How To Sleep Comfortably In The Backseat Of A Car

So you have a car trip planned and now need to know how to sleep comfortably in the backseat of a car. Quite possibly a vehicle you are going to spend many hours in, maybe your car will become your hotel room.

Although car sleeping is not recommended, there are instances where you will need to do it. Some people have even been known when going camping to use their car as a place to get sleep. It makes them feel safe as well keeps the bugs away. 

Why sleep in your car? People do it on road trips to save the cost of hotel rooms. They do it for longer stints to save money on rent. Or if they are feeling too tired to drive. But many sleeping-in-car experts discover deeper benefits as well. They find freedom in having few possessions. They get up with the sun and go to bed early. (Source:

There are going to be a few things that you’re going to need when sleeping in your car. These are things that will make it easier for you to get the rest that you need.

How To Sleep Comfortably In The Backseat Of A Car

Gathering Your Supplies

When going on a car trip, planning ahead is the best way to be prepared. This is crucial if you are going to be spending more than two nights in your car.

So what are the supplies you should have at hand:

Water – if you’re like most people, then you probably get up for a drink at night. I know many times I wake up with a dry throat in my home, the car has less oxygen in it, which makes the air that much more dryer. Keeping water will keep your throat moist to make for easier and pain-free breathing.

Book – most people tend to need something to wind down at night. The winding down usually comes in the form of reading. Not only that, but some people get so bored by reading, that it is the technique that they use to help themselves fall asleep. Remember, you’re not sleeping in a comfortable environment; the better your method, the easier it will be to fall asleep.

Pillow – when sleeping in the car, I find that neck pillows work better. Large pillows such as memory foam pillows, take up too much space in a vehicle. There are excellent neck pillows you can get, which will allow you to rest your neck in any direction, yet your head will be supported at all times.

Blanket – of course, you’re going to need a blanket that is going to provide comfort as well as keep you warm at night. Sleeping bags are great for this situation, but if you prefer to have a blanket that provides comfort as well as relieves the anxiety of having to sleep in your car, then a weighted blanket will be excellent. Not only do weighted blankets aid with emotional distress, but they also are great temperature regulators. 

Nap Mat – sometimes the backseat of a car can have bumps in it, which does not make if for very pleasant sleeping.  This is where nap mats can come in handy. Nap mats usually have firm foam and memory foam layers. The firm part keeps the backseat from digging into your back, while the memory foam keeps your body heat regulated. 

Prepare Your Car For Sleep

Now that you have your supplies ready, you need to prepare your car for sleeping. You will want to take note of any materials that are in your car that can aid in your sleep. This includes making your bed as well as cover your windows from outside exposure.

By covering your windows, you give yourself that little bit of added privacy. Usually, you can get a good sunshade, which not only keeps out the sunlight but also work to keep out prying eyes. You can get the sunshade for your front and rear windshield. Do not place anything on the outside of your windows or windshield. If you find yourself in an unwanted situation, having coverings on the outside of your windows may make it hard to leave.

When you’re sleeping in your car, make sure to lock all the doors, including the trunk. If you have a car with automatic locks when going to bed at night, put on the alarm by auto-locking all the doors. This will alert you if anyone is trying to open your car door.

Before you leave on your trip, make sure to check that the engine is optimized and running at its best. The reason to do this is, the weather can change with the blink of an eye. It can get cold all of a sudden, and you may need to plug-in a portable car heated blanket to keep you warm.

You can also get hand foot warmers, which you can insert into your socks or mittens on your hands. Hand foot warmers combined with an excellent blanket will keep you reasonably warm at night.

Another thing you want to have along with you is a car battery booster. If you’re going on an overnight trip, you want to make sure your car battery is charged at all times.

Most car seats are adjustable, to sleep comfortably in the backseat of a car means moving the front two seats up as much as possible. This way, you have room to spread out a little bit. Make sure the seat that your sleeping on is covered with an excellent comforter.

When you do lay down the comforter on the seat, roll up one end of the comforter where you are going to be putting your head, as it will make a good makeshift pillow. The more cushioning you have, the better the insulation will be to keep you cozy so you can sleep.

Our body temperature tends to drop at night, as you feel yourself drifting off to sleep, make sure to cover yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a sleeping bag or just an everyday comforter, make sure to wrap it around yourself completely. The more cocooned you feel, the better your sleep will be.

