OK, so you’re pretty unlikely to have a great night’s sleep at a festival. Even in the family or quiet sleeping areas there will be unfamiliar noise, your bed is not going to be as comfortable as home and your children will still wake up well before you are ready to get up.
But there at least are things you can do to improve your chances of getting some rest…
Bring a couple of fleece throws. They are great for snuggling the kids under if they get cold at night while you are still in the arena. And being lightweight they dry very quickly if they get wet. When you get back to the tent you can spread them over your sleeping bags if it’s chilly.
If you feel cold at night, cover your head. Wearing a hat will really reduce the loss of body heat. If you haven’t got a hat, try your underpants!
It’s also worth paying a bit more for a decent sleeping bag. A £5 value sleeping bag from the supermarket will do nothing for you, unless you’re in the middle of a heatwave! I tend to feel the cold so I would always go for a 3-4 season bag. I like the ones with a brushed cotton lining.
My eldest daughter hates feeling constricted in a sleeping bag. She tosses and turns and gets into a right twisted pickle with the bag. The solution we found comes in the form of the a Sleeping Pod. They are oval so there is plenty of room for her to sleep in any position she likes. We opted for the Gelert Muscovy Jnr, the higher-end 3 season version and she loves it. It’s quite short for a Junior bag though. I think she’ll barely last the summer in it.
Use a full size pillow. Nothing beats your own pillow from home to help you feel relaxed and comfortable. I know it seems like an unnecessary luxury when you are lugging all your gear from the car – but SOOOO worth it! If space is at a premium, you can get teeny tiny camping pillows too, like the Trekmates Delux Pillow.
Roll mats (preferably self-inflating) provide insulation from the ground. I personally find them more comfortable and less hassle than airbeds, which are forever deflating. Airbeds are often quite cold too because of all the cold air underneath your body.
Keep cool. Yes, I know I said to keep warm 2 minutes ago. But picture this: it’s 7am, the sun is beating down on your tent. You are sweating like you’re in the Bahamas, the brightness is stinging your eyes, you’ve had one hour of sleep… there’s no air in here! Open up your vents, open the tent zips to let a draft through.
Peace and quiet
To prolong your morning snooze you could try airline eye masks. Keep them handy under your pillow ready for that moment when you open your eyes in the dawn dazzle and discover it’s only 5am!
If you are lucky enough to have a baby that sleeps in a buggy then invest in a SnoozeShade. The SnoozeShade is a blackout blind for pushchairs. You can try throwing a big blanket over your tent too – but it’s unlikely you will have one big enough.
Use ear plugs. Soft wax ones mould to the shape of your ear and can be more comfortable than expanding foam ones that make you feel like your head in being inflated. Having said that, I have recently started using soft foam Moldex ones and they are brilliant. Ear plugs are not generally recommended for young children though. Their ear canals are narrow and pushing something inside them puts too much pressure on their sensitive ear drums.
Try not to over indulge. It might make it easier to fall asleep, but too much alcohol prevents deep sleep. It will also leave you with the hangover from hell. The idea of wrestling with a smelly portable loo in the middle of the night is not the nicest either, especially when it’s chucking it down. And your kids will not sleep in just because mummy has a sore head.