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  1. #1
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    Default Any other insomniacs out there?

    I have managed my sleeping trouble for almost 30 years and really do pretty well at home without meds. On backpacking trips, not so much. I usually fall asleep around 3 am and wake up around 6 am whether I'm in a tent, hammock, or on a shelter floor. I'm not at all scared of being in the woods at night. I just have trouble shutting my brain down.

    Anyway, the result is that with each consecutive day of my trip I'm a little more worn down and need more rest breaks.

    So, if you have insomnia, do you eventually adjust and get into a more regular sleep cycle after a certain number of days out? I'm not looking to hike for months on end. Just go from 3-5 day trips to 1 or 2 weeks. Also not looking for pharmacological solutions. Really don't want to ambien walk off a cliff.
    You can walk in another person's shoes, but only with your feet

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by devoidapop View Post
    I have managed my sleeping trouble for almost 30 years and really do pretty well at home without meds. On backpacking trips, not so much. I usually fall asleep around 3 am and wake up around 6 am whether I'm in a tent, hammock, or on a shelter floor. I'm not at all scared of being in the woods at night. I just have trouble shutting my brain down.

    Anyway, the result is that with each consecutive day of my trip I'm a little more worn down and need more rest breaks.

    So, if you have insomnia, do you eventually adjust and get into a more regular sleep cycle after a certain number of days out? I'm not looking to hike for months on end. Just go from 3-5 day trips to 1 or 2 weeks. Also not looking for pharmacological solutions. Really don't want to ambien walk off a cliff.
    no insomnia in "real" life at all, but i usually have a terrible time sleeping out hiking. unless i wear myself out to the point of total exhaustion i don't really sleep at night much beyond a couple hours. it doesnt seem to bother me any as i guess just laying "in bed" for 8 or 10 hours even if 7 of them are awake is rest enough. every so often i end up needing an afternoon nap.

    i do wonder what would happen were i to ever attempt a multiweek trip during which i didnt have the ability to sleep in a real bed at least once a week or so what would happen, but in all honesty i'll probably never find out.

  3. #3

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    Sounds just like me. At night I have gotten up to go for a short walk in the woods. Often more than once. Just a hundred feet or so. That can be more relaxing than just laying down when you can't sleep. A bit of wind blowing helps a lot. The silence that is interrupted by squirrels running through leaves makes it hard for me to fall asleep.

    The thought of sleeping in a shelter is concerning. Will I be the guy that keeps waking others up by climbing out of the shelter four times in the night?

    Shoulder and hip pain from side sleeping on a 2 or 3 inch inflatable pad doesn't help either. So I own five pads in an effort to find just the right one.

    The following day has always been ok so long as the pace is kept up. The lack of sleep becomes apparent when the heart rate slows. The lunch break can turn into a short nap in the shade.

  4. #4
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    I've been one my whole life, but after a week or so on a long hike, fatigue typically takes over and sleep is had. Cares of the "outside world" and my own messed up head drop away.

    You might look into melatonin and other possible herbal solutions (etc), as well as trying to avoid all stimulants throughout the day, including anything that spikes blood sugar levels. Also, toss the electronic lit-up stuff; we already know what it does to the brain.

  5. #5

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    On any given night I can be wide awake, home or away. In my case due to racing thoughts where I just can't get past stupid anxieties. Inconsiderate noisy campers also have the potential of annoying me.

    - Bigelow Sweet Dreams tea, doesn't make me sleepy, but helps me focus on a single thought, which I get to choose (I like to visualize batting practice at Fenway with baseballs disappearing into the night sky,) which let's me relax enough to sleep. Best hot, just inhaling the steam vapor. But a dry tea bag works well enough for camping. Could be all placebo effect, in my head, but at long as it works for me. It could just be the process.

    - Noises from inconsiderate people also can set me off. Sporadic noises are worse than constant noises, because you never know when they'll end. You might get 20 minutes between hyena outburst laughs at a campfire, just as you were dozing off and thought it was safe to sleep. For this, I go into a hike telling myself I will not get pissed at the nice person at the campfire who's just having fun. They aren't trying to annoy me. I can join them, chat and enjoy myself, before ever so smoothly announcing how exhausted I am, and wandering back to my tent. I alternate this behavior with sleeping miles away from any other human on alternate nights. It's really about managing my expectations.

    Obviously, you'll have different reasons for not sleeping. Maybe you can adapt one of my methods. After the first week, I was flat out exhausted from being out of shape. After a month, I was sleeping better, because I was in shape and getting enough exercise. After a month, I was also evaluating myself better each day, to see if my mental state required company or solitude.
    Last edited by Puddlefish; 04-16-2018 at 10:21.

  6. #6
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    Default Any other insomniacs out there?

