An Experiment in Sleep

Well, this may not be as much of an experiment as it is training.

Unfortunately for my backpacking self, I am a side/stomach sleeper.  It is really hard for me to fall asleep and/or stay asleep when lying flat on my back.  When laying on a hard, unforgiving ground surface or wooden tent platform, with just a thin pad and without a proper pillow, sleeping on my side can do a number on my shoulders, neck, and back.

So, I am going to try to train myself to sleep on my back.  Sometimes in sleep, movements may be unconscious.  But when I can, I am going to try to avoid sleeping on my stomach and side.  I hope to do this in order to train myself to sleep only on my back during backpacking trips.  Hopefully, this will help me get better, deeper sleep when out on the trail, and relieve some of my aches and pains in the morning.

I also don’t know the best way to go about it when living in my apartment.  I wonder if I would be more successful if I tried doing this in my bed, where I normally sleep, or if I attempted to do it sleeping on my sleeping pad and in my sleeping bag on the floor in my bedroom.  I also wonder if I should try to do it without a proper pillow, like on a backpacking trip.  Maybe I can try a number of strategies to see which one works best for me.

I don’t know how successful this will be.  Unfortunately, this may cause me to lose a fair amount of sleep, which is less than ideal given my early-morning wake up time, gym schedule, and school work load.  Sleep is really important to me, so the idea of getting less of it is really unappealing.  I don’t know how long it will take for this to be successful, but the faster, the better.  So, we’ll see.

To any of you readers who are backpackers, do you have any tricks for a good sleep when out backpacking?  Have you ever had to train yourself to sleep a different way?  Any advice?

Thanks, and happy sleeping!

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2 thoughts on “An Experiment in Sleep

  1. have you thought about strapping yourself down to the bed, in some manner? Sounds weird but it was the first thing that came into my mind. Strapping yourself down so that you won’t move around, and your back will stay securely against the mattress — like astronauts do (I think). Perhaps if you pretend to be an astronaut training for mountain trails, it won’t seem as strange

  2. Last night I tried my hardest to stay on my back. I didn’t last very long. Absolutely could not fall asleep. Eventually, I gave up, and turned to my side and stomach. This is definitely going to be a long process. Chances are that I’m going camping this Friday, so that will be a good time to practice.

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