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Ways to sleep better
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Ben Wortman
(bwortman) - M

Locale: Nebraska
Ways to sleep better on 02/23/2012 10:32:47 MST Print View

One of the more difficult things that I encounter on a backpacking trip is getting a good night’s sleep, especially on the 1st few nights. After that, I am usually so exhausted that I basically just pass out. My personal problem is a combination of a few things. I live at about 500 ft, and when I backpack in the 9,000 – 11,000 ft range, I’m sure my system is just getting used to the altitude. I also wake up a lot in the night when there are unusual sounds happening outside the tent. I am not waking up afraid of bears or Sasquatches, but just the normal nighttime sounds tend to wake me up. I think I have also had problems sleeping due to the fact that I have used a mummy cut sleeping pad, and when I turn over in my sleep, I either roll off, or it feels so narrow that I wake up because I am trying to make sure I don’t fall off. This year I am going to try a few new things:
1. Try a long wide pad. This should help with the comfort and not falling off deal
2. Try ear plugs. I have slept with earplugs several times while car camping and it seems to help. I have been reluctant to do this when backpacking, thinking that I might not hear something that I should be aware of outside my tent.

What are some of your tricks that help you sleep better on the trail?

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Ways to sleep better on 02/23/2012 10:47:52 MST Print View

There are two things that impact me. Sore hips with a foam pad the first couple of nights (I am a side sleeper) and getting cold. Cold requires the proper sleep system for the conditions, and a balaclava of appropriate material for the conditions has mitigates most of this for me as I use quilts. A TorsoLite or small ProLite are better as pads for me, but for truly great sleep I am finding a regular NeoAir fits the bill. As a side sleeper I do change sides during the night, but have never fallen off it. Sometimes when I want to take a foam pad I sleep on it at home for a few nights prior to a trip to get my hips in shape.

Noise isn't an issue, but then I usually am not awaken by most California earthquakes.

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: Tahoe
Re: Ways to sleep better on 02/23/2012 10:48:32 MST Print View

For me, a decent pillow makes a world of difference and I find the weight penalty to be well worth it. I recently picked up the exped air pillow and highly recommend it. Apparently there is also a montbell pillow that people seem to like, but I've never tried that one.

Regarding the pad.... I have a long wide pad as well as a short pad. The long wide one is definitely more comfortable, but I don't think it makes as much of a difference in my ability to get a goods nights sleep as the pillow does.

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Ways to sleep better on 02/23/2012 10:57:45 MST Print View

I struggle with the same issues. A larger mattress and earplugs help considerably. A nightcap doesn't hurt either! You could also adjust your nighttime rituals at home to match what you'll be doing in the outdoors. I find that staying up till 11 at home is detrimental to going to bed at 9 when it gets dark while camping.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Ways to sleep better on 02/23/2012 11:10:06 MST Print View

My main problems are sore hips and a too thin pillow.

At night I act sort of like a rotisserie, rotating through the night. If my pad is too thin (e.g. blue foam and similar) I wake up with sore hips that just keep getting worse. My current solution is a 13oz Thermarest Prolite short, but I am considering bringing an extra short, thin foam pad to place under my hips on hard ground. I slept about a dozen nights in Alaska campgrounds that had hard gravel tent sites and the Prolite was barely enough.

I further need my head propped up a fair amount or my neck starts bothering me. I currently just place everything I have in a stuff sack and use it for a pillow, but it still doesn't seem to be enough, partly because everything in the stuff sack gets packed down during the night. I'm not sure what I'll try next...

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Ways to sleep better on 02/23/2012 11:10:33 MST Print View

YMMV, of course, but for me:

1. CAREFUL site selection (so I'm not neither tilted nor sliding down the entire night)
2. comfy air pad, pillow, and an appropriately warm bag
3. NO coffee, and not too much water or alcohol the few hours before bedtime
4. ear plugs

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Ways to sleep better on 02/23/2012 11:13:14 MST Print View

"I further need my head propped up a fair amount or my neck starts bothering me. I currently just place everything I have in a stuff sack and use it for a pillow, but it still doesn't seem to be enough, partly because everything in the stuff sack gets packed down during the night. I'm not sure what I'll try next..."

