- You’re never going to get the best sleep ever at a festival
- But there are ways to sleep comfortably while camping
- Choose your camping spot carefully, bring an eyemask and earplugs, and plenty of comfortable kit to help you sleep better
- Stay energized throughout the day by drinking plenty of water, taking naps if you need to, and stretching your legs
- And most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!
From seeing your favorite bands performing live, to sharing good times with your best friends, there’s nothing quite like a festival. But there’s just one thing that threatens to ruin the experience – a lack of sleep when camping at night.
Whether it’s due to people partying into the small hours, or sunlight streaming through your tent when you’re trying to have a long lie, it’s a fact of life that no one gets their best night’s sleep ever. However, there are some things you can do to sleep comfortably while camping – or more comfortably, at least! Keep reading to find out our top tips for how to sleep at a festival, and make your weekend even better.
Why do people struggle to sleep at festivals?
If you have trouble sleeping while camping, you’re not alone. Music festivals aren’t necessarily conducive to sleeping well. Even if you’ve never been to one, you’ll know that there’s music, drinking and dancing well into the night, as well as after-parties too that keep festival-goers up until the morning. Staying up late for a few nights in a row will have an inevitable impact on your usual sleeping patterns, and you might find it harder to fall asleep when you do finally make it to your tent.
Even if you’re not partying hard into the wee hours, you might still find it tough to sleep. Drinking alcohol can affect the quality of your sleep, limiting the amount of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep you get. This type of sleep is crucial for waking up feeling refreshed and recovered for the day ahead – so while you might find it easier to fall asleep after a couple of drinks, the likelihood is that it’ll mean you don’t sleep as well, and feel worse for wear the next day.
You may also be uncomfortable sleeping while camping due to the unfamiliar environment. The ground underneath your tent might be lumpy, you may be squashed in beside a friend, your sleeping bag could be too hot (or too cold), you could have noisy neighbors... The list is endless.
What’s more, music festivals usually take place during the summer, when it can get light early. So you might get woken up earlier than you’d like by birds chirping and light breaking through your tent at 5am, and find it difficult to get back to sleep.
How to sleep at a festival
So, how to sleep comfortably while camping between all the late nights, noise and uncomfortable sleeping conditions? Here are our top tips for getting some better quality shut eye, helping you to feel less tired the next day and power through more festival fun.
1. Choose the right spot
If you can, it’s best to get to the festival site as early as possible so you have your pick of the pitches. You should look for somewhere that's as flat as possible – and remember to move any debris from the ground before you pitch your tent.
Look for high ground, and avoid pitching your tent at the foot of a hill. If it rains and you’re on lower ground, you’ll have to contend with a waterlogged tent – which is only going to make an uncomfortable night of sleep even worse.
You’ll also want to avoid being near to any paths or the toilets. Sure, it might seem convenient to be able to stumble to the toilet in the middle of the night, but you won’t be the only one who needs a nocturnal toilet trip. It can get pretty noisy at the toilet blocks – and did we mention how bad festival portaloos smell after a few days?
The same goes for being near paths. It might make it nice and easy to get to your tent if it’s close to the pathway, but you run the risk of random strangers stumbling into your tent at all hours. It’s better to choose a spot that’s a little further away, and mark your tent with a flag or bunting so you can spot it more easily.
It should also go without saying that you’re not going to sleep particularly well if you’re near any stages – so do yourself a favor and pitch your tent a little further away. It might take you longer to get to your tent once you’re done with the day’s action, but it’ll be worth it for a quieter night!
2. Bring the right sleeping equipment
We can’t emphasize this enough: the most comfortable way to sleep while camping is to use a sleeping mat, cozy sleeping bag and a pillow.
Inflatable pillows pack down small so shouldn’t take up too much room in your bag – but if you really can’t spare the space for a pillow, you can create a makeshift one by stuffing clothes into your sleeping bag storage bag. If you bring a fleece or hoody, it can do double duty to keep you snug in the evenings and as a pillow at night.
