Sep 20, 2009 at 6:44 pm #1239489
@darwin310Locale: Great Lakes Area
I've done quite a bit of backpacking. Each time it's an exercise in sleep deprivation. I'm just not able to get to sleep quickly nor stay asleep well.
What do you recommend that I take and/or do to get to sleep easily and stay asleep?
email@example.comSep 20, 2009 at 7:06 pm #1529183
More details please…
How many hours are you hiking?
How many days?
What are typical sleep and rise times?
What are your city habits and times?
Are you warm or cold or comfortable?
Moonlight an issue?
Noise an issue?
Aches and Pains?
If You had to guess what would it be?
I get up at 6, start hiking at 7, stop at 6, eat, get in the sack by 8, read maps and plan, sleep from 9 till 6, and repeat. Sometimes I don't sleep all night. Most of the time I do.
Give us some clues…Sep 20, 2009 at 7:21 pm #1529187
Advil PM works for me…helps with aches and pains, and knocks me out for at least half the night.Sep 20, 2009 at 7:22 pm #1529189
You don't give a lot of information so I can only tell you what works for me. If it applies to you, you're in luck. I never slept well in a tent and when I did sleep, whatever part of me was against my pro-lite would go numb. I switched to a Hennessy Hammock Hyperlight Backpacker and usually only wake up to pee.
I also have trouble getting to sleep when snorers or other noise makers are nearby. An MP3 player with a sleep function works well for that.
If aches and pains are keeping me awake, ibuprofen helps.
Good luck.Sep 20, 2009 at 7:30 pm #1529191
No offence but would it not be better to focus on prevention rather than a chemical "cure" ?
Ibuprofen is in my medical kit, however I have yet to use it…
http://www.drugs.com/sfx/advil-side-effects.htmlSep 20, 2009 at 7:31 pm #1529192
High mileage days and earplugs.Sep 20, 2009 at 8:51 pm #1529200
@cjeiblLocale: San Diego
Melatonin- it is available otc and works great
http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MelatoninSep 20, 2009 at 9:32 pm #1529207
@creachenLocale: East Bay
Tylenol PM and single malt scotch—-plus do 12-15 miles per day(minimum). The NeoAir has added to my R.E.M. for sure!!!Sep 20, 2009 at 9:36 pm #1529209
Get a really really awful sleep the first night and then you'll sleep like a baby the 2nd night…..and repeat.Sep 20, 2009 at 11:56 pm #1529227
@tacedeousLocale: East Bay, CA
I have sleep issues every night, but on the trail, I do exactly as jay wilkerson, ok sometimes I bring jameson ;)Sep 21, 2009 at 12:46 am #1529234
@jtybergLocale: Southern California
Good sleep is so important to me or I get really tired and cranky.
There was an article in Backpacker about sleep a few months ago. I wish I knew which issue. It basically said to try and replicate the routine you go through at home before bed.
I, too, like Tylenol PM when I can't seem to fall asleep. Alcohol gets me to sleep, but then I wake up a few hours later and can't get back to sleep.
Also, I heard Glen from Gossamer Gear talk, and he recommended putting something (like clothing) under your lumbar area when you sleep to fill up that gap. I tried this and it worked for me.
Using my platypus for a pillow really helps, too. I fill it halfway with water and put it in a small cotton stuff sack and it's pretty comfy.
Also, this is obvious, but make sure you pick a soft, level campsite where you feel comfortable. I like to sleep beside boulders or trees, where I feel more secure.
Turn off your mind, focus on how beautiful the stars are, and you'll drift off without a struggle.Sep 21, 2009 at 4:50 am #1529251
@markmclauchlinLocale: Western Australia
When you are sleep deprived at home, having two young kids, sleeping on the trail isn't and issue :) Out like a lightSep 21, 2009 at 4:51 am #1529252
@nerdboy52Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
What John said at the end . . .
I find that Benedryl- based sleeping aids disrupt my sleep patterns although they put me to sleep initially.
Melatonin is also good. It's less harmful to your body than antihistamines and words like a charm.
A nip of the old "stove fuel" (i.e., Everclear, not white gas) works even better for me, but YMMV.
I like my Tarptent Sublite Sil because I can see the stars without actually opening the tent up to the ravenous skeeters that populate Ohio.
I remember one cloudy night, however, where the hooting of the owls, the music of the cicadas and crickets, and the yipping of the coyotes were like a symphonic soporific. Look, listen, and sleep the sleep of the righteous.
StargazerSep 21, 2009 at 5:13 am #1529256
@beepLocale: Land of 11, 842 lakes
What works best for me is sleeping "in the air"…using a Warbonnet Blackbird hammock. There is a huge difference in comfort for me plus the added advantage of more flexibility in campsite selection (no need for level ground for tent pitching).