Try this. It works for a lot of us, and if it works for you too, then that would be well worth its paltry 2.4oz. weight.

K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Sleeping better on 02/23/2012 11:15:28 MST Print View

I am usually so sleep deprived that backpacking is when I "recharge" and sleep really well. If at all possible, a hammock works for a lot of people, myself included. On the ground, a better pad, enough insulation.
I am curious about ear plugs; unless you are near a snorer, why ear plugs?

chris markley
(motorapido) - F
Hammock on 02/23/2012 11:20:05 MST Print View

Sleep like a baby in an ultralight hammock setup. Study up at

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Sleeping better on 02/23/2012 11:20:06 MST Print View

"I am curious about ear plugs; unless you are near a snorer, why ear plugs?"

Wearing ear plugs is something I have never heard of doing. I don't get it. I enjoy the sounds of nature and they normally lullaby me to sleep. Why do people cut themselves off from the environment with all kinds of gadgets?

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Re: Sleeping better on 02/23/2012 11:28:00 MST Print View

Re: Earplugs

Sometimes it comes in handy when near a snorer. Most of the time it's to keep me from listening to the little mouse all night long jumping around in the grasses. I keep thinking it's a big bear trying to eat me. The earplugs quiet that fear of mine. I usually take them out around 3 and keep sleeping soundly till sun rise.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re Earplugs on 02/23/2012 11:34:24 MST Print View

I know a lot of folk who need them to sleep.
The problem here in Scotland is wind noise. Not the human kind. ;)
Novice campers can get worried during high winds, till they learn that the noisy tent isn't going to take off.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: Re: Sleeping better on 02/23/2012 11:36:39 MST Print View

I always wear ear plugs. Nothing worse than someone close by snoring.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Sleeping better on 02/23/2012 11:48:55 MST Print View

"I always wear ear plugs. Nothing worse than someone close by snoring."

Hmm... usually the only person with me is me. :)

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Re: Sleeping better on 02/23/2012 11:55:30 MST Print View

"I enjoy the sounds of nature and they normally lullaby me to sleep. Why do people cut themselves off from the environment with all kinds of gadgets?"

Not everyone is lucky enough to be lulled by those sounds; some are kept awake by them (I know, I sleep with a chronic insomniac). For them, earplugs are helpful in falling asleep and using them is not a sign of failed character IMHO.

For me, regular sounds (like babbling brooks, steady wind, rain) are soothing, but irregular sounds (animal footsteps, leaf blowing across the tent, tentmate rolling over, etc.) catch my attention and make me alert. Maybe a side effect of using my ears for a living; same reason I can't ignore "background" Muzak.

Ben Wortman
(bwortman) - M

Locale: Nebraska
earplugs on 02/23/2012 11:59:58 MST Print View

Like others, I use earplugs to prevent the "what was that sound" in my head.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Sleeping better on 02/23/2012 12:05:06 MST Print View

Maybe a stint in the military would help... you can learn how to sleep in a Huey with the side doors open :)

Or living in a ghetto, you learn how to ignore and sleep through the noise of gun shots and police helicopters :)

And the above might give one an appreciation for good noises :)

Anyway, if they were to bother me I would try to condition myself. Now if an owl awakens me I want to sit up and watch it. Same goes for other animals. If a strong wind blows, I don't mind waking up, it alerts me to the fact I might want to check my gear. Since I rarely sleep in a shelter, I have many opportunities to watch things that go bump in the night.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Ways to sleep better on 02/23/2012 13:01:43 MST Print View


Edited by skopeo on 09/08/2015 15:20:27 MDT.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Ways to sleep better on 02/23/2012 15:19:26 MST Print View

I struggle with a good night's sleep when camping too. I've made a few changes, so far, that seem to help, and I've got a few more to try still.

