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  1. #21
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Going back to the Op original post... odd that it is - the whole point backpacking IS a vacation - in the woods... no need for alcohol,pills,drugs...etc, That doesn't make me old, I have done my fair share - but keep in mind what a doctor puts up with when you are not sick... he pushes pills to make ya go away till the next time... when was the last time your doc recommended a vacation in the woods?? Well sorry to say Motel 6 and your doctor isnt a travel agent... so off to the pharmacy for you.

    IF you are seriously having issues with falling a sleep - Get over it! there isn't a quick fix! But the most important issue is not dwelling on the stress. It takes folk at least three days to five to get in the groove of Backpacking.. On my bad nights I focus on a "driving" or riding a horse across the field memory and I play it over and over again as I attempt to sleep - I never finish it - I'm out!
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

  2. #22
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    First few nights outside require adjustment, just relax. Do you have normal sleep patterns at home, watching tv till bedtime typically is not a good way to approach a good nights sleep. Perhaps a sleep study ie apnea (sleep)

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Damn Yankee View Post
    Because of my medical condition, I have to take sleep meds. or I don't sleep because of nightmares but, the meds put me out, so much so a bear could walk through my tent and I won't wake up. In the morning I'm a little foggy but a couple cups of French press coffee does the trick. Also, if you can find something with tryptophan(such as in turkey or warm milk) it should help you to sleep. Think about the nap you take after eating a nice plate of a Thanksgiving meal.
    Damn Yankee 5-HTP is the abbreviated form of 5-hydroxytryptophan. 5-HTP is made when we eat foods containing tryptophan. It is made from tryptophan. OR, we can go directly to 5-HTP through a
    supplement. Then we convert 5-HTP into serotonin.

    Here's a better explanation from the University of Maryland Medical Center site: 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is a chemical that the body makes from tryptophan (an essential amino acid, which you get from food). After tryptophan is converted into 5-HTP, the chemical is then changed into another chemical called serotonin (a neurotransmitter, which relays signals between brain cells). 5-HTP dietary supplements help raise serotonin levels in the brain. Since serotonin helps regulate mood and behavior, 5-HTP may have a positive effect on sleep, mood, anxiety, appetite, and pain sensation

    Source: 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) | University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed...#ixzz3A9ANo4GL
    University of Maryland Medical Center
    Follow us: @UMMC on Twitter | MedCenter on Facebook

    The supplement I suggested, you might say, has tryptophan.

  4. #24

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    WOO is right though. Enough talk about drugs or supplements, no matter how they are viewed. IF you are seriously having issues with falling a sleep... get over it! A long day of hiking and establishing new falling asleep patterns is the remedy.

  5. #25
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    I have intermittent sleep problems. A few times I hiked until my legs couldn't go any more, but once I stopped, set up camp, ate, journaled, etc it was as if my brain couldn't stop looking for stimulus and would not shut down.

    I tried Benadryl, tried bringing a couple shots of vodka or gin in a mini water bottle, listened to TV shows and audiobooks, but nothing has really worked.

    I had a prescription for the heavier stuff but the last thing I want is to be hallucinating and having out of body experiences out in the middle of the woods. Ambien+wilderness= bad juju. Plus I'm all groggy for another 2 hours in the morning.

    Alas, I just suffer thru it, like I did the last 2 nights and fall asleep due to sheer boredom.
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep."

  6. #26
    Registered User 2015 Lady Thru-Hiker's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Wise Old Owl;1900197]...when was the last time your doc recommended a vacation in the woods?? [QUOTE]

    Hey, I once had a ER doc write me a script for a week in the woods camping after a delusional patient kicked me in the ribs so hard they thought she had broken a couple of them. Of course, he already knew I was getting to go on a camping/rafting vacation. I may even still have it with the worker's comp paperwork in my old files.