The hammock/tarp combination is not super light weight, but a 23 oz hammock with a 10 oz tarp is not so heavy as to overcome the comfort gains for me.Sep 21, 2009 at 5:55 am #1529261
@kychrisLocale: Red River Gorge Area
It's hard for me to wind down and get to sleep on the trail. My last couple of trips I took my mp3 player with a podcast of talk radio like Clark Howard and or backpacking podcasts. This worked great for me. I listen to the radio a lot at home though to get to sleep.Sep 21, 2009 at 6:06 am #1529263
@quoddyLocale: New York/Vermont Border
I wondered how long it would be before someone mentioned a Warbonnet BlackBird. On the majority of my recent hikes I used one with an 8.6oz Spinntex tarp and was able to keep my base weight at 5 pounds. When the weather is good I don't usually put up the tarp, since there's nothing like looking up through the trees and seeing the stars. Normally I'm asleep within a couple of minutes and usually sleep right through until daylight.
Keith… PM sentSep 21, 2009 at 6:52 am #1529275
When I bought my Hennessy, I hadn't heard about the Warbonnet. I'd be interested in hearing if it has any advantages over the Hennessy or if it's a matter of personal preference. My Hyperlight Backpacker weighs 26 oz. including tarp which I think is a little less than the Warbonnet Blackbird with tarp. The major difference appears to be the entry. I'm happy with the bottom entry of the Hennessy. It's stable and I know I'll land right on my camp shoes if I have to exit in the middle of the night. It looks like when you include the tarp, the Warbonnet costs a little more than the Hennessy. Hennessy customer service has been stellar.
Without trying a Warbonnet, the only observation I can make is that it offers a lot of convenience features which I certainly wouldn't discount, but simply point out that they add weight. Using tension adjusters instead of a taught line hitch and metal carabiners and adjustment buckles definitely speed setup but also add some ounces.
It would be nice to hear from someone who's used both brands.Sep 21, 2009 at 7:42 am #1529291
"Without trying a Warbonnet, the only observation I can make is that it offers a lot of convenience features which I certainly wouldn't discount, but simply point out that they add weight. Using tension adjusters instead of a taught line hitch and metal carabiners and adjustment buckles definitely speed setup but also add some ounces."
I haven't used both, but both were on my trip this past weekend, and I was the far happier in my Warbonnet Blackbird. PItching was easy for both. Since I'm new to using a hammock, I used the tension adjusters, but I bought both (an extra $15 I think). When I'm used to the correct pitch so that I can pitch it with very little adjustment, I'll swap out the tension adjusters for the line and save a few ounces.
The shelf is a wonderful addition. My shoes go in it, with a few other things, so I don't have to shake them out in the morning, but they're available if I need them in the middle of the night (very rare). With the side entry I can sit and swing on my hammock while I eat, it's a nice 'chair', which I think would be much harder in the Hennessey. And when I zip it closed, it's closed. My buddy's Hennessey actually opened a slight 'hole' during the chilly night, which cooled his butt considerably until he realized what had happened. He hasn't used an underquilt, but I would think that having (and adjusting from the inside) one would be more difficult with the Hennessey (though you're welcome to tell me differently, since I've not seen nor tried it).
I'm thrilled with my Blackbird, I'm a convert after one weekend! I agree with William, the weight is far outweighed by the comfort and campsite flexibility it affords.Sep 21, 2009 at 8:09 am #1529296
@jasonklassLocale: Parker, CO
What about a few sips of whiskey?Sep 21, 2009 at 8:50 am #1529304
Ah the never ending trade-offs between convenience, weight and money!
"With the side entry I can sit and swing on my hammock while I eat, it's a nice 'chair', which I think would be much harder in the Hennessey"
Using the Hennessy as a chair is easy. You sit on it.
Hennessy has a mesh bag that hangs from the internal ridge line for personal items. I also hang other stuff from the ridge line like my hiking boots and trousers.
I've never had the hole pop open on the Hennessy. I have had it not close automatically (I think my pad gets in the way) and I've had to reach down and pinch the velcro.
I've never used an under quilt. I was surprised that I didn't need one at 21 F, but a wal-mart pad seems to be enough for me. I find I always need the pad though, even when it's in the 60's.Sep 21, 2009 at 9:13 am #1529310
Ugh, I used to wrestle with this too. Tried weed, but I was just laying there high. With PM's if I don't fall asleep immediately, I instead start fretting. Whiskey is a nice conversation around camp, and it helps me chill out.
