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Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat: Tips for Getting the Best Rest at a Festival

Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat: Tips for Getting the Best Rest at a Festival
25 June 2024 Samantha Anderson
Tempur Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat: Tips for Getting the Best Rest at a Festival RoosterPR

TEMPUR® sleep specialist & sleep counsellor shares guide to festival sleeping ahead of the event-filled summer season.

With Glastonbury later this week and the likes of Camp Bestival, Latitude, Creamfields and Boardmasters all to follow, it is safe to say that festival season is well and truly upon us here in the UK.

Whilst sleep might not be the top priority for Brits heading to a festival this summer, it is certainly something that should be a key consideration on the festival checklist.

Thomas Høegh Reisenhus, TEMPUR® sleep specialist & sleep counsellor says: “With the heady combination of blaring music, bright lights and busy campsites, it is not hard to see why people often resign themselves to the idea that they won’t get much sleep when attending a festival. But a lack of sleep can have the potential to turn a dream festival experience into somewhat of a nightmare.

“Sleep is an extremely important part of the body’s ability to rest and recharge, so it is no surprise that, after a day spent dancing, singing and socialising at a festival, a lack of it can likely leave us feeling exhausted and could even trigger headaches and irritability – none of which bode well for the days that follow.

“Bad sleep need not be synonymous with the festival experience. There are several simple actions you can take to help ensure that you remain at least fairly rested and ready for another full day (and night) of fun, returning home with nothing but great memories.”

Read on for Thomas’s top tips for optimising sleep at a festival…

Consider what you’re sleeping in

The ideal environment for high-quality sleep is quiet, cool and dark, so keep this in mind when it comes to choosing your tent, which is essentially your makeshift bedroom for the festival duration.

Whilst you cannot control the weather, be sure to select a tent that can protect you from it.

Britain is known for its rainy climes, so a tent with waterproof qualities is a must. Likewise, heatwaves are not uncommon in the summer months, so be sure to check out a tent’s ventilation system before buying. For example, well-placed mesh windows and vents should allow a healthy flow of air to circulate throughout the tent, keeping it nice and cool. You could even consider investing in a small, lightweight and portable camping fan for added ventilation.

It’s a good idea to fully unzip and open up the main entryway of your tent a couple times a day – this will prevent it becoming hot and stuffy by allowing plenty of fresh air in and, in turn, push stagnant air out. Ideally, this should be done when you wake up in the morning and again when you return to the campsite each evening – especially if the tent has spent the whole day sitting in the sunshine.

It is also worth noting that bigger tents will be better for those looking to keep cool during the night in comparison to their smaller counterparts, not to mention allowing you and your camping companions more space to get party ready the next day.

Lights off

Similarly, blackout tents can be a fantastic way to mitigate the risk of any unwanted light disrupting your sleep – whether that be the torch beams of other festival goers navigating the campsite in the depths of the night or the rays of the early morning sun.

A high-quality eye mask is another great way to ensure total darkness while you sleep. In fact, it could be even handier if you are sharing a tent with others as it will ensure any sources of light inside the tent (from a fellow camper’s phone screen, for example) are also blocked out. Be sure to invest in an eye mask which has adaptive padding and an adjustable strap for optimal levels of comfort.

Turn the sound off (or down)

Whilst it might be difficult to create a quiet sleeping environment in the middle of a lively festival campsite, foam ear plugs can provide an effective, affordable and easy to use solution.

When inserted correctly, the foam of each ear plug will gently expand to fill and mould to the shape of your ear canal, blocking out external noise. This will help ensure that your sleep is not interrupted by any unwelcome sounds, from the chatter of passersby to the pounding of music in the distance.

If ear plugs simply cannot stop the cacophony of the campsite impacting your ability to get to sleep (or to stay asleep), consider listening to white noise – such as the sound of waves crashing or rain falling – soothing instrumental music or even a gentle podcast instead.

Lay the foundations

Sleeping in a tent doesn’t mean you must spend the night tossing and turning on a cold, solid and not-to-mention unsupportive floor.

It is well worth arriving at the festival campsite promptly to grab yourself a highly sought-after spot on an area of flat ground rather than risk being left only with sloping hillsides to choose from.