    Seriously though you could try melatonin but even that leaves me groggy the next day. Valarian Root can help relax you or try taking 1200 mg of calcium - supposedly the reason warm milk works. You could try sequential tensing and relaxing of your muscles while practicing slow, deep breathing. To practice the belly breathing, place a hand over your belly button area and one on your chest. When you belly breath, the hand on your belly should move up, the one on your chest should pretty much stay still. Breath slowly in and out through your nose ( or mouth if that is your natural way of breathing. It shouldn't be such a deep breath that it is uncomfortable but deep enough to rise that hand on the belly up. Exhale, releasing the breath from the belly first and the lungs last. For the muscles start with your feet. Tense both them at the same while doing slow, deep belly breathing. Hold your breath for the count of 10 (shorter if you need to) then release your breath and relax your feet. Do the same with your calves, your thighs, your pelvic region, mid-abdominal region, chest and upper back, then move to your hands and work up your arms, finishing with your neck and head. Usually I don't make it all the way to my neck before I am relaxed and ready to sleep. Don't know if it will help but there are no drugs or alcohol involved and you won't pay a weight penalty.
    ““Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees....” ― John Muir

  7. #27
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    I'm one of those older guys who used to have no problem falling asleep. I really enjoyed those days when I never heard the snorers (or just slept through the noise), however, now I can't fall asleep very well, no matter how much exercise or hiking I get in.

    Long story short, I have a standing prescription for 10 mg Zolpidiem (generic for Ambien). It works... no question about it, and like most of these aids, I have developed some tollerance and some dependency. I am conservative and disciplined in its use to avoid too much dependency.

    If I am not asleep by 9:30 -10:30 PM, I snap one in half and usually in 20 minutes I fall asleep. If I wake up at night and it's 2:30 AM or earlier, I might take the other half and it will get me until about 6:00 AM.

    If you have done research on Ambien, you will find that it affects many people differently, including a few rare bizzare side effects. Also, recent research shows that women need less then men to get the same seditive effect. Too much is definitely not good.

    In my experience, if I can sleep with half a pill, I am fully awake with no groggy feeling in the morning and fully functional. If I take the 2nd 1/2 in the early morning, I may be a little sluggish getting packed up and may need a cup of coffee. For those who might be wondering, I have no problems with my bladder letting me know it needs emptying. On a few rare occasions, I have been slow to react to an occasional leg cramp (i.e. to stretch it before the cramp gets bad).

    Bottom line.... it works for me very well, whereas all the other sleep aids leave me groggy and less sharp in the day time. Your experience could differ..... and I agree with the poster that said a joint might work too, but that is a different story .

  8. #28
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    here is my perscription - pasta or other high carb supper, 20 mg of melatonin, 1 walmart sleep cap (benadryl), first few nites - 2 aleve, earplugs, and a nose strip. make sure you have comfortable pillow and mattress even if it weighs more. better to sleep in tent alone than on shelter floor with others.

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Old Owl View Post
    Going back to the Op original post... odd that it is - the whole point backpacking IS a vacation - in the woods... no need for alcohol,pills,drugs...etc, That doesn't make me old, I have done my fair share - but keep in mind what a doctor puts up with when you are not sick... he pushes pills to make ya go away till the next time... when was the last time your doc recommended a vacation in the woods?? Well sorry to say Motel 6 and your doctor isnt a travel agent... so off to the pharmacy for you.

    IF you are seriously having issues with falling a sleep - Get over it! there isn't a quick fix! But the most important issue is not dwelling on the stress. It takes folk at least three days to five to get in the groove of Backpacking.. On my bad nights I focus on a "driving" or riding a horse across the field memory and I play it over and over again as I attempt to sleep - I never finish it - I'm out!
    This is just all wrong.

    First, it is a very valid question the OP asks, and not and odd one at all. And since when did backpacking become a vacation...maybe a thru-hike, sure ok...but the little 2-3 day sojourn things I might do are just that, out for a couple days...and I may need some help to get that recuperative sleep the doctors keep telling me about, especially as we age.

    Secondly, there very much is a quick fix, and they've already been listed. Humans have been using alcohol and medicines for sleep and relaxation for eons, well at least a couple thousand years anyway.

    ...lastly, and for the record, just because someone calls them self a wise old owl, don't necessarily make it so, you really need to get over yourself dude.

