How to Sleep Well While Camping or Any Night


Insomniacs have very limited resources for how to sleep. Well – to -do – people who have never missed a night’s sleep in their lives – usually write most of the advice on sleeping. They over emphasize sleep hygiene and physical preparation for a good night’s sleep. Yet, more important to an insomniac is cognitive behavior training. I will explain how you can sleep well while camping. Some of the key points I will discuss are setting up your campsite early in the day and having fun. Then I will go into specific last-minute physical and mental adjustments. The article’s heart will be reducing the particular thoughts that keep you awake at night. In this way you will get enough sleep to enjoy the next day. This fool proof guide will reduce your worry about sleeping tonight.

Gathering last minute items:

Don’t worry if you are packing last minute after a night where you stayed up too late. Bring yourself into focus and remember all important items such as the ones I’m suggesting. This is necessary to having a good trip.

Particularly important items include:

  •         a sleep mask, ear plugs, a weapon, your own pillows, [1]
  •         a sleeping bag, a sleeping pad, an air mattress, flashlight or lantern, tent,
  •         extra tent pegs, a tarp, beverages, snacks, sleeping aids like melatonin,
  •         or marijuana gummies, pest control products, toothbrush,
  •         hygiene products, shower supplies, a towel,
  •         a change of extra warm clothing, an extra blanket, a water bottle,
  •         pen, paper, an mp3 or Ipod with radio capability, A pleasure book [2],
  •         a cd player, a device to charge your phone without needing electricity, a wristwatch with a loud vibrating alarm.
  •         And a copy of Dale Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.
  • I will explain later how to maximize use of all these items.

Setting campsite Up:

Arrive at your campsite. Put your phone away so its battery life lasts through the night. This is essential if you wish to use your phone as your alarm clock. If you are in bear country, secure your food and drink in your campsites bear locker. Search for a strategic flat spot to pitch your tent. Otherwise remember to keep your head up high when sleeping. This prevents all the blood flowing to your head thus interfering with your sleep. Start by putting a tarp on the ground this will add a cushion between you and the ground. This will also protect your tent from the colder ground temperatures. Make sure there are no dead branches above your head. And choose a high spot to defend against any possible rainstorms. Extreme campers will search for any abandoned structures as their spot. Use the top floor to barricade yourself in and pitch your tent there. This will defend against wild animals. Like in the video below.

He Camps In An Abandoned Prison While Coyotes Attack Him

If you didn’t get to practice pitching your tent beforehand. Don’t sweat it. Most tents you can figure out even with little experience. Keep the pressure on yourself to get the tent set up NOW. Once it gets dark you are in trouble. Take out the extra tents you bought which are probably better than the cheaply made ones that came with your tent. and secure your tent to the ground. If you have a sleeping pad or mattress throw it in there now. Determine where your head will be and throw some pillows on top. That’s good enough for now. You can scope out the quickest path to the bathroom. Verify a way of charging your phone. If not, utilize a portable phone charging device. Your night of camping will be both exciting and scary. Time to relax and have some fun.

Fun Activities:

My Campsite at dawn

I Celebrated By Pulling My Orange Soda And Granola Bars Out Of The Bear Locker. And I Phoned Friends And Family Showing Them Video Of My Campsite Setup. I Walked Down To The Main Juniper Springs In The Ocala National Forest In Florida. I Enjoyed A Nice Swim That helped me Mentally Rise Above My Problems. Another Camper Told Me About A Second Springs.  No Swimming Was Allowed But It Was Fascinating To See. I Saw Turtles And Springs Emitting From The Ground. A Very Happy Time Followed By Going Out To Eat At Lena’s Seafood Restaurant. I Had A Light Meal Before Bed. A Heavy Meal Takes The Blood Away From Warming Your Extremities And Towards Digestion [3]. This Makes You Too Cold To Sleep.

Final Physical and mental preparations for a good night sleep.

