Tips and tricks for a restful night’s sleep camping

Tips and tricks for sleeping at night when tent camping

If you have an uncomfortable light night when camping, it can ruin your holiday. As you dread nighttime and after several nights you are too tired to enjoy your holiday.

The main reason why this may happen is that you do not have the correct gear. What do you need to have a comfortable night’s sleep when tent camping?

  • Correct sleeping bagSeasonal rating depending on outside temperatures, body temperature regulations, comfort levels, and safety during the night.
  • The shape of your sleeping bag – Personal preference, although a more snug fit will keep you warmer than having excess space to move at night.
  • Comfy pillow – Take a pillow from home you are familiar with. Don’t leave yourself with neck and back aches in the morning.
  • Ear Plugs – Mouldable ear plugs will block out unwanted noise at night.
  • Sleep mask – not only ideal if you want to block the morning light, but it helps if you have a migraine and need to block out sunlight.
  • Level ground – Make sure your bed is on a flat and even surface
  • Make your sleeping area cosy – Add warm lighting, 50 lumens in the sleeping area, a lightweight throw to personalise, with a side table or stool and keep the sleeping area clear.
  • Insulated the ground – Add additional floor insulation so you cannot feel the cold if you walk barefoot.
  • Comfortable bed – A camp bed should support you to avoid aches in the morning and be lightweight, sturdy and easy to transport.

1 – Use the correct sleeping bag for the time of year

Sleeping bags are great for tent, car, hiking, and wild camping, and offer a perfect night’s sleep and for keeping warm while you sleep outdoors. There are lots of different types of sleeping bags, including down-filled, synthetic, insulated, and even ones designed specifically for pets. You will want to choose a sleeping bag based on the environment you plan to use it.

  • Temperature regulation – Sleeping bags are rated per season and help to regulate your body’s temperature. The higher the number, the lower temperatures you will be insulated against. Not only consider the rating but also understand how you sleep at night. I am a cold sleeper, so my sleeping bag is a season 4. The ideal season for British summer is 3 as it gets cold at night. However, a season 2 will be suitable, but we have additional blankets to hand just in case.
  • Weight and compatibility – Down sleeping bags are heavier than synthetic insulation bags. A down would be suitable if you feel comfortable feeling the weight of a cover whilst sleeping. However, they do not compact down small for transporting compared to synthetic sleeping bags. If you are a side sleeper or like more movement during the night, a pod or rectangle sleeping bag would be more suitable, not a mummy sleeping bag.
  • Insulation material – Different sleeping bags utilize various insulation materials, such as down or synthetic fibres. Each type has its own insulating properties. Down offers a warmth-to-weight ratio and compressibility, making it ideal for colder seasons. Synthetic insulation performs well in damp conditions and dries quickly, which is suitable for humid climates. By selecting the appropriate insulation material for the time of year, you optimize the bag’s performance and maintain thermal comfort.
  • Multi-seasonal – Some sleeping bags are designed for multi-seasonal use, with features like zippered vents or removable liners that provide flexibility and adapt to varying temperatures. These options allow you to use the same bag throughout the year, eliminating the need for multiple bags and saving space and money.
  • Safety – Using the correct sleeping bag for the time of year is essential for your safety while camping. In colder months, inadequate insulation can lead to hypothermia. Or using a heavy, insulated bag in hot weather can cause discomfort, excessive sweating, and dehydration. By selecting the appropriate sleeping bag, you can remove these risks and ensure your well-being during your camping trip. Although my sleeping bag is season 4, during the warmer months, I open it fully and use a blanket so I keep it cooler.

2 – Selecting the perfect sleeping bag for camping

The shape of a sleeping bag is a personal preference and will affect how well you sleep during the night. If you move a lot in your sleep or like space, a mummy sleeping bag is not suitable, as you have reduced body movement. A sleeping bag pod is oval and gives you plenty of space to move.

Pods are ideal as if you sleep with your legs drawn up to your body; there are no restrictions. Rectangle or envelope sleeping bags also allow space to move, although not as much. It is important to understand that excess space in a sleeping bag is not ideal, and this allows more air movement. You will feel colder as your body works harder to warm the surrounding air.

My Coleman Basalt sleeping bag is ideal for stall people. It is too long for me, but I fold the base over to restrict air movement.

Before buying any sleeping, research and consider the type of sleeper you are. If you are a side sleeper, like movement, or your kids like to curl up on the sleeping bag with you. These will have an impact on the type your buy. Read our guide on what type of sleeping bag to buy, including the shape, size and season.