Things I've done:
- changed from mummy bag to quilts
- thicker air pad
- experimenting with different pillow options
- use ipod w/ ear buds to help fall asleep
- use tylenol pm or similar to try to help fall asleep

Switching to quilts has certainly made me more comfortable at night. Like someone else said, I too rotate around in my sleep like a rotissere. I kept getting caught up in the mummy bag with my face in the hood, etc. Or falling off my pad. Or just too cramped for space to spread out. Quilts, particularly the Katabatic Gear quilts, have solved these problems for me.

Switching to a thicker air pad has given me more comfort but my arms or a leg still often hang off the pad and my current NeoAir is just a little too short, so either my head or my feet don't get to be on the pad. I will be trying a size L NeoAir at some point in the future; probably hold out to try the Xtherm for next winter. I hope that the added length and width will work better for me.

I've also tried a lot of different pillows but so far haven't found a good solution. The air pillows haven't worked for me. Stuff sacks slide all over. I've got a different stuff sack now with a fuzzy fleece-like exterior. I'm hoping it's a more comfortable pillow... might try attaching it to my pad with velcro or cord too.

I'll take the weight penalty of a larger pad and some form of pillow if I can get a decent night's sleep!

Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: Ways to sleep better on 02/23/2012 16:10:33 MST Print View

If it is quiet night, then I am usually okay until I unwind a bit. If it is windy then I play a dull podcast, such as Fresh Air or Bloomberg Business Report. That usually knocks me out.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Ways to sleep better on 02/23/2012 17:39:24 MST Print View

I moved from a thermarest to a BA air core and the difference was awesome. my hips used to hurt and i'd have to flip around to give one side a break. first night with the air core i was dead to the world until morning. I haven't tried my air pillow yet but i anticipate it will be much better than my old thermarest packable thing i used to use.

K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Hips on 02/23/2012 18:08:27 MST Print View

When I sleep on the ground, versus hanging, I also sleep on my side. Even with the Neoair I will get some hip pain, but Casey showed me a very effective way to minimize that: try and dig a little depression, or "bowl", where your hips will be. That will take the pressure off of them.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Hips on 02/23/2012 18:52:39 MST Print View

Here is another that works for me.

When laying on your side, slightly bend the leg that is on the mat. Now tuck the upper hip slightly forward so your weight is now more distributed to the upper part of the lower leg and the knee. The upper leg can be straight or bent too. I find that I can sleep at least twice as long on my side before turning over.

It accomplishes a similar weight shift as a hip depression.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Ways to sleep better on 02/23/2012 21:58:54 MST Print View

Thick rectangular mats.
The Neo Air 3 season and an Exped DM 7 on snow (if I am not experimenting...)
Next , I have stopped using a silk liner and use a lighter sleeping bag and some clothing. That is T and shorts in summer and down top and bottom in winter.
Having gone through a quilt phase , that has somewhat slowed down my tossing and turning.
However I love nature noises , particularly heavy rain. That sends me to sleep.
Apparently some don't appreciate my snoring (I don't mind...) so a solo tent is what I use.
I often listen to some music before I go to sleep.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Ways to sleep better on 02/23/2012 22:08:07 MST Print View

A pillow really makes the difference for me.

But the *real* solution is a hammock. No rocks, roots, mud, critters, bugs, or flat air pads. Just swaying gently under the trees..... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Ways to sleep better on 02/23/2012 23:18:50 MST Print View

"But the *real* solution is a hammock."




So, how do I hang it?

Oh, wait a minute, you said trees.... will these work?

Joshua Tree

Nick and Century Plant

Palm Trees


Jonathan Rozes

Locale: Pacific Wonderland
Instinctive sleeping postures on 02/24/2012 10:08:32 MST Print View

Along the lines of sleeping at home more like you would in the field, this may be of interest:

Of course, less-adventuresome partners may object to ditching pillows, sleeping on floors, leaving windows open, etc.

