Why a Good Night's Sleep is Essential While Camping
Camping is a fun, engaging and relaxing way to interact with nature and recharge our batteries. However, being in the wilderness, even at a well-serviced campsite, has its own unique set of challenges that we need to learn to cope with. These are generally minor concerns, such as how to stay safe while hiking, how to avoid being bitten or stung, or how to cook a good meal over a fire. However, small challenges, such as these and others, can turn into big problems if we're not careful.
Campfires can turn into forest fires. A small misstep over uneven terrain can lead to sprains, falls and serious injuries. An allergic reaction to an insect bite can turn into a life-threatening emergency. The list of things that could go wrong while being in the great outdoors is endless, and it's important that we are always on top of our game so we can think clearly and make good choices.
Sleep is Key
The single, most important thing that we can all do to ensure that we're on top of our game while camping is to get good sleep. Eating right, staying hydrated, and dressing appropriately for the occasion are also important, but sleep should be high on the list of priorities. However, sleep is often the last thing that people think about as they start gearing up for their next trip. While a mat or sleeping bag may be on the checklist, the quality of sleep someone experiences when using these items may not be what they expect.
The result is waking up feeling tired, sore, stiff and sluggish. Instead of being ready to face the day and attend to the tasks and challenges at hand, we can end up looking for a pain reliever or hot shower instead. Instead of being ready to cut some firewood or hike a trail with a heavy pack, we are more likely to be inclined to spend as little time as possible being physically active after a rough night in the sack.
Sleep Resets Our Clocks
Camping is physically-challenging, no matter how elaborate your trip may be. If we're not on top of our game, these challenges can be more difficult, and we are also more likely to find ourselves making mistakes or making bad choices. On the other hand, when we have a good, restful sleep, our bodies have time to decompress and make repairs. Sleep also helps the brain to process itself so we wake up more clear-headed and alert. We all know about the importance of sleep and the relationship that it has with performance during normal, daily life. However, sleep is equally, if not more important when we're spending time in nature.
How to Get the Best Sleep
There are two things that contribute to a good night's sleep in the great outdoors. First is having a sense of safety and security. If we don't have to worry about encountering any problems or threats while asleep, then our minds will be more inclined to slow down and enter the reset phase. The other factor is comfort, and this is often the last thing that people associate with camping. We think of being tough, learning to make do without our creature comforts as we attempt to tap into our primitive roots.
However, there's no reason that you have to sacrifice comfort in order to have the experience of roughing it. This is why it's so important to consider your sleeping arrangements and tailor them around your needs and preferences. Maybe you're more comfortable sleeping in your vehicle, or perhaps you make some nice bedding out of forest debris beneath your mat and sleeping bag. Some people even use hammocks as a way to rock, float and drift off to sleep in what feels like a weightless environment.
It's important to choose an arrangement that will give you the best chance of having a good night's sleep, so you can wake up ready to face the day. You'll be amazed at the difference, as well as how much easier it is to handle the little challenges that will come your way. Don't let a lack of sleep ruin your camping experience, and giving this some thought now can dramatically improve your ability to get proper rest out in the field.