Often when camping we lay on the hard ground or slowly-deflating air mattress and think of home. The thoughts of our cozy bed, lush pillows and the harsh light hidden behind dark window shades tug at our heat strings and make us experience what every camper has felt a twinge of — homesickness. What is it with humans and sleep? We are pretty picky. But if you love camping or at least want to give it a try, here are a few tips to get better sleep while doing so.
A major factor that contributes to how well or poor we sleep while camping is the temperature. Generally it’s either freezing cold or sweating-bullets hot, and neither of those are comfortable environments to try to coax yourself to sleep.
If a chilly breeze leaves you feeling cold while trying to catch some sleep, try these tricks. Before getting in bed, do some jumping jacks in your tent or a few push-ups on the floor. Do just enough to get your blood pumping, but not enough to cause you to sweat. You’ll be much warmer when you slide under the covers. Also, make sure to keep your mouth and nose out of your sleeping bag. Moisture from breathing will make you, your clothes and the bag damp and cold. If heat is your problem, wear only breathable fabrics to bed, such as cotton blends or lightweight mesh. Drink plenty of water and keep a spray bottle of water close by to spritz yourself periodically through the night.
Get off the Ground
Not only is laying on a hard, sometimes lumpy surface difficult to fall asleep on, but it can be the main reason you’re cold. Get off the ground! In order to sleep warmly, you must insulate yourself from the ground. Put as many blankets underneath you as on top of you, or invest in a good insulating pad. If you don’t have an air mattress or cot, use an extra folded sleeping bag to create distance between you and the ground.
What to Wear
Some say to wear what you wore during the day to bed while camping — because your body temperature will drop if you undress and put on cold clothes. Others, such as Scoutmastercg.com, say to change as much of your clothing as possible — because the clothes you wore during the day will be a bit damp from normal wear and tear. What do we suggest? Change about an hour before bed. If you’re moving around or sitting by a campfire, your body will have time to adjust and warm up your new clothes, but you won’t have the grime or sweat you’d have in the clothes you wore during the day. Also, don’t forget to wear a warm hat and socks. It’s not an old wives tale — most heat does escape through your head. Keep it covered to stay warm and get the best sleep!
No More Mosquitoes
Nothing is worse than settling off to sleep and being rudely awakened by a mosquito that has mischievously landed on your face. Get rid of mosquitoes — not by wearing smelly sprays — but by smartly setting up your tent. Facing the door of your tent into the wind. Mosquitoes will spend most of their time hiding on the downwind side of the tent to keep from blowing away, so this trick will prevent them from following you in.
This post has kindly been contributed to us by Kara Stevens.
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