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A Complete Guide to Sleeping Well in Your RV

There are many challenges to sleeping well when you’re on a big RV trip. Family factors, environmental conditions, and the difficulties endemic to RV travel all combine to create a set of obstacles to getting enough sleep and getting good quality sleep. But sleeping poorly during some of the best adventures of your life can make those “best” adventures not so great, so knowing how to get great sleep on the road is key to maximizing that family vacation time.

custom rv mattress
Custom RV Mattress

Here’s our complete guide to overcoming the challenges of sleeping on the road in an RV:

Why Quality Sleep is So Important on Long RV Trips

Sleep health and hygiene is always important, but even more so when you’re away from home. Sleeping in unfamiliar situations in different beds naturally upsets your sleep cycle – humans are creatures of habit. When you don’t have a sleep space that’s conducive to quality rest, and/or a bedtime routine that doesn’t serve you well, you risk:

  • Reduced alertness and longer reaction time while driving.

  • Reduced ability to focus, learn and remember.

  • Increased fatigue and low mood.

  • Increased risk of getting sick.

You’re risking your safety when you’re sleep hygiene isn’t on point. And let’s not forget – you’re on an awesome adventure. You want to make the most of it, and simply put – tired people have less fun.

Unique RV Sleeping Challenges with Simple Solutions

There are challenges to sleeping on the road that you can’t avoid, but you can easily manage them with a few simple habits:

Challenge: Sharing a Cramped Space

There is no smaller home than an RV home on the road. Except maybe a van. But when you have multiple people and pets sleeping in a tiny space, you can hear everyone’s everything all the time. If you’re a troubled sleeper or your 7-year-old snores like a grown man, things can get maddening.

Solution: Creating Separation & Silence

There are ways you can separate yourself, even symbolically, to create a super-tiny sanctuary. Consider adding a curtain across the RV bunk beds to dampen some of the sound from your little sleep talkers. Invest in eye masks and ear plugs to cut out your partner’s snoring. And consider setting up a family habit of 30 minutes of quiet time before bed where everyone leaves everyone else alone to unwind.

Challenge: Keeping Things Clean

Another thing about living a very active life and coming home to a very small space is keeping things clean. But sleeping in a dirty bed can weaken your immune system, cause skin reactions, exacerbate allergies, and more. And in an RV, if one person gets sick, everyone else will be sick in just a couple days.

Solution: Multiple Sets of Custom Bedding

A lot of the reason people forego regular sheet-changing schedules when you’re on the road is that there aren’t sheets and blankets in stores to fit things like short queen RV beds or dorm-size RV bunk mattresses. But you can easily overcome this obstacle at an online custom mattress manufacturer that makes hypoallergenic, high-thread-count cotton bedding customized for all types of RV beds – even that weird folding mattress on the convertible dinette.

Challenge: Light Intrusion in RV Parks

Anywhere you’ll be sleeping in an RV will have high levels of light intrusion, because public spaces are well-lit at night to keep people secure. But light intrusion can mess with your body’s ability to get to sleep and stay asleep.

Solution: Heavy Blackout Curtains

Investing in heavy blackout curtains not just for the front cab of the RV, but for every window in the RV. Blackout curtains won’t only kill the lights, but they’ll soften some outdoor noise intrusion and reduce the power you use to keep your RV’s nighttime temperature comfortable.

Challenge: Nighttime Noise from Other RV’ers

Another nightly challenge of RV travelling is that RV parks, or any public RV parking, is noisy. You can choose a quiet campground, but then there’s nature, too. What if it’s cicada season? Or the local coyotes like to sing late into the night? Unfamiliar noises can disrupt sleep.

Solution: Ambient Noise Sound Machine

There’s always those trusty earplugs. They’ll drown out snoring as well as outside noise. But if you can’t sleep in earplugs, a sound machine can do wonders. Especially in a small space, a sound machine clouds other noises with an ambient sound, usually brown or white, that your brain eventually reads as silence, helping you get to sleep and stay that way.

Challenge: Keeping a Sleep Schedule

On a cross-country RV trip, every day is different. You might be driving, hiking, diving, or watching a meteor shower. This can make keeping a consistent bedtime schedule difficult, which can make things especially hard if you’ve got kids in tow.

Solution: Ditch the Screens After Dark

A great way to make sure that you have a nightly routine that everyone does alone but together is to avoid all screens after the sun sets. Combined with those 30 minutes of pre-bedtime alone time, the lack of blue light intrusion coupled with the calm quiet helps everybody’s body to engage in its sleep-inducing processes.

Challenge: Sleeping in Beds that Aren’t Beds

One of the biggest RV sleeping obstacles is the beds themselves. The mattresses your RV came with are likely uncomfortable and unsupportive – especially those convertible ones on the sofa bed and the dining table.

Solution: Upgrade to Custom Mattresses

Custom-made RV mattresses solve this problem in spades. With the ability to customize the size, shape, thickness, and material of every mattress in your RV, you can create beds that are just as comfy as the ones at home, even on the folding pullout couch and the space-saving mattress on the dinette.

Custom Mattress Factory: Bespoke RV Mattresses for the Long-Haul

Custom Mattress Factory can help you solve several of these RV sleeping challenges with made-to-order mattresses for every sleep spot in your RV. Short queen mattresses, folding RV dinette bed mattresses, sofa mattresses, RV bunk mattresses, and custom bed linens to match – we’ll set you up for sleep success. Along with the tips you’ve learned in this guide, you’ll sleep so well in your RV you won’t want to go home!


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