan, or Earplugs
Reach for a noise machine or earplugs to help block out the sound of passing cars and motorhomes. Noise machines are portable and come in various sizes so that you won’t be sacrificing space on your next RV trip. Sometimes a simple fan is the best bet as it keeps the air circulating, and creates a constant noise that can dull out any other noises.
This becomes especially important if camping near other campers, or next to a road where vehicles can be driving by.
Have Quality Ventilation
With so many people in such close quarters, it is important to ensure your RV is well-ventilated. Open the windows and turn on fans to keep fresh air circulating throughout the space. This becomes especially nice on a cool evening where using a heater or AC isn’t necessary.
If the heater or AC is needed, a fan is a great way to simply keep the air moving throughout the van. In our opinion, this is a major factor in staying comfortable.
Get Familiar With Your RV
The first step is to get familiar with your RV before you embark on your trip; simply before you leave, get to know the ins and outs of your RV. Acquaint yourself with the bed layout, temperature settings, available guests in each room, and any other features that may impact your sleep quality. If you aren’t familiar, what often happens is that you get to your camping location, you take too much time getting the RV setup, working with settings, and stay up too late. Then you wake up in the middle of the night because you forgot to shut something off, or turn something on, further interrupting your sleep.
Being prepared will keep your mind at ease, but also increase your efficiency in setting up for a night out.
Keep Your Bedroom Cool And Dark
A cool and dark bedroom can help you sleep more comfortably. Use blackout curtains or shades to block out light, and consider using a portable air conditioner or fan to keep the air circulating.
Avoid Caffeine And Alcohol Before Bedtime
Avoid drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages in the evening. Caffeine consumption should also be limited and avoided for a few hours before bedtime because caffeine is known to keep people awake. Additionally, try to stay away from alcohol as much as possible since it can cause you to wake up more frequently at night.
Use The Bathroom Before Bed
Having to get up in the middle of the night to go the bathroom is never fun. While you always should stay hydrated, avoid excessive drinking before bed, and make sure you use the bathroom right before getting in bed to maximize your chances of making it through the night.
Create a Pre-sleep Ritual
It is important to create a pre-sleep ritual that helps your body and mind relax. It can include reading, listening to calming music, or practicing breathing exercises. A ritual can also help you stay on a schedule. Preferably, this ritual should be something relaxing. Avoid social media, phones, or exercise immediately before bed.
Getting quality sleep while on an RV trip can be challenging, especially if you are not used to the environment. You’ll notice that most of our tips require discipline. That makes some of them tough, while others are super easy to get write. If you can tackle all of these tips, you are significantly increasing your odds of a good night of sleep.
Sleeping well will keep you healthier, and keep you more ready for adventure.
Choosing the right vehicle size and layout, adding comfort-boosting elements like blackout curtains, and investing in comfortable bedding will help ensure you get the sleep you need while away from home.
So, plan and make sure you get some restful sleep while on your RV trip!
Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about