3 – Elevate your camping comfort with a cosy pillow for a restful night

Pillows are a small comfort that is often overlooked. Using a comfortable pillow will enhance your night’s sleep, supporting your neck and spine. It is important to ensure that you have the correct pillow. Depending on the type of trip we take, I will use my Redcamp lightweight camping pillow for short trips with limited space. For longer trips, I will take my pillow from home.

Using an unfamiliar or uncomfortable pillow will often lead to discomfort during the night. Whether the pillow is too hard, soft, or small, always make sure you are happy with your choice.

If you are using a camping pillow for the first time, the firmness can be adjusted easily by removing excess air. However, they are often small but will tuck into your sleeping bag easily. Deflate for easy packing and lightness. Whereas a pillow from home can be bulky, you need more space in your bag.

4 – Silencing the night using earplugs for camping

Ear plugs are an excellent way to sleep peacefully and block out any unwanted sounds. Whether it is sound from the noise that you are not used to or from other campers that will keep you awake.

A majority of campsites will have quiet time from 9 pm to 10 pm at night, and campers will respect this notice. Occasionally, there may be an instance this is ignored. Or campers are trying to talk quietly; noise carries at night, and you cannot expect a 100% quiet campsite.

Another reason you may not be able to sleep is that you are not used to hearing sound from animals, whether it’s owls or people walking about at night. You wake or cannot go into a deep sleep as you listen to unusual sounds.

Approximately 60% of campers complain because of people snoring, which we cannot escape. However, using earplugs will help to block out the sound.

Many types of earplugs are available, and we have tried quite a few. especially for my son Nick as he has very sensitive hearing. The type of earplugs are personal preference, but we use Deep Sleep Silicone Ear plugs. from Amazon. They are flat and mould to the shape of your ear and can be rewashed several times. You need to warm them in your hand first in order for them to mould to your ear, but this only takes a couple of minutes. However, we normally use one set per campaign trip, cleaning every day. We prefer these earplugs because they are comfortable to sleep in, especially if you sleep on your side.

5 – Enhancing restful sleep: Sleep masks for camping

Sleep masks are a simple, easy solution if you do not have a blacked-out bedroom area. I struggle to go back to sleep if I wake up early and light inside my tent. Using a sleep mask has helped me to add a couple of extra hours of sleep.

They are also great if you want to catch a sneaky 15-minute sleep in the afternoon.

If you are not used to a sleep mask, they do take a while to get used to. You need to make sure that you have an adjustable strap that will secure the mask over your eyes. Without feeling tight and uncomfortable during the night. They are also a great way to block out the light if you suffer from migraines. They will not stop the overall pain, but an eye mask will reduce the pain you feel from daylight.

6 – Preparing a comfortable sleeping surface for camping

Look for a flat and even area free from rocks, roots, or other uncomfortable debris. Clear the ground of any obstructions before setting up your tent. If the ground looks slightly slopped, but you are not sure, lay down where you will place your bed. If there is a slight slope, keep going until you find that flat surface. Otherwise, you will feel like you are going to fall out of bed all of the time and be disorientated when you wake up.

I placed my bed on a very slight slope and woke up with a bad headache. I did not realise that there was a slite slope even with checking. My feet were slightly elevated. If you cannot move your bed, turn the other way, as it will stop the book from going to your head during the night.

If the ground is uneven and cannot be flattened, try to flatten it as much as possible and make sure there are no gaps where the wind can go underneath your tent. It feels like you are walking on air if the wind goes underneath. If there is natural foliage around, this will provide some shelter. However, you may need to make your own.

7 – How to create a cosy, comfortable sleeping area in a tent

Making your sleeping area cosy is a must after a day of exploring. You need to be able to relax and recharge batteries for the next day.

