Getting a Great Night’s Sleep in Your RV

One of the big advantages to owning an RV over camping in a tent is the opportunity to get a great night’s sleep. It can be hard to sleep in a tent, especially if you don’t have a comfortable air mattress to support you. While you might be able to sleep well enough in a tent during your younger years, most people find that sleeping on the ground gets more and more difficult as they age. The beds available in modern RV’s are comfortable, and will provide an experience much closer to what you are used to at home.

With all that said, some people still struggle to get a good night’s sleep in an RV bed. No matter how comfortable the mattress may be, it is still different than what you are used to at home. Add the change in mattress to the excitement of being on vacation, and you may find yourself tossing and turning all night long.

Great Sleep is Possible in an RV
Great Sleep is Possible in an RV

If you find yourself struggling to sleep soundly when you travel in your RV, the following tips may help.

Wear Yourself Out

In order to sleep well at night, you need to have plenty of activity during the day. If you just sit around all day, your body won’t be ready to sleep when the sun goes down. Of course, this should be a pretty easy task since you are out on vacation. Make sure to keep yourself and your traveling party occupied with plenty of activities during the day and you will make the task of falling asleep at night that much easier.

Manage the Temperature

If the RV is an uncomfortable temperature when you lay your head down on the pillow, it will be more difficult to fall asleep. During the day, monitor the temperature in the RV when possible and make adjustments to keep the thermostat in a comfortable range. Simply opening or closing a window can go a long way toward making you and the rest of the family comfortable at night.

Bring Your Regular Pillows

Instead of keeping pillows inside your RV specifically for traveling, consider bringing your regular pillows that you use every night. Your head and neck are used to the level of support that those pillows provide, so don’t throw your body out of rhythm by trying to sleep on something different. Even if your body isn’t totally comfortable on the RV mattress, the benefit of familiar pillows may help you drift off to sleep.

Have Some Entertainment

You might find it difficult to unwind after a long day of recreation when you settle in to the RV at night. If that is the case, bring along some form of entertainment like a book or a DVD that you can watch to relax your mind. Spending just 15 or 20 minutes enjoying your preferred form of entertainment may be enough to settle you down and have your ready for bed.


  1. I found it nearly impossible to fall and stay asleep when we first our our camper, my husband suggested buying memory foam for our bed and now its more comfortable than our bed in our home!!

      • Check out the chairs you’re sitting on…Those that fold up into their bags were doing my hips in. Got new chair, pain gone.

      • Hi, Sharon.
        Those couches are terrible. I ripped mine out (just pry up on the bottom) to reclaim the floorspace and bought a good ($400+) futon and thick futon mattress to put in its place. Now, we are in a 34′ travel trailer and the sleeper couch was mounted in the slide out. Maybe yours is different. It’s a full size futon, fits well, weighs no more than that torture device i ripped out and is sooo much better both sitting and sleeping.

      • I took the big ‘bubba’ pullows off theback and replaced them with 20″ square colorful pillows from Kohl’s. We live in Florida so I got the beachy colors and also a couple of print throw pillows. We love our sofa now.

      • Go to Ocean Breeze Resort in Jensen Beach, Fl.
        Trains are right there, choo chooing every two hours or so!
        Just came from there.
        It felt like a scene straight out of My Cousin Vinny.

  2. I take off the bedspread the RV beds come with. Put on a memory foam. I also bring our own feather pillows, feather duvet, and a quilt. I also keep electronics out of the room as much as possible, no TV in the bedroom. So cozy!

      • We just traded our old RV for a new coach. It has a Sleep Number and I’m not too impressed. Our bed has an adjustable feature to sit up, so that only allows for the mattress, not the base. Thinking of getting a memory foam topper again.

  3. For me, much of the issue is the “new camper smell”. Even though our camper is now 5 years old, the laminates have a distinctive scent, as does most of the camper when sitting closed up most of the time. I’m sensitive to smells, so I wait until the last minute to put fresh sheets, blankets, and bedspread-from the house- on the bed. I bring our pillows from the house. It helps a lot.

    • It is funny that you said that, because in addition to the “campfire” smell I also feel I come home smelling like “new camper” which I guess is better than the “old used camper smell” we have experienced in the past. Before we had a new travel trailer we had used Pop Ups and they each came with their own unique oder!

