Part of the attraction of RVing is getting away from it all and enjoying a little R & R (Rest and Relaxation), which includes a few naps along with nightly sleep. The following are six tips to help improve your sleeping experience while RVing.
1. Pick the right campsite
When choosing your campsite, consider what noises might keep you from sleeping. Is the campsite near a busy street or railroad tracks?
Consider places in the campground that are likely to generate sounds, like other campers making trips to the restroom in the middle of the night, playground equipment, dumpster lids being clanged shut, etc.
Do neighboring campers look like they are ready to party all night? The next consideration is overhead street lights and other light sources that are likely to shine into your rig at night. Finally, is there a creek or moving water that might serve as white noise to lull you to sleep?
2. Control the amount of light in your RV
Add blackout shades to bedroom windows, or if they are windows you seldom open for ventilation or viewing, consider blacking them out with insulated foil cut to fit in the opening. The insulation will help you control the temperature in the bedroom too.
Use RV vent insulators to eliminate light coming through your roof vents. These will also cut down on the amount of noise that enters through.
With all of today’s electronics and indicators, the inside of your RV might remind you of Christmas between the red, blue, and other festive light colors being emitted from your TV, monitor panel, water heater control switch, LP gas detector, refrigerator, etc. You may want to keep one or two glowing to serve as night lights, but consider turning off or blocking out the others from your view.
3. Find an alternative for the noisy furnace
RV forced air furnaces are noisy and quite often located near the sleeping area. Options for staying warm without the use of the furnace include oil-filled radiator heaters that have no moving parts, a ceramic heater, an electric blanket, or a heated mattress pad.
4. Stop the shaking
As RVs have become taller and longer, they have become more difficult to stabilize. If you wake in the middle of the night thinking you’re experiencing an earthquake when your spouse gets up to use the bathroom, consider getting some stabilizing jacks, finding better wheel chocks, or adding stabilizer kits or slide-out supports.
When camping in windy areas, nose the RV into the wind to minimize the effect the wind has on the rig.
5. Have a comfy bed
Finally, you aren’t going to sleep well even in the quietest, stillest, or darkest places if you don’t have a comfortable bed to sleep on. Consider upgrading the mattress that came with your RV, or at least add a quality mattress topper.
While you are at it, spend a little extra for some flannel sheets for winter camping and some high fiber count sheets for summer campouts.
6. Be tired
Most of us RV to get out and explore nature. Lots of fresh air and exercise help assure a good night’s sleep. Make sure your daily adventures involve a hike, bike ride, or other physical activity. If nothing else, turn off the TV and take a walk around the RV park before you turn in for the evening.
Every great adventure in RVing should end with a great night’s sleep!
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.
Glen Fotre says
Don’t put up those stupid awning lights or if you MUST, turn them off after dinner.
Sorry, not sure I understand this one, What do awning lights have to do with this? I can understand if you would have said to make sure they are off before bedtime, but not quite sure why turning them off after dinner would make a difference. I hope I’m not sounding rude, just really don’t understand this statement. Are you making the comment because you don’t agree with awning lights?
The awning lights are OK in the evening. People should be more considerate and turn them off at night. Last weekend we had the neighbors two spots down the line that had some that were so bright it seemed like spot lights on our RV. They left them on the entire night.
B Gurt says
I hate that too. We can’t even see the stars by a nice fire when people have their stupid lights on all over the place. Be considerate of your neighbors and turn your lights off after diner unless you really need them to accomplish a task, then as a good neighbor we should understand.
We have blackout shades in our coach so the light is not an issue for us. What is an issue are campfires. I have chronic allergies which causes breathing problems. When campfires are too close to another site or built so large it smokes up multiple sites, I can barely breathe. The smoke also seeps into coaches, tents, etc. I know it’s my problem but also remember that fires, as well as lights, aren’t natural (except during disasters) to an outdoor environment. Be courtesy to nearby campers that also want to enjoy nature and the natural environment of the outdoors.
Allan Mac Donald says
Hey Glen: what seems STUPID to you isn’t necessarily stupid to everyone else. If you don’t like awning lights, you could always stay inside your unit or just stay home. Happy Camping!
Brian Clancy says
Thank you, Glen. Despite the negativity, it’s really pretty simple: If you’re stringing lights and illuminating the wilderness, you’re the one who should stay home. Neon is gorgeous in LA in the summertime. LEDs on a string in a campground…not so much.
Lori Singels says
They are SO annoying. Why in the world does someone need to light up the night when folks just want to sleep? Both inconsiderate of others and just plain dumb.
I once parked our motorhome into a crowded RV park in Colorado. The same evening a couple parked a 5th wheel next to us. The unit had a very bright LED security light on the trailer’s backside that kept our coach bedroom lit up all night.
Great sleeping tips. A good mattress and comfortable room temperature can help to get a good sleep. Thank you for share this creative advice.
Dragon Sparks says
This is what pump BB guns are made for………Don’t leave home without it!
I also agree with Glen and the other (s)….maybe you are the one who should stay at home or in your back yard.
Ivanhoe Magnifico says
Try a white noise machine or read for 30 minutes before retiring. I removed the TV from our bedroom. Google why no tv before bed. You may be surprised.
Glen Fotre says
I never put a TV in the bedroom to begin with!
I love these ideas.
Sandi O'Regan says
We use an app on the phone for back ground noise. It is call Relax Rain. It has different sounds of rain / storms to help us to not hear outside sounds.
Brian Clancy says
I use an Amazon clip called “Rain Storm.” But I use it at home to pretend I’m out camping. When I’m camping, I like the sound of the stream, the birds, the rain or whatever else is going on besides the drunk in the Winnebago.
john arata says
Lots of times you rally dont have a choice of where your site is you just have to live with it
Brian Clancy says
How to sleep? I’m going to use an APAP machine on a 12v battery next week for the first time. Now, that’s bringing the sleep with you!
Rune Rolfsen says
been using Cpap for 5 weeks now in the rv . on 12 v and 110 v
traveling or at a park . good sleep .
A Caltag says
Been using mine in our fifth wheel for the past two years. It’s wonderful to have along. I sleep better in our RV than I do at home. Of course I upgraded the mattress and added a topper!
John kincaid says
What is an alternative for running the loud and noise at night in motor home?
Here’s one more tip, if using the AC put the fan on manual this way the noise is constant which drowns out outside noise. With the fan on auto it’s annoying having it coming on and off all night, it seems just as you fall asleep the fan comes on to wake you up.
we have a small fan in the bedroom, for circulation and noise,, of course if plugged in the ac is noisy,,,our biggest problem for sleeping is the queen short,, feet hang off if you are 6 feet tall,, have a door to bathroom and one to bedroom and cant get by the foot of the bed so have to go around,,,
Great advice! Here’s an alternative for blocking outside light: I bought black towels years ago to put over our windows when traveling to Alaska for the summer — and we’ve been using them ever since. I stitched two together to make one panel long enough, roll it at the top to give it weight and place the roll on the top of the bedroom windows’ valances. If only other windows had valances I’d use this technique throughout the RV!