How to Sleep Better While Camping

Coffee cup on campfireThere’s nothing like spending a day doing what you love outside… except maybe getting to do it again the very next day! But you need a good night’s sleep to make sure that you have enough in the tank to get back at it tomorrow. Here are a few tips to help you sleep better while camping.

Have a cut off time for sugar and caffeine. That BC Powder might keep you going on your hike, and those GU energy chews might give you what you need to send your project, but they can also keep you up at night. While people handle sugar and caffeine differently, it’s a good idea to avoid both a few hours before you plan on hitting the sack.

A comfortable sleeping pad will make a world of difference. A good pad provides cushion and insulation to help you sleep. For maximum comfort while car camping, bring an air mattress. Don’t let sneers and jeers from die hard traditionalists keep you from sleeping in style.

While not a necessity, a travel pillow will increase your comfort, making it easier to get some quality rest.

One of the biggest things that can keep you from getting sleep while camping is the cold. Make sure that you have a warm sleeping bag. Adding a sleeping bag liner can increase the warmth of your bag and increase the lifespan of your sleeping bag.

Also, make sure that you have the right type of sleeping bag to suit your preferences. Mummy bags retain body heat better, but they aren’t quite as spacious as a rectangular bag. Wider sleeping bags won’t be as warm as a mummy bag, but they will provide more wiggle room. Figure out which one is more important to you.

An extra blanket can provide just the warmth you need to keep you from shivering all night long. Wearing bulky layers in your sleeping bag can actually be counter productive, but a blanket on top of your sleeping bag can be quite effective at retaining warmth.

While you don’t want to wear all your clothes, you do want to wear a warm base layer to bed. This can help keep you from getting too cold at night.

Look for a level place to pitch your tent. If there’s no flat space to be found, make sure you sleep with your head uphill.

Embrace the sounds of nature. Depending on the time of year, you might have a chorus of cicadas, or choir of peepers lulling you to sleep. These critters can be loud and distracting, but they can also be soothing if you learn to tune them out. Also, don’t get psyched out by noises. Noises can often sound worse than they really are. If you hear a suspicious rustling, accept the fact that it’s probably a squirrel and not a bear.

Often times a lack of sleep can be prevented with a little self control. This means that you should party responsibly. Bottlenecks clanking around a campfire is definitely a satisfying sound, but in the right company that celebratory beer can quickly turn into 5 or 6 and you’ll be staying up until tomorrow before you know it. If you’re looking to get a good night’s sleep and be productive the next day, give yourself a limit and a bedtime and stick to it.

The absolute best way to get better sleep while camping, however, is to wear yourself out. Hike, climb, paddle, bike, or explore. Whatever it is that you decide to do, exhausting yourself is a surefire way to get better sleep while camping.

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