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Can You Sleep In A Minivan? (How To Make It Better)

When you ask this question to some of your friends, who regularly go trips in their cars, the answer you will get is why not? Many of us feel that just we can sleep in the seated position when someone drives the vehicle when we visit places as a group. But, the thing to remember here is that if you have planned a long trip with your friends, you can wake up fresh in the morning only when you sleep well at night. So, sleeping in a seated position cannot provide you the needed relaxation in most cases. 

Sleeping in a minivan can often be uncomfortable for most people but it is not illegal or against the law in most cities or states. 

Sleeping in a minivan is often more comfortable than sleeping on the ground in a tent or simply under the stars however it is far from comfortable. There are some things that you can do to help you get better sleep as well as go to sleep faster and even make your minivan a better place to sleep. 

We will discuss each of these things in more detail in the rest of this article. 

How to make sleeping in a minivan more comfortable

The good thing about some minivans like the Kia Sedona is that they come with reclining seats in the second row and third row of the vehicle. So, when you feel sleepy while you are driving, it is better to immediately stop the vehicle to reduce the risk of an accident. 

Stop the vehicle in a safe parking zone and get to the reclining seat of the vehicle to sleep for a short time. Since the seat reclines, you can rest for some time and can wake up fresh to continue your journey. Now if you have planned for a long trip in your minivan, instead of looking for hotels to stay in and spending quite a bit for them, you can even use your vehicle to sleep semi comfortably. 

Here are some do’s and don’ts to remember when you use your minivan for sleeping at night.

Some do’s to make your minivan sleeping more comfortable

Lay your back seat flat

You might be wondering whether laying the back seat flat can ruin the seat. But, fret not! The back seats in minivans are far more durable as compared to what you think and most modern minivans are designed where the third row will lay flat. 

When you do this, you will get more room to stretch out and can almost sleep like on a bed. Also, if someone happens to peep through your vehicle’s window at night, you will not be as scared as you are laying down flat.

Use lightweight fabrics as curtains

Yes, you have read it right! You might be wondering whether people use curtains for vehicle windows! But, the reality is that people using their vehicles for long trips tend to do it. The reason is that you will get a good night’s sleep only when you feel secure plus you can block out some of the light around you. 

You can get a sheet that can be rolled into the back windows of your minivan. Of course, a part of the sheet will hang out. But, it will not look awkward and will stay in place.

How about the front windows?

If you put curtains on the rear and side windows you might be wondering about what to do for the front one. For privacy you really don’t have to do anything since the front seats will block you but if you are trying to block out some of the sunshine then you can just drape a seat over the two front seats and that will block the majority of the sun. 

Also parking near a tree or building will help block the light in the early morning as well. 

Leave a front window or sunroof slightly cracked open

When you do this, you will feel it’s a bit easier to breathe and the air won’t feel as stuffy. This will also prevent you from smelling each other’s breath when you are sleeping with two or more people in the minivan. This will also prevent condensation build-up all over the windows.

Sleep on layers

As you are thinking of sleeping in your minivan, you should know about layering. Adding towels is the easy and best way to have a good night’s sleep in your vehicle. When you use towels, ensure that they cover the entire area in which you will be sleeping. 

You can also use a comforter, blanket or similar items to help pass the floor. Otherwise, you have the option to use sleeping pads as they can provide the primary layer for your bedding. These will give you the best night’s rest but they take up a lot of extra space during the trip. 

You will feel a lot more comfortable by adding as many pillows and blankets as you like.

Now, you know what to do when you wish to sleep in your minivan. More than the things to do, you should be aware of the things you should not do to ensure a comfortable night’s sleep in your minivan. 

Here are certain things you should not do:

Some “don’ts” when sleeping in a minivan

Do not leave your car windows fully open

Who knows, there might be some intruders at midnight. To safeguard you and your family from them, the best thing you should do is not to leave the car windows and doors fully open when you sleep for any reason.

Having the windows slightly open can be good but the doors should be locked and nothing fully open. Ideally you will only open the small windows near the third row for air and leave the others completely closed so there is no chance of anyone using a hanger or something to get in either. 

Do not bury your head inside blankets

Just because they have a lot of blankets some people tend to bury their heads into the blankets considering that it will bring them some extra peace or comfort. But, when you do this, you often cannot breathe properly. 

So, it is better to avoid this sort of sleeping.

Do not try to sleep across the back seat

Do not try to sleep across either your back seat or front seat. When you do this, you will wake up with the imprints of the seat belt in your back and because of the unevenness the sleep that you do get won’t be very restful. 

This sleeping position will not bring you the expected comfort and relaxation when you sleep.

Best minivans for sleeping in

The best minivans for camping and sleeping at night are offered by different brands. Here is our choice of the best minivans that can meet your requirements.  

  • Honda Odyssey
  • Kia Sedona
  • Chrysler Pacifica
  • Toyota Sienna

If you are yet to buy a minivan to meet your camping or cross country needs, you should consider choosing one of those minivans mentioned above. Of course, you won’t want to just look at the comfort for sleeping, you will have to consider other features, your budget and other specific needs if you have some of them. Doing a comparative study is important in selecting the right minivan for your family!


Sleeping in your minivan overnight is often the best thing to do after you have been driving for some time rather than risking falling asleep behind the wheel. 

Some people will try to just recline their seat and sleep but this rarely works very well. If you are trying to get a few solid hours of sleep you are normally better off laying down the third row and sleeping flat like normal in the back of your minivan.