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Ten Tips For Getting The Best Sleep (you Can Manage!) At A Festival

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Getting to the barrier for your favourite artist, dancing and screaming lyrics with your best friends… the last thing on your mind at a festival is getting your full eight hours of sleep.

However, when it does come time to find your tent and get some shut-eye, there’s a few things you can do to ensure you get the most energising sleep possible, ready for a fun-filled day as soon as you wake up!

Couple sleeping in an open tent with the early morning sun on them.

Our sleep experts have discovered the ten top tips to getting a decent sleep at a festival, as well as tips on how to wake up energised in the morning.

1. Sleep with your head higher than your feet

If you’re pitching your tent on a slope (which is quite likely if you’re at somewhere like Leeds Festival or Y Not) you should take a little more precaution when choosing which way round you set up.

We recommend you sleep with your head higher up the slope than your feet. This way, the blood won’t rush to your head and wake you up in the morning with an awful headache. Sleeping with your feet further downhill than your head will stimulate proper blood flow and encourage a deeper sleep.

If you can, try to pitch your tent as high up the slope as possible. If it rains, those at the bottom of the hill will be flooded, so getting to the festival early to select the best spot is recommended.

2. If you nap, nap properly

You’re super tired and there’s no artists you’re that interested in watching? Try a 20 minute power nap. However, make sure you don’t sleep for any longer than this.

Napping for any more than 20 minutes will have you feeling groggy and wanting to sleep more, rather than energised. The perfect power nap will give you energy to get through the day, even if you’re not getting enough sleep at night. Our post on how to take the perfect nap will give you some more tips, too.

Even better, you can do a little bit of exercise as soon as you wake up - stand outside your tent and do some star jumps for a few minutes before you head to the next act. You’ll get your blood pumping and endorphins raised, making you feel energised and ready for a few more hours of partying!

3. Pitch your tent away from walkways

No one is going to a festival thinking they’ll get the best sleep of their lives (and if you were, we’re sorry to break it to you…). But, if you are planning on sleeping as soon as the main acts end, you should take precautions so as to not be disturbed by those party animals staying up all night.

Pitch your tent away from busy walkways or toilets - this might be inconvenient when it comes to having to wade through a sea of tents when you want to get anywhere, but you’ll stay out of the way of busy, noisy crowds when you’re trying to sleep.

Group of friends smiling pitching two tents on grassy ground.

4. Make sure you pack ear plugs

Ear plugs will be your new best friend. You can even use ear plugs during the festival to prevent headaches from loud music that will hinder your sleep. Most importantly, however, they’ll let you get some sleep without being woken by drunken antics from your fellow festival goers. Just remember to pack some spares!

5. Look for a quiet camp

You’ll find that a lot of festivals have designated ‘quiet camps’ for people who prefer a more sensible experience. Glastonbury, for example, is popular with families of all ages, so have a few spots that tend to be quieter.

It’s best to research your festival camping situation first, so you know exactly where you’d like to go.

6. Party hard to wear yourself out

If you’ve finally got a chance to get some sleep, you don’t want to miss your only chance at some rest by laying there buzzing, ready to head back out there.

So, dance to your heart’s content! Whether that’s getting caught up in a mosh pit, shuffling to EDM or jumping up and down to your favourite pop star, tire yourself out as much as possible.

By the time you and your mates head back to your tent, your body will be desperate for some restorative shut-eye, so you’ll quickly fall into a deep sleep and be less likely to be woken by disturbances through the night.

Person crowd surfing at a festival.

7. Drink plenty of water, but only 300ml before bed

Your body needs hydration for proper, restorative sleep, so make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day. We might sound like a nagging mum, but we promise that staying hydrated will make your sleep so much easier and more rejuvenating come night time.

A glass of about 300ml of water just before you go to sleep will hydrate your brain and body just enough for a refreshing night’s sleep, without waking up for a wee in the night.

8. Snack on fruit full of antioxidants

Fruits packed with antioxidants and nutrients are also a brilliant and practical way to get a good night’s sleep at a festival. You can easily keep a few oranges in your backpack, and munching on one in the evening has been shown to increase melatonin (the sleep hormone) production relatively quickly, making it easier to fall asleep.

With their natural packaging, oranges are a great addition to your camping gear, and are a practical, super efficient way of giving your body some needed nutrients quickly. Just don’t forget about them at the bottom of your bag!

9. Recreate your usual routine

We doubt you’re packing your humidifier, favourite blanket and white noise machine for a festival, but you should try to recreate as much of your usual bedtime routine as possible.

Simulating your normal pre-bed habits will signal your brain and body that you’re settling down for sleep. While you might be excited and full of adrenaline, starting to brush your teeth, wash your face and put some comfy clothes on will let your brain know that it’s sleep time.

This will make it much easier to drift off when you do get into your sleeping bag and settle down.
Woman with her hair up in a towel brushing her teeth at a camping basin.

10. Bring the pillow from your bed at home

There’s no reason why you can’t bring a duvet or pillow from home to snuggle up with - the comfier and more at home you feel, the more relaxed your body will be and the easier it’ll be to doze off!

In fact, we’d recommend taking some form of bedding from home with you - your brain will associate the smell, feel and comfort of the pillow or duvet with your usual sleeping pattern, and actively want to sleep.

How to wake up energised at a festival

Snuggled in your sleeping bag wishing you could have a couple more hours before the first act of the day? Try these tips to feel instantly energised.

1. Prevent your hangover

There’s nothing worse than waking up with a hangover at a festival - the last thing you want to do is rise from your tent and go and listen to some loud music. Our guide on how to prevent a hangover will give you some more detailed tips, but the number one thing to do is eat.

Fatty foods will stop your body from absorbing too much alcohol, as well as stabilise your glucose levels. Red meats such as a burger or kebab are great choices, as they contain zinc which helps your body break down alcohol faster, preventing a hangover.

2. Raise your adrenaline levels with excitement

Adrenaline causes your blood vessels to send more blood to your brain and muscles, which makes you more alert and raises your blood sugar levels to give you more energy.

You will have felt adrenaline as you got excited for the festival, so try to stimulate that effect again by reminding yourself of how much fun you’re having or will have. Sit up in your sleeping bag and chat to your friends about which acts you’re going to see and make a plan for the day - the excitement will get your heart pumping and adrenaline flowing, which will wake you up in no time!

3. Try an energising supplement such as vitamin B12

If you find that you’re so sleepy during the festival that you’re just not enjoying yourself, consider a vitamin B12 supplement. You can find slow release B12 supplements in your local health store - you just take one tablet a day, with your breakfast, and it’ll help to promote normal levels of energy in your body and reduce fatigue.

You can also carry a vitamin B12 oral spray with you, which you can quickly spray whenever you feel tired, up to four times a day. An oral spray will enter your bloodstream faster than a pill, giving you a much needed ‘oomph’.

If you're a fan of supplements, read our guide on the best natural sleep supplements, which you could also use during the festival when you decide to call it a night.

Three men laying down sleeping at a festival, hungover.

If you can, try to get as much good sleep before the festival as possible. If you accept that your sleep isn’t going to be the best, you’ll be much less grumpy or groggy, meaning you can have more fun dancing around with your friends!

These tips will help you get the best restorative sleep with the time and means you have, but our biggest recommendation is to have fun and stay safe!
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