    Puddlefish, focusing on a single thought really does help. That is my main coping method at home. I also remind myself that sleeplessness, like all things, will pass. Often the anxiety associated with insomnia is the worst part.
    You can walk in another person's shoes, but only with your feet

  7. #7
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    Default Any other insomniacs out there?

    I am sometimes jealous of people who are snoring within minutes of getting in their sleeping bag, but I also enjoy all the little things that come with being an insomniac. I get to listen to and sometimes watch those little critters that creep around camp at night. I can break camp and find the perfect spot for breakfast. And it gives me an excuse for a siesta. Thanks for all the encouraging responses. I had a feeling I wasn't the only one out there.
    You can walk in another person's shoes, but only with your feet

  8. #8

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    Also, to build on what Uriah said. This article has some ideas about intelligently using/not using electronic devices. I have an original Kindle, but I love to read, and have been known to read until dawn, just to finish a book. So, I turn the brightness down, and only read when the campfire folks are really noisy. May as well be semi productive instead of just stewing in my tent. Also, earplugs.

  9. #9
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    I dont sleep well at home
    I sleep great in woods
    "Inevitably, a long distance hiker must choose between travelling light, and not travelling at all." - Earl V. Shaffer

  10. #10
    Registered User JPritch's Avatar
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    I have trouble getting a good night's sleep in the woods. I get this dull ache in my hips that keeps me up. Some Melatonin and Ibuprofen before bed helps, but I still wake up and toss and turn through the night. I was thinking of conditioning my body to sleep on my sleeping pad prior to hitting the trail to see if that helps.
    "In every walk with Nature, one receives far more than he seeks"....John Muir

  11. #11
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    Not really suffering from insomnia, but at times its hard to sleep the full length of hours where hiking is impossible or impractical.
    I try very hard to avoid sleeping during the day, as tempting as it may seem sometimes (love my noon nap at home though)
    And I've had bad experiences with sugar rush so I take only one candy after dinner, not a bag full.

    When I feel comfortable at a given situation, I'm that guy who starts to snore the moment my head touches the pillow.

  12. #12
    Registered User Red Sky's Avatar
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    I have problems as well sleeping during a multi-day hike. I've found that 5 mg melatonin works pretty well if I'm really tired, but if I combine it with listening to an audiobook, it almost guarantees some sleep. It also helps mask the little noises that might contribute to sleeplessness.

  13. #13

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    I fall asleep pretty quickly but wake up after 3-4 hours and I am wide awake. I listen to the radio with earphones and that helps me fall back to sleep. The radio shuts its self off after an hour so the batteries don't run down and it is tiny so I take it backpacking also.

    http://www.sangean.com/products/prod...p?mid=128&cid=
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  14. #14

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    I find Tylenol PM and earplugs do the trick. I’m a light sleeper at home, but my away sleep game needs that help.

    The guys that fall asleep instantly and snore the night away suck

  15. #15
    Registered User BowGal's Avatar
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    For years I had trouble getting a good night sleep...always tossing and turning because of anxiety.
    My doc prescribed me Trazadone..it’s a non addictive sleeping medication. I sleep 9 hours a night now.
    We donít stop hiking because we grow old, we grow old because we stop hiking.
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  16. #16

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    Ear plugs for me and the realization that I am very much a very early morning person. I want to be up and going at or before sunrise. Not a big issue as when I sectioned I hiked away from the bubble and normally had the shelters mostly empty. I do find that it takes a few days before I stabilize into good sleep and no matter what I wake up more often.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by BowGal View Post
    My doc prescribed me Trazadone..it’s a non addictive sleeping medication. I sleep 9 hours a night now.

    It's actually an older antidepressant med that has a side effect of somnolence. Not a sleeping medication like ambien or lunesta etc.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailmercury View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by BowGal View Post
    My doc prescribed me Trazadone..it’s a non addictive sleeping medication. I sleep 9 hours a night now.

    It's actually an older antidepressant med that has a side effect of somnolence. Not a sleeping medication like ambien or lunesta etc.
    It was somewhat of a miracle drug for me when I was younger and had more debilitating insomnia. I am glad to be done with it now, as there are minor but annoying side effects.
    You can walk in another person's shoes, but only with your feet

  19. #19

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    Same problem. I can never seem to sleep more than an hour or two. Melatonin was the solution...then I developed an allergy to it. :/

    I usually take zyrtec now, which makes me quite drowsy - though that can sometimes continue into the morning. For others, it doesn't make them drowsy at all.

  20. #20
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    Exhaustion and Benadryl work for me...

    I used to have problems sleeping in the woods, but that was when I would drive upto the Smokies and stay in a hotel the night before a weekend try where I was only doing 5 to 7 miles per day.

    Now I wake up about 3am to give me enough time to drive to the Smokies, and start hiking that same day doing 10 to 14 miles per day. I started using benadryl at night because the night-time cool/cold air would cause a stuffy nose. But I've since found it helps me sleep thru the night as well.

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