As nighttime arrives my phone’s battery life has plummeted to 10%. I decide to search for an electrical outlet to charge my phone. In pitch dark, I travel down the very creepy path through the forest to the main springs and clubhouse area. I say hello to neighboring campers to disarm them. I am using only my headlamp on this journey. I have no luck anywhere. I decide to do the early to bed early to rise method. If only it was this simple. Another option I can tell you is to bring a small wristwatch with a loud enough alarm. Its annoying how easily some people can trust their bodies to sleep and get up at the correct time. I would have to put all these thoughts aside to get some sleep.

An alarm is very effective for insomniacs. You lie in bed until the alarm says it is time to meet life’s responsibilities. You can let yourself go mentally. You can forget about how much sleep you are getting as well as what time you should get up. Without it you start to worry about dumb things like sleeping past the 11am checkout time.

It 7pm now and the campsite’s fire pit is a great place to have smores with friends and family. The fire is a good start for pest control. Burning citronella candles is a fun and easy way to keep bugs away [4].  Then you can enjoy socializing and forget your worries, particularly about sleep. Sleepytime tea may help you relax around a campfire. You will win the battle If you don’t worry about the when and how long of your sleep. You will get enough to have a good, productive, interesting, and maybe even enjoyable next day [5].

2nd springs that bubbles

        If You Are By Yourself One Expert Recommends Skipping The Fire And Jumping In Your Tent To Relax For The Evening. The Reasons Are That Having A Fire Blinds You. And You May Hear Unsettling Noises And Be Unable To See Anything. You Will Feel More Relaxed In Your Tent Especially If You Bring Inside All The Necessities [6]. Enclosed Inside The Tent You Can Pass The Time With An Mp3 Radio And A Book. The Radio Connects You To The World. The Pleasure Book Gives Pleasure. Both Of These Keep You Tuned Into Nature For The True Camping Experience. This Lack Of Screen Time Might Actually Be Better Than Your Normal Nightly Routine. And This Detox Of Dopamine Will Have Healing Effects. You Are Able To Reset Your Priorities. Brush Your Teeth, Take A Shower, Jump Into Your Tent. Baby Wipes Can Be Handy[7].

       In my case, I grabbed my book, my mp3 player, ear plugs, sleep mask, and headlamp [8]. I changed into warmer clothes including new socks, the whole 9 yards. I knew I would be relaxing for a few hours in the tent. I listened to comedy and music. I listened to the radio. I remember listening to Mark Levin talking about the importance of the Virginia Governors race. It was a cause I felt immersed in. I was also reading Jeremy McGrath’s autobiography which I found interesting. Both these things took me out of my everyday problems. They gave me peace in the scary wilderness. The most enjoyable pleasure books are the ones about conquering problems foreign to your everyday life. Some people choose to have a bible on hand to feel secure and right with God before going to sleep in the wilderness. The important thing is to do something that relaxes your mind and settles you down. Never try to force sleep.

The 2nd springs – you can see the springs bubbling up

Keep the positive mood, don’t dread sleeping. Enjoy the physical rest and let your mind relax. No need to worry about how much sleep you are getting. You will get the maximum amount possible if you truly relax. You will get through the next day. You might as well stay up and enjoy yourself. Later let your body get its rest for as much as you can and move forward with another exciting day. If you focus on when you are falling asleep you are going down a sinkhole. First of all, it is impossible to be conscious of when you are unconscious. And certainly this thought can unrelax you thus keeping you up. Best to have a different line of thinking. If this different line of thinking keeps you up its because you had too many stimulants. You won’t sleep every night. Your body will correct itself going into the next night. Only NPCs never miss a night’s sleep. Congrats on being an interesting person. It is possible to fall asleep even with the thought of whether you are falling asleep yet. This is possible so long as you are not worried about your sleep or insomnia. In this way nature provides sleep for us in an all or nothing manner. If you don’t worry you have no problems. If you do worry you have nothing but problems. Even insomniacs have periods of time where sleeping isn’t an issue. This lack of worry about their sleep occurred during those times.

