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Health / Medical / Fitness Prepper Psychology Survival

Bugging out? How to Fight Sleep Deprivation

Face it… if a SHTF event happens, you may have to endure many sleepless nights.  This is especially true if you have not networked with other individuals who can help take shifts.  Have you considered the sleep deprivation factor into your prepping?  Even if you have thought about sleep deprivation and packed some caffeine tablets in your bug out bag, this article will give you a couple more tips to help keep you awake!

Sleep deprivation can get you killed

We’ve all had all-nighters whether in college, as a father to your infant baby or at work.  When going through sleep deprivation, you will encounter many dangers like impaired brain activity, memory problems, hallucinations, depression, weakened immune system, and more…  If you are in a SHTF scenario, this can be deadly as you will not be as sharp as you need to be.

Monphasic vs. polyphasic sleep cycles

First, we have to understand that there is no “work around” for sleep deprivation.  Simply put, you need sleep at some point or you mind and body will fail.  However, did you know that there have been studies experimenting with different sleep cycles?  Most people are used to a monophasic sleep cycle which is your typical 6-8 hours of continuous sleep.  However, there are four (4) other cycles that have been documented throughout history and have been shown to be effective.  While these sleep cycles are not conducive to our working culture, they may be relevant in SHTF.  Read more about these sleep cycles here.


  • Uberman Cycle: 20-30 min naps every 4 hours (6 naps each day)
  • Everyman Cycle: One core nap of 3 hours and three 20 minute naps.
  • Dymaxion Cycle: 30 minute naps every 6 hours. (seems pretty extreme!)
  • Biphasic/Siesta Cycle: 4-5 hour sleep at night with a 3 hour nap near noon.

Caffeine on the go

Coffee is great, but what about when you don’t have the time or fuel?  Caffeine pills should be part of your BOB, but there is also a cool alternative called “Military Energy Gum”.  The taste is pretty good at first but gets slightly bitter towards the end. But in all reality, it’s pretty good stuff to keep you awake.  I’ve got a pack in my bag and each piece has 100 mg of caffeine.


Caffeine “Planning”

Have you ever drank a cup of coffee and then immediately taken a nap?  I do this all the time and I’m called crazy as people have no idea how I can sleep after a dose of caffeine.  However, there’s science behind the fact that you will awake more refreshed after a nap if you take caffeine right before!  You can read the article for more information, but in a nut shell, here is the science:

Adenosine is a molecule in your body that is generated as a byproduct of the brain.  When adenosine levels rise, they fit into receptors in your brain that trigger sleepiness.  How do you get those molecules off the brain?  Regular sleeping is one way as it purges the molecules from the brain and makes you feel awake and refreshed afterwards.  Caffeine  is another way.  Caffeine molecules are similar in shape to adenosine and will compete with adenosine by blocking some of the receptors.  This results in keeping you awake a little longer. However, it takes 20 minutes for caffeine to start working.  How do you get the benefits of both?  Drink caffeine and take a 20 minute nap!  The 20 minute nap/sleep will naturally purge the adenosine molecules and then the caffeine comes in right on time to fill the receptors.  GENIUS!

There are other ways of keeping awake like the 5 hour energy drinks and similar cocktails.  However, liquids typically expire quicker than solids, take up more space, are heavier, and are downright messy if they explode in your pack.  Not to mention, no one really knows how these things really affect our overall health.


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