Camping or spending time in the wilderness is a lot of fun, but it’s not much fun if you can’t fall asleep. It’s always difficult when you’re dealing with a hard ground and a sleeping bag that’s ill equipped for the weather. That’s why, if you want to sleep well in the wild, you have to be prepared.
Additionally, you’ll want to understand the different stages of sleep. When you’re getting good sleep, you spend the majority of it in REM, which stands for rapid eye movement, an essential part of allowing your brain to recover after being awake all day. The trouble is that it’s difficult to get to this stage of sleep because disturbances like snoring, sounds in the background, and uncomfortable sleeping positions make reaching REM difficult.
When you’re camping, hunting, or trying to survive in the wild, you’re often faced with treacherous sleeping conditions that make it virtually impossible to achieve REM. Because you want to be on your best game, you need a good night’s rest in the wild.
Here are some suggestions on sleeping in the wilderness:
Use a Tent
Only go without shelter if you absolutely must. A tent is your first line of defense against sleep disruptions such as inclement weather, insects, and wildlife. Purchase a tent that’s just the right size for your needs. Tents are fairly compact and easy to carry, even if they add a little weight to your survival pack. In the end, you’ll be grateful for the protection.
Get the Right Bedding
You’ll also be much more comfortable if you have the right bedding. An inflatable pillow is always a good option, since it’s easy to pack and will support your head. However, be sure to get a pillow that dips in the center for optimum head support.
Furthermore, make sure your sleeping bag is conditioned for the elements. Sleeping bags are rated by degrees. It’s best to purchase a bag that’s guaranteed for sub zero temperatures, but one that’s also light enough to carry in your hiking pack.
Buy a Comfortable Pad or Mattress
Thick pads will keep you from feeling every rock and pine cone as you sleep. A thick pad can be difficult to carry, however, since it takes up a lot of room. At the very least, use a thin foam pad that will offer some protection from the ground beneath.
You might also consider an inflatable mattress. It won’t take up much room before your trip, and it’s easy to blow up once you get there. If you don’t want to bring along an air pump, invest in a self-inflating mattress.
Obviously, you can’t make owls stop hooting or keep squirrels from rustling tree branches, but you can mask these noises. Use a battery operated white noise machine to keep things peaceful inside the tent. Soft music can also help.
If you don’t have a noise machine or music player, then use a natural noise filter like the sound of a creek or a river. When you set up camp near running water, you’ll have a very difficult time hearing anything else, which will promote a great night’s sleep