My tent strategically located on the campsite

The only way out of a bad sleep cycle is to gracefully suffer through any short-term problems caused by lack of sleep. And continue to practice peaceful thoughts at night.  This is making a value play. In sports betting, day trading or investing in stocks you want to make value plays, trades or buys. The value play is relaxing at night regardless of what happens. If you still go a sleepless night but have achieved these things you are on your way. This temporary unpleasant adjustment is worth it for the better long term sleep. Congrats on taking the cognitive behavior approach combined with sleep aids as necessary. To simplify it all: Get comfortable physically and mentally, set an alarm. And wake up with no regret ready to meet the next day’s challenges.

Repeat your routine at home. New warm clothes, including dry socks, a hot shower, and pretending to pee for the last time before bed.  Unfortunately, I had to leave my tent many times throughout my night. I finally went out to my car at 12:46am to take a sleep aid.  Us insomniacs should take stuff like melatonin gummies {9} and ibuprofen early in the night. Remember I needed to go outside to the bear locker to have access to beverages and food since I was in bear country. Don’t forget ear plugs and a sleep mask. To block out noise and to block out sunlight. Keep a light handy [10]. As much stuff in your tent as possible. I had to fearlessly walked through the woods to the bathroom many times that night. I knew dangerous animals were present.  I crawled back into my stupidly small tent. I ended up not being able to fit my air mattress. I had no sleeping pad. I simply laid my sleeping bag diagonally across the tent floor. My pillows kept sliding back. I should have taken a tire wedge from a truck yard to prevent my pillow from sliding [11]. And throughout the night I foolishly worried about not waking up in time to check out. It wasn’t until I blocked out these distractions that I got some rest. Mental health conditions and sleep issues are related. You might as well conquer both at the same time [12].

Fires can be fun

Now determine if you need to warm up or cool down. Remember the ideal temperature range for your most comfortable sleep is between 60 and 68 degrees. Bring a portable thermometer that also measures humidity. And aim for this range as best as possible factoring in humidity. 70 degrees with low humidity might be fine for example. As is 55 degrees with high humidity [13]. To heat up pull the sleeping bag’s built-in hood over your head, since your head loses 80% of the heat [14]. Also put a sealed water bottle with warm water between your legs inside the sleeping bag [15]. Get a sleeping bag attached to a sleeping pad for added warmth. One could reverse these steps to become cooler at night. No hood on the sleeping bag. In fact, sleep on top of the sleeping bag. A sealed bottle of cold water between your legs. A portable fan etc. Having Bear whistles and bear proof food jars within your campsite. the bear lockers will reduce your fear of bears thus helping you relax. And think of a distraction to sleep in your different setting.

Winning the night: Mental clarity to defeat insomnia

Now its time to focus on winning the mental game. For this pull out your copy of Dale Carnegies How to Stop worrying and Start living [16]. Go to chapter 28 How to Keep from worrying about insomnia. Missing a night’s sleep is unpleasant but is not the worst thing that can happen to you. If you stay calm and work hard on the important things in your day you can get through life fine. And your goal here is to do this feat consistently so you can position yourself not to worry about your insomnia. Then you know you will power through any day you miss sleep. And the less worry the more sleep you will get making life easier. You are putting down an anchor on letting your life slide into chaos. Instead develop meaningful relaxation and you can have a fine life.

After missing a night’s sleep you might actually have one of your most productive days. You focus on accomplishing what you need to get through that day creditably. This brings clarity, simplicity, and peace into your life.  Its hard to ignore the negative results in your life when you continually miss sleep. But its the worry that is doing the damage. This is the one thing preventing your sleep. If you calmly let it go your body will eventually get some sleep. You can’t control your sleep but if you calmly put yourself in bed at a reasonable hour each night you would be fine. If you didn’t worry about your sleep you would be able to sleep most nights. And even if you missed a few nights in a row the sleeplessness isn’t what will kill but the nervous energy from worry makes you ill. This is a very important distinction to make. And Don’t Make It A Game Or Competition Obsessing Over The Number Of Hours Of Sleep You Got. Your goal isn’t to sleep but to overcome worry about your sleep. And worry in general.

