As a passenger, and perhaps as a driver, provided you’ve found a safe place to pull over and rest your eyes during a road trip, we’ve all dozed off at one point or another. For parents on long drives with little ones in the back, it can provide a half hour or so of peace and quiet and a break from the ‘no we’re not there yet’ conversations. Similarly, finding a comfy position, stretching your legs and falling asleep can be a welcome distraction from a tedious journey. However, you may not have considered the advantages and drawbacks of taking a nap in the car; for further insight, continue reading below. 

The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Taking A Nap In The Car

So, should I sleep in the car?

First and foremost, there’s an obvious differentiation between the driver and the passenger. Whenever you feel tired as the driver, it’s your responsibility to ensure the safety of yourself, any passengers and other road users and take a break from driving whenever possible. If your eyes are heavy and you’re struggling to focus on the road ahead, you must take a break. Unfortunately, falling asleep behind the wheel is a prevalent issue, with studies revealing that ‘around four million British drivers have fallen asleep behind the wheel’.

Where should I stop to take a break?

As mentioned earlier, not only is it perfectly fine to take a nap in your car, but it’s actively encouraged for the driver. The two rules to remember when you pull over are: you must be safely parked and not in violation of any parking restrictions, and you mustn’t be above the drink-drive limit or under the influence of drugs. If you are under the influence, you should never get behind the wheel in the first instance. Motorway service stations, car parks and residential areas (provided you’re not obstructing a pavement or driveway access) are all ideal places to pull over and doze off. However, keep in mind that certain car parks or service stations will limit how long you can stay. 

The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Taking A Nap In The Car

What about as a passenger? 

As a passenger, it isn’t dangerous to take a nap in the car, except for those assisting learner drivers and needing to supervise at all times. It may be frustrating for the driver if their car buddy falls asleep (think aux duties, directions and snack servers); however, it is perfectly safe for any passenger to sleep in the car. 

What are the advantages of falling asleep in the car as a passenger?

A great way to pass the time

As mentioned above, not all road trips are fun, and you’ll likely find yourself bored on occasion. If your phone has run out of charge or you’re struggling to get into the novel you’re reading, a nap is a fantastic way to pass the time. 

The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Taking A Nap In The Car

Catch up on your sleep

Many road trips begin in the early morning hours, particularly when travelling to the airport or for a staycation; in these instances, you’ll inevitably need to catch up on your sleep. A few hours of shut-eye in the car can leave you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed for the day ahead.

What are the disadvantages of sleeping in the car?


You’ll never receive the best comfort and support while sleeping in a car due to the awkward and makeshift position you have to take up. Sure, neck pillows are a great help, but you’ll never be able to replicate the same standard of sleep as you would with a mattress. With long naps in the car, you could wake with aches and pains.

Disrupted sleep pattern

Often the minute you shut your eyes, there’ll be a chorus of ‘you won’t be able to fall asleep later if you nap now’. And in some cases, this is spot on. Studies suggest that ‘napping later in the afternoon and evening tends to be more likely to cause issues’; with this in mind, it’s best to ‘keep your quick nap to the earlier hours away from your usual bedtime.’.

Upgrade your sleep with Mattressman

Falling asleep during car journeys is not ideal; you may fall into a deep sleep during times in which you’d prefer to interact or socialise with the driver or any other passengers. Alternatively, you may be reluctant to fall asleep, knowing that a nap will make falling asleep at night harder. If you’re trying to resist the urge to sleep but often find it inevitable, this could result from a substandard sleep pattern. Therefore, assessing your mattress is worthwhile to ensure it provides you with the best night’s sleep possible. Here at Mattressman, our affordable prices, free-next-working-day delivery, and 60-night sleep trial for any mattress purchased alongside a mattress protector, means a better night’s sleep is within easy reach. If you’d like further insight into which mattress best suits you, check out our ‘What mattress tension do I need?‘ blog.