Whether you’re living van life or just a weekend warrior, sleep plays a key role in your overall health. Research has shown that poor sleep has immediate negative effects on the body such as poor brain function, exercise performance, and hormonal imbalances. Research has also shown that a good night’s sleep helps to reduce stress and anxiety, inflammation in the body and helps keep your brain active and alert.
Whether you live van life or are gearing up for the lifestyle, you’ll spend a lot of time driving, hiking, biking and spending time outdoors, which takes a lot out you and could leave you feeling pretty drained by the end of the day. Having a safe, comfortable and relaxing space to get back to is key for successful adventuring.
Here are 7 tips for a getting a good night’s rest in a van:
1. Make sure you have a GOOD mattress- A quality mattress is on the top of our list for ensuring a good night’s sleep in a van. Custom-fitted, quality mattresses are hard to come by without paying a hefty price, but we found Custom Mattress Factory and were impressed by both the price and quality of their products. Many van lifers go with cushion foam that they cut to fit their bed space but with Custom Mattress Factory, no matter the length, shape or height you need, they create a mattress specifically for you. It is extremely convenient for van lifers since many times, traditional mattresses do not work in the space allotted in a van. You could also order custom sheets to fit whatever size mattress you order so you don’t have to worry about finding sheets that’ll fit. Plus, the mattresses are made of organic material, so you could rest your head easy at night.
2. Ventilate your Mattress- Mold growing under your mattress is harmful for your health let alone, pretty gross. If you’re building a platform bed, make sure you drill holes or build a slotted bed frame for your bed. It is common for mold to grow under mattresses since there is normally no light exposure and the airflow is limited so ensuring adequate airflow is very important for your health and the health and longevity of your mattress.
3. Park on level ground or use leveling blocks- Nothing is worse than waking up with a kink in your neck because you slept on an angle. Sometimes it’s a bit of a challenge to find level ground so consider investing in some leveling blocks so that you’re able to level your van our regardless of the terrain you’re working with.
4. Use Black out Shades for your windows- A quiet, dark, and cool environment can help promote sound slumber. It’s nice use black out shades for a couple of reasons: The first is privacy. Plus, the darkness helps make your van feel extra cozy and you can take naps during the day without the sun shining in. The second reason is it helps regulate the van temperature (make sure you use insulated shades).
5. Take a cool shower rinse- your nighttime ritual makes all the difference in how well you sleep at night so making sure you feel good and are in a good state of mind is helpful. We used to enjoy long, warm relaxing showers before bed but now that we live in a van and have a limited water supply now, our long showers are more like a quick rinse.
6. Diffuse some oils- Essential oils often get overlooked as a tool for better sleep but they could be very helpful to you in a van. In fact, there are quite a few scents that can help you relax mentally and physically and assist you in falling asleep and sleeping more soundly. We’ve always resorted to organic lavender oil for our nighttime scent because the smell Is lovely and it’s known to promote relaxation but there are others such as cedar wood, chamomile and clary sage that are great to aid in a good night’s rest.
7. Take a few deep breathes- Taking just a few minutes before closing your eyes at night to get centered and relax your body for sleep. The slow, deep abdominal breathing helps to calm your nervous system and lets your brain know it’s time to settle down.
Sleep tight and goodnight Van lifers!