March 14th - 20th is National Sleep Awareness Week, but we think every night outdoors is a great time to be sleep aware! Everyone has had a bad sleep experience in the outdoors. For some, that was the last time they went camping. For others, it meant re-configuring and tweaking every aspect of their sleep system in an effort to get a few more hours of rest. At Zenbivy, we believe that every experience in the backcountry should be built around the best possible night’s sleep. After all, sleep is essential to maintaining energy on the trail, being alert while navigating terrain, and generally having a good time. A good night’s sleep can make the difference between a terrific outdoor experience and a terrible one. We’re big fans of enjoying ourselves in the outdoors.
Tips for Sleeping Well
Keep your nightly routine.
At home, do you wash your face every night before bed? Do you brush your hair? Maybe you have a cup of tea to help you fall asleep while you read a few chapters of a book? Whatever your nightly routine is, bring it to camp! Humans are habitual creatures, and ditching all of your nightly habits at once can leave your mind feeling like it lacks something. A mind at ease makes good sleep a breeze!
Being cold sucks. It's almost impossible to get a restful night's sleep if you're shifting around trying to find a warm sleep position throughout the night. You'll want to make sure your sleeping bag is suited for the conditions you'll be sleeping in and, most importantly, that you have a sleeping pad that will keep you insulated from below. Sleeping bags require a R-value 5 insulated sleeping pad to perform at their advertised EN temperature ratings. Luckily, all of our sleeping pads are R-5 insulated - ditch the cold camp mattress and sleep warmer.
Eat a good dinner.
The only thing more annoying at camp than waking up to a grumbling stomach is waking up cold... Luckily, a hot meal can solve both issues! Make sure you don't go to bed hungry. Cooking yourself a good, high-fat dinner before bed gives your body the slow-burning fuel it needs to generate heat throughout the night, keeping you warmer (and sound asleep) for longer.
Stick with what's familiar.
The key to sleeping well at camp is simple... keep the comforts of home! At its core, the Zenbivy Bed is a backpacking quilt. While the ultralight community generally favors quilts due to their minimal weight, we believe quilts are ideal for ALL types of camping. Why? They're familiar! You interact with them as you interact with your covers at home. And just like with regular covers, a Zenbivy Bed allows for easy, natural movement at night. No one sleeps well while twisted up in a mess of nylon... (we're looking at you, mummy bags)!
Accessories? Yes, please!
Bring that camp pillow, an extra pair of socks or down booties, and anything else you need to be comfortable. They offer lots of comforts and allow for a better camp experience, and we think it's worth a few extra ounces if it will enable you to lounge more comfortably and sleep better. After the best night's sleep in the backcountry you've ever had, you'll have more than enough energy to carry one of our 2.5 ounce lightweight pillows back to the car.
The Benefits of Good Sleep
Better sleep = Better mood.
Simple as that! Poor sleep can make us feel easily agitated, and we're more likely to get "snappy." An escape to the outdoors should be relaxing and fun. No one wants to wake up in the beautiful wilderness feeling grumpy, that's for sure.
Sleep is restorative.
Tough day on the trail? Give your body the rest it deserves. A good night's sleep allows your body to slow down and focus on recovery. While you sleep, your cells are working hard to repair damage caused throughout the day.
Keep your skin happy and healthy.
Did you know research has found that a good night's sleep can actually improve your skin's health? Quality sleep helps your skin recover faster from environmental stressors, such as sun exposure. Studies have also shown that elevating your head improves blood flow, which reduces under-eye circles.
Be more alert.
Restless nights can be pretty dangerous when you're out backpacking. A tired body might cause you to trip or stumble your way down the trail, and a tired mind can affect your problem-solving skills and focus. A good night's rest helps you feel more energized and alert. When you wake up feeling refreshed, you're ready to take on whatever the day throws your way with both clarity and precision.
Temperatures are warming and summer is just around the corner. If you've always wanted to try backpacking now's the time to get ready for a summer outdoors. Backpacking is a lot of fun, especially with a few friends, and doesn't have to come with all the struggle and discomfort associated with it.
Deciding what to eat in the outdoors stumps even seasoned backpackers, but having a delicious meal when you get to camp can take your trip to the next level. There are many good options for calorie-dense freeze-dried meals, just head to your local outdoor store and pick your menu.
Backpacking evokes images of overstuffed packs with gear strapped all over the outside - an uncomfortable monstrosity you're supposed to strap to your back and carry for miles. It doesn't have to be that way - even as a beginner backpacker, you can carry a sleek, lightweight pack by focusing on the essentials and leaving the rest.