    • I put bounce sheets (2 or 3)
      between the mattress pad and the fitted sheet – this helps with the “scents” as well – and keeps the spiders away (they don’t like bounce)

    • Try max air vent covers and open the vents , even the little fan in the bathroom will help the air flow thru your unit and reduce the formaldehyde odor .

  4. We put a 4 inch Visco Memory foam topper on the mattress, followed by a cooling pad. Now the RV bed is more comfortable than the home bed!

  5. Well if the beds were long enough for tall people and your feet were not hanging clear off the bed it would be a lot better. I am only 5’7″ and my feet are hanging off the bottom of the bed. It is sure not comfortable by a long shot.

  6. We replaced the mattress before leaving the lot. I always start out with clean sheets that smell amazing. We haven’t had a bad night sleep yet! In fact, we look forward to going out because we actually sleep a bit better in the motorhome than at the house. I think it’s because it’s less stress when we are out camping.

  7. We bought a 10′ memory foam matress
    From (short queen to fit the
    Foundation platform in the RV. ) We loved it
    So much we got the 12′ King from the same
    Company for inside the house. Never a
    Bad night sleep unless you count the times
    The dog wakes us up! ;0)

  8. Got rid of the mattress that came with the RV, bought a high quality pillow top mattress full queen, now I sleep better in the RV then at home. We spend our winters in Texas, so it was important to get a good mattress otherwise it would make for a long winter. Fresh air is a very important component of a good night sleep. Don’t be afraid to ventilate.

  9. We have a Sleep number bed at home and got one for our fifth wheel after also struggling for a good night’s sleep. Now we don’t miss a beat when go camping or traveling.

  10. Anyone buy a queen short mattress from Sam’s Club to replace the manufacturers queen? We are considering this.

    • This is what we did. The mattress that came with the RV was very thin and uncomfortable. We bought a Serta Wynstone mattress from Sam’s Club and I like it better than the Sleep Number we have in the house! Comfy and cozy!

      • I bought the 10” Zinus short queen from Sam’s. It’s a mattress in a box and it is amazing. I bought another for the guest bedroom in my home. (Standard length).

  11. What do people do to help reduce with the noise of the air conditioner in the master,…..ours is right on top of the bed and goes on and off every 2 mins……it’s sooooo loud!!

    • We keep the fan on all the time in the bedroom and run the AC in the LR for cooling. The constant notice of the fan acts as white noise and we don’t hear outside noise. With blackout curtains, we sleep like a baby.

      • I run the fan on low instead of auto. Then you don’t hear the compressor cycle. I run the front a/c on auto .

  12. The mattress in our brand new trailer is worse than sleeping on a rocky patch of ground with no pad. I will have to purchase a new mattress and am not happy with the manufacturer for cheaping out on the most important item in the unit.

    • Go to sams club and get the 4 inch mattress topper….its actually 3 and the mattress pad for it is one inch….before we did that it was like sleeping on a brick… we sleep great… was more comfy than the bed at home…then i bought one fore that bed as well…..

  13. We purchased a 2004 Newmar Scottsdale Motor Home … Like brand new with old people smell…. 38 ft long…. Removed the old couch and replaced it with a IKEA sleeper couch…. Leather like…. Got rid of the dated drapes and painted all the walls… Then best part got a new Queen size mattress from Ikea…. And it’s better than home…. New sheets and bedspread too. Always run a fan wherever we are… Summer or winter!

  14. Just knowing I’m in my Rv is relaxing enough for me I’ll sleep anywhere. But the a/c in the room kept turning on and off depending on temp. So I place the fan mode to the on position, instead of auto. The fan runs all the time and gives a nice hum sound to sleep to. The compressor still turns on and off to maintain the proper temp. But it won’t wake you.

    • Absolutely. We purchased two, three inch memory foam mattresses. Super comfortable and you won’t feel your partner move…

  15. I replaced the Rv mattress with a good residential mattress plus a 2 inch memory foam and a pillow top mattress pad. I sleep much better now.

  16. We replaced the king size mattress that came with our 5th wheel. Bought a nw queen size mattress for home and put our old mattress in the 5th wheel with a memory foam topper. We both sleep better than o the king sized mattress.

  17. We are going to put a mattress topper on our bed. I always keep the window open by my head. I also always bring my diffuser with and diffuse our usual sleep essential oils that I use at home. Usually sleep more soundly than at home. Less stress sure helps!