Your Safety Is Priority

When you want to sleep comfortably in the backseat of your car,  your overall safety should be your number one priority. Remember, your vehicle will not provide a safe sleeping space as your home would. 

But if you take precautions, then your car safety sleeping situation can be significantly improved. One of the things you want to look for when planning to sleep your car overnight is to find a safe spot where you feel secure.

Most places don’t allow overnight parking. The first thing to avoid when sleeping your car is getting ticketed or having your car towed. Space, where you want to sleep overnight, will need to be discreet as well safe.

Before you leave on your trip, do some research of your route. This way, when you do get to your destination where you’re going to sleep, you will not feel like you’re scrambling or put yourself into an unknown or unwanted situation.

Any time I have gone on car trips, where I was required to sleep in my car rather than get a hotel room, I’ve always parked away from the main roads, entrances as well as exits. This way, I am out of the way of any oncoming traffic.

People have been known to die in overheated cars, especially if it’s really hot outside. To bring in the fresh air, you might even want to leave your window open about an inch or so. Enough to bring air, yet keep out anything you don’t want in your car. Remember if you have auto-lock on your car, use it.

Make Your Space Familiar and Comfortable

You are going to need to think as though you’re going to your bed in your home.


Because you want to make sure that your sleeping area is as comfortable as it would be at home, this will help you fall asleep while feeling more secure. People who have trouble falling asleep at home, are more than likely going to have trouble falling asleep in a tight space.

At home, you can get up, walk around, sometimes even talk yourself into falling asleep. But in a car, you won’t be able to get up and walk around. Who wants to walk around outside in the dark in an unfamiliar surrounding. This will make it harder to fall asleep in your car.

Creating a zen homelike atmosphere will help you fall asleep faster because it will provide anxiety relief as well as keep you stress-free. There are some little techniques you could do to make it feel more homelike.

They are:

  • Have white noise or soft music 
  • Turn off the lights
  • Meditate
  • Don’t overthink about sleep

These are just a few of the tips that I use when I’m traveling; I’m sure you could probably add some of your own sleeping rituals to this.

How to sleep comfortably in the backseat of a car is not as hard as one would think. Especially if you’re prepared beforehand, most times, I would say a hotel should be your first option, but if you don’t have that option then, of course, the car is where you would be sleeping.

You want to make sure that you feel safe and secure at all times. That’s why planning ahead is crucial — paying attention to where your sleep, to what you’ll have with you, and how you will fall asleep is going to make your trip that much more better.

Share in the comments below what you do to make your car a safe sleeping place.

Other Interesting Reads

8 thoughts on “How To Sleep Comfortably In The Backseat Of A Car”

  1. Well I would not advise anyone to sleep in their cars but hey some people do it to save cost while others do it because they are tired of driving. 

    Its a good thing someone is out there giving us tips on how to sleep comfortably in a car. 

    I have done it a few times before and I wake up very sore and tired. 

    I wish I had read this piece before now, it would have been different. 

    The idea of a neck pillow is quite interesting and cute too. 

    great job guys. 

  2. Ha! I love the tips! Last time when my husband and I decided to drive down from NYC to Orlando, Florida, I have to say that was not easy! We had back pain and was restless from the way there and back. But Disney totally worth it though lol

    I have never heard of Nap Mats before, I have to get my hands on them. I will try all your tips for my upcoming road trips. 

    • Road trips are better done when we are prepared. Disney is so totally worth it!

  3. Hello there,Thanks for this awesome article I know it would be of great help to the public as it has been of help to me.sleep over night in the car is something I really enjoy not because it saves the cost of lodging in the hostel but because it puts you in a very care free environment, But the only thing you would put in mind is your safety I like the way you have placed it in your article.

    • Safety is important, overrides everything else.

  4. I do not exactly like the idea of sleeping in my car but as you pointed out, and rightly so, some circumstances might call for it. I have found myself in such circumstance once before and I didn’t like anything about the experience. Perhaps, I wasn’t prepared to improvise before hand. But with these tips, I wouldn’t be taken unaware again. Thanks 

    • I agree with you, sleeping in the car is not the best, but if a situation calls for it. It’s better to be prepared. Thanks for your comment. 


Leave a Comment