That Is The Reductionism Of Your Problem Of Insomnia. Have A Session Of An Hour To Go Through All Your Worries, preferably early in the day. Your Brain Needs To Sort Through Your Issues Both While You Are Sleeping And Awake. Then you will know that you have a plan to fix things in your life or that they aren’t as bad as you think. Your Goal Is To Stay Calm And Enjoy Physically Relaxing When You Get To go to Bed And Let Your Body Do The Rest. If You Need to Sleep At A Certain Time To Get Up At A Certain Time Than You May Have To Use Forced Sleep Deprivation. That Is Waking Up At The Desired Time A Day Before In A Way That You Only Get 5 Hours Of Sleep. The Key Is To Have No Conflict With Your Thoughts. Its Possible To Have A Virus Of A Night Time Thought, “I Haven’t Fallen Asleep Yet, When Will I Fall Asleep.” And If You Lie There Staying In Bed Trying To Think Of Some Distraction. Trying To Relax You Will Get Sleep When Your Body Is Ready. Yes You May Go Sleep Deprived Through A Tough Period Of Your Life. A Tough Work Week Etc. To Keep Worry Out Stay Enthusiastic About Whatever Endeavor you are in. Or In The Case Of Sleeplessness Of A Parent Caring For Their Child Overnight Let Love And Concern Override Worry About Insomnia. Many People Miss A Night Of Sleep Occasionally Due To A Storm Or Family Emergency.

       And worrying about not getting a full nights sleep is ridiculous. First of all you may only dream for 2.5 hours if you sleep for 10 hours. Sleep has many stages and one stage is being semi awake but your thoughts don’t make sense. You may think your comforter is a tennis racquet or something else foolish. This is a reason why if you take a nap it should be for at least 90 minutes so you can complete a full REM cycle. Grogginess usually happens if you wake up at the wrong time in the REM cycle. Biphasic sleeping is also an option for those who wish to be up late and get up early. You need a flexible schedule to do this. But you only need 5.5 hours of sleep before getting up. Then later in the day you sleep for 90 minutes. From experience I can tell you this works reasonably well. You can have a good life regardless of sleeping well if you determine to stay calm and defeat your anxiety. Counting hours like it’s a contest with results doesn’t work. Instead once you wake up you simply make an assessment of how well rested you feel. You may feel great or not so great. Enjoy a day that you got plenty of rest. Overcaffienate or get yourself moving on days you don’t. Get fired up about your life and purpose and worry will diminish.

The second step is to have a reliable alarm clock you can bet your life on. If you don’t have one forget this completely and if you wake up early stay up. This isn’t ideal but avoids the consequence of sleeping through your deadline. In my case, I didn’t have an alarm and I foolishly worried about sleeping through the 11am checkout. You can take the tent down quickly if you skip properly putting it away into the bag. Usually when you have ample time between going to bed and getting up you needn’t worry. However, insomniacs worry obsessively about little things. They also tend to be people who genetically don’t fall asleep as quickly as others.

Then it happened! I awoke at 5am by what might have been a bear. If you do hear something  it is best to stand up, open the flap, and check it out. I may have gained relief only seeing a raccoon. Or I would know to be loud for a bear. My greatest fear is that it was a human. The most dangerous predator is a human.  Confronting the fear immediately gives you time to react. Black bears rarely attack humans. I put my flashlight on but never opened the tent door. But I did immediately travel through this area of woods to the bathroom. A bear spray would have been good to have. I reminded myself that following the campground rules make bear attacks rare. I also reminded myself if I woke up last minute I could quickly put the tent away without putting it back in the bag. I’d be airing it out anyway.

