Frankly, we love the idea! Getting out into nature is a great way to recharge, and road trips are just the best, I’m sure you’ll agree.
So picture this…
Your road trip has been going great. Delightful music. Top-notch company. Your day on the open road has been a blast… There’s just one small issue. It’s late and you can’t find a decent hotel.
All you see are neon signs flashing “no vacancy.”
Panic creeps in. What will you do? You can’t possibly sleep in your car, right? What will you do for the bathroom? Is it even safe? Won’t you be ransacked by stagecoach bandits?
Sleeping in your car can be a great experience, especially if you give certain things some careful consideration.
Allow us to convince you for a moment.
Why sleeping in your car is great for camping
Who wants to pay $100 - 150 per night for a run-down motel when you can just pull over and get some shut-eye instead?
That’s money you can spend on the most essential and important financial investment money can buy … fun!
(Our accountant doesn’t agree with that sentiment, but what does he know?)
Once you find a safe (and legal!) place to park, sleeping in your car is often way easier than pitching a tent for camping or checking into a motel.
Car camping is an art. Once you’ve had some practice you might find that it also allows for open and spontaneous adventures without the need for excessive planning.
You won’t be assaulted by bedbugs from the hotel mattress, either.
You wake up with the sun
We aren’t heathens. We love a good lie-in, too. But while you’re on a road trip, doesn’t it make sense to make the most of your day by waking up with the sunrise (preferably with coffee)?
If you were in a motel, the curtains would be firmly closed and you’d run the risk of waking up at noon, missing some great time on the road.
So hopefully we’ve convinced you that sleeping in your car isn’t the end of the world. We must admit though, there’s a sliiight problem.
It can be a bit of a rough ride.
Wind noise can keep you up. And sleeping using the headrest can make your neck stiff. The list goes on.
If you don’t plan ahead, your night could become a frustrating fiasco.
And it usually boils down to three main culprits.
Three Car Sleeping Saboteurs
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just pull up anywhere, close those baby blues, and become a resident of Nodland without a problem?
Unfortunately, mother nature often has other plans in store for us that stop us from resting peacefully.
There are three saboteurs prowling around the camp, and it’s time to make like a hunter & track them down.
Car Sleep Saboteur #1: Comfort
As we’re sure you’re aware, getting into a comfy position can be a challenge. Honestly, has anyone in the history of people ever gotten decent shut-eye resting their head on the window without a cushion?
And not to be a downer, but while we’re on the subject, your sleeping position can contribute to neck pain, back pain, achiness, headaches and joint problems. (3)
You deserve way better!
Whether you’re trying to get an en-route snooze in between games of eye-spy (people still play that, right?) or turning your vehicle into your personal campsite for the night, comfort is king.
Car Sleep Saboteur #2: Sounds
Sleeping out in nature is great — but to your brain, it can be pretty scary. In fact, researchers have noted that people often sleep worse on the first night in a new location.
They call this phenomenon the “First Night Effect.” (1)
Snoozing in your car, especially if you haven’t done it much, can easily trigger the first-night effect.
The sound of a fox rustling around in the underbrush or an inconsiderate owl hooting away might be all it takes you to steal you from your slumber.
Now that we’ve identified the three saboteurs, let's check out some tools to help you banish them for good!
The Best Accessories For Car Sleep (In The World … Yep)
The Night Noise Nullifier
The unfortunate souls who have a snoring partner
Wind noise whilst driving
Blocking out the sound of a screaming lynx (it’s terrifying)
Let us set the scene. You’re camping in your car all cozy and warm.
Then your partner begins to snore at a decibel level previously thought impossible by modern humans.
You begin to populate your mind with a list of your partner's best attributes and remind yourself of why you’re together, which works wonders to assuage your frustration.
But then, at precisely this moment, a bat begins to screech right overhead.
What to do?
Luckily, you remembered to stash a pack of these foamy friends who are here to save your sanity and your relationship, all for under $10 for 10 pairs.
They’re cheaper than a marriage counselor and much more comfortable.
With these protecting your consciousness from the chaotic sounds of life, you drift away without a care in the world.
Just ask Scott:
"These earplugs are made of soft foam so they don't cause any discomfort and pain when wearing them." - Scott
Now you’ve got your earplugs, here’s something to take care of unwanted light & form a combo that’ll knock you right out!
A Car Sleep Mask That Even Rambo Would Wear
Tossing & turning
Olympic level snoozing
Are you ready to go commando?
Nope, not that kind of commando (although there are a bunch of health benefits of doing so) (4). We’re talking about the type of spec ops level slumber that allows you to grab 40 winks anywhere.
I’m sure that, despite his Vietnam flashbacks, even Rambo could get some pretty good shut-eye (you have seen the movie, right?) when he wanted to.
