Words by our beloved gear geek and product designer: Bjørn Sætnan
I’m going on a climbing trip with some friends this Easter, and we plan on sleeping in tents. There are multiple reasons for us choosing to sleep in tents, instead of renting a cabin, one of them being budget, but mainly it’s because sleeping in a tent is just so darn nice in every kind of way. So let’s look at some of the reasons I’m tenting, and why you should too.
Now, if you already own the gear, this one is quite obvious. But if you don’t, borrow it! Phone a friend, text your mom, ask a stranger. Most people who own tents don’t actually use them every day all year. Or maybe you can get together with some friends and buy one together. Sharing is caring, remember. Check online sites for used gear! High quality gear never goes out of style, and if it’s broken, fix it.
Sleeping outside is equivalent to using a performance enhancing drug, except it’s not cheating. This one might confuse some of you. How can sleeping on the ground be anywhere close to being considered a performance enhancer? Well my friend, let me introduce you to this commonly forgotten concept of “a good night’s sleep”. I could probably write several blog posts on just this topic alone, and, this might come as a shock to some of you, but sleeping is important! Just one night of bad sleep can and will have an adverse effect on your mental and physical performance.
But shouldn’t you therefore sleep inside in a warm and comfortable bed?
Well, have you ever been sitting at your desk, struggling to concentrate, and thought to yourself “I need some fresh air”? It is for this exact reason you should be sleeping outside if you want to be performing at your absolute max – fresh air. As a tent designer I’ve spent a lot of time looking at how ventilation of a tent works and how “indoor” air quality effects you. Making sure there’s an adequate flow of oxygen to stop the buildup of (mainly) carbon dioxide is perhaps the most important factor when designing and using a tent.
Pro tip: even if you’re going to be sleeping inside this Easter, open up your windows, and let that fresh air in. Actually, do it all year round. Your body will thank you.
And it’s not just the air quality that will help you sleep better.
Even better sleep
Circadian rhythm and fluorescent lighting. Big words that don’t go together well. Staring at a screen under indoor lighting? Bad for your natural sleep rhythm. Waking up slowly to the brightening sunlight? Good for your natural sleep rhythm.
In general, exposure to sunlight and timing your sleep schedule with the natural light-dark cycle will help keep your body in sync with your natural circadian rhythm, moving the low point in brain arousal to before your sleep ends, making it easier for you to wake up in the morning.
On the other hand, exposure to indoor fluorescent lighting in the evenings will have a negative effect on your sleep quality because it suppresses production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness, which in turn can affect your body’s ability to regulate body temperature, blood pressure and glucose levels.
Even more betterer sleep
Speaking of regulating body temperature; sleep naked!
This is especially true when crawling into our sleeping bag after a big day out. Even if you don’t feel sweaty, your body constantly sweats, always and forever. So your body and clothes might feel dry to the touch, but the best thing you can do when heading to bed is to get rid of your day clothes and get butt naked (or change into a thin layer of dry bedtime underwear) before getting into your sleeping bag. A dry sleeping bag is a warm sleeping bag.
Wearing clothes while in your sleeping bag (especially clothes you’ve been wearing all day) will restrict moisture from evaporating off and away from your body, hindering your body’s natural ability to regulate temperature. Your body actually wants to be colder during the night than during the day. Let it! Messing with this ability also impedes the release of melatonin.
Bonus melatonin related fact: Sleeping naked slows ageing! Not just a sleep hormone, melatonin has incredibly high anti-oxidative properties that equip it to fight several of the so-called free-radical-related illnesses such as age-related muscular degeneration.
So get some fresh air this Easter, and sleep well, all my gear geek friends!