How to Actually Sleep in a Bathtub – The Complete Guide

Although we would all prefer to sleep in a big, cozy bed every single night, this might not always be the case. Whether you find yourself in a cramped household for the night or are even anticipating an upcoming natural disaster (which we will touch on later) – there is no shame in having to find the best way to sleep in a bathtub. 

Luckily, we have a helpful guide to get you through the night below. This particular guide will show you what equipment you need, how to clean the tub and what sleep-inducing techniques will make the night easier. By the end of this article, you’ll feel prepared – and hopefully sleepy enough – to get your eight hours rest. 

Cleaning The Tub 

You wouldn’t go to sleep in your own bed surrounded by a damp, cluttered mess (or at least we hope you wouldn’t) so why would you accept this just because you’re in a bathroom? To make sure you’re not uncomfortable, you can follow the steps below:

  • Clear the clutter: Bathrooms are usually filled with products such as shampoo bottles, conditioner, shower gel, shaving razors, and creams. Sleeping with all these companions is sure to cause some issue, as they could fall into the bathtub at any time – or you could risk knocking or kicking them over in your sleep. To avoid this, gather all these products together and wipe them down if they are wet. Then, store them somewhere away from the bathtub, such as a bathroom cabinet or a drawer – just make sure that whoever they belong to are aware you have moved them. 
  • Clean and dry the tub: Clean the bathtub with cleaning products to remove all leftover residue that may contaminate your pillows. We recommend not using bleach as the strong smell may keep you awake – instead, try using a bathroom spray that has a lighter smell, such as lemons. You can also use a towel or two to completely dry the bottom of the tub.
  • Tips to remember: Try not to use the bathtub for at least seven hours before you sleep in it. This will help prevent you from having to dry it later or spend a while making sure it is clean of any stray hairs or leftover shower products. 

Keeping What You Need Close By

When you’re in your own bedroom, you usually won’t need to worry about keeping all your personal belongings close to you. If you’re moving to a bathroom for the night, you’ll want to pack a little bag of your essentials. Some of these essentials may include your phone, earphones, clothes for the next day, and any toiletries. If you like to read before bed, you may want to bring this with you too – and even perhaps a reading light. 

If you usually sleep with your television turned on, you can either use your phone or a laptop as a mobile substitute on this occasion. 

Creating a Comfy Bed

Making a bathtub feel comfortable may sound like an impossible task due it’s solid exterior  – but it isn’t as hard as you may think. In order to do this, you’ll need to gather comfortable sleeping supplies, such as blankets, comforters, pillows and perhaps a sleeping bag. 

Start by making a mattress for the tub. Cover the bottom of the tub with the heaviest and most padded materials – this will stop you feeling the hardness of the tub and prevent any back pain throughout the night. If you’re worried about the tub not being completely dry, you can lay a towel across the bottom before covering it with other blankets. 

On top of your makeshift mattress, you’ll want to ensure you have enough to cover yourself up with during the night, as bathrooms can get quite cold. You can use a spare comforter for extra comfort, or use plenty of blankets and even a fluffy robe if need be. If you find yourself still feeling cold, we recommend wearing a hoodie or warm clothes in the tub, rather than thin nightwear. 

We also recommend putting your pillow(s) at the opposite end of the tub to the faucets. This will likely be more comfortable and help you avoid bumping your head on any taps. Depending on what you find most comfortable, you can lay your pillows flat on the bottom of the tub, or alternatively place them on the downward slant of the tub. This may leave your neck slightly strained, but it could give your body more room. 

Choose a Sleeping Position

Not every bathtub is luxuriously big – and it may come as a shock to you if you’re used to spreading out in a king-sized bed. You may feel slightly cramped, especially if you’re taller. To avoid getting any aches and pains from this, try adjusting yourself into a sleep position where you feel most comfortable. If you’re cramped, try sleeping on your side in a fetal position. This will leave you curled up and cozy while giving the illusion that you have even more room. 

According to sleep.org, the healthiest way to sleep is on your back, allowing your neck and spine to rest in a neutral position. Sleeping in this position also prevents acid reflux. However, it can be hard to achieve this in a bathtub. To best emulate the position, try lying as flat as possible. If your legs are cramped, you can lift them up and rest them on the edge of the tub. This way your neck and spine will be well aligned. Although, it may leave your legs a little numb in the morning. 

If you find any of these positions too uncomfortable, you can try draping your legs over the edge of the tub and position your body at an angle. Although we don’t recommend this position regularly, it may be your only option in this case. If it is possible, try finding another bathroom which may have a larger space to stretch out in. 

Sleeping in an Unfamiliar Room 

Whether it’s your bathroom or a friend’s – it’s going to be an unfamiliar place to sleep. This might mean it’ll take you a bit longer to actually get to sleep. However, there are a few things you can do to make yourself feel more at home. 

  • Bring earphones: A podcast, music, or sleep-inducing noises can distract you from where you are and help you feel more relaxed. Try using wireless Bluetooth headphones to avoid becoming tangled up in the wires while you sleep in the tub. 
  • Spray your personal products: If you have your own perfume, aftershave or deodorant, you can try spraying the room with these scents to give it a more familiar feeling – even while in the dark. Although it may sound odd, you can bring a stuffed toy (that smells like home) along with you. Cuddling up to this can also offer extra comfort.
  • Watch something comforting: Being in an unfamiliar environment can leave you feeling unsettled. That’s why, as suggested before, you may want to watch something light before going to sleep. Try a comedy special or a familiar YouTube channel you enjoy listening to.
  • Wear a sleep mask and earplugs: Blocking out strange sights and sounds you may not be used too will also help you get some sleep. Wearing earplugs (if you decide against using headphones) can help you keep the annoying sounds of dripping water of sinks at bay, and the sleep mask can help you keep out unwanted or distracting light. 

Speaking to Other House Members

If you’re in a home with other people, be sure to let them all know where you’ll be sleeping. It can give someone a fright if they walk into the bathroom and see a figure sleeping in the bathtub. Also, you won’t want to be disturbed by someone coming to use the toilet – and perhaps leaving you with an unpleasant smell – or turning on the shower and suddenly drowning your blankets. 

Let your housemates or family know to use any other bathrooms instead. If you’re feeling particularly worried, you can always put a sign outside the bathroom letting others know you’re sleeping in there. 

Why You May Need to Sleep in A Bathtub 

As mentioned before – sleeping in a bathtub is unlikely to be anyone’s first choice. However, some circumstances may lead this to be the only option. These circumstances include being in a crowded home with no other spare rooms, traveling in a motorhome, or even having to take shelter with other people in the event of a natural disaster. In fact, according to accuweather.com, seeking shelter in a bathtub can help save your life during a tornado, as bathrooms tend to have stronger frames and pipes in the wall that hold them together, according to Tornadoproject.com. You should also be aware that sleeping a bathtub full of water is dangerous, and this guide is only recommended in a clear and dry tub.

No matter why you’re sleeping in a bathtub, hopefully, this guide can help keep you safe, comfortable and restful throughout the night. Sure enough, you’ll be back to your bed and returning peacefully to sweet dreams.