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Sleeping in a car may sound cumbersome, but it is more likely to happen than you think. Some use their cars as a sanctuary when it breaks down on a long-distance road trip, and some choose to live the nomad life camping in their cars. Whatever the reason may be, if you ever find yourself having to sleep in your car, especially in the front seat, there are ways to make the experience more comfortable.
Here’s how to sleep comfortably in the front seat of a car:
- Plan before you sleep.
- Adjust the front seat.
- Find the ideal sleeping position.
- Dress appropriately.
- Optimize your environment.
It’s good to know how to create a comfortable, close-to-home-like environment in your car, and this article will discuss all of that in great detail. Some of the ways may not work if you are forced to sleep in the car in an emergency, but if you are reading this article, you have already begun preparing yourself.
1. Plan Before You Sleep
Before you buckle into your front seat to go to sleep, make sure you are not disturbed while sleeping by a cop knocking on the door or strangers peeping into the car.
To choose a good secure place to park your car, make sure you keep the following things in mind:
- Is it legal to park overnight?
- Is the spot close to the road?
- Is the spot safe?
- Are there any parking restrictions?
If you are on the passenger seat planning to doze off while your partner drives, make sure you inform them first. It is good to develop an understanding and make sure the driver does not need you awake to keep them from dozing off.
Now that you know it’s safe to sleep, get comfortable in the front seat by adjusting the seat the perfect way.
– Is It Safe To Sleep in a Car With the Engine Off?
– Is It Safe To Sleep in Your Car in the Winter?
– How To Sleep in a Car Without the Alarm Going Off
– Can You Sleep in Your Car in National Parks?
2. Adjust the Front Seat
Many people who have had the experience of sleeping in the front and back seats of the car prefer the front seat as it can be reclined the most. It depends on the car type, but most cars allow the front seat to be reclined to a great length.
Follow these tips to help you adjust the front seat in an ideal position for a good sleep.
Move the Seat Forward
Try and move the seat forward as much as your legs allow. When the seat is moved forward, most car seats will recline further back.
The most comfortable way is to make it as horizontal as possible for the most comfortable sleeping position. Keep in mind, though, that it’s not safe to recline all the way back in a fast-moving car.
Ford Canada has a comprehensive video on their Youtube channel explaining the basics of how to recline a seat:
Move the Cushions From the Back Seat
If this is an option in your car and assuming no passengers in the back, remove the back seat cushions to allow space for the front seat to recline horizontally. If you are in an emergency situation, this might not be practical, however, as you’ll have to put the cushions in the trunk or other storage area.
However, if you are planning a trip, you can store the extra seat cushions in the garage at home.
Put Something Under Your Legs
Invest in a collapsible footrest to keep your legs raised at an incline. This keeps the legs at a neutral angle to the rest of the body and improves blood circulation, and will prevent you from getting leg cramps while you sleep.
Portable And Lightweight: The footrest weighs only 0.8lb. Can be folded into a 9"x10" drawstring bag to carry around and inflate to a 17"x12"x18" sitting/ floating cubes whenever you need it.
Inflatable Foot Rest Pillow for Travel from Amazon.com can be adjusted according to the height you need and will fit snugly in the leg area of the front seat.
Now that your seat is in a good position let’s find the best sleeping position for you.
3. Find the Ideal Sleeping Position
Finding the right posture to sleep in is dependent on variables like weight and height. You have to experiment with different positions to find one that works best for your body.
Here are a few positions you can try while sleeping in the front seat of a car:
- On your back: This one is straightforward, but you will need to use a comfortable neck pillow to support your neck as you sleep. Dollox Headrest Pillow for Car Seat from Amazon.com has memory foam and provides comfortable support to your shoulder, neck, and head.
- On your side: If you are short and can curl up in your seat, then why choose anything else? But for tall people, the only option would be sticking their legs out the window in this position.
- Safe position: This position is not the most comfortable but according to The Road Trip Expert, it is considered the safest in a driving vehicle where you tilt slightly back and lean on one side. Use a neck pillow of cloth to support your head.
The ideal position won’t wake you up with backaches and cramps. Once you find a comfortable position, it’s time to create an optimum environment to sleep.
4. Dress Appropriately
When it comes to dressing appropriately for sleeping in a car, you want to choose clothing that is comfortable and won’t restrict your movement. Here are some tips:
- Wear loose-fitting clothing: Tight clothing can be uncomfortable when you’re trying to sleep. Opt for loose-fitting clothing that allows for ease of movement.
- Choose breathable fabrics: You want to avoid fabrics that trap moisture or heat, which can make you feel uncomfortable. Cotton and other natural fabrics are good options.
