Sleep isn’t a luxury. Sleep lets your body heal, your skin rejuvenate, and your brain clear away chemicals that make you feel tired. So it’s important that wherever you sleep—whether it’s on a sofa mattress or a camper mattress—that you sleep as well as possible. Here are seven tips to help you achieve sweet dreams:
1. Make it dark. People aren’t nocturnal; we’re designed to sleep at night. Centuries ago, before electricity, nightfall signaled that it was time for bed. Today, electric lights can keep our homes bright around the clock, confusing our bodies and making it harder to sleep. So turn the lights off. This includes the lights on your electronic devices; studies find that the blue light on phones, tablets, and laptops can reduce production of melatonin, a hormone that helps sleep. Also, even if it’s tempting to stare up at starlight from your camper mattress, pull down window shades or wear an eye mask to darken the room and help your sleep.
2. Adjust the thermostat. Our body’s temperature naturally falls when you sleep at night. Making the room a little cooler can coax your body to cool down faster, letting you sleep better. Try adjusting the thermostat to be 5 or 10 degrees cooler than its daytime setting (your thermostat may have separate daytime and nighttime settings so you don’t need to change it every time you go to bed or wake up). Keep comfy covers nearby, so if you get too chilled you don’t need to get out of bed to get warm again.
3. Turn off the noise. The lapping of water against the boat might help you sleep comfortably on your marine mattress, but in most situations, any nighttime noise is likely to disturb your rest, especially if you’re sleeping in your RV. If you fall asleep to your favorite tunes, program the player to shut down within 30 to 60 minutes. Block out other sounds with a white noise machine. Earplugs can look goofy, but if they help you sleep better, you’ll wake up looking better, and more people see you when you’re awake than when you’re in bed.
4. Luxuriate between comfortable sheets. Your mattress is important to your sleep quality, but you don’t lie directly on your mattress; you lie on sheets. Rougher sheets may be less comfortable. If you can’t spring for silk sheets, look for sheets with a higher thread count and sateen finish for smoothness and softness against your skin. Wool blankets are warm but scratchy; use a top sheet between you and the blanket to get the benefit of the warmth without the itch.
5. Make your room smell good. If you’re sleeping on a marine mattress on your boat, the smell of the sea and of fish may be unavoidable. In other situations, make sure the room smells pleasant. Bring in a sprig of pine to strengthen the clean outdoor smell when you’re sleeping on a camper mattress. You might try a spritz of lavender on your pillows; the fragrance is known for its relaxing effect. You can also keep a lavender sachet or soap near the bed.
6. Be neat. According to Feng Shui, any clutter in the room will be a distraction that may disturb your unconscious mind. If you have exercise gear in the room, your brain may associate your bedroom with becoming energized, rather than with winding down. Move everything not associated with sleep out of the room. This will help your brain to recognize that the bedroom is only for sleeping and will help you fall asleep faster and sleep better.
7. Choose soothing colors. Let the very walls of your room help you fall asleep. Different colors cause the brain to react in different ways. Bright colors, like red and yellow, suggest energy and movement—the opposite of what you want in your sleeping quarters. Calmer colors, like blues and grays, suggest slowing down and becoming calm and peaceful.
What does your sleep haven look like?