Top tips for a better night’s sleep when camping
Hoping to go camping this summer? There are many things to love about it – the fresh air, great outdoors and letting your children run a bit free to start with.
In fact, I’m a big fan – right up until bedtime.
It’s that airbed. Plus the cold. Wedged into my sleeping bag, I’m afraid to turn over as I’m so cold, and worried I can’t get comfortable again. To add to the fun, last summer I shared a double air bed with my toddler – I was the adult assigned to stop him from rolling off as there was no room for a travel cot – so of course I woke with his every sigh.
And after a night of tossing and turning, you’re woken up at the crack of dawn as daylight filters through the roof of the tent. Then of course I feel cranky with tiredness, and am plagued with twinges and aches in my back and shoulders.
Here are 4 top tips for sleeping on an airbed from Dr Adam Al-Kashi, head of research and education at BackCare
1. Buy a self-inflating roll mat
“Popular models self-inflate to a few inches in depth, providing that extra level of support, insulation and comfort – it’s nice not to feel every bump and pebble in the ground when you lie on it,” he says.
2. Or play around with the pressure on an airbed
“If you find it uncomfortable, experiment with letting out some of the air. Whilst a completely inflated airbed is quite rigid, letting out perhaps a quarter or third of the air will make it far more supportive when you lie down – even if your bottom touches the ground when you sit up.”
3. Bring your duvet
He agrees that sleeping bags are restrictive to turn around in, which can make you feel worse. “Try unzipping the sleeping bag and see if that improves your sleep,” he says. “Or bring your duvet if you have room.”
4. The problem might not be just the camp bed
“Many people don’t realise that the most common cause of back pain is stress, like with most headaches, and camping can be really stressful,” says Dr Al-Kashi.
“Picture the scene – you’ve driven for several hours to reach the campsite. When you arrive it’s raining and the sun is going down. You race to unpack and set up the tent in the rain before it gets dark. The next morning you wake up with back pain.
“It could be the bed, the cold or the driving that’s to blame. But the twisting, bending and lifting as you put the tent up in a hurry and unloaded the car could also have caused your aches and pains. Alternatively, it could have been none of the above and you’re feeling stressed by something else.”
As for me, I’ve made a pact with my husband. We’re bringing our duvet on every camping trip from now on – I don’t care how bulky it is – and a camping mat, plus I’ll be muttering mantras in a bid to stay calm and stress-free. And if that doesn’t work? There’s always the nearest hotel.
For more help with back pain, visit BackCare.