Sleep is something that most people don’t get enough of – quality sleep, that is. There are dozens of sleep aids, both over the counter and by prescription, but most people don’t need them, or wouldn’t need them if they put as much importance on their sleep as they did their waking activities. Research shows that RVers may struggle with sleep, especially when they are staying in a new place.
Related Read: Sleeping in Eerie Places
In this two part series, I’ll give you some of my best sleep tips.
My relationship with sleep is tenuous at best. It has been that way my whole life. I even passed it on to my children. However, in my old age I have made peace with sleep, and have much more restful nights. I thought you may benefit from what I’ve learned over the years through research as well as trial and error. So, this is it; my best sleep tips.
Go to bed when you’re tired.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but most people actually ignore those first twinges of sleepiness. Instead of giving in and going to bed when their brain signals that they are tired, they press on, staying up until a certain bed time. This usually doesn’t work. Everyone is different. Some people need 9 or 10 hours of sleep while others only need 7 hours. Some people need to go to bed at 8 pm while others do better going to bed an hour or so later. Pay attention to your natural sleep cycle and give in a little. If that means going to sleep earlier, so be it. There is a lot of scientific evidence that points toward earlier bedtimes being healthier.
Build a sleep kit.
When you are staying in a new place you often don’t know what environmental sleep disrupters you might encounter. From bright lights to noisy neighbors, it can seem like the whole world is out to make sure you don’t get a restful sleep. This is especially true if you are traveling and have to pull into a truck stop for the night. To combat this, put together your own little sleep kit and keep it handy. Include some or all of these items and add your own:
Sleep mask or light blocking window covers
Earplugs (try a few different kinds to find the best for you)
White noise machine (a mini fan will do too)
Essential oils like lavender or chamomile (if you get a battery-operated diffuser that could also provide some white noise) – make a sachet to slip in your pillowcase
Soft classical music (no words!)
Create a comfortable sleep environment.
Your bedroom is your haven. When you go in there, it should be very sleep friendly. The temperature should be a little cooler; most people sleep much better in cooler temperatures. A good mattress is also essential. If a plush, comfy mattress isn’t in your budget right now, you can get a mattress topper to add a little comfort. Good pillows are also very important. Every sleep expert I’ve talked to or read is vehemently against televisions or even mobile devices in the bedroom. That is like inviting insomnia to come right in. You want your bedroom to smell good, feel welcoming, and encourage relaxation.
Develop a sleep inducing bedtime routine.
I like to have a cup of chamomile or lavender tea before I go to bed. I love the quiet so I shut everything down, lower the lights, and sip my tea while just sitting for a bit. Sometimes it’s nice to just do nothing. Some people take a warm shower or bath while others read or do certain yoga poses. Find the bedtime activities that work for you and get in the habit of doing them each evening so your brain and body will learn to recognize them as signals that it is time to go to sleep.
Get regular exercise.
Getting just 30 minutes a day of physical activity during the day can make your bedtime much easier. Exercise has been proven to help sleep but make sure you do it at least five hours before you go to bed. The release of endorphins does act as a stimulant so your best bet is trying it earlier in the day.
Related Read: Campground and RV Fitness Guide
This is part 1 of a two-part series. More great sleep advice coming soon!
How well do you sleep in your RV?
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