We’ve been getting terrible sleep lately. We’re tossing and turning all night, dreaming way more than usual, and waking with cricks in our necks. If you’re out traveling and exploring like us, we have full days of fun and adventure or hard work pushing ourselves on projects. We ain’t got no time for no sleep! We have to get good rest or we’ll be exhausted and grouchy in a fun new place! No bueno.
I’ve been researching how to sleep better and here are some tips I found to set yourself up for better sleep in your RV. I also made a list of sleeping gear to have to get better sleep, too.
7 Tips for Getting Better Sleep in Your RV
Find a Secluded Site/Spot
First, find a secluded spot to camp tucked away from traffic and neighbors.
Depending on the circumstances that can be hard. If you’re planning to stay at a crowded campsite, ask the campsite host for the quietest spot available. Hosts know their sites well and can put you in the best spot. Also, double check that you’re away from a bathroom. Waking up hearing the bathroom door slam over and over in the middle of the night is terrible.
To take it a step further, phone ahead and reserve your campsite in advance asking for the quietest spot available.
2. Cut Out Incoming Light at Night
I’ve learned light has a big role in our sleep/wake cycle, so if you’re a light sleeper it’s going to be a much better night’s sleep if you cut out incoming light. In our RVs, we have the sun streaming in, headlights from cars coming into camp late at night, or Walmart’s parking lot lights streaming in all night. Installing blackout curtains can cut out the light from interrupting our sleep.
We haven’t done this yet, because we like waking up with the sun. But, when we make quick trips cross country, we stay in lots of Walmart and Cracker Barrel parking lots at night. I’m realizing the parking lot lights coming through the cracks of our blinds aren’t helping our sleep:(. It’s now on my to-do list.
3. Put Away Screens Before Bed
We’re learning this is a big deal to getting good sleep and this is a tip for day-to-day life, too.
When we’re in our RVs, it can be tempting to kick back and start scrolling social media or watching Netflix to unwind at the end of the day. However, to get restful sleep, we should put away our phones and screens at least 2 hours before we want to fall asleep.
I found this article about the light from our phones actually confuses our bodies into thinking it’s daytime. The light makes our minds want to wake up and turn on. This explains why we have a harder time falling asleep or not getting restful sleep because we’re waking ourselves back up with our screen lights. You can check out the article here:
To get better at this, I set up a daily alarm on my phone at 8 pm to remind me to put away my phone and computer and open a book before bed. So far it’s been a good nudge to start wrapping up my day.
4. Stick to a Regular Sleep Schedule
Adam and I’ve learned we thrive when we follow routines. Go figure. We started this lifestyle to have freedom, but we’ve figured out we’re better off with routines and it seems like the same is true with getting better sleep.
If you have a nightly routine at home or before you were RVing, then stick with it! Do what you can to transfer your routine over to RV life while you’re traveling. You might not always be able to follow your routine when you’re doing things and having adventures, but be as close to it as you can to get better sleep.
I’ve learned a consistent sleep schedule tunes your body’s internal clock for a regular sleep and wake cycle. When I look back at the seasons of life where I was on a strict schedule, I remember feeling more fresh, energized, and calmer. I'm excited to try this again.
5. Get a Good Mattress
Some of the mattresses that come standard in RVs can be stiff, thin, and uncomfortable. Our “mattress” that came with the Casita was four bench cushions squeezed together. For one night, that’s doable, but for a full-time lifestyle like ours or going out for weeks or months at a time, that’s not a long term solution to good sleep.
Sleepadvisor’s 48 Sleep Hacks say a better mattress is important to help prevent issues with cricks in your neck and back pain, especially if you’re being physically active during the day. That’s all of us in our RVs.
Thankfully, we inherited a Spa Sensations Memory Foam mattress when we bought our Casita, and WE LOVE IT! We think it’s more comfortable than sleeping at our family and friends when we’re visiting. We love it so much, we got this mattress for our bed when we moved back into our home in Colorado. It’s less than $250. To get better sleep it’s well worth investing in an upgrade!
6. Get the Right Pillows & Sheets for the Season
We’ve learned this one over the years. Pillows and sheets are super important for your comfort in your RV. Whatever pillow you like, make sure you get a good one. Adam likes lumpy and thin, I like medium. We know when we’re accidentally using the other pillow, because it just doesn’t feel right. So, make sure you have good pillows to sleep with instead of the leftover ones from home.
Also, having the right sheets is so important for us! When it’s summer, use light and cool sheets. When it’s winter, definitely use flannel.
We’ve learned our sheets definitely determine how well we sleep. If we don’t have the right sheets in summer, we’re hot and sweaty all night. If we aren’t using flannel sheets on cold nights, the chill keeps us tossing and turning.
7. Only Drink Caffeine in the Morning
This is gonna be a hard one for me!
One thing I read is to keep caffeine only in the morning and not drink any in the after noon. This is tough because when we’re out traveling or working, we tend to get tired around 3-4 pm and we want a caffeine pick-me-up mid afternoon.
I’ve been trying to not drink coffee after 12 pm and so far it seems to help me get better sleep.
Some of these tips are combatting uncontrollable things, like noise and light from outside the RV. Others are things we can control and new habits to form like putting screens away, sticking to a routine, and not having afternoon coffee. We’re working on improving this, too.
We hope these tips help you get better sleep in your RV. Wishing you restful sleep tonight!
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