There's also some evidence that frequent interruptions during sleep are the evolutionary norm rather than the uninterrupted sleep most of us experience now. Personally, I've found that I awake just as refreshed, if not more so, when my sleep is interspersed with regular bouts of wakefulness (anything from adjusting my sleep position to an hour or so of checking out the nightlife around camp). The key is to not stress over the fact that you aren't sleeping.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Instinctive sleeping postures on 02/24/2012 10:11:32 MST Print View

I was just reading somewhere that it used to be normal to sleep for 4 hours, be awake for an hour or two, then sleep for another 4 hours.

When I'm not sleeping I listen to night noises, very interesting.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Instinctive sleeping postures on 02/24/2012 10:25:23 MST Print View

Interesting article. The pictures are how I sleep on my side. The past few trips I have taken a Kooka Bay air pillow. It is too high and I only fill it 1/2 way with air. On my last trip it blew away, and I just slept on my arm.

As to Jerry's comment, as I get older I need less sleep. So during long winter nights I wake up in about 4 hours. And I watch stars, go pee, etc. Then after an hour or two, go back to sleep. This means I am comfortable and getting quality sleep. If I wake every hour or two, then I am not sleeping well... probably because my hip gets sore. The position of a bent leg has fixed that issue.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Re: Ways to sleep better on 02/24/2012 15:16:03 MST Print View

"But the *real* solution is a hammock."

Just goes to show how much we take our own environments for granted...

My first year backpacking, I started out in the semi-arid West, naturally. Packing EVERYTHING out -- including TP's -- made perfect sense as even "biodegradable" paper can last years out in the desert.

My first hike in the East (Savage Gorge, TN) -- I was TOTALLY AMAZED that people could just build fires and burn all their trash! WOW!! Nothing to carry out. And water everywhere too!! Fell completely in love with the eastern forest!

But back to topic, yeah, there are many places out here in the PSW where hammocks are simply out of the question! Fact is, I've never crawled into one -- although I would like to try it out someday...

Edited by ben2world on 02/24/2012 15:23:35 MST.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Ways to sleep better on 02/24/2012 17:28:51 MST Print View

"Fact is, I've never crawled into one -- although I would like to try it out someday..."

Make sure you take someone soft and cuddly along when you do. Nothing quite like it. And you WILL sleep better, guaranteed. ;)

Down in southern Mexico they actually make an extra large hammock called "el matrimonial" for this specific situation.

Edited by ouzel on 02/24/2012 17:30:06 MST.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
ways to sleep better on 02/25/2012 01:19:09 MST Print View

Hike hard --- being tired helps a lot! :-)

If I'm not sleeping I don't worry about it, I can walk pretty well when short on sleep and then likely I'll sleep well the next night.

What really helps me is switching to the "rythm" of being outdoors --- waking with the dawn, that sort of thing. When adjusted and in a daily routine, I sleep better outdoors than I do in my bed at home. Certainly tylenol PM or benedryl or whatever can help in the adjustment the first 2 - 3 days out.

And ... a solo tent. Unless with a spouse or other S.O., I strongly suggest having your own space rather than sharing a 2- or N-person tent with others if getting a good night's sleep is an issue for you. Distance is IMO better than earplugs.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: Ways to sleep better on 02/26/2012 17:48:53 MST Print View

Last time I went out I brought 2 down quilts. I laid one across me cross-wise so that it covered mostly my torso. I have a hard time sleeping if I am cold, even at home, but I will often fall right asleep, even at 8pm, if I'm feeling really warm. Having two quilts made me as warm as I am at home plus there were absolutely no drafts when I rolled around. From now on I'm leaving the down jacket home and using 2 quilts, the extra one being a JRB wearable quilt.

Christopher Yi
(TRAUMAhead) - F

Locale: Cen Cal
Re: Ways to sleep better on 02/27/2012 04:08:02 MST Print View

I went through the typical foam pad to air pad transition, and now I'm back to the foam pad. When I first started backpacking, I had the typical Wally World blue pad and always tossed and turned from the soreness at night. Added a Z-lite thinking 2 pads are better than 1 right? Nope. Switched to an Big Agnes Air Core which helped with the soreness. Slept cold on several trips and thought I was a cold sleeper, when it was really the pad. Ended up buying a Synmat UL7 and all was well. Then on some recent trips I was waking up really sore on the Synmat, so I tried a 1/2" Big 5 foam pad I bought for colder trips, and I was waking up feeling better on the foam pad than the air pad. I'll probably do a couple more trips and testing before getting rid of the Synmat.

