Being well fed, hydrated, strong both mentally and physically are things every prepper must strive for in their normal routine. But what happens when it comes to sleeping? If you’re a prepper and if you believe (no matter how strong you are) that you can endure any challenge with three (3) to four (4) hours of sleep, you may be setting yourself up for trouble. There are people who can do this, but assuming you are one and that this is healthy and will keep your edge may be a fool’s folly.
I for one have taken the 12 hours and 45-minute flight from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, leaving LAX at 2:30 AM on a Sunday morning and arriving in Hong Kong at 7:30 am on their Monday morning and headed straight to the offices I was visiting there. I do not sleep well on planes and these flights are more like riding the overcrowded buses of South America on the cliff-hanging road with the chickens and goats tucked away everywhere as opposed to the fantasy their commercials present of the beautiful flight crews, the flowing champagne and the quiet. That morning, by 11 am local time I was searching for the toothpicks in the photo below. Then the “haze” set in. Everything started to look just slightly out of focus, more velvet-like than blurry and speech seemed to hang in the air waiting to enter my ears.
Sleeping is essential for every human being not only for rest and recharge but also for natural regeneration of every cell in the body, including the brain cell.
Have you ever had to go through your training after a long sleepless night or a full day of military training that started at Zero Dark 30? They love to do this in basic training as the drill instructors take pleasure in walking through the auditorium and whacking you on the head if you are dozing. I am presenting no revelations here that sleep deprivation is a dangerous condition and can cause all sorts of health damage. You may not even be aware that you lack sleep, but in the long run, you will notice fatigue, lack of focus and attention, poor immunity, skin problems, eye problems and so on.
Proper Rest is Crucial – While your health depends on many things your sleeping hours are a big part of your overall health. No matter how much you want to be active and present and be more productive, you won’t be able to achieve that in the long run if you are cutting out sleeping hours. We all need good sleep and when that isn’t possible because of situations you need to factor in some sleep planning for your survival. We all know that seven (7) to eight (8) hours of good night sleep can do miracles for your entire system and your health.
Sleep Deprivation is not Always Recognizable – What’s very sneaky about this condition is that preppers might not always recognize it. In fact, this condition sort of ‘leads you on’ to believe that you are doing fine even with a few hours of sleep until it’s too late. Recognizing that you’re sleep deprived often happens once your health is ruined, your immunity is significantly lowered, and you can barely function. Did you know that humans can only last for eleven days without sleep before actually dying?
The Quality of Your Sleep can’t be Over-stressed – And the world is stacked against you! In today’s fast-paced world, with so many having so many balls in the air, with a media more interested in stirring up your emotions for their Google Analytics than in reporting the facts, filtering out the noise and agenda and politics is a full-time chore. The upside is that it has taught the intelligent to read between the lines, the downside, we don’t have enough intelligent people. So the business side of quality sleep starts with having a quality bed that will save you from painful mornings, as well as sleepless nights and the ability to tune out the noise. There will be more than enough poorly made beds to sleep on should the SHTF so until that comes to pass a poorly made bed (too soft or too firm) that isn’t working for your sleeping position can cause you serious sleep interruptions that lead to insomnia and all the rest discussed herein. Fixing this is the best first step one can take. If you’re looking to get a new mattress start by checking out online stores first – get the basics down of their speak/pitch. Of course, never buy until you try but do your homework like you would for any piece of survival equipment.
Appreciate Your Quiet Hours – Now, when you can allow yourself to take the time and rest, it’s important to be grateful for that because when SHTF everything will be turned upside down. All our habits will be broken, and we will have to make time and find a safe place to rest. Of course, it will be difficult because things won’t be as they are now. And sleep is something we can’t store like supplies. If you did get eight (8) hours of restful uninterrupted sleep last night, the benefits of that are consumed about eighteen (18) hours later. So, don’t underestimate the power of your sleep. Allow your body to get rest and gain strength.
Sleep Schedule – When SHTF your sleeping hours won’t be the same. It’s important to make a schedule (if you aren’t alone of course) and stick to the resting hours while the rest of your friends are awake. This way you will all be rested and while one sleeps the others can work and be on watch. In a true TEOTWAWKI scenario the sleep may be a little fitful, one-eye opened as the situation is too fluid to trust that you will get eight (8) hours of rest, but any sleep will be beneficial.
You Should Train for the Worst – Lack of sleep isn’t going to help you when you are training. Although there are preppers that believe that sleep deprivation is a good thing for training (it keeps them alerted and allows them to function better and have better instinct), the truth is, you truly ought to sleep and not prevent yourself from that if you want to absorb and retain the training materials. However, as a part of the training, depriving yourself of sleep can be good as a planned exercise because it really brings home the importance of sleep and your diminished performance when others need your best. Videotaping the results for a conscious review, after enough sleep to refresh, is more valuable than any lecture. Simple things like building a fire, swapping magazines in a weapon, feathering branches for kindling will show how lack of sleep diminishes performance.
As for those long airplane flights, on subsequent trips, I used to take the Singapore Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Singapore direct. 8,778 miles as the very tired crow flies, 17+ hours trapped in that shiny metal tube with at least 400 other passengers. BUT it was all business class seating, the flight crews were as amazing as the commercials showed, you never had to ask for food, water or a drink, 400+ channels of first-run movies and entertainment. They made every effort. BUT even if you could sleep for an 8-hour period on an airplane that would still leave you 9 hours to entertain yourself. International travel is not as glamorous as it looks.