In terms of sleeping bags, a one or two season sleeping bag may suffice if you’re going to a festival in the height of summer, but remember that it can get cold at night even if the sun is shining all day long.
So, if you want to know how to sleep warm while camping, the secret is to opt for a three or four season bag that will keep you warm in any weather. If you do choose a lighter sleeping bag, you might also want to bring a blanket – they’re not only good for keeping you warm at night, but are also perfect for singalongs around the campfire.
An inflatable sleeping mat is a non-negotiable when it comes to how to sleep while camping. They provide an extra layer of insulation between you and the ground. That means that if you do happen to pitch your tent on lumpy ground, you’ll be less likely to feel it underneath you during the night. It also acts as a buffer against the cold ground, ensuring you don’t lose body heat to the ground through the night, keeping you warmer.
3. Use earplugs
Earplugs are an essential for any festival-goer, whether it’s to block out the noise of people chatting outside your tent, the sounds of music playing late into the night, or your tent mate's snoring.
The best earplugs for sleeping at festivals are a pair like Loop’s Quiet earplugs that are designed to help you get in the zone and get a good night’s sleep. They provide up to 27 decibels of coverage, shutting out sounds, and they’re made from super comfortable silicone so you can wear them all night long.
And of course, the other benefit of bringing earplugs to a festival is that they’ll help to protect your ears when listening to loud bands. Ever been to a concert, had an amazing time, but come away with a ringing in your ears? That’s one sure-fire way to ensure you’ll struggle to get to sleep. A pair like Loop Experience lets you live in the moment with a patented acoustic channel and mesh to filter sound against all frequencies to keep the music sounding as good as ever, but at a reduced volume. Protect your ears, and get to sleep easier: it’s a win-win solution!
Our festival earplugs
4. Remember an eye mask
An eye mask will help to keep you fast asleep as the sun starts streaming through your tent early in the morning. Things don’t typically get going at festivals until around noon, so with the help of an eye mask, you can sleep in for longer and not have to miss out on any of the action.
5. Stay cozy
How to sleep warm while camping? The key is to wear enough layers so that you can stay nice and cozy all night long – this is especially important if you’ve gone for a one or two season sleeping bag rather than a warmer year-round one.
You might also want to bring a set of clothes that are only for the tent. Keep these in a plastic bag or dry bag, and change into them as soon as you get back to the tent. Having a spare set of tent clothes means you’ll never have to go to sleep in sweaty clothes you’ve had on all day long, or ones that get soaking wet when it inevitably rains.
How do you not get tired at festivals?
These tips should help you to get a better night’s sleep, but it’s likely you’ll still find yourself feeling pretty tired over the course of the weekend. There are some things you can do to keep yourself feeling upbeat - and they should also help you to sleep better, too.
1. Get outside when you wake up
Fresh air and light exercise will help you to feel more alert and awake. So if you wake up and can’t get back to sleep, rather than languishing in your tent, try getting up and walking around. Go and buy a coffee – stretching your legs, caffeine and exposure to sunlight will all help you to feel less tired!
2. Drink plenty of water
Staying hydrated will make you feel more energized – and it’ll help to keep those post-party headaches at bay too. Why not take a reusable water bottle and fill up throughout the day?
3. Eat nutritious food (at least some of the time)
It can be tempting to gravitate towards the stalls selling beers, burgers and fries all weekend long, but eating too much fast food can make you feel sluggish. If you’re grabbing food to go, try something like falafel or a rice bowl with chicken. These foods release energy slowly throughout the day to help you stay awake, and provide plenty of protein.
4. Nap when you need to
There’s no point in forcing yourself to stay up all day if you’re struggling to function. We all get FOMO sometimes but you’re really not going to miss out on that much if you dash back to the tent for a 20-minute cat nap.
Get a better sleep when camping at festivals
It can be tricky to sleep comfortably while camping at a festival, but all is not lost. With a comfortable sleeping mat, cozy clothes, earplugs and a sleeping mask, you can increase your chances of getting a good night’s sleep. So go forth, have fun and sleep well, whatever festival you’re attending this summer!
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