“Of course, not everybody likes camping trips. I do not myself enjoy them much, because I’m not outdoorsy, or at any rate, I’m not outdoorsy overnight-without-a-mattress-wise. There’s a limit to the outdoorsiness to which some academics can be expected to submit.”
― G.A. Cohen
While camping might not be for Mr. Cohen, for others it is a summer tradition not to be missed. There is much to love about camping… the fresh air, campfires, sleeping under the stars, and of course the s’mores. But, perhaps Mr. Cohen has a point – there has to be a way that we can get a better night’s sleep while camping, even without our mattress. For those of you who plan on pitching a tent this summer, here are some tips for getting a good night’s sleep in the great outdoors.
Before you head out on your trip, be sure to do your research. Check local weather forecasts for any impending heat waves, rain storms, or other inclement weather conditions. Knowing the weather before you go will help you determine what equipment you’ll need to pack and what you can leave at home.
Just as the conditions of your bedroom effect how well you sleep, the sleeping conditions of your campsite are equally important. For your best night’s sleep be sure it is dark, cool, and dry. While nature will take care of the darkness for you, your tent can help you control the other conditions. If you’re expecting rain, a good quality tent will ensure that you stay dry all night long. If rain isn’t in the forecast but you’re worried about a heat wave, a screened tent will allow heat to escape from the tent while protecting you from pesky mosquitoes and other bugs.
Sleeping bags are a staple for any camping trip, but they don’t provide much cushioning between you and the earth. To avoid sleeping on rocks and sticks, elevate your sleeping surface. Since you can’t transport your mattress to the campsite, use a memory foam mattress topper instead. Mattress toppers are lightweight and comfortable and it will provide an extra layer of protection between you and the ground. As an added bonus, memory foam helps to trap heat, keeping you cooler while you sleep.
Forgo using your sound machine to fall asleep and focus on the sounds of nature that surround you. The singing of crickets, the hooting of an owl and the rush of a flowing stream make up the soundtrack for your outdoor adventure. These sounds will provide you with natural “white noise”, which can help you to relax and decrease stress, making it easier to drift off to sleep.
Whether you’re venturing into the woods or setting up camp in your own backyard, make sure comfort is your main priority. Getting a good night’s sleep will help you enjoy your camping trip and give you the energy you need to explore the great outdoors.
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Contributor: Elizabeth Murphy