Some of us can find it hard falling asleep in a tent, especially if you are new to camping. It’s pouring hard with rain, the mat you are sleeping on is uncomfortable and a large rock that you swear wasn't there before has suddenly appeared under your tent. When you want the energy to be active during the days and are nervous about a bad night’s sleep, here are five tips to avoid being kept up all night:
1. Get the right gear
It may seem obvious but make sure you research all possible options and add-ons. A good start if you're attached to your creature comforts is an air bed, these are available in a range of sizes with plenty of brands out there that provide comfy, softer options than the hard ground such as Coleman, Outwell or Vango. Just make sure the tent is big enough to handle the airbed before leaving. Also, there are lightweight inflating mats, some of which self inflate to negate the need for a pump, which are perfectly comfortable and easier to travel with. These are also great because many have other inbuilt features that can contribute to keeping you warm and dry as well as comfy. Next make sure you are the correct temperature with the correct sleeping bag. A draft collar and hood keep warmth inside so you don't spend the night shivering. Liners can also be a great, versatile tool to have on a camping trip as they act as a sock in your sleeping bag and can be placed inside becoming an extra layer. Or alternatively, on a hot night you can just sleep in a liner to feel covered but also cool. Other handy accessories include pillows. You can use one from home but these are often bulky so we recommend you get an inflating one (perfect for travelling as it can be compacted) or use a stuffsack filled with clothes.
2. Wear the correct clothing
When it comes to what to wear at bed time make sure you have dry clothes on and if it is a warm night then do not overdress as you may become overheated. A layering system is often a good idea so that as you warm up you can remove layers and if you find yourself becoming too cold you can always add a layer. Also, if you are keeping your trousers on, empty your pockets because sleeping on your keys is not comfortable and might damage you airbed.
3. Pre-sleep rituals and preparation
Eating, drinking and a little exercise before bed can help keep your body warm. The process of digestion warms your body up and keeping hydrated means you will not feel parched in the morning and the odd sit up or two before you tuck yourself in will help the blood flow to your extremities. Just don’t overdo it as too much exercise could have the opposite effect of sending you to sleep while drink too much water and… Be armed with a light for the dreaded toilet trip. It is cold outside and you feel nice and warm so the last thing you want to do is go on a cold stroll to the toilet spot; however your body thinks the complete opposite. Have a torch or headlamp at the ready that will be easy to find in the dark. Petzl are a great choice with a variety of different headtorches that are perfect for a hands free trip to the toilet.
4. Avoid light and sound
Zone out noises. “What was that? I just heard a noise! Is it a serial killer?” Forget about what you hear. Count sheep or recall your day of trekking and you will soon drift into a peaceful sleep. And speaking of things that you could wear to bed, earplugs are great little sleeping aids to cut out distracting noises throughout the night like insects and birds. As for early the morning light that might wake you earlier than planned, try an eye mask or check out Vango’s ‘Lights Out’ range of tents that use a darker fabric on the inner of the sleeping area to stop the sun from rudely disturbing you too early.
5. Enjoy the experience
Finally, get into the spirit of it and mentally prepare yourself for a night amongst nature. This mainly applies to the newbie campers rather than the hardened, technical outdoorsmen who need no preparation. You are having a unique experience; lay back and enjoy living like explorers did thousands of years ago. You can live without creature comforts once in a while and whilst it may make you appreciate your warm bed at home much more, it wont be long until you find yourself yearning to get back to nature. A good night’s sleep is key to any camping trip as tiredness slows you down and puts a cloud over you during the day. Being kept up all night by uncomfortable ground, nuisance noises or the cold is completely avoidable if you make sure you're prepared and follow some of the simple tips here. Sweet Dreams!