Light Sleepers Look Out!

Woman SleepingStrangely, one of the things that “worries” me the most on a personal level is my ability to sleep in a grid-down situation. You see, I’m a light sleeper, I mean REALLY light sleeper and if you are too you know what I mean. Some might think that’s a good thing during times where you need to be on-guard and maybe it will prove useful some day, but in my normal life it generally sucks.

To combat this I’ve grown accustomed to sleeping with a fan turned on whether it’s needed for cooling or not. It’s so important to me that I’ll pack it if I go on vacation–not that this happens very often anymore–or anywhere there might not be something that makes steady noise. In fact, it’s those rare times that the power goes out and it’s dead quite that I’ll sit up at night awake for hours on end. The thing is, it’s not the absolute quite that’s a problem, it’s the odd and occasional noises that keep me up, from a gust of wind to my wife stirring and who knows what else.

So, I need a plan to combat that. I briefly contemplated sleep aids but I figure that last thing I wanted is to be artificially asleep when I may need to function immediately and without warning. Scratch that thought! In fact, a while back I posted about my grogginess when being awoke in the middle of the night in this post Think Twice Before Bringing Your Gun to Bed, which compounds my problem but that’s not the point here.

I then thought about simply powering a fan. While I can power a typical AC fan using my solar setup I don’t feel like that’s the best use of my power system so I’m thinking that’s not a great plan either. On the other hand, I do have a DC-powered fan that would probably get used if it were hot regardless but, again, it’s probably not the best use of finite power (in this case D-cell batteries) just so I can sleep.

I’ve also contemplated using ear plugs which might be my best bet but still not quite what I’m looking for. While they do help a bit it’s not nearly enough most of the time and likely more annoying to me than just not using them. And, yes, I have tried just a pillow over my head!

While noise is more of my problem, I can see how early daylight might be some people’s problem. In this case consider a sleep mask or heavy curtains. Of course, it might not be such a bad thing to be up early in the day to get work done. Remember, there was a time when people regularly rose when the sun came up and retired when it went down.

Many years ago my wife had me try a few different herbal concoctions that probably helped a bit but I’m not much of a herb/tea drinker so that plan didn’t stick, but may be a viable option in a SHTF situation.

All that said, I might just be so tired from a full day of hard manual labor or from pulling long security detail that it’s all a moot point, who knows. The point is that for those who have a similar problem (or those who live with people like this) it is a significant concern not to be ignored. I, for one, am not the nicest of people when I haven’t had my “beauty rest.” 😉

If you have any great ideas, I would appreciate hearing them.

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7 thoughts on “Light Sleepers Look Out!”

  1. There are white noise generator apps for most smart phones. They can range from pure white noise (a hissing noise) to repetitive sounds like waterfalls, trains on a track, rain, etc.

    Or, you can use a (free) program like Audacity to generate your own “white noise” and change the frequency down to less of a hiss. Save 15 minutes of this as an MP3 and DL to your phone or MP3 player. Its a lot less of a power load to charge a phone than run a fan all night.

    All this assuming the cautions about NEEDING to wake up at the slightest bump in the night are not warranted.

  2. The white noise is nice as you can increase the volume or lower it. There are about ten other noises but I just like the white noise. You can even download a white noise sound for free for your smart phone. 🙂
    We don’t have a dog so I should really get use to NOT having it so I can listen for intruders. 🙂
    Susie in cold northern NY

  3. I’m the same way. I’m a VERY light sleeper. I started using a sound machine and have had the same concerns as you. I think we both ought to wean ourselves OFF the fans/sound machines. You don’t want ear plugs as you want to be able to hear intruders etc.
    The best to you,

    1. Good thought about no ear plugs but I would imagine my dog will hear something before I do. Anyway, I do wonder how the sound machine works for you? I like a fan myself but maybe that would be a better alternative.

  4. I’m a light sleeper also so I can understand what you are talking about.
    I actually see this as two separate issues.

    First, should you try to change or provide something to help you sleep better in a gird down situation.
    I would say no. If things have gotten that bad, a person will need to sleep lightly and wake easily/often. Consider the noises that wake you now and how that would change WSHTF — that bump in the night is more likely to be an intruder, not less.

    I would recommend conditioning yourself to go back to sleep quickly after rousing. Practice relaxation techniques and use them any time you wake now.

    Second, if you are set on finding a solution; implement it now otherwise when the grid goes down, it will just be another thing for you to adjust to. Have you considered white noise generators or noise cancellation systems?
    With a system of rechargeable batteries and solar powered chargers; even a white noise generator and/or fan can be practical.

    Third, I would suggest you look at the overall sleeping arrangement and how to replicate it when the gird is down. Most people sleep better when it is cooler; not a problem in spring/fall and part of winter, right. But how do you plan on keeping cool in the summer or warm in the winter?

    1. I have thought about white noise generators but my fan usually does the trick, though, I have never considered the power requirements of a white noise generator versus my fan… it might be significantly less. As for sleeping arrangements, keeping warm isn’t much of a problem with a wood stove but staying cool is a bigger concern if an emergency lasts more than several days. For short term solutions I have a generator and window AC unit but no great plan for long term cooling.

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