How to Survive Sleep Deprivation During a SHTF Emergency

How to Survive Sleep Deprivation

Why You Should Add How to Survive Sleep Deprivation to Your Prepper Checklist!

When a SHTF emergency happens, thinking about how you will be able to survive sleep deprivation is going to be one of the last things on your mind. There’s just too many other things that take are going to take priority such as bugging out, defending your loved ones or your property, securing food,  water shelter … the list goes on.

But sleep deprivation will eventually raise its ugly head and catch up with you and, after a few sleepless nights, can become a serious challenge. 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.

Survive Sleep Deprivation Sleep Cycles

  • 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 Gun to Survive Sleep Deprivation

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!


If you start to feel as though you are about to nod off, get up off the couch or if you’re driving, pull over and do a little aerobics. Exercises release a massive amount of endorphins, which will sharpen your mind and shake you out of a pre dream daze.

Running is about the best exercise that you can do to wake yourself up. It is a natural trigger for adrenaline production that will put your body into fight or flight mode and help to keep you awake. Just don’t overdo the exercise, which can exhaust you, making you even more tired.

Eat Up

Your body is an organic machine and all machines require fuel in order to create energy and function. In the case of a human body, fuel comes in the form of food. Survival is all about caloric intake.

When your body is stressed to its limits you can supplement sleep with additional fuel intake. Most people turn to a candy bar for instant energy, but while this type of food does give you a near instant energy boost, it does come with a major price: a sugar crash.

Apples work quite well as the sugars from an apple are processed easier and it comes without a major crash. Fruit in general is a good energy food, but what you don’t want is a big meal full of proteins, fats, and starches. Those take a lot of energy to digest, which will put you into a food coma. Save the feast for when you have time to have a nice long nap. Speaking of naps…

Power Naps

One of the best things you can do when you’re tired is sleep, duh. I’m actually talking about a power nap. The key here is to have self-control and a booming alarm clock. Timing is everything, and you have to keep your naps under a half an hour to wake up feeling refreshed. If you do sleep over this 30 minute period you will actually wake up even groggier than when you first nodded off.

Chill Out

Have you ever noticed that movie theaters, classrooms and even office buildings are kept at a fairly brisk temperature? The chilled room actually causes you to be more alert and awake. So if you absolutely must stay awake disregard your electric bill and turn down that thermostat!

Look on the Bright Side

Your eyes have specialized light receptors that try to keep you awake when it’s light out, and help you go to sleep when it’s dark. This is another evolutionary trigger; we were built to be in the sunlight. Fortunately for us our bodies cannot tell the difference between natural and artificial light, so keeping your lights on and bright will help fool your body into thinking that its daytime and you should be awake.

Switch it Up

Even though I said above that the human body is a machine, your mind is not. Or rather, it was not built to focus on the same thing for extended periods. If you’ve been doing the same thing for a while and you start to feel like you can’t focus on the task any more, take a break and do something different for a little while. Your brain craves fresh activities. Taking a break, and then coming back to your original task will help your brain cope with the otherwise mind numbing monotony. Ideally, leave the space that you are working in and engage some other senses. Literally go outside and get a breath of fresh air, have a stretch, take a quick walk, and then come back to your task.


Via: On Point Preparedness, Survival Life

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