“You can sleep when you’re dead.” I’m sure most of you have heard that said a time or two before. If you haven’t, it refers to sacrificing sleep in the name of doing other things. Those things could be working, exercising, or just hanging out with some buddies. We’ve all done it. The importance of sleep in the city is a bit less than when we’re backpacked into a wilderness and hunting. Don’t get me wrong, sleep is always important. The physical demands of the city don’t come close to the physical demands we’ll face in the backcountry though. Our bodies are put through hell and back, which is why proper sleep is essential to being at our best day after day. I’ve never really been one to consider using a sleep aid at home, but on backpack hunts I absolutely do. Here are 3 benefits I’ve personally found from using a backcountry hunting sleep aid.
1. Ensure a Good Night Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep on a backpack hunt is much easier said than done. Some folks have a hard time turning off their brains for the night. Other people may just not ever be truly comfortable laying on the ground. There are even those that are uneasy sleeping in the middle of nowhere. There is no shame in that and it’s more common than you think. Trying to sleep away from the civilization we know so well can be a big pill to swallow. So, whatever the reason is, you might just need an extra nudge to fall asleep and a sleep aid can be that nudge. Just make it part of your nightly routine. I always pre pack a few Unplug hunting sleep aid capsules for each night I’ll be out. After dinner, I’ll pop those down quick and be ready to hit the hay shortly after. It’s better to stay on top of it ahead of time and try to ensure a good night sleep, rather than rolling the dice and paying the price.
2. You Need Recovery
As much of a glutton for punishment backpack hunters tend to be, one can only take so much before running themselves into the ground. Eventually, the engine is going to need a break before pressing on, which is one of the reasons sleep is so important. When we sleep, we are not only resting from the day, but we are actually healing from the damage done. Our central nervous system needs to recuperate and if it doesn’t we’ll continuously keep digging ourselves deeper and deeper into a hole each day that goes by. If you’re using a quarter tank of gas a day, but only replenish an eighth, eventually that tank is going to run dry.
Studies actually say that for every 2 hours of physical activity we have a day, we need 1 hour of sleep to recover. So, if you’re out hunting for 15 hours a day, with a good majority of that covering terrain, you really should strive to get 7-8 hours of sleep for recovery. In a perfect world, that’s what would happen at least. Backpack hunting isn’t perfect though. Sometimes, you’re getting back to camp at 10:30 p.m. and have to wake up at 4:30 a.m. All the while, you’ve still got to eat dinner and filter water. On a night like that, is a night I really rely on a good hunting sleep aid to help me knock out ASAP. We need all the recovery we can get on these trips. The coming days demand it.
3. Get the Most Out Of Yourself
Fall only comes around once a year. Throughout the other months we prepare and daydream about it like a kid knowing they’re going to Disneyland. It can’t come soon enough. So, when it does finally arrive, I think it’s safe to say that all of us want to get the most out of the hunt. One of the ways that we can do that is by getting the most out of ourselves. Getting quality sleep is one of the best ways to do that. You can’t expect your body to perform at 100% when it’s only getting 60% of the sleep it needs. From my personal experience, lack of sleep causes lack of motivation. Things look farther away than they are, animals have more of a chance of not being there when you get there, and obeying the call of your alarm isn’t nearly as pressing. Backpack hunting is hard enough as it is. Everything is more difficult back there. Don’t make things more difficult by losing sleep. Another added benefit of utilizing a hunting sleep aid. Take care of yourself back there.
Not A Walk In The Park
In the past, sacrificing sleep has almost been held in high regard. As if one is a stronger individual for purposefully not sleeping enough. I’ve certainly walked down that road before thinking I was outworking the standard. What I was really doing was overworking myself. That comes with a cost. These backpack hunts we fantasize about all year are no place to be running on empty. We need to be at our best and that just isn’t possible without rest and recovery. I’m not saying that you need to be 100% dependent on a sleep aid, but just that it’s a tool to consider. A walk in the park is certainly different than a walk in the backcountry. You can sleep when you’re dead, or you can just sleep when you need to sleep.