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  1. #1
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    Default Struggling to sleep while camping

    Does anyone else struggle to sleep while camping? I have been a tent camper for the better part of 25 years and have always struggled to sleep in a tent, even with a does of a sleep aid.

    My inability to sleep isn't related to anxiety...I grew up in the woods and am quite comfortable outdoors. I also find myself generally quite comfortable in a tent though I don't like hot humid nights but, who does?

    I have been through a few sleeping pads now and find them all comfortable. I am still working out a pillow system but may have that figured out now as well. I've been using my shoes under the head end of the pad to keep my head propped up and to help keep my pillow in place.

    Also important to note, I have been using a CPAP the last 5 years and not having that anytime I try to sleep, especially while camping, causes some issues - mostly because I've grown very comfortable with it. I can get by without it for a few nights without feeling like I'm going to die - a dry mouth is the worst side-effect I deal with.

    Maybe after 40 years, I've gotten too dependent on my big comfy bed. I would love to find a way to sleep comfortably while camping so that I can enjoy longer trips with my kiddos.

    Any advise would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Personally, I find that I often don't sleep well for the first two or three nights sleeping outside. Then, I either get used to it or get so tired that sleeping isn't too much of a problem. I also use a CPAP at home with little trouble not using it sleeping outside for at least a few days.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  3. #3

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    When I younger, I had this problem, but after a few days, I slept soundly. Nowadays, I just conk right out, or if not, read a book with my headlamp and thank god I'm out in the woods.

  4. #4

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    You answered your own question. It's the lack of your CPAP machine. Sleep apnea causes insomnia. I wonder if the medical supply store carries a machine that is portable. I hope so!

  5. #5
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    Thank you gentlemen. I forgot to mention it earlier but, I'm even considering trying a hammock as I've seen a number of people rave about their comfort. I couldn't sleep any worse

  6. #6
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    I find it is the noises of nature that lead to my poor sleep out in the woods. I just sleep too lightly, ever critter and hoot owl wakes me up. Tried ear plugs and I have never slept better.

  7. #7
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    I am actually used to having my iPhone basting a sound machine app while I sleep inside, I can't deal with the silence. I find the woods, even when camped near an active frog pond, to be too quiet. I have used the same app in the woods but, it runs my phone down. I may try it tonight since I'm camping with the kids again tonight.

  8. #8

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    I never sleep good in my hammock, too quiet except for EVERY LITTLE noise I hear.

  9. #9

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    Ear plugs.
    Every little noise stimulates brain, like having a conversation going on next to you. Your brain automatically sorts noises into routine, and dangerous, whether you want it to or not.

  10. #10

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    I am a pretty poor sleeper regardless of where I am trying to sleep. I take a paperback and use my headlamp and just accept that I'm not going to instantly pass out. If this cycle goes on for enough days, sleep gets easier :-)

  11. #11

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    I can't sleep in hotel rooms. It's all mental in my case. At some point in life I just convinced myself I couldn't sleep in hotel rooms. I find Bigelow Sleepy Time tea to be a lifesaver. Placebo or not, the ritual of making it and just inhaling the steam from it is enough to convince myself I can sleep.

  12. #12
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Well imagine for a moment that the base in most sleep aids is Benadryl, an allergy medicine that can be taken 1 hour before sleep will work. Warm milk combined with that medicine will enhance the drowsiness. Think Nido and warm water.

    Those foam earplugs kind of suck when the guy next you in the shelter is sucking tornado like winds... Now there is a Silicone form-able piece that cuts a lot of noise better than the regular stuff.

    As for the C-pap, well we have that in common. I have played with battery operated ones, I have used deep cycle batteries and inverters...etc, I have had several operations, nasal cartilage , uvula removal, and nasal plate removal. - forget it ... the biggest thing is to loose the weight...Get help in this area... thirty pounds makes a huge difference.
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

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  13. #13
    Registered User -Rush-'s Avatar
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    The best thing I did was get my sleeping system dialed in. It took several tries with different gear, but now I have no issues passing out and sleeping well.
    "Though I have lost the intimacy with the seasons since my hike, I retain the sense of perfect order, of graceful succession and surrender, and of the bold brilliance of fall leaves as they yield to death." - David Brill

  14. #14
    Registered User johnnybgood's Avatar
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    I sleep better in a hammock...and that's all I have to say about that
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

  15. #15
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    For me it was all about the pillow. First was a stuff sack filled with clothes. Then I tried an inflatable pillow. Didn't sleep well with either setup. When I finally conceded to carry a small feather camping pillow, I had no problems. It takes up pack space but it's well worth it to get good sleep.

  16. #16
    Registered User English Stu's Avatar
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    My first night is usually fitful but soon fine. A relaxation mantra could help- to stop your mind skipping around to different subjects. A repeated slow count to four can help if you concentrate on it; again it focusses the mind away from everyday thoughts; similarly go up the body from the toes saying slowly and methodically to yourself; relax toes, relax feet and so on. Repeat- I never get past two or three times.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnybgood View Post
    I sleep better in a hammock...and that's all I have to say about that

    like the OP, I tried hammocks because people seemed so enthusiastic about them. Like the OP, i don't really sleep all that well when camping/hiking. The hammock didn't cure that, it's about a draw for me between sleeping in a tent (so I've kept the gear and use it sometimes). To the OP: the best piece of gear to invest in is a comfortable sleeping pad. Exped and NEMO make the best (imo). When I am hiking, whether it's 2100 miles or 100 miles, i just don't expect to sleep as well as I do at home.

  18. #18

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    You're not tired enough. Next time get up two hours earlier and walk two hours later into the evening.

  19. #19
    Registered User OldGringo's Avatar
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    Earplugs and Benadryl.... Just enough to push me over the edge. I also use a white noise application at home on my iPhone. I have it with me when I hike, but it will run your battery down. You could always carry one of the external battery packs to top it off while you hike.


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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by jgillam View Post
    Does anyone else struggle to sleep while camping? I have been a tent camper for the better part of 25 years and have always struggled to sleep in a tent, even with a does of a sleep aid.

    Maybe after 40 years, I've gotten too dependent on my big comfy bed. I would love to find a way to sleep comfortably while camping so that I can enjoy longer trips with my kiddos.

    Any advise would be appreciated.
    Maybe those 40 years should've been spent outside in the backyard sleeping on a variety of Thermarests or other sleeping pads and NOT a comfy bed. I recommend when at home to always or as much as possible sleep in the yard or on the deck or a porch and get REALLY used to sleeping outside on a pad---in the heat or the cold whatever. A "big comfy bed" is the price of the indoor life, and as I always say---Life is too short to be spent indoors.

    And I agree with Bronk---You're just not wiped out enough backpacking some butt tough trails. Have a tough day and you'll set up camp and pass out with righteous exhaustion. Also: Sleep when you're tired, when you can't keep your eyes open anymore. Curl up somewhere and have at it.

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