  • Fluff up your sleeping bag or quilt – Air and give them a good shake to add volume to your bedding area.
  • Warm lighting – Warm lighting and not harsh white light creates a warm feel. Ideally, you can reduce a dimmable lantern to 50 lumens during the evening. Which is good if you have children who will not sleep in the dark. I don’t use strip lighting in my tent. I like to be able to move my lighting as it is needed. I have several lanterns, standard battery-operated and rechargeable lanterns with power banks so I can charge devices in my sleeping area. So many different lanterns are available you don’t need to spend a fortune. The cheapest lantern I purchased was £6 over 4 years ago, and It still works perfectly. Check our guide to finding the correct lantern for your trip.
  • Additional layers to your bedding – My main set-up is placing a closed sleeping mat underneath a sleeping padFor my sleeping pad, I either cover it with a fleece bottom sheet from home or use my sleeping pad fitted sheet, Klymit, from Amazon. I prefer the Klymit fitted sheet as it fits snugly and does not move around. Bed sheets from home you have to tuck underneath your sleeping pad, and they do move in the night. Which can be a pain and uncomfortable. It is a personal preference and not a necessity. But for me, it makes my life easier. It can be difficult to get your pillow from home in it, but I only do this if my sleeping bag is opened fully and tuned into a blanket.
  • Having a clear sleeping area – Keep your sleeping area clear, put personal items away and tuck them underneath your bed if you can. I have a divider between mine and my sons’ bed areas. He keeps his side a mess, and I find that it aggravates me. So I ban him from my area of the tent.
  • Side table for personal items – having a side table or a stool, if you have room, makes your area feel more like a bedroom. You can keep items that you may need urgently close by. Plus, there are no things on the floor near your bed.
  • Bed throws – A lightweight, warm-coloured bed throw from home gives a cosy feeling. I place mine over my bed during the day and use it while sitting around the campfire in the evenings.

8 – Stay warm and cosy by insulating the ground

Adding additional insulation will help you keep your tent cosy and warm. I always add a thermal tent carpet in the main tent area, and in the bedroom, I add a thick heavy sofa throw on the ground. It is cosy to walk on barefoot, helps keep the sleeping area warm, and stops the cold from seeping through.

Using a heavy-duty throw instead of a tent carpet is softer, and you don’t feel the hardness of the ground underneath. You can use a fleece blanket if you cannot find a heavy-duty throw or interlocking foam play mats. They can mark easily, so you do need to take care and they can be more expensive than large blankets for the floor. They add an additional comfort to camping, which helps make your sleeping area lovely and cosy.

9 – Perfect camp bed for a restful adventure

The second important aspect of camping is having a comfortable bed to sleep on. It will give you a good night’s sleep without waking up in the morning feeling stiff and offer protection against cold ground.

A comfortable camp bed should allow you to move during the night without falling out and not deflating. It should offer you full body support. Easy to sturdy and lightweight for transporting.

Finding the perfect camp bed, you may find that you try several before you find the perfect one.

10 – Importance of ventilation for a restful night’s sleep in a tent

Keeping the vents open in a tent at night will improve air circulation. Reducing stuffiness inside and being a more comfortable temperature. If it is very warm inside a tent, the vents will allow the hot air to escape.

It is tempting to close vents if it is very windy or cold outside. You can close them slightly but not fully. By keeping vents open, condensation will be reduced, although not stopped. This will help to remove the dampness of your bedding and clothing in the morning.

You can do some simple things to reduce condensation by not boiling a kettle or using a fan heater inside. Although on colder nights, this is not always possible. I use a car dehumidifier bag and keep it beside my bed. This reduces condensation if the vents a closed slightly as well. For more tips on how to reduce condensation, check out our article for 10 more tips.

Related questions

The importance of warm, clean clothes for a comfortable night

Having clean, warm clothes to sleep in at night when camping is important. Not only will it protect your sleeping bag, but going to bed feeling hot, sweaty, and dirty clothes will not help you relax and settle.

Showering and wearing fresh, warm nightclothes will make you feel more comfortable. Not only is it good hygiene, but It will also help to regulate your body temperature during sleep. Dry, warm clothes will trap heat and help with a cosy night’s sleep.

If it is cold, wear layers, not one layer with a high thermal rating. If you find that you are excessively warm during the night, you can remove a layer at a time. If you sweat a lot during the night, your clothes will become damp and uncomfortable to sleep in.

I always wear loose socks that I can easily remove without leaving my sleeping bag. PJs with a vest top and then add layers. I always make sure that my night clothes are loose fitting, as when your body heats, it warms the space between layers. Plus, I do not like to feel restricted during the night, and the layers can be removed easily.

If you are camping without EHU, it can be hard to keep warm. Our article will help you with some ideas on how you can warm your bed and yourself. Simple tips include placing bricks around the firepit to warm them and then wrapping them in a tea towel to keep warm.


I'm a single parent who loves pitching a tent and exploring the countryside at any opportunity. I am working with a glamping pod company and helping them to set up a family campsite in East Riding Yorkshire.

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