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.
Snoozing in Your Automobile: Three 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.
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 windowwithout 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.
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.
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)
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. And that’s where the best nose vents come in handy.
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 Catching Zzzs in Your Car
Pack the 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 for 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 and the right car sleeping products, you’ll be able to rest soundly in the comfort of your own vehicle.
Just remember to get your 40 winks.
(1) “Why do we sleep badly during the first night in a new place?” Medical News Today, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/309375. Accessed 18 April 2022.
(2) “Light and Sleep” Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.org/bedroom-environment/light-and-sleep. Accessed 18 April 2022.
(3) “How Your Sleep Position Affects Your Health” Web MD, www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/ss/slideshow-sleep-positions. Accessed 18 April 2022.
(4) “Top 10 Benefits of Sleeping Naked” Healthline, www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-sleeping-naked. Accessed 18 April 2022.
(5) “Can Wearing Socks to Bed Help You Sleep Better?” Cleveland Clinic, health.clevelandclinic.org/sleeping-with-socks-on/. Accessed 18 April 2022.
(6) “How Blue Light Affects Sleep” Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.org/bedroom-environment/blue-light. Accessed 18 April 2022.
(7) “The long-term health implications of snoring” Sleep Cycle, www.sleepcycle.com/snoring/long-term-snoring-health-implications/. Accessed 25 May 2022.
(8) “DIY Curtains for a Van, Car, SUV, etc.” SUV Rving YouTube channel, /www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyAHnDvNaRE. Accessed 18 April 2022.
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.