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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.


Comments (25)

  • Avatar

    Sonya Cisco

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    A decent air bed and duvets rather than sleeping bags has always done the trick for me. We have a ready bed for our toddler, it has a ridge round the side to stop him falling out, and worked well when we camped last summer.

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      healthiermummy

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      A ready bed sounds like a really good idea.

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    suzanne3childrenandit

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    I think our camping days are over as a family, not entirely due to the uncomfortable sleeping situation but it’s certainly a contributing factor. I am thinking of getting those inflatable mattresses, they are more expensive but also less likely to pop.

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    Christina O'Hare

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    We’ve just started thinking about camping again (we loved it pre-kids, but have never done it with the kids), so very timely advice. Thank you.

    • Avatar

      healthiermummy

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      Hope you have fun!

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    Nayna Kanabar (@SIMPLYF00D)

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    I have never been camping I love my creature comforts too much.You have shared some good tips.

  • Avatar

    Mummy of Two

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    This is one thing that really annoys me about camping too. I hate sharing an airbed with my OH as everytime he moves I get bumped around. I also have to take my duvet, I can’t be doing with sleeping bags!

    • Avatar

      healthiermummy

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      Maybe a single bed is the way to go when camping to avoid being disturbed?

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    Cass@frugalfamily

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    Brilliant tips -just what I need for our trup this Summer x x

  • Avatar

    Amanda

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    This is fantastic, thanks. We’ve been thinking of getting a tent so we could go camping but were unsure how we’d manage sleeping. The last time I went camping was on a summer camp for disabled teenagers so we were on mattresses on the floor – not exactly your more typical camping experience!

    • Avatar

      healthiermummy

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      Good luck with it. I’d definitely recommend taking the duvet or getting a super-warm sleeping bag.

  • Avatar

    Polly

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    i share the airbed with my five year old when we camp, we have a fleece blanket to lie on and a duvet over us. We usually sleep in onsies’ too, so there is no chance of getting cold if I roll over!!

    • Avatar

      healthiermummy

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      The fleece blanket – that’s what I’ve been missing. Great idea. I get so cold camping.

  • Avatar

    You Baby Me Mummy

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    Useful info, I have a very bad bad and I always suffer camping x

  • Avatar

    Kirsty

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    I love camping but my OH is not keen. I have managed to persuade him to do a bit of glamping this year to ease him into the idea of proper camping but I think he is too much of a fan of home comforts! I have only ever taken a roll mat for sleeping so the idea of an airbed is luxury!

  • Avatar

    Helen Dickinson

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    Some great tips. I especially agree with bringing your own duvet. One of the most comfiest ways to sleep.

  • Avatar

    Kate Williams

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    I’d love to go camping with my two but must admit all the stuff you mentioned has put me off! A duvet is a brill idea :)

  • Avatar

    agatapokutycka

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    I always get few spare blankets and add them for making my sleeping spot

  • Avatar

    Jenny

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    I won’t ever persuade my husband to part from his tempur mattress at home, he is too comfy to sleep anywhere else.

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    Shell Louise

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    I don’t do camping for this very reason. It’s glamping all the way for me, I need a proper bed!

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    kara

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    We are going to Camp Bestival and are complete camping novices……love the idea of a self inflating mat though

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    Angela Spicer

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    I’m not a fan of camping, but when we’ve had the tent out in the back garden and stayed out overnight, I took my duvet!

  • Avatar

    VaiChin @ Rambling Through Parenthood

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    The OH hates camping. His logic being if you can sleep in a comfy bed, why bother with anything else? After reading this, must say I concur.

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    ninja cat

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    never been camping I love my hotels

  • Avatar

    Bek

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    I’ve never been camping before as my boyfriend says he absolutely hates it. I’d like to go one day though so these tips would help. Thanks.

Comments are closed