One thing many people don’t consider is it can be hard to sleep while camping. After a little thought, this isn’t really surprising. You are used to sleeping in a warm comfortable bed in a climate-controlled environment and free of bugs or other critters. We’ve put together a few tips to help you get as much rest as possible on your next outing.

1. Sleep On an Air Mattress or Cot
Those of you who grew up in boys scouts or girl scouts may have used a sleeping pad. This is a great option if you are backpacking in the deep woods and need to keep your load light. However, even the best sleeping pad is not going to provide enough cushion to protect your from the inevitable tree root. You know the ones that you do not see when you are choosing the location to pitch your tent, but end up right in the middle of your back when you lay down. A quality air mattress is a great option to keep your back safe from any type of rock or root.  Another even comfier option is a cot. Cots keep you off the ground, helping you stay cool in the summer. Another benefit to a cot is it can make your tent feel roomier because you can store bags or supplies underneath it. 

2. Eliminate Insects 
There are few things that ruin a good night’s sleep the way a mosquito can. You start to doze off and you hear that high-pitched buzzing. You know it’s going to bite sooner or later. This anxiety can really put a damper on a good night’s sleep and will not help you sleep better. There are two ways to keep mosquitos and other insects at bay – a secure tent and a can of bug spray.

The most secure tent possible does not do you much good if you leave it open. We suggest you keep your flap zippered when you are not going in and out. To allow for a breeze, purchase a vented tent with mesh panels to allow for airflow. It’s inevitable for some mosquitos or insects to get into your tent. Therefore we recommend giving yourself a thorough misting before you lie down for the night. Be sure to focus on the most exposed and vulnerable areas to bug bites such as your arms, neck and behind your ears. Bug repellant is available in spray or lotion, whichever you prefer should do the job.

3. Dress Lightly
It can be tempting to dress warmly for sleep, especially as temperatures drop. Heavier clothes slowly heat up throughout the night causing you to way up miserable and soaked with sweat. They can also bunch up as your twist and turn and be restricting. To enjoy a good night’s sleep, wear clothes that are light, loose and breathable allowing you to sleep more soundly and wake up well rested.

4. Use a Pillow
You don’t sleep without a pillow at home, why wouldn’t you sleep with one while you’re camping? While you may not want to bring the nice pillows from your bed at home, there are many camping pillow options available. Many sleeping bags also come with built-in pillows for comfort. 

5. Bring Earplugs or Headphones
Earplugs block out, or at least dampen, noises ranging from your tent mate’s snoring to rustling sounds in the bushes to sounds from other campsites nearby. Some campers swear by them. Others like to listen to music or other sounds as they fall asleep, headphones or earbuds are beneficial if this is the case for you. Blocking out the noise not only helps you fall asleep faster, it prevents you from getting alarmed by any strange noises that are actually nothing to worry about.

6. Keep Your Bed Time the Same
You probably chose to go camping to relax, kick back and forget about everyday life. Time flies when you are having fun – but our bodies do not always agree. They like to run on a schedule and they know when it is time to go to bed. If you stay up too late you may catch your second wind. Once that occurs you probably will not be able to sleep for the next couple of hours. To get a good night’s sleep, keep your same bed time. This will help you fall asleep faster and sleep better at the campsite than before.