Car naps

Introduction

If you are ever in a situation where you need to take a nap in your car, there are certain things you should keep in mind. The aim of this blog post is to describe how to best sleep in a car and what to watch out for.

Sleeping positions

Different sleeping positions are going to work better in certain vehicles, and will require different amounts of preparatory work.

Sitting

There are a few different ways to sit and sleep. One possibility is to lean back in the driver’s seat and place the head between the door and the neck support, as shown in the picture above. This can be somewhat uncomfortable unless you are used to sleeping on hard surfaces, and the inclination of the seat will likely need to be adjusted compared to when you are driving. It can also be somewhat hard to position the body to allow for this position without large amounts of discomfort being placed in the back. An alternative way to sleep in this style is to hop into the passenger seat, tilt it a fair bit back and place the legs up on the dashboard, as shown in the picture below.

If this position does not work for you, you can try to sleep by sitting on the passenger seat and leaning towards the dashboard, as shown in the picture above. Depending on the model of the car, this can be uncomfortable, so if you choose to try this method, it is recommended that you bring a pillow to place under your arms. Some car models also have low seats, so if this is the case you can boost yourself up by placing a hard pillow on the seat.

Another way to handle sitting naps is to just sleep in a normal driving position, possibly with a somewhat inclined seat, and just leaning the head towards the neck support, as shown in the picture above. In this situation it is smart to wear an airplane neck support pillow, as it can be very taxing on the neck to have the head lean towards the torso without any support. Some people are however able to sleep like this, so you need to try out what works best for you.

Laying down

When sleeping in a laying down position, the car model and your height will both play a massive difference regarding what is possible and what isn’t. The main way of sleeping laying down in a car, which also requires next to no preparation, is to simply recline the passenger/driver’s seat as far as possible and just sleep there,as shown in the above picture.

The next option is to sleep in the backseat, so that all seats are covered by your body and your legs are raised up in a /\-shape, as demonstrated in the above picture. In this case it can also be beneficial to support the head by placing a thin pillow under it.

The third option is going to require the most preparation. It consists of bending down the backseats and sleeping with your head on top of them, with your legs stretching towards the tailgate; possibly as far as outside the door. This position is shown in the picture above, This is by far the most comfortable position to sleep in the car. The car itself can also be accessorized to make this position even more comfortable. You can place a mattress in the trunk and fold it out once nap time has come. Pillows and covers can also be used as you see fit. The best part is that everything can be stored in the trunk of the car, and even stored so that it takes up very little space depending on how much time you take to prepare for the nap. It should however be noted that all cars are not designed to have this be an option, so make sure you check your car out and try to see how comfortable it is to sleep in it before you settle for one of the above-mentioned methods.

Accessories

The most useful accessories that can be used irrespectively of the sleeping positions include a sleeping mask and a car window shade. If you want to sleep in a sitting position, consider investing in a travel pillow

Temperature

The temperature plays a very big role when sleeping in a car. During the summer, the interior of the car can become very hot, and in the winter it can be freezing cold. During the summer, pay attention to parking in the shade, and if you have time, go open all car doors a few minutes before starting the nap. Driving with the AC on for a few minutes will likely not help much if you are forced to park in the sun. The interior of the car will reheat very quickly, so if your car is too hot to sleep in and you choose to cool it down by driving, make sure to park in the shade. Many people have found it to be extremely difficult to fall asleep in a hot car, so if you have no option of cooling it down before sleeping, the best option is to go to sleep someplace else. Leaving the car on for the duration of the nap will both drain gas and increase the risk of breathing in carbon monoxide, and should therefore be completely avoided.

During the winter the car can become very cold. Fortunately, the time it takes for the car to cool down again after it has been driven for a decent while is about as much time it takes to complete one nap. Therefore, napping during the winter is much less of a hassle than napping during the summer. It is also possible to wear a lot of clothes to compensate for the cold, if you don’t choose to heat the car up by driving. Make sure that you use plenty of insulation in the form of blankets or sheepskin between you and the seat if you sleep in a cold car.

Alarms

Since it is recommended to use more than one alarm device at a time to ensure a successful wake-up, using a mere phone alarm is a bad option. Consider investing in an analog alarm clock to use in addition to your phone. For the optimal alarm setup, visit the products [[link]] page. 

Risks

There are several possible risks associated with sleeping in a car. Make sure to prepare for them as necessary depending on your location and the weather.

Driving tired

Driving just before it is time to nap in order to move the car or adjust the temperature can be very dangerous. Because the naps should be slept at the same time every day, most people become very tired a few minutes before them. Driving in this tired state magnifies the risk of harming yourself and other people by a very large factor, so avoid doing it unless it is absolutely necessary. If you need to move your car, consider asking a friend to drive it for you instead.

Asphyxiation

As touched upon earlier in this post, leaving the engine of the car running when you nap is a very bad idea, since the fumes can cause you to asphyxiate. To combat this, don’t leave your engine running while you nap, regardless of how hot or cold it is outside. Also, have at least one window open by a few centimeters if the weather allows it to improve the airflow in the car.

Other people

If you nap in a shady place, dangerous people can take advantage of the fact that you are sleeping to try to steal your car or belongings. To combat this, make sure to park in a safe place and lock all your doors. This is not as large of a risk if you nap at, for example, your company parking lot.

Less dangerous and more inconvenient situations can also arise from curious people seeing you lying motionless in a car randomly during the day. If they feel extra helpful, they can even wake you up to make sure you aren’t harmed. While it is a nice gesture, more likely than not this will prevent you from falling back asleep, thus ruining your nap. In order to make sure this doesn’t happen, stick a large note saying you’re sleeping and should not be disturbed from the inside of most windows of your car. An example of what to write is:

“I am sleeping between xx:xx and yy:yy. Please do NOT wake me up at this time. Curious? Visit https://polyphasic.net

Where to park

The main question to ask yourself when you park is: Will I have time to get to the car, prepare, nap and get back? You don’t want to have to run to the car in order to catch a nap, since exercising makes it very hard to sleep. If you are short on time each day, consider preparing the nap spot when you initially arrive at the destination to reduce the time it takes when your nap is only a few minutes away. If you are napping during your lunch break at work it might be beneficial to eat something that’s quick to prepare, like a cold lunch in order to save a few minutes.

The ideal parking spot is somewhere shady, with a short travel distance that is also in a secure location. Remember, it is better to skip a nap or move it than to be in harm’s way from putting yourself in danger in order to catch it on time. If the only place you can park in is somewhere extremely unideal, consider sleeping in a whole other place than your car that day instead.

Main author: Crimson

Artist: Zenyua

Page last updated: 21 August 2019

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