  18. Full timers in our first travel trailer. We bought a 5 year old haertland 34′ pull-behind and moved in 6 months ago.
    1. If you are tall, learn from my goof and LAY DOWN TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU FIT and that your feet are able ro fall forward (point your toes). If not, keep looking.
    2. If you are big, go into the bathroom, close the door and go through the motions of going #2. TRUST ME ON THIS. also get in the shower, draw the curtain/door and do some more emulating.
    3. Replace that paper mattress with one of your choice. We simply tossed it and replaced with the queen from the apt we moved out of. It was such a tight fit head-to-toe (wall at our feet) that I didn’t need to build in a support platform.
    4. Make sure the tempurature is comfortable for you and if it’s good, still run the fan for some white noise.
    5. Get your rig both level and stabilized. Something as simple as someone flipping themselves over, walking to bathroom, a large dog flopping to one side, a strong gust of wind can all send your mineral-covered gelatinous equilibrium sensors into high alert and your brain WILL WAKE YOU UP, every stinkin time.
    6. If you are going to be in your rig for extended periods, replace that couch. We put a futon in and what a difference.

  19. For about $300 or less, you can get memory foam mattress delivered. They sell them on Ebay. We put one in our camper. Night and day difference over even the residential mattresses the RV’s come with. Even available in RV “short” versions.
    Also use CampRid type charcoal moisture absorbents. They also help pull the lamination smell out.
    We always shower before bed if out by campfire. The smoke smell can cause some sinus irritations to people and cause sleep Apnea.

    Load up your tablet with movies/tv shows that make you go to sleep or read. 80’s tv shows used a lot of repetitive soft background music, some with classical. IE Star Trek, Night Rider, old westerns, anything BBC puts out. If you can sleep with ear buds that are comfortable. 5 minutes into any star trek series or movies with the classical music in background, I am out like a light.

  20. Last spring when we were shopping for a travel trailer, we laid down on the bed of each one to see if my husband could fit. He is 6′ 3″ and some brands who said that their beds were real queens were just plain lying! Bought a used Evergreen Element – it’s 26′ and larger than we thought we wanted (first trailer), but we love it! We put a topper on the bed replaced the bedding and it is as cozy as out bed at home. Can’t wait for the summer when we will take 10 weeks to explore Canada from Ontario to BC and back!

  21. We are a 10″ foam mattress from Jysk as soon as we bought our motorhome regular queen – best investment but learned if you’re not level it doest matter what you sleep on. We hate our sofa as well will have checkout Ikea. To the couple travelling Canada this summer maybe we’ll see you in BC this summer in our Leprechaun!

  22. I’m curious about the futon idea. Do you build a platform, or just use it on the floor? I guess same with the IKEA Sofa, how do you secure it?

  23. We had the same problem. We have a sleep number bed at home and we’re spoiled. A good mattress topper really helped. And, we have the same pillows in the coach we have at home. Since we both really enjoy getting away like we do neither of us seem to have much of an issue sleeping.

  24. We bought a 3 inch memory foam from Wal-Mart for about 130.00 and put it over our sleep number bed, now I can sleep comfortably. Level, stabilize, that’s next on the agenda. Tiny living in our motorcoach. 36 foot 1975 Trailways bus conversion to motorhome. I’ve even got a washer/ dryer combo, heated undercarriage storage, no pipes freezing and warm floors! Loving our tiny life, living on generator power and rain water collection, off grid living is a little rough, but we are getting better at it.

  25. We just bought a new 5th wheel with a king size better, supposedly a better mattress, not! Ordered 4 inch topper from HSN, like sleeping on a cloud, we love it! We’ve only taken her out twice, we work full time and hate that winter is coming and probably won’t take her out in the next two holidays coming up with family gatherings! Maybe we can still sneak away for a weekend in January for a weekend trip close!

  26. We use a memory foam topper, and put the mattress and topper in a “Mattress Encasement”…Works great..

  27. How can you get a good nights sleep when the manufacturers keep putting the bed slide on the drivers side? Don’t they realize that is your “neighbors yard side?” Of course the don’t , they never went camping!

  28. We bought a custom sized 10 in thick mattress to replace the cheap one provided and now we sleep like babies in our Greyhawk Rv. Now will have to get the same mattress but regular queen for our bedroom since it is more comfortable than the one we have at home, go figure!

  29. We actually bought a memory foam mattress and replaced that dang foam pad. My husband likes it better than our $$$ home mattress. Says he sleeps better.


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