How To Sleep Comfortably In A Tent?

Rilor Staff
Update: February 22, 2021
Table of Contents

How to sleep comfortably in a tent? Is this feat achievable, despite being away from the coziness of your bedroom?

In every overnight or extensive camping trips, rest is an important aspect. Without adequate repose, even the most trained hiker or backpacker would not sustain the entire adventure. Hence, in the context of outdoor pursuits, sleep has the same equivalence as food. Others even consider sleep as tantamount to survival. 

But of course, sleeping soundly in a tent remains a challenge to some people. If you are used to sleeping in your thick and bouncy mattresses, then a tent might not be an ideal place to get a proper doze.

Fortunately, it is something that you can overcome. Explore your sleeping options now!

How To Make Tent Camping Comfortable

What To Sleep On When Camping?

If you sleep in a tent without any supporting amenities, chances are, you will be able to snooze at all. By default, a tent doesn't have any built-in bedding or mattress that would make lying flat comfortable. Hence, it is always recommended that people should bring essential outdoor sleeping gear. 

The following should be prioritized:

  • Sleeping bags - A camping sleeping bag is essential. More than just somewhere to sleep, a sleeping bag also helps to keep out cold air and shield the camper from bugs, sun, and other annoyances. Sleeping bags can also be classified into the following categories: car camping bags and backpacking bags. The former is generally wider and offers room for movement. However, it has poor heat retention. Meanwhile, backpacking sleeping bag usually follow a mummy-cut design for a tighter fit and better insulation. 
  • Sleeping pads / mats - On a typical camping trip, your sleeping pad is your only protection against the hard ground below. And because it's one of your only physical connections with the ground, it's an essential part of your sleeping system. Not only do they keep you comfortable, but they are also an integral part of keeping you warm. Depending on the nature of your activity, you might need to get a closed-cell or lightweight sleeping pad. Of course, sleeping mats and sleeping bags go hand-in-hand with each other! You may want a bigger sleeping pad if you are going to sleep with a friend or family member.
  • Pillows - Camping pillows are among the most overlooked and underrated of all camping equipment. This is a shame because these simple pieces of equipment can truly enhance your camping experience. Interestingly, you don't even need to get large pillows. You can just bring compact inflatable or foam pillows on your outdoor trip. Some pillows can be integrated into sleeping bags. Sleeping in a tent with your camping pillows can make your zzz more comfortable!
  • Earplugs - You might don't want to sleep while your environment is noisy. While it is true that the outdoors is far from the bustling sounds of the city, it still is the home of crickets and other natural "disturbances." Wearing earplugs will help you block them. They will not only protect your hearing but also help you get a better night's sleep, especially if you are camping near busy roads or other loud noises, like waterfalls. Alternatively, you can listen to white noise and other calming music to counter the ambient sound of your camping ground. If your camping buddies are with you, these earplugs can block their snoring.

How To Keep Sleep In A Tent Comfortably?

Preparation is the key to a better sleeping experience outdoors. Before it gets dark, you need to organize your items and prepare the area where you are going to set your tent. By doing these things, you will avoid the hassle of being caught in the darkness. Moreover, they let you spend the rest of the night enjoying and relaxing. 

