There’s a lot of things you need to consider to maximize your enjoyment of your hiking trip. You need to plan out your food, come up with a good trail to hike, schedule properly so you can pace yourself, and make sure you have good supplies.
However, you also need to take steps to ensure you sleep well while hiking. In fact, sleeping well while hiking is more important than you may realize.
For starters, your sleep quality will certainly affect your energy levels throughout the following day. If you don't get enough good shut-eye, you'll feel groggy in the morning, fatigued in the afternoon, and far too exhausted to do anything except shovel dry food in your mouth in the evening.
This is hardly a way to get through a hiking trip, and it's a recipe for a subpar experience.
When hiking, you usually have to carry lots of gear down the trail. While you get all of your fuel from your food, sleep helps determine how well you can call on your body to use that fuel.
If you don't get enough sleep, you'll have a rough time carrying your gear from place to place.
Furthermore, the quality of your sleep can affect how alert you are the following day and evening. While many hiking trails are pretty easy, even for beginners, you still need to be much more alert than you typically are in your day-to-day routine in a civilized society.
It’s all too easy to become minorly injured if you lose focus, like if you have to navigate uphill or downhill during a tricky section of a trail.
If you aren’t alert, you might break gear, lose food, or get on your hiking friends’ nerves. All in all, sleep makes you agile and adaptable: critical attributes you need to maintain to have a good (and safe) hiking trip.
Perhaps most importantly, the quality of your sleep will eventually impact how well you enjoy your hiking trip.
If you get a good night’s rest, you’ll have a phenomenal time the next day on the trail and truly enjoy your hiking experience. You'll feel well-rested, alert, and be able to take in all the wonderful sights, sounds, and sensations that people go backpacking for the first place.
On the flip side, if you don't get enough good sleep, you'll spend the next day cranky, irritable, and wondering when you can lie back down to snooze some more. This can affect your trip even beyond a single day; in some cases, lack of sleep can cause you to sleep late, take extended breaks throughout the day, and throw your entire schedule off-kilter.
Ultimately, if you want to enjoy your hiking trip, you have to get good sleep for a full 7-8 hours each night.