Figuring out how to sleep comfortably in the backseat of a car can seem like quite the challenge. Your car isn’t nearly as comfortable as a bed or recliner chair. The chances are, you’re going to be dealing with minimal space, distractions, and a lot of other issues which negate a good rest.
However, there are times when sleeping in your car might be the only option to keep yourself safe and well-rested. If you’re on a long trip with no accommodations booked along the way, knowing how to sleep in a car can help you get the rest you need. It’s particularly important to get a little sleep from time to time, if you’re going to be driving.
Sometimes, you might even choose to sleep in your car as a way of saving money on a camping trip. Also, sleeping in a car help you stay warm when the weather is too cold for a tent.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to sleep in the back of a car.
How to sleep in the back of a car: The basics
The first step in learning how to sleep comfortably in the backseat of a car, is being prepared. First, it’s worth noting you might not be able to get the same quality of sleep in your car as you’d get elsewhere. That said, you should be able to get just enough rest to keep you focused.
Start by finding somewhere safe and legal to park. You won’t be able to sleep in your car anywhere. Many locations will have rules and restrictions on how long you can park in a position for. You’re going to have a hard time figuring out how to fall asleep in your car if you have police knocking at your window within an hour or so.
Find a lot which allows for overnight parking. Make sure you’re parked away from busy roads so you can enjoy the quiet. If you’re planning on sleeping on a long trip, it can be helpful to do some research in advance. Check out which neighborhoods are safest. Criminals can often break into cars in search of valuable belongings, which may put you at risk.
Other ways to stay safe and prepared include:
Protect your valuables
Place your valuables in a locked location out of the sight of potential criminals, such as in the boot. Criminals may see you snoozing as an opportunity to steal your belongings, particularly if you leave a window or door open.
Stay safe from carbon monoxide
While it’s tempting to leave the air conditioning on when sleeping in your car, leaving your engine on is dangerous. A stationary car will produce carbon monoxide, and leaks in your AC system or exhaust could lead to a risk of poisoning. If you fall asleep in an area with carbon monoxide, you may not wake up.
Keep your battery charged
You’ll need to avoid using the AC and heating systems for other reasons too. If you sleep for more than an hour or two, you could end up draining your battery, which means you won’t be able to star the car when you’re ready to drive.
Crack a window
Opening a window can sometimes seem like a bad idea from a safety and comfort perspective. Having all your windows closed when you sleep could allow condensation to build up in the vehicle. It should also help with managing your temperature when you sleep, as it’s best to stay cool.
Cover the windows
Covering the windows with blankets, clothes, or special screens will give you some extra privacy. This will also prevent the morning sun from shining into your car and waking you up.
It’s also worth letting someone know where you’re going to be sleeping, such as a friend or relative. This ensures someone will be able to find you if something goes wrong.
How can I sleep comfortably in the backseat of a car?
Figuring out how to sleep comfortably in the backseat of a car can be easier said than done, particularly if you’re a tall person in a small vehicle. The best option is to create a cozy space in the back of your car, similar to a bed at home. There are sleeping pads and air mattresses specifically designed for this purpose. You could also look into bringing resources from home.
Some of the best ways to transform your backseat into a comfortable sleeping space include:
- Bring a pillow and quilt: If you can, bringing your pillow and quilt or duvet from home will help to create a familiar and cozy sleeping space, just like in your bedroom.
- Store extra blankets: If you’re travelling in winter, it’s best to bring some extra blankets in case it gets cold, remember, you can’t rely on your car heater.
- Fold down the back seat: If your car allows it, you can fold down the back seat to allow for some extra sleeping room. You will need to clear out your boot to do this.
- Try some earplugs: Even if you choose a distraction-free space away from the main road, it can be loud in your car. Earplugs can help you to fall asleep faster.
- Consider an eye mask: When you can’t fully cover the windows in your car, it’s easy for light to seep through. An eye mask will help to keep things dark and cozy.
If you’re struggling with falling asleep, you could also consider taking sleeping supplements like melatonin, or using lavender or chamomile to help you fall asleep. Experiment with these options before your trip so you know how they affect you when you wake up.
How to sleep comfortably in a car: Crucial tips
Since figuring out how to fall asleep in the car is rarely a simple experience, it’s best to be as equipped as possible for a comfortable experience. You’ll need to start by making sure you’re properly prepared. A flashlight will come in handy if you need to venture outside, and it’s helpful to have snacks and water on hand too.
Some great tips to consider when sleeping in the backseat include:
Follow your routine
Follow the same sleep hygiene routine you would use at home before sleeping in your car can help you to enjoy a better night’s rest. You could consider doing some yoga or meditation before your nap, and you could even use soothing music.
Try to find ways to cut out distractions which might wake you up. Ear plugs and noise-cancelling headphones are great for blocking out the world around you. Consider parking away from the sun so you’re not woken up by a sunrise too.
Stay away from caffeinated and sugary beverages before you’re planning on going to sleep. You can always stock up on caffeine once you wake up to help you get focused again on time for the next stage of your journey.
What is the most comfortable way to sleep in a car?
Finding the most comfortable way to sleep in a car is a personal journey. You’ll need to experiment a little to find out what works for you, based on your style and size of vehicle. If you don’t have an air mattress or a specific sleeping section in your car:
- Don’t rest your head on the door: This will often result in discomfort and pain and may even lead to problems with your neck when you wake up. If you do fall asleep, you probably won’t feel your best the next day.
- Rest your head somewhere: If you haven’t got a travel pillow or cushion available, consider resting your head on your arm or hand for extra support.
- Lower the armrest: If you’re sleeping on the back seat, it’s best to lower, or raise the arm rest (whatever gets it out of the way) so you have more room to spread out.
How to fall asleep in the car: Front vs backseat
Depending on your car and the reason why you’re choosing to sleep in a car, you might want to consider switching the backseat for the front seat. Typically, it’s best to sleep in the front of the car if you’re travelling with someone else, and you’re not the designated driver.
In the front seat, you can have access to air conditioning as your partner drives, as well as plenty of space to recline your chair if necessary. Just make sure you keep your seatbelt buckled at all times and avoid lifting your legs next to the dashboard.
You can also choose to sleep in the front seat if you have a chair which reclines significantly, and you are the primary driver. This could give you a little more space compared to the back of a small car. The front seat will also give you access to the sound system if you want to listen to music.
If you’re planning on sleeping in the front of the car as the driver, it’s best to stick with the passenger’s seat, as this will stop you from accidentally kicking any pedals mid-nap.
Learning how to sleep in a car
Ultimately, learning how to sleep comfortably in the backseat of a car isn’t the simplest process. Cars aren’t intended for sleep, though they can be a comfortable place for a quick nap from time to time. The good news is if you don’t have any other options available, you can use the tips above to transform your car into a cozier setting.
Remember, above all else, it’s crucial to ensure you remain safe and secure when sleeping in the backseat or even the front of your car. Avoid any dangerous areas and be aware of the threats associated with carbon monoxide poisoning.
You’ll probably benefit from a good night’s sleep when you reach your destination with a real bed too!
Siestio. Sleep Matters.
Now read these:
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—Sleeping in hot weather
—How to fall asleep alone