Good sleep can make or break a camping trip quickly. Without proper sleep, you'll feel exhausted the next day. With smart preparation, you can achieve the best sleep you've had on your next adventure.
Before you depart, it's helpful to get as familiar as you can with the area that you'll be camping in. Knowing the climate, terrain, and threat of insects will greatly alter your experience. For example, if you didn't plan for swarms of mosquitos, your night could become interesting (in a bad way). Instead, take time to do some research on the area's characteristics for the month you'll be going. When choosing a spot, make sure it's relatively close to a bathroom facility or a safe area to go. You don't want to feel stuck waiting for daybreak to leave your tent.
Your comfort is crucial, whether you want to admit it or not. Nobody wants to roll around on rocks and tree roots all night long. Whether or not you're backpacking or bringing a car along, save room for a quality air mattress or sleeping pad. These options are very portable and comfortable, offering a nice degree of back support. If you know you'll be camping in a wet area, opt for a folding camping cot. These are off-ground and will keep you dry. Don't forget a pillow! You can bring one from home if you've got the room, but inflatable pillows are just as well. As you settle down to go to sleep, place a flashlight by your side. Even if you don't use it, the security of having one may help set your mind at ease. If you plan to use lavender, make sure the area doesn't have any bear threats.
A large part of getting a good night's sleep is temperature. Feeling too hot or cold can keep you awake, tossing and turning for hours. Before you head out, check the weather of where you'll be camping. Don't check it a week before—check it a day or even a few hours beforehand if possible. Nights can be chilly and even downright cold, so pack a few extra layers to sleep in like wool socks, a sweatshirt, and a beanie. If you can, bring a quilt along, too. This can act as your sleeping bag but allow you to let a foot out for that perfect temperature. If it's very cold, you could throw a hot water bottle into your bag (or at your side if you're on a cot) to help produce some cozy heat. Just boil some water and pour it into a water bottle or canteen. Make sure that cap is on tight! When you wake up during the night feeling parched, the bottle may be cool enough to drink. Otherwise, keep water by your bedside.
If you're a light sleeper, camping is more than likely a challenge. Birds, insects, rustling leaves, and whatever else will keep many a camper up at night. Bring along some earplugs or noise-canceling earphones to help control the sounds around the tent. Some have even attested to use white noise apps on their phones to create that lull. Before falling asleep, make sure the alarm to wake—if you've got one—is turned up high enough to hear.