Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » How do I get and stay asleep on the trail?


Display Avatars Sort By:
Darwin Roos
(darwin310) - F

Locale: Great Lakes Area
How do I get and stay asleep on the trail? on 09/20/2009 19:44:08 MDT Print View

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?

Darwin
daroos@indiana.edu

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: How do I get and stay asleep on the trail? on 09/20/2009 20:06:39 MDT Print View

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?

What pad?
Are you warm or cold or comfortable?
Moonlight an issue?
Noise an issue?
Aches and Pains?
Muscle spasms?

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...

John Roan
(JRoan) - MLife

Locale: Vegas
Re: How do I get and stay asleep on the trail? on 09/20/2009 20:21:31 MDT Print View

Advil PM works for me...helps with aches and pains, and knocks me out for at least half the night.

Keith Selbo
(herman666) - F

Locale: Northern Virginia
Re: How do I get and stay asleep on the trail? on 09/20/2009 20:22:38 MDT Print View

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.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
How do I get and stay asleep on the trail? on 09/20/2009 20:30:12 MDT Print View

No offence but would it not be better to focus on prevention rather than a chemical "cure" ?
Franco
Ibuprofen is in my medical kit, however I have yet to use it...
http://www.drugs.com/sfx/advil-side-effects.html

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife
RE:How do I get and stay asleep on the trail? on 09/20/2009 20:31:24 MDT Print View

High mileage days and earplugs.

cameron eibl
(cjeibl) - F

Locale: San Diego
How do I get and stay asleep on the trail on 09/20/2009 21:51:53 MDT Print View

Melatonin- it is available otc and works great
www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melatonin

Edited by cjeibl on 09/20/2009 21:53:48 MDT.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
How do I get and stay asleep on the trail? on 09/20/2009 22:32:54 MDT Print View

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!!!

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Sleep on 09/20/2009 22:36:00 MDT Print View

Get a really really awful sleep the first night and then you'll sleep like a baby the 2nd night.....and repeat.

Jesse H.
(tacedeous) - MLife

Locale: East Bay, CA
Re: How do I get and stay asleep on the trail? on 09/21/2009 00:56:06 MDT Print View

I have sleep issues every night, but on the trail, I do exactly as jay wilkerson, ok sometimes I bring jameson ;) and I second the neoair... its heaven, I sleep on a $3,200 tempur-pedic @ home, and I hate too say the neoair is more comfy to me... then again single malt and the sierras sure do help ;)

John Tyberg
(jtyberg) - F

Locale: Southern California
zzz on 09/21/2009 01:46:11 MDT Print View

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.

Mark McLauchlin
(markmclauchlin) - MLife

Locale: Western Australia
Re: zzz on 09/21/2009 05:50:52 MDT Print View

When you are sleep deprived at home, having two young kids, sleeping on the trail isn't and issue :) Out like a light

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Sleep ... sleep ... sleep on 09/21/2009 05:51:51 MDT Print View

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.

Stargazer

William Puckett
(Beep) - F

Locale: Land of 11, 842 lakes
How do I get and stay asleep on the trail? on 09/21/2009 06:13:30 MDT Print View

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.

chris arvin
(kychris) - F

Locale: Red River Gorge Area
podcasts on 09/21/2009 06:55:28 MDT Print View

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.

John Haley
(Quoddy) - F

Locale: New York/Vermont Border
Re: How do I get and stay asleep on the trail? on 09/21/2009 07:06:51 MDT Print View

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 sent

Edited by Quoddy on 09/21/2009 08:26:38 MDT.

Keith Selbo
(herman666) - F

Locale: Northern Virginia
Re: Re: How do I get and stay asleep on the trail? on 09/21/2009 07:52:50 MDT Print View

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.

Edited by herman666 on 09/21/2009 08:28:08 MDT.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: How do I get and stay asleep on the trail? on 09/21/2009 08:42:13 MDT Print View

"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.

Jason Klass
(jasonklass) - F

Locale: Parker, CO
Falling asleep on 09/21/2009 09:09:03 MDT Print View

What about a few sips of whiskey?

Keith Selbo
(herman666) - F

Locale: Northern Virginia
Re: Re: Re: Re: How do I get and stay asleep on the trail? on 09/21/2009 09:50:33 MDT Print View

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.