A lightweight air bed will provide a softer, elevated and all-round more comfortable base to sleep on. It also has the added benefit of allowing users to adjust firmness according to preference: if you like to sleep on a more solid base, then you can add more air; if you prefer something a little softer, simply deflate it. The portability of airbeds makes them a great option for festival goers – who are often looking to minimise the amount of baggage needed to be lugged to/from the campsite.

If you’re not prepared or unable to invest in an air bed and you have a mattress topper at home, bring that. A topper will add a softer, more supportive layer between your body and the tent floor and could mean the difference between spending a night awake in discomfort or enjoying a restorative sleep.

Remember that when the sun goes down so too do the temperatures, so don’t forget to consider what you’re sleeping under (or in). High tog sleeping bags are a great choice for anyone who tends to get chilly at night and, should you start feeling too hot, can also be unzipped to allow a refreshing wave of cooler air in. To further reduce your risk of overheating, ensure that your nightwear is made with breathable materials such as cotton or linen.

Power to the pillow…

Similarly, don’t underestimate the power of a great pillow; this small – and very portable – luxury can make a huge difference when it comes to getting a great night’s sleep.

A pillow that supports the natural alignment of your head, neck and spine will help provide the body with some much-needed pressure relief and leave even the most diehard festival goers refreshed and ready for another day of moving and grooving, rather than feeling achy or stiff. If it is not practical or possible to take your usual pillow of choice to a festival, consider purchasing a travel pillow instead.

… And to the power nap!

Whilst power naps should not be used in place of a good night’s sleep, they can be a great way to give yourself a boost on the occasion that you haven’t been able to get one.

Power naps should usually last between ten and thirty minutes. Set an alarm to make sure your nap does not overrun, as this risks letting your body enter a deep sleep phase which, when incomplete, will only serve to leave you feeling more exhausted than before (not to mention in a groggy state of panic).

Although in general, the ideal time of day to nap is between 12.30 and 2pm , this can be pushed a little later at a festival given that you’ll likely be getting up and going to bed significantly later than usual. A late afternoon nap could fit in well with festival timings and set you up nicely for a long night ahead.

Wind down

Unsurprisingly, flashing lights, booming music and screaming crowds will not leave you feeling relaxed and ready for bed, but even in this most chaotic of environments, it’s still possible and important – given how wired you’ll likely be – to wind down before heading to bed.

First things first, leave the bright lights at the main stage. Whilst it might be tempting to scroll through the day’s photos once back in your tent, electronic screens emit blue light which is known to suppress the body’s production of melatonin – a hormone known for its sleep-inducing effects. Therefore, it’s best to avoid screens for at least an hour before bed.

Instead, choose activities which will help your body unwind into a state of relaxation after a stimulating day of festival fun. Think gentle stretching, breathing exercises or even just chatting with friends.

Think about what you drink

Alcohol has been proven to have a negative impact on both sleep quality and quantity, which can leave us waking up sluggish and moody rather than rested and restored. The human body processes around one unit of alcohol per hour, so try not to consume alcoholic drinks too close to bedtime. Instead, opt for mocktails or even just water – your body (and head) will thank you in the morning.

Whether you’re boozing or not, be sure to stay hydrated. Singing, dancing and socialising is thirsty work! When it comes to sleeping, plan ahead and make sure you have a full bottle of water with you when you return to your tent. This will mean you have instant relief ready and waiting should you wake up thirsty in the night (or with a pounding head in the morning!) and will save you a painful and parched trudge through the campsite.

Similarly, whilst you might be tempted to use caffeine for an energy boost to get you through the thrilling but exhausting long festival days, its impact on your sleep will leave you even more tired in the long run.

Caffeine is well-known for its stimulating effects and can remain in the bloodstream for up to 10 hours after consumption. Avoid drinking caffeine laden beverages in the late afternoon and evening to ensure that it does not impact your ability to get to sleep – even if you’re not planning on doing so until the early hours of the morning!

Whilst it is unlikely that you will enjoy your best night’s sleep at a festival, these tips will help to ensure that you remain rested and energised so that you can make the most of every waking minute whilst you’re there.

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