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Perhaps, a hike is a good time to start some new possibly more empowering habits! You may find with some hiking your mind calms naturally producing the chemicals naturally that will help you to fall asleep WITHOUT the need for outside drugs/sleep aids. I find a strong hiking day, calming hot dinner, building/watching a hiker TV(a campfire), clean cool spring water, fresh air, gazing up at the stars, and a respite from sometimes intrusive man made things like sounds(sirens, TV, radio, etc), light, odors, etc) to be quite calming. But, if absolutely must take something, especially in the beginning as you naturally disassociate yourself with the old TV falling asleep routine, consider something like Trader Joe's Calming Sleep Formula with L-Theanine, 5-Http(a precursor to serontonin a natural body produced calming hormone), and melatonin.
    cool, didn't know trader Joe was an insomniac as well, I'll look for this.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by juma View Post
    here is my perscription - pasta or other high carb supper, 20 mg of melatonin, 1 walmart sleep cap (benadryl), first few nites - 2 aleve, earplugs, and a nose strip. make sure you have comfortable pillow and mattress even if it weighs more. better to sleep in tent alone than on shelter floor with others.
    Wow.. 20 mg Melatonin! I once got an RX for Roxerin which I think was 7.5 mg melatonin. I woke up with nightmares!... felt like it had been hours since I went to bed. Looked at clock and it was only 10 minutes!! Yikes.. that's when I realized melatonin doesn't work for me.

    Anyhow, I will almost always tent anymore versus staying in the shelters. It's the only way to get decent sleep and the hammock is in the near future for me too.

  12. #32
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    Try melatonin, which you can get as a supplement in your grocery store's vitamin department. Melatonin is naturally produced by the body (not mine, apparently, when I'm hiking!) and helps manage circadian rhythms. I like this as opposed to Tylenol PM, Nyquil and Benadryl--those knock me out and their intended purpose is often all wrong.


    "Your comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.
    "


  13. #33
    Registered User BuckeyeBill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketsocks View Post
    This is just all wrong.

    First, it is a very valid question the OP asks, and not and odd one at all. And since when did backpacking become a vacation...maybe a thru-hike, sure ok...but the little 2-3 day sojourn things I might do are just that, out for a couple days...and I may need some help to get that recuperative sleep the doctors keep telling me about, especially as we age.

    Secondly, there very much is a quick fix, and they've already been listed. Humans have been using alcohol and medicines for sleep and relaxation for eons, well at least a couple thousand years anyway.

    ...lastly, and for the record, just because someone calls them self a wise old owl, don't necessarily make it so, you really need to get over yourself dude.
    It is fine to take a drink or prescription medication to help you get to sleep. It is when someone abuses these items that I have a problem. When someone takes drugs outside the prescribed way, it is drug abuse in the same way of taking illegal drugs. I am not pointing fingers at anyone here, merely stating my opinion. I was just watching a National Geographic show this past weekend that said sleeping pills such as ambien and vicadin are the most abused drugs today of the legal drugs. Studies show that abusing vicadin has led many people to heroin because they need something stronger. Stepping down from soap box.
    Blackheart

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    WOO is right though. Enough talk about drugs or supplements, no matter how they are viewed. IF you are seriously having issues with falling a sleep... get over it! A long day of hiking and establishing new falling asleep patterns is the remedy.
    I'm with WOO and Dogwood too. Now if there are medical reasons for insomnia, one should consult a real Dr, as opposed to Dr. White Blaze. But if it just a matter of resetting one's circadian rhythm to more in sync with nature, then I'm all for letting nature take its course. For me, even a weekend trip is a vacation in the sense that I want to get away from the complexities of everyday life. Backpacking is a way of simplifying things. I did carry one can of Founders Centennial IPA out for my first night, but I certainly didn't haul that brick over a mountain as a sleep aid. I just really like a good IPA.

  15. #35

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    Appreciate all the input ,keep them coming. Like jump master said even on a 20mile day followed by a high carb meal , after a 20min nap my body feels like it can push for another 20miles. Ill admit I don't have the best sleeping patterns either but i get sleep. Like others have said it might be a matter of getting used too. I'm not advocating for the use of RX but there are people that are in need of them , there no need to knock them for getting a better sleep then us

  16. #36

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    Sorry we are all like some of the posts. Coffee in morning, meds at night, Coffee in the morning, meds at night.
    Brings to mind PUD's Pointless ups and downs.
    Sometimes life sucks.
    Rolls
    Rolls down the hill, Kanardly hike up the other hill
    May all your hikes have clear skies, fair winds and no rocks under your pad.

  17. #37
    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
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    there is a pill to fix everything, but if i am on a vacation or a hike why take them. just relax and enjoy. the thread on first aid kits made me laugh. it is funny how people want to relieve all discomfort with a pill. one posted couch drops,... really, ill get them in town if i need them. sorry i just don't get it.
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by kayak karl View Post
    there is a pill to fix everything, but if i am on a vacation or a hike why take them. just relax and enjoy. the thread on first aid kits made me laugh. it is funny how people want to relieve all discomfort with a pill. one posted couch drops,... really, ill get them in town if i need them. sorry i just don't get it.
    In theory that sounds good and over simplifies things, but not everyone is perfect. We used to put the mentally ill in insain asylums, especially when they acted crazy or were a threat to others. Modern drugs can fix problems that you and I might not be aware of. Occasionally (rarely) I have come across somebody on the trail who was just not right and I suspect it was because they weren't taking their meds (or ran out). It seems that we are always focusing on the dark side of meds; i.e. the abuse, but you have to look the cases where people are helped.

