Tips and Tricks for Getting a Great Night’s Sleep in your RV

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best RV mattress
Custom Memory Foam Mattress from Kelly’s Favorite Camping Gear

Nothing ruins a fun camping trip faster than a poor night’s sleep. Getting quality sleep is essential for your health and happiness, especially when you’re away from home. Though campgrounds can be noisy and RVs full of new sounds and movements, there are plenty of steps you can take to ensure that you get the rest you need.

Invest in Comfort

First, a comfortable mattress is essential for a good night’s sleep. This is true for homes not-on-wheels too, but RV mattresses are notoriously thin and stiff. For a budget-friendly solution, a mattress topper can make a world of difference.

However, if you plan on sleeping in your RV often, it’s worth it to upgrade to a nicer mattress. RV-sized mattresses are available online and in some RV stores, but if you don’t like what you see, there’s always the option to have one custom-made. You’ll be surprised how much better you sleep, and your back will surely thank you the next day!

Once you have a reliable mattress, be sure to top it off with supportive pillows and breathable bedding. You’ll never regret investing in quality sheets, a warm comforter, and the right pillows for your sleeping style.

Our bodies naturally cool a couple of degrees when we sleep, so it’s easier to nod off a little on the chilly side. Experiment with the temperature by setting the A/C slightly lower (if you’re plugged in), or crack open some windows and your ceiling vent to create a good cross breeze if the weather allows.

eye mask and ear plugs
3D Sleep Mask from Leigh & Brian’s Favorite Camping Gear

Minimize Light Exposure

In a sticks-and-bricks house, bedrooms tend to be free of unnecessary light sources. In an RV, though, lights from your entire “home” are often readily visible from your bed.

You may not be able to identify one single light that keeps you up, but a bunch of small LEDs can add up to a less than accommodating sleep space. Use pieces of electric tape to cover LED lights on electronics, appliances, and digital clocks. Better yet, unplug unneeded electronics at night to eliminate these light sources and save you a little battery power.

Once the inside of your RV is light-free, you also need to stop outside lighting from coming in. Whether it’s the outdoor light of your camp neighbor or the glare of parking lot lights on a quick stopover at Walmart, you may find yourself illuminated all night long. Blackout curtains or Reflectix are a great way to block out light and give you a little extra privacy.

During the day, keeping your windows covered will help your RV stay cool and even make your space nap-friendly if needed. Last but certainly not least, a sleep mask is a simple (albeit less comfortable) solution for achieving the darkness your body needs to sleep well.

white noise machine
White Noise Machine from Amanda & Aaron’s Favorite Camping Gear

Get Some Peace and Quiet

External noise can be one of the biggest barriers to a good night’s sleep and the most difficult to control. This is especially true for RVs where thinner walls and minimal insulation don’t provide a good sound buffer. That said, there are ways to minimize noise at night.

First, RV parks often have quiet hours, so if you don’t keep a strict sleep schedule, adjust your plans to the park’s hours to ensure a quiet sleep. Research the campgrounds you plan to visit to find their quiet hours and check reviews for information about average noise levels.

After picking a quiet campground, identify the quietest spots available. Parking away from facilities and in secluded loops will keep noise at a more manageable level. Of course, these coveted spots can be hard to secure, so consider adjusting your arrival time (or reserve well in advance) to give you the best chance of getting your preferred campsite.

Finally, if possible, orient your RV so that your bedroom is farthest from any road or busy area. If your bed is at the front of your RV, pull-through spots can get you a few extra feet from your neighbors, which can certainly help.

If you still find your RV bombarded by noise after all this, a white noise machine or white noise playlist played through speakers can help to drown out unwanted sounds. Free white noise apps are readily available for your phone, where you can browse peaceful soundscapes that will lull you straight into a restful sleep. Earplugs can also help, but they can be uncomfortable, so this solution doesn’t work for everyone.

An RV camping by a barn
Tri-Lynx Levelers from Sara and Mike’s Favorite Camping Gear

Don’t Rock the Boat

To reduce discomfort from your RV rocking or shifting during the night, make sure to properly level and chock your rig when you park. If you only partly extend your leveling jacks (which can happen with the auto-level feature), you may find the RV bounces when people move. You might not notice it during the day, but at night, you’ll surely be annoyed when your partner’s bathroom run wakes you up.

Even for a solo traveler, this tip can be helpful. Strong winds can make unstable RVs rock since they are so boxy. Therefore, ensure your leveling jacks are extended and your rig properly stabilized.

If you’re traveling with family or friends, consider other ways people’s movements could disturb your sleep. Minimize noise issues like squeaky bathroom doors with well-oiled hinges and loud footfalls with a rug between the bed and bathroom.

Finally, if you have a pet that usually sleeps on the bed, experiment with having them sleep elsewhere in the camper. RV mattresses are often smaller than house mattresses, and you may find that you need the extra room for an excellent night’s sleep.

Dog in an Airstream
Campendium Co-Founder Curtis Elian lounging in the trailer.

Final Thoughts

Altogether, these tips can help keep your RV quieter, darker, and cooler at night. Sleep is an essential part of our physical and mental health, and making your camper sleep-friendly well worth the investment. Evaluate your bedroom’s conditions and create a comfortable environment so you can get the good night’s sleep you need to enjoy the next day’s adventures.