12 Tips For Sleeping At High Altitude

Tips For Sleeping At High Altitude

When embarking on a high-altitude adventure, quality sleep is imperative for a good experience. With over a decade of experience, we’ll share twelve tips for sleeping at high altitude so you can feel your best.

Sleeping At High Altitude

Sleeping at high altitude presents a unique set of challenges including risk of altitude sickness that can impact the overall experience of adventurers, travelers, and mountain-goers.

The reduced oxygen levels at higher elevations often lead to difficulties in achieving restful sleep, often accompanied by issues such as insomnia and restless nights.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know how to sleep at high altitude better.

Why Am I So Tired At High Altitude?

You’re likely tired due to altitude sickness.

High altitudes can do a number on the body with the lack of oxygen, rooted in altitude sickness or mountain sickness.

Fatigue, tiredness and shortness of breath are common symptoms of altitude sickness. This also relates to sleepiness, sleeping difficulty, and even insomnia.

Is Sleep Apnea Worse At High Altitude?

Yes, sleep apnea can be worse at high altitude.

For those who already have sleep apnea, high altitudes make breathing harder.

Research from 2011 found that those living at high elevations with sleep apnea were more likely to worsen their sleeping condition, by developing central sleep apnea.²

How Can I Sleep Better At Altitude?

There’s many factors that play a role in sleeping at high altitudes. 

The good news is that there’s many tips and tricks to sleep better — including natural sunlight, regulating bedroom temperature and darkness, exercise, as well as natural things including hydration and antioxidants.

To learn all of our twelve tips for sleeping at high altitude, continue reading below.

How Long Does Altitude Insomnia Last?

Insomnia and sleeping issues are common symptoms of altitude sickness at high elevations.

We found it can take a range of 1-5 days to acclimate at high altitudes, therefore likely the same time to see improvements in insomnia or any sleeping difficulties.

Keep in mind this can differ between individuals, and could take longer especially if no steps are taken to improve your high altitude sleep.

Can You Take Sleeping Pills At Altitude?

Generally speaking for sleeping pills that are considered natural supplements, yes you can take them at high altitude.

For any medication, you’ll want to check with your doctor or medical professional if it’s okay to take.

12 Tips For Sleeping At High Altitude

If you want to conquer the mountains without the common difficulties of sleeping, you’ll need to take the proper steps and precautions.

Our company is based in Colorado and has over a decade of high-altitude experience, and we’ll share what you can do to sleep best in the high altitudes.

12 Tips For Sleeping At High Altitude:

1. Get Natural Sunlight

    Natural sunlight helps regulate your circadian rhythm including melatonin production, which promotes better quality sleep.

    Aim to get at least 20-30 minutes of natural sunlight on your skin each day when sleeping at high altitudes.

    2. Boost Antioxidants

    Oxidative stress increases with elevation.⁵ To the point where glutathione, the body’s master antioxidant, was shown to lower by 45% in high altitudes.⁶

    Boost your antioxidants to fight oxidative stress, replenish your body, and fuel your body during sleep. Supplement with an antioxidants or with a product like Zaca containing glutathione.⁷

    3. Acclimate Slowly

    One of the biggest keys to avoiding altitude sickness is acclimating slowly. Allowing your body time to adjust will lessen the impact, which leads to a better night's sleep too.

    While not always possible, try to gradually ascend. For example, well prepared visitors of Colorado will spend a night or two in Denver at 5280 feet before ascending to the Rock Mountains ranging heights of 6000 to 14000 feet.

    4. Blackout Bedroom

    Blocking out external light helps signal to your body that it's time for rest and helps deep sleep.⁴

    Create an optimal sleep environment by darkening your bedroom with blackout blinds and eliminating any blue light from electronics.

    5. Stay Hydrated

    Dehydration has been shown to negatively impact the sleep-wake sleeping cycle, and also regulates your body’s temperature.

    Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, as some experts recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces of water per day. Avoid water before bed that can cause you to wake up to urinate.

    TIP: To help hydration, add sea salt (containing natural minerals) to your water/food, and take Zaca’s chewables to aid in water absorption.

    6. Lower the Temperature

    Studies have found that higher bedroom temperatures can lower sleep quality.⁴

    Lower the room temperature to keep a cool sleeping environment for better sleep, usually no higher than 70°F (20°C).

    7. Exercise Daily

    Engaging in exercise and physical activity can help increase blood blow, lower stress, and even increase melatonin production [⁸][⁹] — all which can be beneficial for sleeping.

    Whether hiking, working out, or walking, a moderate amount of exercise can aid your sleep quality at higher heights.

    8. Take Melatonin

    Melatonin, which is the hormone in the body that helps regulate sleep cycles, was shown to have a 15% sleep quality improvement in a study.⁴

    Consider taking a melatonin supplement of 2 mg before bed, but beware of the potential side effects including drowsiness, headaches, and feeling sick.

    9. Limit Caffeine To The Morning

    Research from the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine showed that caffeine significantly disrupts sleep.¹⁰

    While caffeine can help give you the energy boost you need in the morning at high altitudes, be careful to only limit your consumption to the mornings or no less than 8 hours before bed.¹¹

    10. Stick To A Schedule

    Your circadian rhythm is on a regular cycle in sync with sunrise, sunset, and your sleeping habits. The more consistent you are with your sleeping schedule, the better quality sleep you can get.⁴

    While at high altitudes, and even before so if going on a trip, make sure you stick to a schedule with similar times each night.

    11. Eat Dinner Early

    Your body has to digest the food you eat while sleeping if you’re eating too close to bedtime, potentially affecting your sleep quality.¹²

    Eating dinner at least 2-4 hours before bedtime is often recommended by experts to avoid any consequences to your sleep.

    12. Avoid Alcohol

    Alcohol can be hard to avoid especially if on vacation at a high-altitude destination, but it can lead to many issues similar to altitude sickness including nausea and disrupting your sleep quality.

    Avoid alcohol your few nights sleeping at high altitude until you feel clear of altitude sickness. If you’re going to consume drinks, do it in moderation as the more alcohol you intake the worse the effect on your sleep.

    By incorporating these twelve tips for sleeping at high altitude into your mountain trip or adventure, you can enhance your chances of enjoying restful nights.

    High Altitude Supplement

    Altitude Tablets
    Elevate your adventures by using Zaca, a chewable supplement that helps you hydrate, recover, and revive faster. Packed with natural ingredients, including herbs and amino acids, these chewables enhance your performance. Easy and conveniently made in on-the-go packets whether you're climbing mountains, skiing down slopes, or exploring scenic vistas. Simply pop 2-4 chewables whenever you need it most.
    Try Zaca’s chewable supplement today and feel better exploring new heights.


    1. How To Sleep Better At High Altitudes
    2. Does Altitude Affect Sleep Apnea?
    3. Sleep tips: 6 steps to better sleep
    4. Proven Tips to Sleep Better at Night
    5. High altitude and oxidative stress
    6. Oxidative Stress and Diseases Associated with High-Altitude Exposure
    7. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione
    8. The Benefits of Exercise while Traveling
    9. Influence of Aerobic Exercise on Sleep and Salivary Melatonin in Men
    10. Caffeine Effects on Sleep Taken 0, 3, or 6 Hours before Going to Bed
    11. Caffeine and Sleep
    12. Is Eating Before Bed Bad?