Edited by TRAUMAhead on 02/27/2012 04:10:30 MST.

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
sleeping... on 02/27/2012 07:44:17 MST Print View

i'm a side sleeper and toss about a bit in the night. here are my tricks to getting sleep:

1 - gotta have a decent pillow/head support setup. i use a Cocoon inflatable pillow and my backpack as a prop.

2 - i use a 1.5" full length self inflating pad. sure it's 26 ounces, but my hips, knees and ankles thank me.

3 - i wear silk base layer pants - keeps my legs from getting that damp feeling when they touch

4 - stocking hat with built-in headphones. i listen to very repetitive ambient electronic music and it helps to minimize the loud snoring from other campers or those active nocturnal animals that seem to congregate right next to my tent.

5 - being tired when it's bedtime. at home i stay up until 1am or later and am up at 6am for work. this doesn't translate well to the backcountry so i make sure i put in a good day's effort so i'm tired and not long of this world when i crawl into my bag at 10pm.

the first night i will wake up several times and toss about. by the third night i'm getting a good amount of sleep and wake up feeling recharged.

Jonathan Gunder
(gatorgrizz27) - F
Try Calms Forte... on 02/27/2012 15:32:37 MST Print View

I used to have a very difficult time falling asleep even at home in my bed, and it was worse when camping, especially when it was hot out. I started trying sleep aids and found one called Calms Forte that is all natural and works better than anything else I tried. Take 3 of them and you will be out and sleep great, without being groggy the next day or needing it to fall asleep.

Ankar Sheng
(Whiskyjack) - MLife

Locale: The Canadian Shield
Re: sleep on 03/02/2012 00:56:31 MST Print View

Over the counter sleeping pills, ear plugs and a pillow (a water-wing floatation device works nice). Can't stand swarms of mosquitos buzzing inches from my head, even if I know they can't get me. A pillow adds a ton of comfort. I have a really hard time falling asleep, even after an exhausting day, so sleeping pills are helpful to get to sleep at a reasonable hour. They're also helpful at overcoming minor discomforts that can keep you up.

Everett Vinzant
(wn7ant) - MLife

Locale: CDT
Thank you for this thread... on 03/18/2012 16:44:00 MDT Print View

First, regarding earplugs.

Is it such a good idea to NOT be able to hear what is going on around you?

Second, military service.

Is sleeping in a Huey louder than under (approximately) 140 mm towed field artillery that is throwing rounds down range? Likely the point is the same :)

Last, comfort.

Desperately wanted to be able to sleep on a Z pad, but it looks like it isn't comfortable enough (padded enough). Is there a change in techniques anyone has found useful? Which of the air mattresses would you recommend (which forum/product review is recommended)?

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Ways to sleep better on 03/18/2012 17:01:34 MDT Print View

Night time sounds really used to bother me. I think what really helped me get over that was setting up very early a few times and getting to see what made all those sounds.

I also accepted that the critters out there didn't want anything to do with me, that is, so long as I stored my food far away.

Having a little reading material seems to help, probably because that's what I do at home.

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
Re: Re: Ways to sleep better on 03/19/2012 08:58:58 MDT Print View

EARPLUGS!!! Totally changed my ability to sleep when camping.

I'm a light sleeper. Regular noises I can get used to, like trains, aquarium filters, fans, dogs barking, etc. But as soon as a new noise is introduced or familiar one is taken away, I wake up wide awake and it takes a while to fall back asleep. I once woke up when the power went out and the aquarium filter stopped running.

So, when camping, even though the noises don't bother/scare me, they still wake me up because I'm not used to leaves/needles falling on my tent, mice/birds scurrying around, wind in the trees or against my tent, etc. If I slept outdoors everyday, they wouldn't be a problem, but I don't...

