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Ways to sleep better
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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.

Kat ....
(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.