Creative Sleeping for Uncomfortable Situations

I don’t always fall asleep easily. There are times when it takes me hours to fall asleep, and a few nights each year I lay in bed all night and don’t sleep at all. It is extremely important for me to find comfortable ways to sleep, so here are some of the more unusual things I’ve done on various adventures to try to keep comfortable. Feel free to steal the ideas, or give your own suggestions!

                            Me sleeping outside on a boat

1- The Tray Table Lean

This is one of my favorite and one of the most underused plane-sleeping methods. If I try to sleep leaning against the window or sitting up, I fidget and fall and cant sleep one bit. So I pop out my tray table, fold my arms, put my head down, and sleep. This is definitely a technique for smaller people, but it works. If you have a pillow or a sweatshirt to put over your arms, even better.

2- The Aisle Bed

I’ve only done this once, on a horrible, uncomfortable coach bus ride between countries in Europe. After watching everyone around me squirm for hours in seats that didn’t recline at all, and trying every possible position I could think of in my own seat, I just grabbed a pillow and laid down in the aisle. Much better.

3- The Hoboat

On a small cruise ship between countries in Europe, the rooms were so cramped and stuffy and uncomfortable that my roommate and I decided to try our luck sleeping outside on the deck. We took a few blankets and pillows, got a spot near the side of the boat where we could see the ocean, and camped out there. This was pretty common though; the boat was full of people who paid for a ticket but not a room, so people were spread out in sleeping bags on every surface you could find. We called it the Hoboat.

4- The Wet Nap

On another similarly small cruise ship, I slept in the room. But it was awful. It was so hot and stuffy that at one point I thought I was going to suffocate so I stepped outside for a few minutes to catch my breath. When I came back in I took my blanket and soaked in the sink, then rung it out and slept with it on top of me. It was much more comfortable. It probably really annoyed the staff to have to clean up my bed later, but I think they deserved it for almost killing me in my sleep.

I used this method again during my summer in Germany, because most Germans don’t have air conditioners. And I was hot.

For those of you like me who rank sleep as a high priority, think about investing in a self-inflating mattress for your travels. They are especially good for camping or unexpected situations, because they are extremely lightweight, they inflate themselves, you can deflate them easily just by rolling them up, and they pack up small. This self-inflating mattress from Therm-a-Rest is highly rated and weighs less than a pound.

What is the strangest sleeping arrangement you’ve ever had?