Regarding pillow's: If you use a water bladder, blow air back into it to inflate it to the desired firmness, then cover it with your buff, or some unworn piece of clothing. Super comfy. No water bladder? clothes in a stuff sack are the next best thing to me.

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Ways to sleep better on 03/19/2012 09:39:59 MDT Print View

+1 on Earplugs

"Regarding pillow's: If you use a water bladder, blow air back into it to inflate it to the desired firmness, then cover it with your buff, or some unworn piece of clothing. Super comfy."

That's a stellar suggestion and yet another use for a Buff :)

gunther kirsch
(goonch92) - F

Locale: Northern California
What works for me on 03/21/2012 17:23:33 MDT Print View

I find that the number one important thing for me is to not try to fall asleep or be concerned with how much sleep i get. If you try to force yourself to sleep it won't happen. you dont NEED a full nights sleep to function the next day or even walk 16 miles

also I agree with the previous comment that getting up at night halfway through sleep is beneficial. you can check out the stars, unfamiliar noises, pee, drink a bit of water and then settle back in bed.

I find that if i think of a story or narrative in my head it helps get me into sleep mode as well as reading a book (same concept).

A comfy mattress is key to me. havent tried a foam mattress, and probably won't for good reason.

the thing is though, everyone is different. your gonna have to find what works best for you. but benedryl sure doesnt hurt ;)

joseph peterson
(sparky) - F

Locale: Southern California
Ways to sleep better on 03/28/2012 19:34:13 MDT Print View

I sleep so good when backpacking, but I have spent a lot of time outdoors. I always sleep like a baby. I am up and down with the sun, and just hike all day. I am usually tired when I lay down, and simply fall asleep. At home occasionally I will have something in my head that keeps me up, and I find concentrating on a black void of nothingness puts me out pretty quickly. Try it.

Bryan Crook
(bcrook007) - F

Locale: Nebraska
Ways to sleep better: from another "flatlander" on 03/29/2012 10:09:53 MDT Print View


I've noticed the altitude usually bothers me more than I think it will. Living in Nebraska, my default location to camp & hike has been Colorado (RMNP to be specific). The altitude change has always bothered my sleep during the first night or two. I've even had altitude sickness when I attempted a 14er after my first night at basecamp elevation.

When time permits, my recent trips have tried to allow for some altitude adjustment time for at least the first day to day and a half where I don't do any major hikes or additional significant elevation gain from my first night sleeping altitude. That has also helped me but it's not always possible.

I think you're on the right track with trying a wider sleeping pad too. There have been some other great suggestions in this thread that you might want to try. I'm sure you'll have the process figured out soon.

Good luck!

Edited by bcrook007 on 03/29/2012 10:11:56 MDT.

Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
Salt, Tylenol, Therm-a-Rest on 09/20/2012 10:27:03 MDT Print View

If I sweat a lot while hiking and don't replace the salt/electrolytes, I have a terrible time sleeping, even at home in my regular bed.

For years, I thought my problem was dehydration, so I drank lots more water. That made things worse - not only did I have to pee several times per night, the extra water was taking more salt out of my system.

Now I make sure to take salty foods on the trail, and add electrolyte capsules (SaltStick Caps Plus) for hot weather. Makes a big difference for me!

Some nights I can't sleep from the aches and pains of being out-of-shape. If it's bad enough, I'll take plain Tylenol.

I don't want to take antiprostaglandins (aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen). Prostaglandins cause pain, but they also signal your muscles to get stronger - "no pain, no gain" is true for me. Tylenol (acetaminophen, paracetamol) is not an antiprostaglandin.

Some people like Advil PM or Tylenol PM to help sleep. The "PM" is Benadryl (diphenhydramine), which makes most people sleepy. Not me, Benadryl keeps me awake at night.

I can't sleep on thin foam pads any more. Short Therm-A-Rest 40th Anniversary Edition pad works for me, and it's much warmer.