Not all hunters can be morning people. Sometimes it’s difficult to drag yourself out of bed to go on an early morning hunt, but we’ve got five tips to help you stay awake so you don’t close your eyes and miss the buck of your dreams.
Don’t Drink Too Much the Night Before
Drinking too much alcohol in the evening can affect the quality of your sleep. When the alcohol wears off, your body will go through mini withdrawal symptoms and disrupt your R.E.M. sleep cycle. You may not fully wake up, but you’ll be awake enough for the quality of sleep to be affected. If you know you’re going on a hunt the next morning, try to limit your alcohol intake the night before. Save the celebrations for after the hunt when you can “cheers” to a bountiful harvest.
Go to Sleep Before Midnight
Our body has a natural sleep cycle it needs to go through every night for us to wake up well-rested. Your body’s natural Circadian Rhythm begins at 9:00 p.m., secreting melatonin to encourage you to go to sleep. By falling asleep between 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. you’re following your body’s natural sleep cycle and you’ll feel more well-rested in the morning. Your body will be able to wake up before/with the sun and you’ll still have gotten the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep.
Take a Nap
Nothing feels worse than forcing yourself to stay awake when your eyes seem to be closing on their own. So if you find yourself nodding off mid-draw, don’t force it. If you’re in a blind, it’s easy to take a break to nap. Bring a sleeping bag or set up a cot so that you can catch a quick cat nap to rejuvenate. If you need a new hunting blind that’s big enough to set up a cot in, check out our Stump blinds. There’s enough room to set up your own personal nap station so you can take a break and recharge.
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Your mother was right: breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. A sugary breakfast should be avoided when you’re heading off to an early morning hunt. Sugary cereals and other breakfast foods can lead to a sugar crash later. Eat a breakfast packed with protein and natural sugar to get you started. Pack a plate with meats, eggs, and fruits for maximum alertness throughout the day.
Dehydration is a huge cause of fatigue. It seems like a simple task, but make sure you always keep a water bottle with you during your hunt. Stock your blind with multiple bottles or carry a bigger container in your backpack so you can have it in your stand. Staying hydrated brings you one step closer to fighting off sleep.
Our mental health is as important as our physical health. You could have the muscles of a body builder but if your brain doesn’t match the beefiness of your body, you’ll perform poorly in the field. Recharging the human brain is as necessary as plugging in your phone. Try to get a good night’s sleep the night before a hunt, eat a well-balanced breakfast, and don’t be afraid to take a nap break. If you keep these tips in mind, your next hunt will not only be a successful one, it will be a restful one as well. How do you stay awake during early morning hunts? Let us know in the comments below!