Living Your Best Life
on the Road:
8 Tips for
in an RV
There are few things more satisfying than a long stretch of road ahead. The change of scenery. The promise of adventure. The relationship building. The rejuvenation. Do what you will with your next road trip but know this: a journey of a thousand miles begins (and ends) with a good night’s sleep. Exactly what is the best way to reach dreamland at the end of a beautiful day’s journey? Our roadmap offers 10 how-tos for getting your best sleep ever, thereby making the most of your next trip.
It’s difficult to get forty winks, let alone a full night’s sleep, with one eye open. While finding the ideal parking site is ultimately personal, your safety is paramount. Do your homework online, paying close attention to user reviews when choosing your stop. Natural beauty may be your end goal, but some ultra-remote locations may be less safe. Conversely, if you opt to park closer to a town or city, pay attention to crime rates as well as the availability of restaurants, grocery stores and gas stations. It can be especially important to look for Wi-Fi capabilities and cell phone coverage that put you a touch away from help if needed. And, of course, secure your vehicle and all personal belongings in addition to locking your RV or camper doors.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
In addition to safety, decide what’s most important—communing with nature or people. Take into account the natural decibel level of the environment. Then take into account not only the number of sites and their proximity, but also the demographics of your destination. Think kids, pets, adventurous types with recreational vehicles. Think heightened noise in close quarters, which can cause sleep disturbances.
Or think the more the merrier. Skip the next tip and embrace it all because you could sleep through a tsunami.
Driving sleepy is as dangerous as driving under the influence when impaired by alcohol or other drugs. If you’re a light sleeper, or prone to sleep disturbances or insomnia generally, set yourself up for success on the road. There are a number of noise cancelling (or noise masking) products that can help you achieve better rest. These are our favorites, in order of investment:
Sound machine (white noise, pink noise, brown noise, red noise): $$
Acoustic Headband: $$$
Separate RVs to escape the snoring: $$$$$$$$$$
The quality of your shuteye is heavily influenced by the circadian rhythm—also known as the sleep/wake cycle. Whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, light is an integral part of your tendency toward drowsiness or alertness. Window treatments come standard in most RVs and campers; the degree to which they allow light to enter your sleep space is variable. And, of course, in confined quarters, even a smart phone can disturb lighter sleepers.*
Sleep masks are a cheap and effective product that can help mitigate the amount of light to which you’re exposed both inside and outside your RV or camper. If you’re concerned with artificial lighting that impacts the whole family—the obnoxious RV park kind, the adjacent running trailer kind, the lack of International Night Sky designation kind—your best option is to invest in blackout curtains. The ability to immerse yourself in darkness is particularly helpful if you plan to sleep in, as opposed to rising with the sun.
*Sidebar: Blue light emitted from devices like televisions, computers and smartphones suppress the production of melatonin in your brain, and can keep you from feeling tired. Either discontinue device use about an hour before bed, or invest in a pair of blue light blocking glasses for evening tech time.
Temperature moderation in an RV or camper can be tricky. The quality of your ambient temperature is determined by a number of factors that include weather, venting, the efficiency and caliber of your heater or air conditioning unit, and the exact number of bodies sharing a smaller space. Assuming you’ve got what you need, generally.
For localized cooling, a small fan can provide not only welcome airflow but a degree of white noise for a more peaceful slumber. A smaller heater can achieve the same effect for warming. Just be mindful of safety when using portable heat: always ensure a cleared space, free of fire hazards, and adequate ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
One of the best ways to ensure everyone sleeps comfortably is to start with a cooler ambient temperature — then use layers to achieve individual comfort. Effective layering can consist of bedtime clothing, sheets, blankets, duvets, coverlets and more. If you plan on traveling during warm weather months, opt for natural materials like 100 percent cotton, Tencel or bamboo sheets that breathe well. In colder months, layer on wool or flannel for extra toastiness. Weighted blankets are at the height of popularity now, helping you feel secure and snug, even on the road. This dual therapy weighted blanket by Brooklyn Bedding offers the best of both worlds: one side provides traditional warmth and coziness while the other delivers tranquil cooling. Need only moderate covering? Duvets with either alternate or natural down fill provide added warmth with a lighter touch.
THE MATTRESS OF YOUR DREAMS
Considering the fact that most of us spend 1/3 of our lives in bed, finding the right sleep solution for your RV or camper is an important part of the equation. You should sleep as comfortably on the road as you do at home because…
That’s why you invested in your own mobile space.
To replicate your best sleep at home, choose a mattress you love—built to the specifications of your RV or camper frame. Companies like Brooklyn Bedding offer their most popular sleep solutions in all the right sizes for your home away from home. Best of all, as an American made company, they handcraft your mattress on demand in their very own factory in Phoenix. Among their offerings is the highest value, number one selling Brooklyn Signature Hybrid mattress, along with their most popular hybrid with advanced cooling, the Brooklyn Aurora. For those on a budget, they offer the all-foam Brooklyn Wanderlust and the Brooklyn Arctic Dreams.
KEEPING IT CLEAN
Channeling your inner clean freak not only prolongs the life of your not-so-inexpensive RV, but it also makes for a healthier, happier ride. Unfortunately, one of the most often neglected spaces while on the go is your sleep surface. Think about it: parking on dirt, the occasional inclement weather and higher foot traffic in a smaller space all contribute to dust, allergens and overall grime and grunge. To what lengths you want to go to keep your mattress clean is on you (more on the basics here) but we recommend laundering your sheets and airing out pillows weekly. If one or more of you suffer from allergies, opt for natural materials that are inherently antimicrobial when choosing bedding.
STAYING ON COURSE
Travel days can represent the biggest challenges in terms of staying well-rested. You’ll get a better night’s sleep if you go to bed and rise at roughly the same time you would at home. You’ll also enjoy the journey more if you’re able to take breaks along the way and don’t drive too far or too long.
Napping (during a pit stop or while your partner is at the wheel) can help reduce the chance of drowsiness while driving, but there is both an art and a science to it. To avoid sleep disturbances later—and the daytime sleep hangover—it’s best to nap earlier in the day, and somewhere between 20 to 40 minutes for the ultimate refresh. More on the five things you need to know about napping can be found here.
Whether you’re planning your next getaway or stay away, adequate rest is an important part of the journey.
Your next, great destination is only a dream away.