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Old 11-07-2015, 19:47   #1
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Sleeping patterns/comfort

I have spent approx 200 nights on various small boats over the years. Now I would like to go full time on a boat but wonder if I would ever get good rest.

In approx my 200 nights I have to say it was always good to get into a comfortable bed at the house. I never did sleep well while on a boat. From always watching the sky and noticing any change in wind direction. And yikes, never slept thru a storm.

Do you ever get a real good night sleep?

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Old 11-07-2015, 20:07   #2
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Re: Sleeping patterns/comfort

I am just the opposite. I always sleep great on a boat. Doesn't matter whether at anchor or in a slip, on a cushion or a real mattress, must be something to do with the motion, but I just love it.
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Old 11-07-2015, 20:11   #3
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Re: Sleeping patterns/comfort

The lapping of the water on the hull, the sound of fish grunting, the graaaak! of the night heron being disturbed, the rhythmic tapping of halyards caressed by the breeze, the gentle swaying of the hull in the bosom of the ocean, the creak of chain working on the anchor swivel, the fog signal from the lighthouse singing its lonely song.... I'm getting sleepy, so sleepy............
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Old 11-07-2015, 20:58   #4
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Re: Sleeping patterns/comfort

There will be the odd times when you don't sleep well, but in the main, for us, anyway, we sleep very well indeed.

You learn the sounds or absences thereof, which you need to check out; and the rest are safe to ignore and sleep through.

If the reason you were not sleeping well is that the boat cushion lacked adequate support, replace the foam with firmer foam, and get used to it.

Your eventual sleep patterns will be pretty similar to what you had at home, in most cases. Some of us have taken to getting up earlier and going to bed earlier, to conserve electricity, but by no means everyone does this.

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Old 11-07-2015, 21:36   #5
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Re: Sleeping patterns/comfort

I will add that fish jumping and even an angry beaver slapping his tail all night closer and closer to the boat until I got the spotlight on him and temporarily chased him away. For the next night I moved...but it stormed...so back to back nights very little sleep. I would then start to take a cat nap whenever I could...that threw my sleep pattern off big time.

I had comfortable bedding but was always kinda on edge at night.

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Old 12-07-2015, 00:07   #6
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Re: Sleeping patterns/comfort

One of the best investments we made was to have a custom-made mattress for our bunk (actually, once we discovered how comfortable it is, we had mattresses made for the other four bunks on board). However, I remain a professional insomniac so a full night's sleep is always elusive for me, regardless of where I sleep. I'm a great person to have on board for long passages.

Humans are remarkably adaptable animals over time can often adjust to almost any condition. For some people, their sleep pattern on board is different than that of land while others sleep better. Here are some of my tips for a better night's sleep:

  1. Eliminate or reduce alcohol intake, especially at night.
  2. Get some aerobic exercise daily but not within four hours of bedtime. (Hard to do on a long passage with sail trimming, changes, etc)
  3. Only use your bunk for sleeping. If you're awake, get out of bed.
  4. Don't focus on your sleeplessness. If your body needs sleep, you'll sleep.
  5. Try not to think about problems, etc while you're in bed.
  6. Personally, I avoid sleep medications although I know many people who use them successfully.
Pleasant dreams, fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 12-07-2015, 02:47   #7
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Re: Sleeping patterns/comfort

Cruisers Midnight

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Old 12-07-2015, 02:49   #8
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Re: Sleeping patterns/comfort

D*mned phone
Cruisers Midnight = 9:00pm

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Old 12-07-2015, 10:05   #9
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Re: Sleeping patterns/comfort

I like "professional insomniac" - me too. In the years leading up to our move onboard, I would lay awake in my bed at home and imagine the movement of the boat on the water and that would (briefly) put me to sleep. I've been aboard a year now and find that I'm not so anxious about sleep anymore.

I no longer consider myself an insomniac, a bit of pressure I think used to make the situation worse. I have a good mattress, that motion of the boat I used to imagine back home and a small reading lamp that doesn't disturb my mate. Since I'm currently at a dock, I walk more. Since I left NY, less anxiety. If I sleep, I sleep and if I don't I read for a while. If I want an occasional nap in the day, I take one.

