What To Wear To Sleep In A Hostel & Hostel Sleeping Tips

Wondering what to wear to sleep in a hostel?

You’ve come to the right article as I travel full-time and I always stay in a hostel everywhere I go.

If you’ve never stayed in a hostel before, you’re going to have a lot of things on your mind and a lot of questions you need answers to.

One of the most common questions I get is what to wear to sleep in hostels. So I’ve put together this complete guide answering that exact question.

What To Wear To Sleep In Hostels

Knowing what to wear to sleep in hostels is pretty important. No one wants anyone sleeping in their birthday suit, that’s for sure.

To be honest, it’s pretty simple: just wear something. That’s pretty much it, just wear something.

Whether it’s a 3 piece suit or pyjamas, I don’t really mind, as long as it’s something.

Personally, I opt for a dri-fit sports top and sports shorts as I find them comfortable, light and practical as I can wear them during the day time too, particularly in warm countries. Here’s what I typically wear to bed in hostels:

A picture of me in a white sports t-shirt and black sports shorts which is what I wear to sleep in hostels.

This option can apply to girls too, but from what I know (and admittedly, I’m not a girl), it’s more popular to wear leggings and a loose T-shirt or something along those lines.

That being said, for anyone and everyone, if you sleep in pyjamas at home, just bring those! There’s no reason to change how you sleep in hostels unless you sleep with next to nothing on.

Some guys do opt to sleep in their boxers and while I don’t mind personally as a guy who has played sports all his life and been in changing rooms all the time, I’m pretty sure it makes most girls in the room feel uncomfortable. Especially if you turn into that guy who walks around in his underwear.

One of the most important hostel rules is to always be considerate of those you are sharing a room with, and if you’re making them feel uncomfortable, then you’re not being very considerate.

And since 75% of backpackers are female (according to statistics, I don’t think it’s accurate though), you’re going to annoy more people than not if you sleep in your briefs.

But aside from being inconsiderate, it’s also impractical in my opinion. As soon as I wake up, I’m able to get out of bed in my top and shorts and head to the bathroom or head for breakfast or do whatever I need or want to do in the hostel. I don’t have to get changed.

The same applies if you need to get up in the middle of the night to use the toilet or something. Wearing something light is comfortable, considerate and convenient. There’s no reason not to! Plus, if you do what I do, it’s not like you have to carry around extra clothes.

Oh and when it comes to changing clothes in a hostel, get changed in the bathroom. Or get changed underneath your bed sheets. No one likes that person who strips down in the middle of the room.

If you’re having a shower in the morning, head to the bathroom in whatever you slept in and then change into your new clothes after your shower. If you aren’t having a shower, just get changed when you brush your teeth. Easy!

Now that we’ve got clothing sorted, you’ll also want to wear an eye mask and earplugs to sleep in a hostel. Earplugs will keep out the snoring and any other disturbances, making it easy to fall asleep in a noisy room. And a sleeping mask will block out any light, preventing anyone from waking you up during the night by turning on the light (don’t do this!).

A close up of a man sleeping with an eye mask on.

But if you want some more options, I’ve put together a list of some things you can wear to sleep in a hostel for guys and for girls and you can choose whichever suits you best. Or in reality, you can do whatever you want and I’m not gonna know, but what was the point in reading this far if you’ve just decided you’re sleeping in the nude anyway?


  • Lightweight Pyjama Bottoms or Shorts: Comfortable, breathable fabrics like cotton are ideal. Avoid anything too revealing or with inappropriate graphics.
  • T-Shirts: A simple, clean T-shirt is a good choice. It’s respectful to others and practical.
  • Tracksuit bottoms/Sweatpants: Great for colder climates or air-conditioned rooms. Ensure they are clean and in good condition.
  • Sleep Shorts: If you’re comfortable in them, but make sure they’re modest.
  • Socks: A pair of clean socks can keep you warm and comfortable, especially in cooler environments.
  • Hoodie or Sweatshirt: Useful for added warmth, and the hood can be pulled over your eyes to block out light.
  • Flip-Flops or Slippers: Keep these by your bed for any late-night bathroom trips. They’re a must-bring item to hostels.