Despite being a grizzled war hero, we’re confident that he would have jumped for joy if he were presented with the Manta Sleep Mask PRO.
And for good reason. This thing is the real deal.
We hope you’re not afraid of the dark, though. These give you 100% total blackout and are perfect for side sleepers with their C-shaped eyecup design.
They’re perfect for resting your noggin during long drives, too! (As long as you’re not driving.)
Oh, speaking of long drives…
The Perfect Neck Pillow
Those long drives that don’t seem to end
Neck yoga enthusiasts
Snoozing as a co-pilot (but shouldn’t you be in charge of the music?)
Did you know that neck yoga is a thing?
It’s true…. Okay, you got us. We made it up. But on the road, when you’re trying to nap using those headrests, your neck can feel the burn.
So why not give your neck a rest and let yourself sleep really well instead?
Here’s where the best travel pillow on the market comes in. We welcome you to blow it up in two breaths and try out the four different resting positions.
Whether you’re on a long drive or snoozing after a day hike, this has got you comfortably covered.
Here’s another accessory that will knock your socks off. Actually, that’s not a good idea. Sleeping with your socks on actually helps. (5)
Glasses For The Road (& For YouTube)
Not being blinded by those brutal LED headlights
Late-night YouTube binges (we don’t judge!)
Falling asleep in your car can be a challenge.
Not only are you in an unfamiliar environment with all kinds of new sights and sounds, but you might also still be tempted to have a late-night YouTube binge (how does 4G still work out here?) before your slumber time.
We aren’t judging, but if you want to rest well, this isn’t a great idea.
Not only are all the meme compilations and fail videos mentally stimulating, but the blue light from the screen also disrupts your circadian rhythm which helps your body know when it’s time to sleep. (6)
A great way to indulge in a cheeky scrolling session without the negative effects is to wear these blue-light-blocking glasses.
These block the blue light that disrupts your body's release of melatonin, a hormone that tells your body when it’s time to go to sleep and when to get up.
We think they would look great on you, too (nobody is immune to flattery).
Car Sleep Compassion Tubes
Not alerting the Coyotes as to your whereabouts
A healthy relationship
Imagine being locked in a confined space (like an old Ford Fiesta on a campsite) with someone who snores so hard it startles your dead great-grandmother.
Well, if you’re fortunate enough to be the snorer in the relationship, you won’t ever have to experience this. There’s a slight downside, though (aside from your partner's sleep deprivation).
Snoring can keep you from getting truly restful sleep.
People who snore can wake themselves up throughout the night, without even realizing it. These disruptions can add up over time, and if you often wake up still feeling tired or groggy, you’re probably experiencing poor sleep quality. (7)
Snoring could be the reason for it, and it’s totally worth addressing.
Now that you’re equipped with the top sleep products money can buy, here’s some help for when you need to camp out in your car (or any other vehicle, really).
Tips for sleeping (or camping) in your car
Keep your car packed with essentials
When you’re out on the open road for days at a time, it helps to be well supplied. Getting caught without travel snacks is a fate we wouldn’t wish upon anyone.
Here are a few essentials to remember to keep in your car:
A large blanket (preferably military wool)
First aid kit
A lot of these things you may never use, but as every Grandma on earth says, it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
Leave a window slightly open at night
Breathing all night in your car will fog up the windows and make sure that you wake up covered in condensation (it’s the worst).
For that reason, ventilation is key. Make sure you open a window wide enough to let fresh air inside. To avoid bugs and other rather unwelcome critters, you can use a soft mesh or some tape to cover the opening.
Just make sure you stay nice and warm!
It’s not pleasant to wake up to a curious hiker leering at you.
If you don’t have tinted windows, a great solution that creates a feeling of privacy is to create some DIY curtains (8) that block light and vision from the backseat.
You could even buy some ready-made ones that help turn your motor into a cozy bird's nest. If you add the drinks, snacks, books, and fairy lights you’ll be the envy of city dwellers everywhere!
Find a safe and legal location
For some, the risk of getting caught is exhilarating.
But when you’re trying to rest, it can be anxiety-inducing. Finding a safe and legal location to rest your head for the night is essential.
When looking for a place to snooze, avoid stopping by the side of the road. Instead, look for supermarket car parks, Welcome Information Centers, city street parking and rest stops.
Whether you’re going on a planned adventure or you’ve simply been caught without a place to rest, we hope that we’ve made your experience a little more comfortable.
We’re confident that, armed with the tips mentioned above, you’ll be able to rest soundly in the comfort of your own vehicle.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this website or provided through our blog, e-mails, or programs is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment that can be provided by your healthcare professionals.
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