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Sleeping on Road Trips

july 11 sleeping in the carSummer is in full swing, which means more time spent in the car traveling to your vacation destinations. Wondering why some people can fall asleep in a car while others can’t? There’s not an exact science to it, people are just different from one another.

Sleeping on road trips can be tricky. It’s all about comfort and safety. When you find a safe and comfortable sleeping area, you can easily pull over for a power nap or get a good night’s sleep when you don’t want to spend money on a motel. There are a number of ways you can make your car comfortable and safe to sleep in while on your road trip, especially if you’re not someone who can fall asleep in a car easily.

Those who Can Sleep in a Car

There are reasons it’s easy for some people to sleep in their car. These include:

White Noise and Vibration

Background noise and vibration of a moving car can induce sleep in some people. Between the sound of driving on the road and the car’s engine, cars create a “white noise” environment that’s perfect for putting some people instantly into dreamland.


woman sleeping in car.jpgComfort in a car can work a couple of ways. Physical comfort plays a role so bring along things like a car sleeping pillow and favorite blanket. However, there’s also the comfort in knowing it’s not your turn to watch the road. Knowing there’s someone else driving provides some people peace of mind which allows them to relax and switch off.

Highway Hypnosis Theory
There’s always the “highway hypnosis” factor where long car rides lull you into a trance-like state. Long car rides deal with high predictability and repetition. You’re dealing with the same factors that lead to highway hypnosis. These include:

  • White and yellow painted lines
  • Monotonous roads
  • Bright street lights

All these things dip into our attentiveness since we get accustomed to seeing the same things over and over and it starts to feel automatic.

Those who Can’t Sleep in a Car

There’s a number of factors why some people can’t sleep in a car. A couple include:


If you’re typically a “backseat driver” and feel you have to constantly watch out for the driver, this can make you anxious. You may feel you have to stay awake because the other driver might be tired or not fully in control. When you feel like this, it can be very unsettling and falling asleep is nearly impossible.

Not Comfortable

Cars are not the most comfortable places to sleep in. You’re used to lying down and being able to relax your muscles. In a car, you can’t make yourself a cup of tea, put on your favorite pajamas or get comfortable in your own bed. Your normal routine is messed up.

How Can You Get Comfortable?

Bring along your car sleeping pad, blankets, car sleeping pillow and warm clothing if you’re riding in cold temperatures. If you’re riding in warm temperatures, avoid bedding that’s synthetic and polyester. You can regulate your temperature better with wool or cotton blankets and clothing.

Places to Sleep in Your Car

car parked in lot.jpgSafety is most important. You should try to find a place that’s lit up enough where it’s safe, but not too much so that it will disrupt your sleep. Don’t pull over and park on the side of the road or highway. There’s too much of a risk of getting hit by another car, towed, or having a police officer knocking on your window.

How to Avoid Motion Sickness

Motion sickness is common in many people and can cause problems if you travel a lot. There are a number of ways to prevent motion sickness such as:

  • Don’t read
  • Don’t smoke
  •  Sit in the front
  •  Turn air vents towards you
  •  Rest your head on the seat to keep it still
  •  Look at the horizon

These tips don’t always help everyone. If you can’t prevent these symptoms of motion sickness, there is OTC medication that works.

Does Driving Make you Drowsy?

Around 60 percent of people in the U.S. have driven while drowsy, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Thirty-seven percent admit they’ve fallen asleep while driving.

So, to keep your road trip safe and comfortable enough to sleep in, it’s all about comfy blankets and pillows and safe places to rest. Driving while drowsy is not only dangerous, but it makes for a very long ride too. Take turns driving if you can and snuggle up with your favorite car sleeping pillow and blanket so you can sleep soundly.

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