  • Comfortable Pyjama Set: Choose breathable fabrics like cotton or silk. The set can include bottoms/shorts, and a matching top.
  • Leggings and T-Shirt: This combination is both comfortable and modest. It’s a popular choice for girls sleeping in hostels.
  • Nightgown or Sleep Dress: Ensure it’s an appropriate length and not too revealing for a shared space.
  • Long-Sleeve Tops and Bottoms: Ideal for cooler environments or air-conditioned rooms.
  • Socks or Slippers: Keep your feet warm and clean, especially when walking around the hostel.
  • Cardigan or Light Sweater: Useful for extra warmth, can be easily put on or taken off as needed.
  • Robe or Dressing Gown: Handy for quick cover-up during trips to the bathroom or common areas.
Hostel room interior with wooden bunk beds, personal belongings scattered, and towels hung for drying, depicting a common backpacker's lodging arrangement.

Hostel Sleeping Tips

So now that you know what to wear to sleep in hostel life, you might wonder how you actually get to sleep in a hostel. The good news is, there are lots of tips for sleeping in hostels, and here are some of my favourites I’ve picked up throughout all of my hostel stays.

  1. Opt for the bottom bunk: In my opinion, the bottom bunk is better than the top bunk by a country mile. And this includes sleeping. You can just get into bed and go to sleep without having to climb what feels like Mount Everest just to reach your pillow.
  2. Wear a sleeping mask: As I said earlier, a sleeping mask helps to block out the light and means you won’t be disturbed if and when people turn the lights on.
  3. Use earplugs: Just like with the sleeping mask, earplugs help to keep out the noise and therefore make it easier to fall asleep.
  4. Tire yourself out: One of the easiest ways to fall asleep in a hostel is to tire yourself out. Do lots during the day – not only will you have a great time and have a lot of fun, you’ll find that you fall asleep quicker at night too.
  5. Entertain yourself with friends, not phones: Sleep experts always say to avoid screens before winding down for the night. So in a hostel where you’ve got tons of other people around you, why not go and socialise before hitting the hay?
  6. Choose your bed wisely: Don’t choose the bed right beside the door as you’ll be disturbed by people coming and going. I usually opt for a bed in the corner if it’s free as the middle beds are some of the noisiest too as you have noise from all directions.
  7. Stick to a schedule: While hostels are usually associated with spontaneity (and this is definitely one of the pros of backpacking), if you go to bed at a different time every night, especially if it varies massively, you’re going to find it harder to fall asleep.
  8. Be realistic: Unfortunately, you do get less sleep in hostels. It’s just how it is. You have to expect to be woken up a few times during the night, you’re not going to get an undisturbed 9 hours of sleep every night. That’s why I recommend booking a private room every now and again if you are budget travelling for long periods of time.
  9. Go to bed when you’re tired: It sounds stupid but hear me out. Since it’s harder to fall asleep in hostels than it is at home, there’s no point going to bed if you’re not tired. Go and chill in the common areas and make some friends until you’re tired, and then go to sleep.
  10. Consider what hostel you stay in: If you’re someone who really values your sleep and wants to get consistently good sleep every night, then it’s probably not a good idea for you to stay in a party hostel.
A dormitory room with unmade metal bunk beds, scattered personal items, and a towel hanging off one of the beds. The room appears lived-in with an exit sign visible in the background.


Below are some common questions related to what to wear to sleep in hostels along with my answers to each question.

What do you wear in a hostel?

You simply wear what you would normally wear. Make sure to bring something comfortable and light to wear at nighttime, as you need to sleep in appropriate clothing.

Where do you get dressed in hostels?

Most people opt to get dressed in the bathroom in hostels after washing for the day. There’s nothing wrong with a quick shirt change in the dorm room, but it’s not really appropriate to completely change in front of others. You can also get changed under your sheets.

Do I need pyjamas for a hostel?

You do not need pyjamas specifically for a hostel, but you do need something to sleep in. You need to be considerate of your roommates and sleep in appropriate clothing, and pyjamas are a good example. You could also wear shorts and t-shirt or something similar.

Final Thoughts

And there you have it, a complete guide to what to wear to sleep in a hostel.

There’s only one main thing to consider and that is that you need to be considerate of those you are sharing a room with and dress appropriately and respectfully. Other than that, wear whatever you want.

Now that we’ve got it sorted and you know what you’re wearing to sleep, it’s time to learn what it’s like to stay in a hostel, aside from the sleeping arrangements.