4 Tips to Sleep Comfortably While Camping

The hustle and bustle of city life can get anyone down. That’s why more and more people are escaping into nature, replacing cold concrete environments with natural greenery. Data shows that time out in nature can do wonders for your mental health and even benefit your physical health. Camping gives us the opportunity to really immerse ourselves in nature, breathe in the fresh air, and spend a few days just moving instead of sitting in front of a computer. Most people plan out their camping trip by focusing on the daytime activities -- hiking, skiing, sightseeing but one of the worst things you can do is forget to prepare for the night. In fact, to get the most out of your escape its important to sleep comfortably while camping.

A few nights of restful sleep can greatly improve your mood and energy levels, but you have to take special steps to make sure you’re getting the most out of your nights.

Here are a few tips to help you get the best sleep possible while camping.

Pick the Right Spot

Before you start setting up your tent or pulling out the air mattresses, it’s worth spending a bit of time to find a great camping spot. Of course, every person is different, so your own idea of what makes the “perfect spot” depends entirely on your own preference. Here’s a short list of a few of the things you might want to consider.

Things to Consider
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    Look for a hard, flat surface. There’s no worse feeling than sleeping at a slight angle or on top of rocks and exposed roots. Spending a night with things pricking and prodding at your back is a great way to wake up in a bad mood -- if you can fall asleep at all! For those who prefer the comfort of an air bed, you should take precautions to prevent your air mattress from deflating at night by not placing it on any rocks or sharp objects (and maybe even placing a sheet underneath it).
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    Find a place that’s quiet at night. If you’re camping in a park, you can get more restful sleep by picking a spot that’s further away from park facilities. Yes, this means you’ll have to walk a bit further to get to the best hiking spots, but it’s worth it for more restful sleep away from the noise of RVs and other camping groups. If you can, try and set up near a brook. The white noise will help you go to sleep.
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    Face your tent toward the rising sun. Waking up to the rising sun helps reset your biological clock to its natural timing. Our circadian cycles are out of sync due to all the exposure to artificial lighting and computer screens. By orienting your tent to face the sunrise, you’ll wake up every morning to the sun’s soft glow. Additionally, facing the morning sun also means its light will be behind you later in the day, not in your face when you’re setting up for evening activities.

No Screens Before Bedtime

We’re so attached to our phones that they’re the first thing we go for in the morning and they’re the last thing we look at before sleep. However, there’s scientific evidence that shows that the sharp light from our phone screens is responsible for the poor quality of sleep we’re all getting. The blue, artificial light suppresses melatonin, the hormone that manages your body’s sleep cycle.

Leave your phone for emergencies and allow yourself to just enjoy nature and sleep comfortably while camping.

No, I’m not proposing you leave modern life behind and live in the wilds as our ancestors did, but a few days away from your phone can do wonders for your internal clock. After all, humans have spent almost their entire existence scheduling activities and sleep on the rising and setting of the sun. Let your body reset and re-tune to its natural settings.

You’ll find you wake up earlier in the day energized by the best rest you’ve had in months.

Prepare for Pests

Shutting the zipper on your tent’s entrance at night is second nature to most people. Who wants woodland critters getting into your food? But many campers forget the absolute havoc mosquitoes can wreak. The worst part is that they’re so small that they might already be in your tent by the time you close up. It doesn’t even take that many to ruin your night -- just one or two will have you scratching and slapping until morning.

One option is bug spray. A good spray will take out mosquitoes within a minute, but you’ll have to sleep with the smell in your nose all night. If you’re going for the spray, it’s good to release some into your tent a few hours before you go to bed. Keep the entrance closed to allow the spray to work its magic, then enter once you’re ready to sleep.

No camper should leave their home without bug repellant. Whether it’s a spray or a lotion, bug repellant will keep mosquitoes away the whole night through. While very effective, they’re not a complete solution since repellants aren’t meant to be applied to your face.

The best solution is a mix of both. Spray your tent to get whatever bugs have crept in during the day, then apply repellent on your arms, legs, and neck before bed. Don’t forget to zip up whenever you enter or leave your tent.

Regulate Your Body Temperature

Nights out in nature can get really cold. Even if you’ve got a sleeping bag, it’s good to bring along a blanket or two just in case. You can also line your bag with tomorrow’s clothes to keep your toes warm.

For air beds, you can get a nice mattress topper to help make your sleeping experience more comfortable. A good, thick one will help keep the heat from escaping out from beneath you.

Sometimes the nights are actually too warm for comfortable rest. In this case, you can sleep without a blanket or on top of your sleeping bag. Dressing down can help as well -- assuming you’re comfortable enough to do so with your tent mates -- but you’ll need to be extra cautious of mosquitoes getting at your exposed skin.

Opening the door to your tent will allow the cool night breeze in and increase air flow. This is a good option if you’ve got a mosquito net or some other meshed material to prevent animals and mosquitoes from getting in.

Preparation Makes for Great Rest

Just a bit of forethought and preparation can help you get the most of your nights out camping. And the better your rest, the more energy you’ll have to do all the activities you want during the day.

While these tips mostly apply to camping in a tent rather than a camper or RV, there are plenty of ways to make sleep in an RV more comfortable.

Your camping trip will be so much more enjoyable if you’re able to figure out how to sleep comfortably - follow these tips and you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go.