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Healthy Sleep

5 min read

5 expert tips - how to rest and recover through festival season

written by Simon Anthony

updated 20.06.2023

Campsite sleeping - how to sleep at a festival

The world’s biggest festivals fall over the summer time, with hundreds of thousands of revellers making their way to see their favourite acts perform.

While it’s undoubtedly a time for celebration, the hustle and bustle of festival life can wreak havoc on festivalgoers’ sleep and continue causing disruption in the days following the event.

Aside from the loud music the excitement of the event, alcohol consumption and noisy camping conditions can all contribute to a sleep-defying weekend.

With the average festivalgoer sleeping for just three and a half hours a night, it’s important to be prepared to flex your sleep plan if you want to secure some rest amid the madness.

That’s why our sleep expert, Hannah Shore, has shared her 5 top tips to help revellers get the best shut-eye at festivals this summer, as well as how to recover from the big event.

Hannah said:

Sleep is going to be disturbed when at a festival – you’ll be in an unnatural environment with loud music, staying up later and watching your favourite bands with friends.

You’ll rightly be feeling the buzz from such a big event and you won’t sleep the same as in your comfy bed at home. There are points in life where wont sleep as well and that is fine.

A festival can also mean drinking more alcohol than usual. Firstly, it acts as a sedative, putting us in a deep sleep but afterwards it then becomes a stimulant, leaving us in a lighter stage of sleep for the rest of the night, which is much more fractured meaning we wake more easily.

So, while we may fall asleep quicker, the quality of sleep we get when we’ve been drinking decreases, contributing to tiredness levels.

Hannah’s 5 top sleep tips for festival-goers:

  1. Pack sleep essentials Camping at a festival is inevitably going to be less comfortable than a normal night’s sleep – swapping out a comfy mattress for the hard floor or, at best, an airbed for those willing to lug it across the 1,100 acre site. To help create a comfortable sleep space and therefore get a better night’s sleep, festivalgoers should pack a thick pillow to relieve pressure on the shoulders when lying on the ground. Handy sleep aids like eyemasks and earplugs can also help mitigate the negative effect of a busy and noisy environment and an additional home comfort, like a sleep spray, can help too.

  2. Hydration The increased alcohol consumption of many partying revellers has a big effect on sleep, with the accompanying late nights meaning less opportunity for shut-eye and the alcohol itself creating fractured sleep once you do call it a night. Be sure to go to bed with a big bottle of water to stay hydrated and help mitigate some of the negative effects of drinking on sleep.

  3. Plan your journey home Driving tired is just as bad, if not worse, than driving drunk. Tiredness can effect your concentration, reaction time and the ability to judge risks, which are all things we we need in tip top condition if you’re going to get behind the wheel. Several consecutive nights of disrupted sleep will naturally effect your energy and concentration levels, so, if you’re planning on driving home then you might want to rethink. There are a number of different transport options to get you to and from Glastonbury, so why not opt for a train or bus? Not only will this mean to can enjoy your final night without worrying too much about your energy levels, it’s also a boost to the environment!

  4. Recovery day Even if doing all of the above, revellers will no doubt still be worn out by the time they return home, following the long days – and nights – of adrenaline and reduced sleep. It’s important to ensure you have an extra day at home to rest and recover after the event. One extra day’s holiday and no plans will help get you back to normal energy levels before taking on your usual routine again.

  5. Get back into routine Festivalgoers may struggle to sleep at a regular hour after getting home from the big event, as they will most likely have indulged in late nights and lie ins the weekend before. A good wind-down routine and bright morning light will help get you back into your normal sleeping routine, while it’s key to prioritise getting enough sleep in the first couple of days after returning home to allow your body to fully recover

Hannah said:

Once we have lost sleep, there is no real way of chasing it and getting it back. Our bodies will be fatigued, and therefore we are more likely to feel the negative side effects of poor sleep. While this is fine for a one off weekend of fun, it’s important to ensure that you prioritise your sleep once you return home so that the effects don’t haunt you for days, and possibly weeks, to come.

Use my top tips to get good sleep over the fun long weekend, and then recuperate properly in the aftermath to ensure that you’re setting yourself up properly for the dreaded return to work!

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