I Tried Getting Sleep After This Disturbance. But My Lack Of Preparation With Having An Alarm Preventing Me From Sleeping To The Latest Possible Minute. I Relaxed But I Stayed Conscious. I Finally Got Up Around 8am. I Reasoned That I Got Some Sleep And Was Up A Few Hours Before The 11am Checkout Time. I Determined To Enjoy My Day All The Same. I Read More Of The Jeremy McGrath Book Enjoying The Sunlight In The Forest. I Checked Out The Second Springs Again. I Noticed Amphitheaters And Big Trees. I Used The Time To Have A Peaceful Nature Walk Around The Campground And Compared Campsites. Some Had Plenty Of Good Space For A Tent While Some Had Almost None. I Even Worried About Swimming After I Checked Out. Would I Have To Pay An Entrance Fee For The Day On Top Of My Camping Fee? At 10am I Drove Down To The Springs One Last Time. My Phone Still Hadn’t Been Charged So My Only Clock Was The Clock In The Car. I Walked Down The Path Through The Woods To The Spring Far Away From My Car. I Guessed That It Was Before 11am And Checked Out At 10:45am. A Key Here Is To Determine Your Personality And Thus your Approach. If You Are A Neurotic Rule Follower Like I Am Then You Want To Be Well In Bounds Of The Rules. A Way Of Regulating Time Is Key. Even Setting An Alarm While You Are Awake. In My Case I Would Have Brought A Portable Charger And Been Able To Set My Alarm While I Was Swimming To 10:45am So I Could Maximize My Time In The Springs And Truly Relax. If You Are Less Neurotic And Have A Little Bit Of Rebellion In You Then You Probably Don’t Sweat The Deadlines Of Checkout And Thus Would Be Able To Relax. This Ability To Distract Yourself And Not Worry Is Crucial In The Battle Over Worry, Particularly Worry Over Insomnia.

On an epilogue note, I didn’t have a good rest of the day because I failed to nap when I got back. I should have practiced the biphasic sleeping pattern. A good strategy when you fail to get at least 6 hours of sleep at night. Simply take a 90 minute nap a little after the middle part of your day. Later that night I enjoyed watching the Braves win the world series. Unfortunately, I also got tricked into being frauded by some guy pretending to be from my bank. To recover the money in my account I had to drive 300 miles from Ocala to Miami to close the old account open a new account. If you are to conquer worry about insomnia you must be resilient when things go wrong and learn from your mistakes.

In Dale Carnegies book the doctor said to the patient Ira Sanders, “ If you can’t fall asleep, Forget all about it. Just say to yourself, “ I don’t care a hang if I don’t go to sleep. Its all right with me if I lie awake til morning. Keep your eyes closed and say, “As long as I just lie still and don’t worry about it. I’ll be getting rest anyway.” This really does work in getting sleep if you truly mean it. If you are prepared to peacefully lie there and wake up unrefreshed. That seldom happens if you are calm you will get some sleep. If you aren’t calm your worst reality will happen. I wish sleep weren’t like this. I wish it didn’t involve these inverse mind games. But you are forced to be calm to sleep and to succeed in a lot of ways. Through practice this does bring you to a level of peace where the night time sleep serves as a true curtain between each day.

Relaxing mentally allows sleep to be a purely physical process. Carnegie mentions how soldiers in war slept when their bodies forced them to. Your body will get the rest it can.  If you are wide awake because you had too much caffeine. Just learn from it and move forward. I think even chocolate milk or a chocolate bar could keep you up. Its not just caffeinated drinks. You may have scenarios where your schedule doesn’t provide you enough time to get a full nights sleep. Relax and allow your body to get the sleep it can and endure this temporary sleep deprivation. By getting some sleep you have a sense of victory. But Its not a contest of how many hours you sleep. Don’t focus on results. Take a process oriented approach as you develop stronger mental toughness through increased calmness.

