First Sleeping on a Houseboat?

June 2019 Multimedia Jane Willow Web Exclusive


Do you have your sea legs? How about when you are laying down? If it is your first time to sleep on a houseboat or on water in general, it may take you a while to get used to the movement. Even moored in a canal, the boat will move.

On the other hand, if you’re a first time buyer of a houseboat, you have the perfect opportunity to make your new houseboat a great place to sleep. Either way, there are many things you can do to prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep on water—though getting used to the motion depends on you and can take time.

Seven ways you can improve your sleep when afloat

Many of the practical things we can do to sleep better at sea or on a houseboat in a canal or river are similar to sleeping on land, however, there are some differences. Let’s look at some practical tips on how you can sleep better at night on a houseboat:

1. Ensure your boat is well anchored: Worries can ensure we do not sleep well. This includes pets, kids, if the doors are locked, and so on. For houseboat owners it’s essential to double check anchors and moorings before turning in for the night. You don’t want to wake up floating somewhere else.

2. Get plenty of exercise and sunshine: Exercise and sunshine are two ingredients for giving the body what it needs before going to bed. Getting energy out of our systems and allowing the body to stretch, receive vitamin D, and loosen up means our bodies are ready to sleep at night.

3. Make sure your cabin is optimized for sleep: Most people sleep better in a dark, quiet place, which lets you wake with the sun. Have a cabin area with no electrical devices on if possible. If you are outfitting your own cabin, make sure you have the kinds of pillows, bedding, and mattress which maximise your chances of a good night’s sleep.

4. Have a good pre-sleep routine: Our pre-sleep routines vary but it’s good to reduce use of screens prior to going to bed. An hour before sleep is recommended though Kindles don’t count. Have a consistent, good, routine which reduces stress, calms the mind, and gets you ready for a good sleep.

5. Wear earplugs: This might sound like a weird one, but bear with us. Boats are inherently noisier than most other places of sleep. You’ll hear water lapping your boat even in calm waters, you’ll hear the wind, and the boat will creak all night. Wearing earplugs will help minimize these distractions and help you get a good night’s sleep.

6. Wrap in layers: Houseboats tend to be less well insulated and heated than land homes. Furthermore cold breezes are more common around waterways; especially open bodies of water. This means it’s important to wrap in layers. Tucked in layers of sheets and blankets tend to work best and keep the cold out.

7. Have a good morning routine: Just as with going to sleep. It’s important to have a good morning routine. This can include stretches, a healthy meal, and time to wake up before you take on tasks or work. By doing this you will set yourself up for a good day.

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