But I came to deeply appreciate that rest is a physical and mental state. So, simply lying prone and mentally relaxing, was a greater part of what my body and mind needed, which led to sleep. And I stopped struggling toward sleep. Honestly, I don't even really focus on it, I just lay there and appreciate where I am.
I really discovered this when I started sleeping out in the open, without a tent, in full connection with the place I was in. It sounds corny, but when I'd wake up in the night, I could smile at the expanse of stars, smell the earth and the wind. Enjoy everything that comes with that sense of peace. A tent sort of disconnects me from that.
So, connect yourself with the place you've chosen and relax there.
And, hey, use some truly relaxing bed time herbs. Get some chamomile, sleepy-time teas. They work if you let them. Once again, just relax.
-MichaelSep 21, 2009 at 10:25 am #1529335
I did a lot of backpacking before I could really fall asleep on the trail too, but eventually I learned how. It's probably different for everybody, but here's how it was for me. What did it for me was my first solo trip longer than 2 nights. On overnighters–which have always been the majority of my trips–I was always thinking about the drive home the next day, errands I'd have to run once I got back in town, projects left unfinished, people to meet, places to be, etc. In other words, on an overnighter for me, my mind is still connected to my home-life.
The first time I could truly let go of all that was on my first 3 nighter solo hike. It forced me to focus on my goal: my car that was some 50 miles down the trail from where I started. To get there, I could rely on no one but myself. Insubordination in the form of restlessness could not be tolerated. I went to sleep the second night of the trip, 45 minutes after sunset, with a unique feeling. I thought to myself, "last night I woke up on the trail and tonight I'll go to sleep on the trail." No thoughts of "city-life" entered my mind and I was able to relax in this new context.
I'd also agree with Michael's sage advice: "Simply lying prone and mentally relaxing, was a greater part of what my body and mind needed, which led to sleep."
Even if I'm unable to fall asleep–maybe I'm still on city-time and have been getting to sleep at 2am for the past month, maybe I just can't let go of a concern that's worrying me–what it all boils down to is that even if I'm fully awake all night long, the more relaxed my body is and the more calm my mind, the more refreshed I feel in the morning. Tossing and turning, fretting about not falling asleep: these things will only tire me out, not refresh me.Sep 21, 2009 at 10:26 am #1529336
te – waParticipant
what the hangers are saying: "i sleep great in a hammock."
(maybe there's some stock to take in them there words)
i support your effort in trying a reliable hammock as a solution to your problem. ive been b'packing for 12 years, went UL without the help of forums or magazines, and transitioned to hanging 2 years ago. Ive watched about a dozen groundlings make the switch, and ALL of them (not to mention the tens that switch every day, around the world) that i personally know and hike with, report the immensely satisfying results.
the Mayans were right.
i also think the "solution" of drugs is both crass and rediculous.Sep 21, 2009 at 12:49 pm #1529372
@retropumpLocale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
For me I find that I needed to adopt trail habits into my home life. This means going to bed at 8pm and sleeping on the floor with a quilt and a fan blowing on me….seriously. Also agree that if you CAN'T fall or stay asleep, just accepting it and relaxing and enjoying the moment is the next best thing. That, or read a book.
"i also think the "solution" of drugs is both crass and rediculous."
Medication…sometimes helps for me due to osteoarthritis pain in my ankle. This can flare up majorly if I'm doing long days or tricky terrain, the very days after which I most need a good night's sleep. "Drug" on the other hand, is a very loose term. Herbal teas, coffee and cocoa could be considered "drugs" (substances with no nutritive value taken to make you feel better). Marijuana is just a herb as are many other naturally occurring sedatives and sleep aids (valerian root, skullcap, camomile etc…). Alcohol may help you get to sleep, but won't keep you asleep after it wears off, and like antihistamines and sleeping pills, alcohol disrupts your sleep structure. Melatonin is really hit and miss. Works great for some folks and not at all for others. Herbal teas are really bad for my sleep quality as too much liquid at bed time means too many trips outside the tent in the middle of the night!
A hammock would be the worst solution I personally could imagine. Aside from the fact that half my nights out are well above treeline and most of my nights out are as a couple, hammocks make me really truly nauseous! But I am so sensitive in this respect that a 4" Stephenson's DAM can make me queasy. A NeoAir is about as high off the ground as I can stomach. But one woman's poison may be another man's treasure, especially if you go solo.Sep 23, 2009 at 3:39 pm #1530055
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Sometimes a little pain reliever is needed. You may have pains you aren't really noticing since your senses are kind of wired from the excitement of being out there.
Other than that, a full belly, an empty bladder and warm snuggliness and I'm good to go.
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