- Layer up: Depending on the temperature, you may need to layer up to stay warm. Bring a few extra layers that you can add or remove as needed.
- Wear comfortable shoes: If you’re sleeping in the front seat of a car, you may need to keep your shoes on for safety reasons. Choose comfortable shoes that won’t pinch or rub your feet.
Overall, the goal is to wear clothing that is comfortable and allows you to move freely while sleeping in the car. You may also want to bring a pair of socks and a hat to keep your extremities warm if you’re sleeping in a cold climate.
4. Optimize Your Environment
If done the right way, sleeping in your car should not be very different from sleeping in a nice comfortable bed at home. Just make sure you are aware of the problems you can face and plan accordingly.
If you see yourself sleeping overnight or for a nap in the afternoon in your car often, it is a good idea to invest in products that will help rejuvenate you. The following products are available from Amazon.com:
Use curtains or window shades
When you’re sleeping in a car, blocking out light and providing privacy can be important for getting a good night’s sleep. Here are some options for curtains or window shades that can be used in a car:
Car Window Shade: These shades attach to the inside of the car window using suction cups, and can be easily removed and repositioned as needed.
FITS MOST CAR - These Car Sun shades are designed to fit larger car side windows of SUVs, minivans, and full-size cars. Our sunshade is a breeze to install. Simply, place the envoe shade on your side windows and run your hand across it. It’s really that simple
Bring earplugs and eye mask
These items can help block out noise and light that may interfere with your sleep.
Musicozy Sleep Headphones Sleep Mask: These are the best-recommended sleep noise-canceling headphones that also have a sleep mask to keep those unwanted sounds and lights out. It also allows you to play ambient music, while the ultrathin headphones allow you to sleep comfortably on your side.
- Sleep Headphones with Superior HD Stereo Sound
- 1~2 Hours Quick Charge for 10 Hours Playing
- Cool, Comfortable, and 100% No Pressure on The Eyes
- Sleep Anywhere Anytime with Wireless Sleep Mask
- Great Gift Choices
Make sure to bring enough blankets and clothing to keep warm, especially if you will be sleeping in a cold climate.
Oaskys Camping Sleeping Bag: This sleeping bag is ideal for different weather conditions as it insulates the air inside it, with a separate zipper at the bottom for your feet and a half-circle hood to keep your head warm.
A separated zipper at the bottom can also make your feet often come out through the wind. A half-circle hood with an adjustable drawstring keeps your head warmer even in extreme conditions. Our sleeping bags are designed to provide much-needed rest after a full day of outdoor activities.
Stalwart Black Green Electric Auto Blanket: Covering yourself in an electric blanket that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighters can keep you extra warm on those extremely cold nights.
This soft 12-volt electric blanket plugs into any car, truck, SUV, or RV cigarette lighter. Heats up quickly, and stays warm until you unplug it.
As explained in detail by WikiHow, you can employ other ways to make sleeping in your car a comfortable experience, like bringing a book to read before bedtime, switching into loose, cozier clothing, buying a car freshness, among other things.
– Should You Turn Your Car Off While Sleeping?
Sleeping in your car, especially the front seat, can be a relaxing experience if you plan ahead. Depending on how often you’ll need to sleep in a car, invest in products like a good sleeping bag or soft neck pillow that will make sleeping on your trip more comfortable.
Here are some of my favorite van life essentials:
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful as you’re experiencing your life on the road. Here are some tools and gadgets I use on a daily basis that made my van life a lot easier. I hope you’ll also find them as useful as me. These are affiliate links, so if you do decide to purchase any of them, I’ll earn a commission.
But in all honesty, these are the exact tools that I use and recommend to everyone, even my closest friends and family.
Kitchen: I’m cooking a lot and I’ve finally found my perfect cookware set: The Magma Cookware 10 Pcs that you can nests and store in less than 1/2 cubic foot of cabinet space is really handy. Since I’m also spending a lot of time working at my desk, I use my favorite coffee mug from Yeti. For more, check my list of kitchen accessories I can’t live without.
Outdoor: Even though I’m spending a lot of time in my van working, I do enjoy getting out and explore my ever-changing neighborhood. This sometimes requires me to take my portable solar battery with me. And when I just want to chill outside and take a nap, I use the Winner Outfitters Hammock.
Clean/Tidy: Space is precious and therefore I used these heavy-duty storage bins from Homs to store my material. They’re robust and you can stack them together. Regarding showering, I like to use this portable solar shower from Advanced Elements when it’s hot outside.
To see all of my most up-to-date recommendations about van life, check out this resource that I made for you!