How to ensure a good night's sleep on a boat

Have you ever gone to bed at 9pm, but wake up several times in the night tossing and turning because the mattress is too hard, too soft, or some other thing that keeps you from sleeping soundly? You wake up the next morning feeling groggy, cranky, and you have no energy?

On the other hand, have you ever fallen into a comfortable bed at 1am and slept like a dead man, and woken up at 7am feeling rested and ready for a new day?

We all realize the importance of a good night’s sleep. (Says the girl who’s typing this blog at midnight…) Our moods are better, we’re more alert, our body has time to repair itself from whatever stresses it’s been subjected to, and countless other benefits of getting a restful sleep.

The difference between tossing and turning all night and sleeping soundly can make a huge impact on your attitude, your productivity, and your life in general. But a good night’s sleep isn’t simply measured in hours – it’s measured in the quality of sleep you’re getting.

It’s just as important to get a good night’s sleep on a boat as it is to sleep soundly on land. In fact, in some instances, it can be more important, since driving a boat and ensuring your crew’s safety requires you to be alert and on point at all times. I remember once when I was sailing with a couple of crewmates – we were in a pretty bad storm, and since I can fall asleep in any weather condition or sea state, they told me to go down below and sleep as much as possible, because they knew they would become exhausted after a few hours and they needed one of us to be rested and alert.

There are some things you can’t control that can affect your sleep level, such as the weather. But one thing you can control is your sleeping environment.

Creating an Environment for Sleeping on a Boat

There are 3 main components to a comfortable bed – on land or on a boat:

  • A good mattress
  • Quality bedding
  • Comfy pillows

Making the Most Out of Your Boat Mattress

Does your v-berth mattress leave much to be desired? Chances are, you just said yes to that question. For this problem, you have two solutions.

  1. Have a custom mattress made for your v-berth – this can be expensive, but if you spend a lot of time sleeping on your boat, it might be worth the cost.
  2. Make your existing cushions more comfortable by adding memory foam (hint: buy a king size piece of memory foam online, then cut to fit your v-berth), along with the Froli Sleep System – basically a set of plastic “springs” that snap together. You assemble them to your v-berth size and shape, and place them under your cushions. Not only do they help make the cushions more comfortable (due to the springy action), they also get the cushions up off the base, so air can circulate under them, therefore eliminating mildew and mold issues under the cushions.

Boat Bedding that Won’t Make You Cry

Ok, now on to your bedding. Chances are, you just have regular sheets and “make do”. Do you find yourself struggling to make the bed, but find yourself tucking all of the excess from the regular sheets into the foot (the narrowest part of your berth)? And when you go to sleep, do these excess ends come loose, wrinkling up this way and that, leaving you to toss and turn, which then pulls the sheet out even more?

Do you just have inexpensive, low thread count sheets on there that are hot and scratchy?

There’s an easy fix for improper sheets. Our one-size-fits-all v-berth sheets are soft (300 thread count) Egyptian Cotton, and they are cut to a v-berth’s shape. They have cinching elastic all around the edges, so you literally just throw it around your mattresses and then cinch it at the end to pull it tight so it doesn’t come off when you’re sleeping. The sateen finish makes it super soft and oh-so-comfortable to lie in.

Pillows You Can Fall Into

The last thing you can do to ensure a good night’s sleep on a boat is to invest in good pillows. They don’t have to be expensive, either. You can find good pillows on sites like Amazon or Overstock for really reasonable prices. There are pillows for all sorts of sleepers and the best ones help support your neck (while still being nice and soft). Get a couple of good pillows and find yourself instantly sleeping better.

Money Well Spent

You can get all of these things for less than $500 total, and considering how much time we spend asleep (seriously, like 1/3 of our lives are spent sleeping or trying to sleep), as well as how important it is to be well rested on a boat for everyone’s safety, this is money well spent.

What are some things you do to help yourself get to sleep? Do you read? Count sheep? Let us know in the comments!

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