How to sleep well in a tent?
Sleeping in a Tent: Comfort Tips for Campers
Going camping always promises an exciting experience: we all imagine a holiday in the middle of nature, far from the noise of the city and immersed in the quiet of the woods, where silence is interrupted only by the sound of the flowing stream and the verses of the ' small inhabitants' of the forest. But we must not forget that sleeping in a tent also means giving up some of the comforts we are used to a warm environment, a comfortable bed, 'mountains' of pillows, and absolute silence. Sleeping in a tent requires a great spirit of adaptation and one of the biggest concerns of those who are at the first camping experience is that of not being able to rest well.
In reality, 'the camper's insomnia' is not such a rare phenomenon: the tent-mates who snore, the cold, the difficulty of adapting to a new environment and many other factors can hinder sleep and prevent you from enjoying the best camping experience especially for those who have to face heavy physical activities during the day, such as climbing or long trekking routes; insomnia not only causes irritability and mood swings but can even prove dangerous because it slows down reflexes.
Learning to sleep well in a tent is possible, just take a few simple precautions that I will indicate below.
Equipment and accessories
The first rule to sleep well in a tent is to bring the right equipment with you that guarantees a comfortable, warm, and silent rest. The elements that should never be missing when going camping are:
The Mattress: Having a soft and the right size mattress allows you to sleep comfortably; the layer created between the body and the ground also favors thermal insulation, allowing you to rest in the heat. On the market there are various types of camping mats from inflatable ones, which are heavy and bulky enough to carry in your backpack, but very comfortable even if they do not offer a great level of insulation, to those in foam, light and cheap but bulkier and not very soft; then there are other alternatives 'beds' such as camp beds or hammocks, very comfortable and with excellent insulation given the distance from the ground, but bulky and more complicated to assemble. Choose the type of mattress that best suits your needs and that offers a good compromise between lightness, comfort, and insulation;
The Sleeping Bag: When you choose your sleeping bag, buy it the right size and suitable for the temperature you will find; there are various types, with down or synthetic fiber padding, with or without hood, etc., invest in a quality sleeping bag that keeps you warm;
Blankets And Pillows: If you are used to sleeping with many pillows, bring at least one, even the inflatable ones, and then eventually use clothing to raise it. For the coldest or for those who wish to have a softer bed, I recommend that you also bring blankets to put on or under the sleeping bag
Earplugs: Some campers love the sounds of nature and consider them a real lullaby, while others can't stand them. The earplugs are ideal for those who are light sleepers and those who love to sleep in silence; they are found in every supermarket, they are cheap and take up little space. Even if you camp surrounded by nature, do not underestimate the noises that can disturb your sleep: from the tent companion who snores to the birds that 'sing' in the morning! If, on the other hand, you go to an equipped area, all the more reason to have earplugs, so you won't hear the sounds of the cars or the voices of other campers who may chat until late. I advise you to bring more than a few, as they are very small and you could easily lose them;
Eye Mask. If you camp in an equipped area and the lights annoy you, bring an eye mask with you.
The choice of the campsite and the area in which to place the tent significantly affects sleep. If you are a light sleeper, booking in a very popular camping area at the height of the high season may not be the best choice, so opt for a nearby and more peaceful alternative. Check the location of the campsite on the map before booking and verify that it is not near the main road that could be busy at night.
Once you arrive at the campsite, carefully select the area in which to set up the tent: if you camp next to trees or bushes, if the wind were blowing, the branches could hit the tent disturbing your sleep and ruining the external fabric; being close to the services could come in handy should you go to the bathroom during the night, but you will be disturbed whenever the other campers have to go to the toilet passing by your tent. To sleep peacefully, therefore, look for a point where the surface is flat and that is as far as possible from other tents or other disturbing elements.
Also, before mounting the tent, clean the ground by removing stones and debris that could ruin the tent floor and create an 'angular' surface, not comfortable for your back .
When you have set up the tent and placed all your equipment (mattress, sleeping bag, etc.) it's time to relax, enjoy a nice dinner, and then ... all to bed! Before putting it in your sleeping bag it is good to remember some basic rules that facilitate sleep:
Wear clean and appropriate clothes: Sleeping in pajamas or wearing dry, clean, and perfumed clothes will make you feel better and therefore sleep better. Choose the right clothes so as not to feel neither too cold nor too hot and try to wear long pants with a t-shirt or a long-sleeved shirt, in this way also your sleeping bag will remain clean longer;
Don't drink too much before going to bed: Keeping your body hydrated is important, but drinking too little before going to sleep could make you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet and falling asleep becomes even more difficult; avoid coffee and spirits and instead opt for a relaxing herbal tea or hot chocolate;
Do physical activity, both during the day and before going to bed: Physical activity relieves tension and gives a good mood, also if the body is tired it will fall asleep faster and sleep will be heavier; spend the day walking, playing, fishing, etc. and just before going to bed do small exercises to bring the body to the appropriate temperature (without sweating too obviously);
Avoid overeating at dinner: Even if the smell of the barbecue is really inviting and is very camping, don't binge too much before going to bed: an excessive amount of meat and food makes digestion slow and difficult and sleep suffers;
Arrange the food before going to bed. If you camp in an area inhabited by wild animals and which could be attracted by the smell of food, remember to cook away from the tent and store your food in a bag to hang on a tree;
Keep your habits and schedules. When we go camping we tend to go to bed earlier and earlier than usual, but we cannot sleep because it is not a time our body is used to. Keep to your schedule and before falling asleep, engage in the activities you usually practice, such as reading a book or playing cards. Follow your usual rituals, that is if you brush your teeth before going to bed when you are at home, do the same while camping. Also, avoid taking afternoon naps if you are not used to doing it, otherwise, you will arrive less tired in the evening and will have more difficulty falling asleep;
In cold climates wear a hat or use the sleeping bag cap to promote thermal insulation, drink a hot drink before going to bed, add hot water to your bottle of water and keep it inside the sleeping bag. coat to prevent it from freezing;
In warm climates leave the sleeping bag slightly open or, if it is really hot, use it as a blanket;
Prepare everything you need for night needs, such as the light and shoes to wear should you reach the toilet, and if you have just arrived at the camping area, take a tour to find out where the services are and the distance from the tent.
Consider camping from a different perspective: see it as a unique and different experience; accept the fact that you are not in your bed at home and appreciate what is around you, admire nature and listen to the sounds that animate it. It's true, it's dark at the campsite and you don't see anything at night, but do you want to put the wonder of sleeping under a starry sky? And even if you are awakened by birdsong, do you want to compare it to the train rattling next to your home or to the annoying sound of the alarm clock? These are just a few examples to make you understand that sometimes camping life can present difficulties, but just get used to it and focus on the positive sides of this experience to fall in love with it!