    On the lighter side, I'd be willing to bet that 30 to 50 percent (maybe more) of the hikers on this board take some kind of pain killer like ibuprofin or similar. I'd say you are doing pretty good if you don't ever have to take a pill.

    Lack of sleep, compounded over several days, can be a hazzard to your health, especially on the tougher parts of the trail in the Northeast. Personally I would not want to be sleep deprived on some of the more technical in NH and ME. I really want a clear mind and be able to focus on where I place my feet. Most of us that like to hike long distances see a lot of improvement in the quality life but that may not be the cure for everything. I'd never advocate a pill for minor issues, but for something that can permanently adversely affect your quality of life, it is nice to know that their may be a solution.

  19. #39
    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbwood5 View Post
    In theory that sounds good and over simplifies things, but not everyone is perfect. We used to put the mentally ill in insain asylums, especially when they acted crazy or were a threat to others. Modern drugs can fix problems that you and I might not be aware of. Occasionally (rarely) I have come across somebody on the trail who was just not right and I suspect it was because they weren't taking their meds (or ran out). It seems that we are always focusing on the dark side of meds; i.e. the abuse, but you have to look the cases where people are helped.

    On the lighter side, I'd be willing to bet that 30 to 50 percent (maybe more) of the hikers on this board take some kind of pain killer like ibuprofin or similar. I'd say you are doing pretty good if you don't ever have to take a pill.

    Lack of sleep, compounded over several days, can be a hazzard to your health, especially on the tougher parts of the trail in the Northeast. Personally I would not want to be sleep deprived on some of the more technical in NH and ME. I really want a clear mind and be able to focus on where I place my feet. Most of us that like to hike long distances see a lot of improvement in the quality life but that may not be the cure for everything. I'd never advocate a pill for minor issues, but for something that can permanently adversely affect your quality of life, it is nice to know that their may be a solution.
    if you normally have to take pills to sleep keep taking them, but if you have a problem one night on trail, get over it. most people are wimps and won't last on the trail anyway
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

  20. #40

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    You make some good pts Jbwood but it is you who is now oversimplifying the rampant drug pushing culture in the U.S. Unfortunately, the drug pushing, no matter how it's done, is still just that - drug pushing - despite it being candy coated through acceptable cultural norms and LARGELY glanced over by being nicely wrapped up in scientifically and medically accepted and gov't approved wrapping paper.

    The U.S. is a pill popping culture!

    Seven in ten U.S. citizens regularly take a prescription drug.

    http://www.healthline.com/health-new...rugs-062113The U.S. consumes 80% of the world's pain pills.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...-explodes.html

    http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/di...l-center-find/

    Currently, more than half the U.S. population takes AT LEAST two prescription drugs. These numbers are on the sharp rise far outpacing population increases.

    Anti-depressant drug use has been skyrocketing among U.S. citizens.

    http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/a...s-201110203624

    One in ten U.S. citizens are taking at least one anti-depressant.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011...ntidepressants

    About 10% of the U.S. population takes sleeping aids with about half that in the form of a prescription pharmaceutical drug. Consider their use has been on the rise too since these stats by the CDC were accumulated several yrs ago!

    http://www.nydailynews.com/life-styl...icle-1.1441778

    Must I go on with the stats concerning U.S. consumption of illicit street drugs, caffeinated coffee, the world's largest coffee consumer, supplements, especially dietary supplements, etc.

    My question is where is all this drug use taking the public, the country? Is it always down a path to health and wellness? AND, I'm not just referring to illicit drug use! At what point do we stop asking, are doctors(Western trained M.D.s!) over prescribing pharmaceutical drugs? AND emphatically state they damn well are! Let's take back our lives by taking a more proactive overall health approach, than ignorantly falling in line with a pill popping culture, by questioning our health care decisions and NOT letting someone else, whoever it may be, entirely make those choices for us.

    There are OFTEN alternatives. I think some of the alternatives have been offered here.

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