I'm using a lot of space to make a short point. Once aboard life, for me, became a lot simpler and a lot less stressful. My sleep patterns no longer bother me because I'm not anxious and tired. Don't know if this helps, but I sympathize,
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Old 12-07-2015, 10:42   #10
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Re: Sleeping patterns/comfort

I find the iPhone anchor apps, or the opencpn anchor alarm does wonders for a good sleep. No more wondering if we are dragging or moving or looking out the window to try figure out if the scenery has changed. Caribbean trade wind conditions are also better for a good nights sleep than variable Med conditions. As far as sleeping on passage, that can take a bit to acclimatise to but the dreams are amazing.
From our recent Atlantic crossing notes :
Sleeping on a boat...
Last night after my watch I lay down in bed and found it a bit difficult to fall asleep. The motion of the boat was a bit off and the swell at an odd angle. As I lay there I tried to imagine how to explain the experience to someone who hasn't felt it before, so here goes...

It's a bit like laying in a waterbed, but the bed is moving so imagine a irritated bear laying next to you rolling and turning and trying to get comfortable, all the while rolling and turning you. It's like your muscles have to work constantly just to lay still. Laying on your back can help or stuffing pillows under your stomach to spread the pressure.
Now imagine four dwarfs holding up each corner of the bed and lifting and lowering each corner 20-30cm randomly. The dwarf near your head has a strange sense of humor and slaps his hand hard on the wall next to your head at irregular intervals. Sometimes 30 seconds between, sometimes longer, but always when you least expect it.
Now for the sounds... Imagine another three drawfs with water utensils. One has a bucket and cup and continuosly dips the cup in the bucket and pours the water back in from varied heights. Another has a couple of water bottles he likes to shake close to your ears and the third drawf jumps up and down in child's inflatable swimming pool.
Add to those sounds the dull whine of the autopilot keeping us on course, assorted creaks and groans as Sephina twists and turns over the swells, and the occasional surfing sound which is kind of like driving fast down a gravel road and you get an idea of what it's like to fall asleep on a 40' yach mid Atlantic.
Sometimes these sounds are covered over a little by the dull sounds of the Diesel engine if there's not enough wind or if the batteries need topping up till the sun shines on the solar panels.
So while laying there imagining this strange twisted fairy tale of creatures around me I drifted off and had a deep long sleep, dreaming of goldilocks, Snow White, red riding hood or some other strange concoction put together in my sleep by the sounds and motions as I slept...
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Old 12-07-2015, 11:00   #11
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Re: Sleeping patterns/comfort

I love sleeping on a boat. At anchor and underway, even at the dock. And the more violent the weather, the better I sleep. When I'm off-watch, at least.
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Old 12-07-2015, 11:03   #12
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Re: Sleeping patterns/comfort

That is it...one huge issue on my mind is the anchor and is it dragging or is it just hanging straight down now in deep water and am I totally drifting.

And then the occasional crappy thought that a whale will breach and land on the boat. Or a snake get onto the boat...ugh.

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Old 12-07-2015, 11:04   #13
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Re: Sleeping patterns/comfort

I think comfort (or lack of it) and sleep (or lack of any) on a small boat at sea are purely individual matter. Likely, some sailors find small boats very comfy and some sailors sleep great thru storms and TSS's.

Now I find small boats most uncomfortable at sea and I too get very low quality sleep only, if at all. Once anchored, I will sleep like a baby except maybe for very rolly anchorages.

So I am like the OP in this respect and I think for us it is only either a bigger boat or (maybe?) a cat. Or stay at home. But it is boring at home.

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Old 12-07-2015, 11:14   #14
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Re: Sleeping patterns/comfort

One of the first things I do when I get a boat is throw out the old mattress and have a new one built at the local canvas shop, they use 2" of the harder foam and top it off with 3" of memory foam and it makes for a wonderful night's sleep. I always sleep better at sea than on the beach, I am sure part of that is I no longer worry about the shore side stuff and the boat is my natural environment.
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Old 12-07-2015, 11:23   #15
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Re: Sleeping patterns/comfort

Quote:
Originally Posted by tuffr2 View Post
That is it...one huge issue on my mind is the anchor and is it dragging or is it just hanging straight down now in deep water and am I totally drifting.

And then the occasional crappy thought that a whale will breach and land on the boat. Or a snake get onto the boat...ugh.

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Snake are pretty common, you get used to them swimming out and boarding the boat at night and slipping into bed with you after a while.
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