Contrary to the popular advice that tells you to get out of bed if you can’t sleep, I recommend staying put. This is the only way you will get sleep. Getting up guarantees a sleepless night. Take advice from people who have suffered from insomnia and found ways to overcome it. Not from well- to-do people who have never missed a night’s sleep. Getting up to reset the bed, a drink, or bathroom or increasing comfort is fine. But simply getting up because time has passed is bad advice from people who have no experience with insomnia. In extreme desperation, you might try reverse psychology and try to stay up all night. This will lead to sleep. The most efficient method is to rest calmly thinking of something pleasant. This gives your body a chance to sleep. And remember you don’t need your full 8 hours to get through the day. And don’t worry about health defects from missing sleep that people will try to scare you with. That’s what most articles said that I read when I couldn’t sleep. This increases worry and prevents sleep! You will be fine. What matters is gaining a sense of peace and calmness. In this way in the worst case scenario where you have been up a few days you will call out or clear your schedule and your calmness WILL aLLOW YOU to catch up on sleep. I have personally done this. You will be fine.

One long term cure for insomnia is to get rid of the bacteria in our guts. We all have bacteria in our guts that keep us up at night. But for the short term try Dale Carnegies next suggestion. Get 5 pillows 1 under each arm. Two under your head. One under your knees. This will help you relax physically. Enjoy this after a long day of physical activity when you are so tired you can’t stay awake. Although this is never a guarantee of a full night’s rest. And this is usually the only advice given by people who don’t suffer from insomnia. One last point. You cant achieve any miracles. Starting out camping its best not to camp in an area dominated by dangerous bears, snakes, mountain lions and murderer. Unless of course you have connections with the head mountain lion thus guaranteeing your protection. You can’t sleep unless you are secure. No shame in sleeping in a nearby motel or hotel. Having a good trip is what counts. The most terrifying encounter in the wilderness is a deranged human. This danger exists everywhere. Best to camp in more established campgrounds unless you are armed with a weapon [17].

Another tip is to empty your mind of all worries before bed. Write them down and have a worry session early in the day to shut your mind up. Refill your mind with peaceful thoughts and ideas right before bed. And the feeling of victory will come. Repeat familiar routines you do at home. Learn about nature so you know what some nighttime noises are.

Enjoying the next day

Once up for the day don’t fret about your night sleep counting the hours like its a competition. You get up and feel good or you know you will successfully struggle through the day. But you will have a good day. And if you can reduce anxiety you allow your body to sleep when its ready. This gives you the confidence that when you wake up tired you will be able to fall sleep earlier the next night. Always give yourself ample time to sleep when possible. To reduce worry, Give yourself a 10 plus hour window to sleep. Then make up your mind you will get up no matter what when that alarm goes off. And you will forget all about this. And focus on what to do during the day. No shame in a mid-day nap. But do some fun things during the day. Catch the game that day or night. Get involved in causes and things that enthrall you. Enthusiasm in life can cure all. Even insomnia.


This has been a guide for the sleep deprived insomniac to get through a pleasant camping trip. We have reduced the problem to worry, particularly worry about your insomnia. And paradoxically the less you worry about sleep the more you get. The rules of life reverse at night. I have gone through the setting up your tent site. Having fun with social activities during the day. Being enthusiastic. A nice relaxing time inside the tent or outside by the fire. Taking sleeping pills or something to relax you. I talked extensively about how to eliminate the worry about sleep. This is the only thing to prevent you from sleeping. I mentioned living it up the next day. I will have many more articles to come. In addition to how to guides, I will delve into the best products for your camping experience. As physical products do matter. Investing in your sleep is always worth it.


  3. Https://Www.Self.Com/Story/Campers-Share-Best-Sleep-Tips
  16. Dale Carnegie, How to STop worrying and Start Living, Revised Edition, pocket Books, Simon and Schuster, NY (pages 225 -231)

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