Sleeping in an RV

What is sweeter for an insomniac than a great night’s sleep?

The both of us have our problems getting a good night’s sleep; different kinds of issues mind you, but the same net result.  My ThoughtsAnd the topic that comes to mind is very simple:  getting a good nights’ sleep in an RV.


There are times when the pitter-patter of rain on the rooftop is just what you need to lull one asleep.  Most of the time the sound of rain on the roof is delightful.  Unless of course you happen to be having problems with a leaky roof (which we have not had) and the mere thought of rain sends you into paroxysms of fear.  When pitter-patter becomes pounding it’s not fun anymore.

201108061057JOUR2210rain on the awningThere is the question of mattresses.  I have noticed a significant change in the quality of mattresses supplied with brand new RV’s over the years.  When we bought our 2002 Winnebago the mattress that came with it was crummy. It took about 2 short trips in Journey before we were at the nearest IKEA store looking for a queen sized replacement for the Original Equipment mattress.

rain on a roof

We lived with that solution for a couple years and then we had one of those “ah-ha” moments.  You know… when it finally sinks in that we are full timing and this is our permanent, our only home. And we wondered to ourselves why we were forcing ourselves to live with so-so sleep when other options were available!

We investigated the Sleep Number beds and ultimately we ended up replacing the IKEA solution with a Sleep Number bed.  We sleep much better now.

prevost multiple airconditioners

Note the four rooftop a/c units and the single satellite dome (in the middle). RV heating systems can often be divided into multiple zones for greater comfort.

However — life in an RV is always about more than the obvious.  It’s important to remember that we’re basically living inside our own, private, cocoon.  And we’re subject to more than just the sound of rain on the roof. If you aren’t an RV’er at this point you may or may not realize that a major part of the environmental conditioning system is the rooftop air conditioning / heat pumps.  You probably have noticed RV’s going down the road with multiple bump on the roof.  Typically one of those ‘bumps’ a round 1/2 dome, might be a satellite antenna.  Smaller roof mounted bumps might be ceiling fans (1, 2 or 3 of them).  But it’s not uncommon to see longer coaches with multiple rooftop a/c — heat pumps.  The example to the right shows 4 such rooftop units.

The thing about rooftop heating/cooling units is that when they’re running it’s like being in the same room with a household window air conditioner. Spell that “noisy”.  Hooked up to a multi-mode thermostat (heat pump/cooling/furnace/fan) they can be programmed to blow only when the heating coils/cooling coils are working, or to blow continuously.  Essentially you get a choice about how much you want the blowing sound.  Because you’re in an insulated tin can the units will run a fair amount of the time.  Because insulations values may not be as high as in a house they may run more often than you would hope because of higher heat loss to the outside.  You get to choose whether you want to be bothered by the ‘noise’ of the blowing — or to use the ‘sound’ of the fans as ‘white noise’ that may or may not put you to sleep, or help you sleep.

As you can see, nothing about RV’ing is ever quite what it seems.  As full timers we get accustomed to little things like these that might make some people crazy.  We aren’t living in 3000 sq ft of custom designed space.  Our heating and air conditioning are not located 40 feet away in an insulated basement — they are right overhead, or underfoot and they are not silent.

I’ve spoken about our choice to use induction burners for cooking. Part of the reason for that is that the propane cooktop in both of our coaches worked wonderfully well — but every time we turned on the propane cooktop the inside of the coach warmed up rapidly.  Nice in the winter.  Not so nice in the summer.

RV’ing is a wonderful way to see North America.  It’s a wonderful way to live.  But RV’ing isn’t utopia.  There are good things about it.  There are not-such-good things about it.  Whether it’s the lifestyle for you or not depends in part on your ability to live with little details that might not be quite what you prefer.  Can you put up with little annoyances?

WE love our home on wheels.  We love the lifestyle.  But it’s not for everyone.  Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll be here again tomorrow to chat.  Stop by!



5 thoughts on “Sleeping in an RV

  1. Nice post. I still find that on our RV outings, I typically don’t sleep too well on the first night out but sleep just fine on subsequent nights. I don’t know if it is the fact that most trips, we arrive just before dark, having left late afternoon to our destination, and I’m just a little keyed up from the drive and excitement to be out in the RV again. And while we normally do pretty good to avoid being out during bad storms, we haven’t always avoided a random storm in late spring and early summer. I definitely don’t sleep well in those situations either, whether at home or in the RV, unfortunately, but especially when in the RV. My solution for these situations is to plug in my earbuds with an audiobook that I’ve listened to several times and schedule it to quit after an hour. That usually works for me. If the storms are really bad, though, I usually just stay up and near the weather radio or other media till it passes. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. DK — I think first and last nights kind of fall into their own categories. Last nights I TEND to be antsy about moving. Not all the time, but frequently — depending on the nature of the next day’s trip. First nights I think a lot of folks might just be EXCITED and the adrenalin prevents good sleep.
      I think Peg has a harder time sleeping in bad weather than I do. I sometimes say if there’s nothing to worry about she’ll dream up something to worry about and toppers and any unusual sounds are enough to keep her awake, if not to awaken her.
      She’s not an audiobook listener, and I can’t see her falling asleep with anything in her ears. Her bigger problem is waking in the middle of the night and remaining asleep for the majority of the night.
      We’ve really been fortunate about bad weather — we haven’t had TOO much


  2. Rain on the roof can also interrupt sleep if it triggers your bladder.

    We had basement air that was under our bed but had no trouble sleeping with it. Rooftop air, however…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah — I should have commented on that. Have been known to fall prey to that on occasion.
      Linda, did you have basement air or a heat pump/air combo mounted under the BED. That was what we had in our Journey — I can see why they did it for engineering reasons but with the unit directly beneath the bed and the air intake at the foot of the bed it was just horrendous. We would do anything possible to avoid using the A/C.
      For whatever reason we can handle the rooftop units.


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