5 Tips on How To Sleep Comfortably While Living Aboard.
If you've spent one night on a boat, you probably enjoyed it in some capacity. The waves rocking you to sleep is a pinnacle of ocean living. That one night of comfort might lead you to believe that it's extremely easy to get a good rest while living aboard, but the reality is quite different. Getting a good night of sleep on your own boat consistently once you've gotten your sea legs and become used to the gentle rocking starts to become plagued with problems.
It's too hot or too cold, your breath is constantly creating condensation of every conceivable surface. If you're out to sea then bugs might not be a problem, but when you return to the marina they'll be ready to turn you into a tasty snack. It seems like there is no winning, but if you're determined to become a liveaboard then you are forced to figure things out. The Better Boat is here to assist you and make that learning curve a bit less steep, so let's jump into it!
Pick The Right Mattress
Your options for mattresses are nearly endless, though the shape might be an issues. V-Berth placement can cause an issue since your selection of v-shaped mattresses can narrow down your selection by quite a lot. I've known more than one person that simply took a hacksaw to said mattress and made it fit, but it seems a shape to destroy an investment like that.
Foam mattresses are exceedingly easy to chop up, but if you're trying to hack apart a spring mattress? Good luck. Oh, and water or gel mattresses? Don't make me laugh! Take my advice, and pick from readily available V-Berth mattresses. You're going to be sleeping for 1/3rd of your time aboard, don't turn it into an arts and crafts project out of frustration or laziness.
Avoiding Mold and Mildew
Your sleeping area will get wet at some point, whether that's from an extreme rogue wave or simply the moisture in your breath. This dampness can quickly turn into mold and mildew. This can quickly cause a musty smell that is impossible to ignore, but more importantly this mold can cause some serious health problems. Ventilation can go a long way in cutting down on mold and mildew, but it won't solve things completely. How do you avoid this inevitable moisture?
My secret weapon is a boat dehumidifier container. It is the definition of 'set it and forget it'. Now the open air is taken care of, but what about all the cracks and crevices? Mold is actually more prone to collect under your mattress or in the closet. In these cases, a set of hanging dehumidifier bags can fight in these problem areas. It's definitely a necessary item for the longevity of both your sleeping area and your own health.
Battling Against Bugs
While you're attempting to keep decent ventilation to fight mold and mildew, it's very likely that bugs will find you. The closer you are to shore, the more you will need to protect yourself. I always keep the hatches open, but will often keep them covered with a mosquito net. This becomes even more important in tropical climates, not just because you'll want to keep the hatches open to stay cool but because tropical illnesses like malaria and dengue are a real concern.
While flying pests are a problem, tiny raiders like ants and weevils can turn your food stores into inedible trash and eventually find their way into everything else. You will want to ensure that your galley stays extremely clean, and that all foods are stored in containers that are fully sealed. If you think you'll get away with sealing a bag of flour or chips with just a simple clip, you might be in for a rude awakening the next time you open it up.
Portable air conditioners and space heaters are an absolute godsend when it comes to maintaining a comfortable sleeping area. I'd suggest having both of these readily available so you can make quick adjustments in the middle of the night. You might not need either one, but it's better to have it and not need it, than it is to need it and not have it.
While I mostly venture to tropical locations and require the portable air conditioner, the space heater might still see some use at night. It doesn't matter how boiling hot it can get during the day, nights on the water can get insanely chilly. Just remember that ventilation and avoiding moisture is still important, so don't rely completely on temperature control tools. Sometimes you just have to let it be and enjoy some fresh air.
Pillows and Posture
The most important part of the equation in getting a good night's sleep is your pillows and posture. My spouse has created a little nest, and it really does make sleeping while living aboard so much easier. Get comfortable! If you're a cuddler like me, then a huge soft body pillow is sure to please. My son likes a clear sleeping area. One pillow under his head and nothing else nearby.
You probably know how you like to sleep. Get plenty of pillows to ensure that you can create any conceivable sleeping position. If you don't need a plethora of pillows, you can stow a few of them in a closet until they're needed again. Be sure that your head isn't propped up too high lest you have some neck pain the next morning. Nothing makes sailing harder than a bit of neck or back pain.