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backcountry insomnia
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Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: backcountry insomnia on 08/12/2012 17:39:46 MDT Print View

5 mg melatonin taken 30-45 minutes before your head hits the pillow.


Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
insomnia on 08/13/2012 10:39:18 MDT Print View

"One of the best ways to ensure insomnia, I've found, is to lie there worrying about not getting enough sleep!"

So true.

I tried the Midnite Sleep Saturday night. I did what for me is a tough hike and was definitely worn out. I took 2 about an hour before I went to sleep and another right before. I went to sleep pretty quickly after a little reading. I toss and turn a lot and I did wake up briefly when I did so, but went back to sleep quickly. Woke up feeling good. So while it wasn't like sleeping at home, it was a big improvement.

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 08/13/2012 12:02:38 MDT Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 07/10/2015 07:09:36 MDT.

Adam Klagsbrun
(klags) - MLife

Locale: Northeast US
White noise, mary jane on 08/21/2012 17:31:36 MDT Print View

Three things to suggest. Besides the obvious idea to hike farther and longer before setting up camp - typically hikers should be up with the morning light or before, hiking long days, then going to sleep out of necessity, but you probably already do this. However it is really hard for some people to sleep in a new or unfamiliar place, which happens to me as well. Maybe this is your problem? It happens when camping, when in a hotel, when in someone's bed that you've never slept before, etc. When you find yourself in that situation only three things will help. 1 - repetition, doing it until you get used to it. 2 - camping next to running water to create white noise and let your mind stop thinking about all the little sounds around you. 3 - xxx


Edited by rcaffin on 09/11/2012 02:17:45 MDT.

Timothy Farnsworth
Same here on 03/03/2013 19:19:40 MST Print View

I'm also a light sleeper who struggles with the issue. The Big Agnes Q-core 3.5" pad is the most comfortable thing I've EVER slept on camping, bar none. Thermarest doesn't make anything that compares, in my experience. The biggest one (25 inches wide) weighs around 36 ounces, sacrilege to some here perhaps, but it sure is comfortable. I think they've come out with a lighter version now as well.

Getting used to earplugs helps me tremendously. If I really have insomnia, I get up and read for a while and try to sleep again late.Being really exhausted helps but that's not really a strategy for sleeping, is it? Best of luck!

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Ambien on 03/07/2013 21:39:06 MST Print View

Navy Seals take Ambien. Cowboy up and just take it then pass out. But "Be sure you have 8 hours for sleep."

Then there is always liquor. Dr. Daniels or Dr. Beam are usually a good bet.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Ambien on 03/08/2013 07:25:46 MST Print View

"Navy Seals take Ambien."

Watch the movie "Role Models" for an Ambien demonstration!

It's common for me to wake up 3 or more times when camping. Like Rodger mentioned, it is 10x worse when I'm camping with my kids.

Benadryl is also rebranded as a sleep aid. I've heard that it has the opposite effect on some people (wired vs coma) but it completely knocks me out. I have given myself the trail name “Snot Rocket Express” due my allergies when hiking so this has a couple benefits for me. The only problem is that I wake up dehydrated and have to add another liter of water to my morning ritual.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
backcountry insomnia on 03/08/2013 09:09:01 MST Print View

I struggle with getting a good night's sleep while backpacking too.

I do my best to wear myself out (20-25 miles days are common), I've dialed my sleep system in to the most comfortable set-up I can find (katabatic quillts, exped ul syn mat, exped ul pillow), I've tried melatonin, tylenol pm, benadryl, etc. Nothing seems to knock me out and get a solid night's sleep like I can at home.

And it's not like I'm not used to sleeping outdoors, or in a tent, or in a sleeping bag. A few years ago I traveled for about 6 months and spent every night except for about 10 in my bag/tent. I still get out for at least an overnighter just about every month.

I get enough sleep to still feel pretty good the next day, but there's a couple of long bouts of being wide awake in the middle of the night for an hour or so each time. I spend the time listening to the surroundings, listening to music, reading an e-book on my phone or studying my map. Eventually I sack out again.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: backcountry insomnia on 03/08/2013 09:43:35 MST Print View

My two standbys are beta blockers and a bandanna over my eyes. Benadryl works but leaves me feeling groggy if I try to wake up early.

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Get up early, mid day naps on 03/09/2013 22:55:29 MST Print View

Being further north dawn is about 5 am and dusk 9 or later so this leads to long hiking days. I find getting up right at dawn even slightly before will leave me tired when night comes. Usually to drive to trailheads the first day I am up at 5 as well. I run into problems if I sleep in, the I cant get to sleep or wake up more. So getting up early is key for me

Edward Z
(Fuzz) - MLife

Locale: Sunny San Diego
+1 Earplugs , Benadryl and Hot Whisky Cider on 03/16/2013 18:00:21 MDT Print View

This knocks my butt out. Though the resultant snore might not work for close proximity neighbors!


Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
How to go to sleep on 03/16/2013 18:26:24 MDT Print View

This is my method and it works every time.

1. Lay down in sleeping bag or quilt.

2. Close eyes.

3. Done. I am sleeping.

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: How to go to sleep on 03/16/2013 18:44:48 MDT Print View

Magnesium, especially the form Magnesium Chloride , often referred to as Magnesium Oil { it isn't an oil but feels like one } applied trans-dermal to your skin will put you into a sound sleep daily for about a month when you apply it -after that time you become accustomed to it and the effect is diminished.Other forms of Magnesium can induce laxative effects.It is implicated in Calcium uptake and nervous system health as well as cell division.
It lowers blood pressure after about a month of daily application. There is no downside to it -it is cheap, and is a very common deficiency since industrial farming was introduced in the 40's.It has a calming effect and reduces muscle spasms and relieves arterial blood flow. Since there is no money to be made from it it is not of concern to people who sell Pharma for profit.

Edited by Meander on 03/16/2013 19:00:15 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: +1 Earplugs , Benadryl and Hot Whisky Cider on 03/16/2013 18:53:46 MDT Print View

Remember the danger in mixing benadryl (diphenhydramine hydrochloride) with alcohol drinks. Both depress your breathing in an additive way.

Edward Jursek

Locale: Pacific Northwest
backcountry insomnia on 03/16/2013 19:51:52 MDT Print View

I find the following works:

1.) High milage - this is different for each of us, but for me 15 miles is good and 20 miles is my max.

2.) Routine - I follow the same routine each night. I break for dinner on the trail around 4 to 5pm. Eat, clean up, pack up, and then hike until dusk. Make camp, set aside my evening snack of chocolate, hang my food, and tuck in by dark. I do my audio journal on my iPhone, then play Texas Hold'em or cribbage until I can't keep awake.

3.) Comfortable sleep gear - Exped UL 7 mat, Exped UL pillow, a nice Feathered Friends bag, merino sleeping cloths. I have a lot of weight tied up in my sleep system.

4.) Booze - I plan on about 2 oz per night carried in a recycled water bottle.

The last few years my sleeping has been great, averaging about 9 to 10 hours a night, even during storms. I got 11 hours in a couple of times last season.