  • Pick a proper site for your tent - Regardless of whether you're a seasoned camper or just starting out, choosing a good tent site is one of the most important factors so that you can sleep comfortably. A good tent site provides a flat, dry place to pitch your tent. It should also provide you with ample space and shelter from the elements, and you should find it easily accessible. For a family tent, you have to make sure that your "ground zero" is spacious and leveled. The right tent stake also matters.
  • Get a light source - The darkness can overwhelm some outdoor goers, making them unable to sleep properly. A camping light might become an ideal solution to this issue. For example, you need a lantern for indoor use. Leftover lanterns should be wrapped and packed properly. You also need to bring flashlights for night time use and other activities.
  • Establish sleeping habits and routines - Our bodies are regulated by a biological clock. There are some activities and stimuli that can activate or sleepiness, alertness, and other natural states. Make sure that you have proper sleeping habits inside and outside a tent. For instance, if you like to brush your teeth before you sleep, then do it while you are camping. Such an act is familiar to your body. It will signal your system that it is time to sleep!
  • Store food away and outside your tent - You don't want your sleep to be pestered by insects. Naturally, they won't go near you unless you have something that they want. Flies, ants, and other critters are attracted to food. Fortunately, you can always lure them out of the tent by placing your food items outside your sleeping space. If there are bears in your area, it is better that you don't sleep on any clothing, as the scent of food can stick on them. You should tell your other family members sleeping on other tents to do the same, too.
  • Don't sleep with wet clothes - Don't sleep on sweaty shirts or pants. Take them off and wear new dry ones instead. Comfortable and clean sleeping clothes can spell the difference between sound sleep and a restless night. The ideal sleepwear should be a combination of long underwear, long tops and bottoms, and a pair of clean socks.
  • Don't overdress - One should know that overdressing can reduce the efficiency of your sleeping bag to trap heat. Therefore, wearing many layers of clothes is not a practical solution for insulation. Instead, you should only wear drape layers such as jackets. Of course, you have to remember that your clothes should depend on the weather. You don’t dress slightly if you are winter camping! In the same manner, you should only wear light t shirt if the climate is hot.
  • Pee before you sleep - You don't want to experience discomforts in your tent by leaving and entering it repetitively. Peeing can make you do these things, and that's not something that you want to happen, especially if you are about to sleep. Before your bedtime, you have to urinate at least two times. In this way, you can guarantee that your bladder is already empty and it will not disturb your sleep.
  • Place a water bottle near you - It is prudent that you place a water bottle near you before you sleep. In this way, you no longer have to leave your tent if in case you get thirsty. If you are saving heat inside your tent, keeping it close at all times is a must. Opening the access points of your tent for trivial reasons can make you lose all the trapped heat. 
  • Practice proper tent care and maintenance - Your tent also needs to be cleaned and stored properly. If you use a sleeping bag with your tent, proper cleaning and storage matters, too.

Best Ways To Sleep In A Tent

There are numerous ways you can sleep in a tent. In a nutshell, it simply depends on your sleeping preferences.

For instance, if you are born as a side sleeper, then you should sleep sideways in your tent, too. There's no need to force yourself into an uncomfortable position. You just have to make sure that your tent is roomy enough to support your desired sleeping position. 

Regardless of how you sleep, it is essential that you have a camping pillow with you. This item is small, but it can provide comfort and support to your body. If you sleep against your back, then place a pillow in your head or neck region. For side sleepers, they need at least two pillows. One pillow is placed between the knees, and the other one should go in your head or your arms. 

Again, having a sleeping bag and sleeping pad matters here. These two amenities provide added protection and support to your body while you are lying in your tent. Besides, you don't want to lie bare directly on a tent floor, right? Interestingly, there are sleeping bags designed for specific sleeping positions. 

If you can, bringing an air mattress can significantly improve your night's sleep. An air mattress is not just for pools; it can also serve as a comfortable sleeping platform. Moreover, it is a great addition for those who are camping with their family members.

How To Make It More Comfortable?

  • Drink a warm cup of tea - If it is available, you should have a cup of warm tea before your sleeping time. The act of drinking tea while inside or outside your tent will clear your mind of all thoughts and make you more receptive to sleep.  This allows you to fall asleep faster and sleep more peacefully throughout the night. Warm drinks can also improve your body heat.
  • Rub yourself with essential oils - Essential oils have been used for a lot of purposes over the past several years. People have used essential oils for aromatherapy, to feel relaxed and to sleep better. Before you sleep, pour a drop of your preferred essential oil in your palms and rub them in your temples and wrist. You can even spray some droplets in your pillow. 
  • Meditate - Stop and take a moment to notice the world around you. The birds are singing, the wind rustling through the trees, the smell of pine in the air. Indeed, this outdoor world is fantastic, especially when you take a moment to experience it fully. Since you are in the wild, you have to make sure that you can savor such a delight. Use the natural elements so that you can meditate and sleep nicely. Your mattress topper can become a conducive platform for deep meditation in the wild. A night's sleep becomes better once your mind is calm and relaxed.


Sleep is a vital element of every successful outdoor adventure. It is the very activity that restores your energy so that you can ascend more summits and trek more miles! Hence, I cannot just emphasize the importance of learning how to sleep comfortably in a tent. Before you go camping, you have to make sure that you can secure a good night sleep.

I hope you learned a lot from this guide. If you have other inquiries, feel free to ask me in the comment section below! 

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