I’ve always loved winter activities. I use to hate sleeping in the cold. I say “use to” because I’ve figured out some ways to sleep more comfortably when it’s frigid outside. There’s a LOT to say on this topic, but I’ll try to keep it concise.
Eat your face off! Your body requires calories to burn in order to keep you warm. It loves carbs for quick calories, and especially loves fats for long-term calories. Feel free to have an extra creamy hot chocolate before bed, or a rich and thick dessert of some kind. You’ll love eating it, and your body will convert all that great stuff into warmth throughout the night.
Drink it up! The more hydrated you are, the more easily your body will be able to send blood to your fingers and toes. If you find yourself dehydrated, you’ll have a hard time moving that blood. This translates to feeling cold throughout the night. Avoid alcohol and other diuretics like caffeine. They will cause you to pee more, which makes you more dehydrated. As discussed, dehydration equals cold.
Make a hot water bottle. Before going to bed, fill a water bottle with hot water and throw it into your sleeping bag. CAUTION: DO NOT USE A METAL WATERBOTTLE OR YOU CAN SUFFER SEVERE BURNS. This water bottle will radiate heat all night long and keep you toasty warm. Please be careful to avoid burning yourself.
Exercise before bed. This goes against everything we know about being able to fall asleep easily, but if you exercise vigorously before bed, you will create a lot of heat. If you can hop into your sleeping bag while you’re still radiating heat, your sleeping bag will trap that warmth and keep you warmer throughout the night.
Go pee! Should you find yourself curled up in your sleeping bag and suddenly needing to pee in the middle of the night, make sure you get up and go pee. Your body uses a LOT of energy to keep your pee at a specific temperature. That energy is way better spent on keeping you warm. Selfish pee. Poop is even worse! It requires even more energy than pee to stay at a steamy temperature. I suggest keeping your boot liners inside your sleeping bag, so that if you do have to do a midnight-escape, you can do it with toasty feet.
Sleep in clean clothing. Our bodies sweat, and have oils on them. Those things, plus dirt from running around all day clog up our clothing and prevents the easy exchange of warm air. Before going to sleep, change into some fresh clean clothing. This will allow your heat to move around the sleeping bag more easily.
There are definitely more tips and tricks on this subject. Perhaps we’ll write a part two to this one. Perhaps you’ll have to join us on a winter trip to find it out. Not quite sure yet. Hopefully with these tips, you sleep dramatically warmer than you have been until now.