How to Sleep in a Car: Tips and Tricks for a Safe Night

by Mike

Let’s get this out of the way first; cars are not the most comfortable sleeping places, nor are they the safest.

In fact, most cars weren’t designed with that in mind. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t sleep in it. A lot of people eventually find themselves forced to sleep in their cars. In these cases, it’s important to know how to properly deck out your vehicle to make it as comfortable as possible.

Preparing your car for sleeping might seem daunting, and it is. However, we’ll provide you with some tips and tricks that will make sleeping in the vehicle a much less tedious and overwhelming thing. Not to mention that it’ll be a more comfortable experience overall.

And now, without further ado, let us dive into the list of things that are vital to ensure more restful sleep in the car.

How to SLeep in a Car Privately

Sleeping in your car with your windows left exposed will only hamper your sleep. For one, if you’re trying to sleep during the day, the light coming from the windows will make sleeping an almost impossible thing. Even if you choose to sleep during the night, the fact that people can peek through the windows will leave you feeling uneasy and unsafe.

What’s the best thing to do in order to get some privacy? Well, it’s quite simple; Get some window curtains! You’ll be surprised to know how effective they are at making your car instantly safer and cozier.

If you can find something that’s pre-made, you can check Shade Sox’s cheap universal window fitting that you can check. These are made in a way that will make them fit in almost any vehicle thanks to their flexibility. They’re also pretty easy to set up. Just pull them over the window and you’re good to go.

If you’re one to handcraft your solution, there are several DIY alternatives you can try. You can set up a bungee cord by the ceiling and use some sheets as curtains. You can also block your windows with some cardboard. Another sweet alternative is to get some Reflectix insulation and shape it specifically for your car. The sky is the limit when it comes to creative privacy measures.

Quiet Sleep is Good Sleep

Even though privacy does imply silence, blocking out noise is so important that we needed to include it in a separate section.

Most of the time, you’ll find yourself parked in a place where there’s a lot of activity and as a result, noise. In order to circumvent this inconvenience, it’s imperative that you use some kind of earplugs. You can use regular earplugs to block out all the noise, or just use some headphones to listen to some white sound, calm music, or something that will make you feel relaxed and sleepy.

Usually, you wouldn’t want to skimp on earplugs or headphones, but there are some great options if you happen to be on a tight budget. Decibullz are excellent earplugs that shouldn’t break the bank. They’re not the cheapest, but they’re a great investment. What makes them unique is that they are moldable, which makes them compatible with any ear, as you can shape them yourself. They perfectly fit the ear’s sound sensitivity and offer up to 31dB of noise reduction.

When it comes to headphones, there are plenty of great headphones that come with great noise cancellation so you can wear them and listen to some music or podcast while you gently drift into sleep.

As an added bonus tip, you can wear an eye mask to ensure that you’re completely isolated from any undesired lights or noise. Even though you should already have curtains set up, it never hurts to go the extra mile and wear an eye mask to block out any light that might have seeped through the curtains.

Stock and Load

You should always keep some supplies nearby. The last thing you want is to wake up in the midst of the night feeling thirsty, blindly waving your hands in the dark, looking for a bottle of water or a torch.

Make sure you keep your keys, a flashlight, your smartphone, and a bottle of water nearby.

Keep your Equipment Charged

When you’re on the road, keeping your electronic devices charged can be quite tough. Sure, you can plug your devices in your car while it’s on, but that’s not an option overnight. Instead, we recommend that you use some sort of portable power source or even some solar panels on the dashboard in order to keep your devices charged and ready to go. You never know when you’re going to need them.

How to Sleep in a Car: Preparing Your Bed

Now, for the most important part of the answer of “how to sleep in a car”: preparing the bed.

Gathering the necessary materials

First of all, you’ll need to collect the appropriate resources and materials in order to make a comfortable bed. Don’t worry; you’ll only need a sleeping bag, blankets, and some pillows. There are also inflatable mattresses for cars that you can buy, but if you’re not one to regularly sleep in your car, you can just prepare your best with the aforementioned materials.

When it comes to the mattress, you can simply use some towels and clothes or anything that’s soft. You’re going to want to use these resources to stuff potential pressure points. For instance, if you’re going to sleep in the front seat, you’ll need to stuff the area under your hips. You might also want to use them as a comfortable spot to rest your head on.

Picking the best place to sleep in

When it comes to the most optimal seat to sleep in, if your car is relatively small, then you’re better off using the front seat. Recline it as far as possible and proceed to properly stuff it with towels. If you set it up correctly, you should be able to sleep and recharge comfortably. That’s probably the closest you’re going to get to a proper bed inside your car.

If you happen to own a medium-sized car, then sleeping in the back seat is the better option as there should be enough space for you to almost fully stretch out. If you happen to curl up in your sleep, then you’re already ahead of the game. Don’t worry if you tend to stretch out during your sleep as you should also find it comfortable enough to get some restful night.

If you own a large car, then you can do whatever you want. It doesn’t matter if you choose to sleep in the trunk, in the backseats, or in the front seat, you’ll always find it comfortable. There’s enough space that you can comfortably sleep no matter the place.

Safety is #1 Priority

NEVER, ever sleep with the engine still turned on. Doesn’t matter how cold or warm it gets, running car engines produce carbon monoxide and can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure that you keep the engine off, the extra bit of comfort brought by the running engine is not worth losing your life.

Another thing you should never do is forget to lock the doors. Sleeping in general leaves you in a vulnerable state. Sleeping in an open car is a death wish. You can get robbed, assaulted or even killed if you leave your doors open to everyone.

If the weather is freezing, then leave the windows open just enough to keep the car adequately ventilated and not let any unwanted creature or hand pass through. Even though it seems weird at first, keeping your windows completely closed will cause more condensation which will make you wet and, as a result, feeling cold.

How to Sleep in a Car Legally

When it comes to parking spots, make sure you’re parking legally, and not in a restricted or private place. The last thing you want is to run into legal problems while trying to get some rest. Rest stops, stores, and even some churches provide parking lots that are usually free and safe.

Don’t be reckless when choosing a place to park as you might end up sorely regretting it. There are a couple of very helpful apps like Hipcamp and AllStays that can inform you of any potential legal parking spots.

With all of the above said. Sleeping in the car is actually the easiest part of this whole endeavor. The hardest part lies in the preparation phase. There’s just so much that you should do in order to set up your car properly. Not to mention changing your clothes to something more comfortable without leaving the vehicle. That’s a pain in the neck, to say the least.

Hopefully, with the aforementioned tips and tricks, you won’t find it so difficult to set up your car if you happen to find yourself in a situation where you can’t sleep anywhere else without having to learn the hard way.

Have you ever tried sleeping in your car? Was it comfortable? Share your experience on how to sleep in a car in the comments!


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