Okay maybe that's a mouthful of a title, and not particularly clear yet.
What I mean by "ground-side breathability while sleeping" is this ...
The human body perspires, at very least insensibly, 24 hours a day. Additionally, body heat drives out trapped moisture from our clothes throughout the night. At home, this isn't a problem. Most of us sleep on linen or cotton, which are highly breathable, and so any moisture moving outward is easily dispersed within the mattress, pillow, sheets, and eventually the surrounding air.
On trail, there is a problem with this. Most of us sleep encased within various layers of different varieties of woven plastic, an inherently non-breathable material. Sure, when under no great pressure, a lightweight open-weave Capilene top might breathe pretty well. But, when that polyester fabric is pressed between your skin and the totally air-tight nylon shell of your sleeping pad, my guess is that it compresses and becomes basically useless for dispersing moisture.
Thus, being a mainly side- and stomach-sleeper, night time for me is actually a relatively sweaty part of any backpack trip I might take. Worse, I wake up after a night of tossing and turning significantly more dirty than when I went I went to sleep, because of build-up of sweat and oil particularly on my face and around my torso. The issue is compounded if I've worn a puffy jacket to sleep, because any part of the jacket that is underneath me gets compressed down into a simple double layer of tightly woven nylon.
Granted, this problem is minor. On backpacking trips, you simply get dirty and that's how it goes.
But, it's surely a nuisance, and I'd like to solve it.
I suspect that back sleepers may deal with this problem less. It's also possible that less hot-natured or sweaty-natured people will probably deal with this less.
Anyway ... I'd love to figure out how to solve this or at least mitigate the problem.
I'm switching to merino base layers, which should help at least a little. But I still have this problem of sleeping on what is essentially a non-breathable slab of plastic, and perhaps that's the main issue. I suppose the second main issue is that an inflatable pillow of any kind is also inherently non-breathable. Sleeping on my side or stomach means my face is on the pillow, and a *lot* of oil and sweat comes off your face.
Anyone ever gotten irritated with what I've described above? Also, has anyone found a way to convert or cover their sleeping pads (or pillows) with something (an interface of some sort) to make the experience of sleeping more breathable and thus comfortable?
Okay, discuss and have fun. Thanks.