Do people sleep in the long dark? (5 ways)


Author bio

Page last updated: 21/09/2022

In this blog post we will answer the question, “do people sleep in the long dark?” and look at what the video game, the long dark, is about. We will also explore why the game was created and if it is important.

Do people sleep in the long dark?

Yes, just like humans, you must sleep in the long dark video game. Those who do not sleep get fatigued and die and that means the game is over. To sleep, the player must look for a bed, and place their bedroll on the ground, in the car or in a snow shelter. 

The player also gets an option of crafting a bearskin bedroll (it is warmer than a standard bedroll) or using the standard bedroll. Before we look at why it is important for the player to sleep, let us look at what the video game is about.

What is the long dark?

The long dark is a solo-player video game that was developed and published by Hinterland Studios. It was released on September 22, 2014. The player takes up the role of a bush pilot, Will Mackenzie, who has crashed and has to survive the Canadian wilderness following a geomagnetic storm.

The game is not only fun to play but also teaches us survival skills that are necessary for life. The players are challenged to think for themselves as they face the cold, animals and other threats from the environment. Finding a place to sleep is a challenge.

As a player, you have to look for materials that will help you have a good night’s sleep. If you cannot do this, the character gets too fatigued and might die. This game will help us identify why sleep is a crucial part of our survival.

The game is almost 20 ½ hours in length. For a gamer who wants to attain 100% completion, you will spend around 182 hours on the game.

Games mode

The long dark has three primary game modes and they include:

Story mode

This is the episodic main-game mode. It is the only version that contains the overall plot and NCPs. 

Sandbox mode

The only goal in sandbox mode is to survive as long as you can. It is an open-play game mode where the player. There are no NPCs to interact with nor quests to complete. The difficulty modes in sandbox include interloper, voyager, pilgrim and stalker.

Challenge mode

This is a goal-oriented game mode. It has challenges that present the player with different challenges to overcome. The game is situated in an open world environment.

Do people sleep in the long dark? (5 ways)

What to know about the long dark

You are alone

In this game, you must earn your right to survive. You, as the player, must think for yourself. Although you are given some hints, you have to look for solutions.

The land is expansive

The game is situated in the North Canadian wilderness that is 50 square kilometres. You have to work tooth and nail to find supplies. There are different levels of challenges and you have to be alert at all times. The challenges include weather and wildlife.

You need to search for supplies

The gear items that you need for survival must be found in the game. They include clothes, tools, weapons, light sources and food supplies.

You have to keep monitoring your conditions

As you struggle to find resources and survive, you must ensure that you get enough sleep, eat, drink water, and get rid of fatigue and cold. You need to be careful in your quest as all activities consume calories which can lead to death.

Try to avoid dying

The game applies the rule of Charles Darwin, survival for the fittest. You have to keep hunting and avoid being hunted. There are bears and wolves, and you have to protect yourself from frostbite, hypothermia and dysentery. You also have to keep fishing, hunting, laying traps, climbing and ensuring that you don’t get lost.

Sleeping in the long dark

The long dark mimics the human body. It restores fatigue and restores the conditions if the player is freezing, attacked or dehydrated. Finding a place to sleep is not easy. There are three options:

  • Look for a bed
  • Place a bedroll on the ground
  • Use the bedroll action in the car or snow shelter

You also have the option of crafting a bearskin bedroll which is more comfortable and warmer than a standard bedroll.

The long dark and why sleep is important

Helps in healing wounds

Will Mackenzie’s body in the long dark is repaired and rebuilt when he sleeps. When he sleeps the required hours, sprains and ankles get healed and this saves the use of first aid tools. Other afflictions like food poisoning also require sleep besides medication for him to be completely healed.

This works not only in the video games but also in real life. Your body can boost the immune system and repair muscles, enhance tissue growth, protein release and protein synthesis. Enough sleep gives the body and brain time to clear the waste and replenish it.

Continuous lack of enough rest increases the body’s damage slowly, and it is not realized until it’s too late.

Restores the fatigue meter

In the long dark, sleep helps Will Mackenzie recover from physical fatigue from walking and looking for sustenance the whole day. Scientific research has shown that humans need sleep to recover from fatigue and increase alertness. Both short and long naps are helpful in helping the body recover from fatigue.

It also helps in the conservation and restoration of energy. In the game, Will faces a lot of challenges like hunting, laying traps, climbing mountains, and all these are exhausting. Failure to sleep leads to the game being over as Will dies.

It keeps him warm and prevents hypothermia

In ‘the long dark’, sleep is used to restore the fatigue meter to help Will survive the harsh conditions like blizzards, storms and chilly nights. Sleeping and shielding himself indoors helps him keep warm and avoid hypothermia, which can kill him. Humans are naturally conditioned to sleep when covered ‌to stay warm.

Shelter is a basic need which protects us from harsh weather outside like frosty nights. Being outside in the cold can cause hypothermia, which is fatal and can lead to death.

Help to pass time

Will needs to stay indoors or sleep to pass time and avoid the danger the wild poses like attack from wild animals or natural causes like blizzards. He needs to wait for daylight to continue with his quest to survive. Sleep helps one to pass time and feel refreshed.

It is also a good way to feel rejuvenated and relaxed. It helps your mind to rejuvenate and look forward to tackling the next day with a clear memory and good judgement.

It helps recover the conditions in the game

Will needs sleep in the game to recover his condition.  Condition in the game means his general well-being. It is measured in percentage ranging from 1 to 100%.

If the condition goes to zero, the player dies.cold depletes the condition faster, followed by hunger, thirst and fatigue. Condition is also lost if the player is attacked by wild animals, falls from a cliff or gets injuries. The easiest way to recover the condition is by sleeping.

As discussed earlier, it heals wounds faster, protects you from attacks, keeps you warm, and improves rest. In normal life, sleep helps to improve our immune system and helps the body to rebuild.

The disadvantages of sleep in the long dark

It increases thirst

The player may want to have food and water at hand since sleep increases thirst. The body naturally loses fluids in may ways. As you breathe out/snore moisture evaporates and this causes mild dehydration. 

Poor sleep quality also affects the regulation of fluids which then leads to dehydration. Sleeping in winter, mountain climates, and deserts increases the chances of waking up thirsty. Humid air makes you more thirsty.

Sleeping outdoors can make you freeze

The player should always ensure that they look for a shelter or warm place to sleep to avoid freezing. The body temperatures drop when sleeping and this can cause hypothermia. 

Challenges in the long dark

There are 8 challenges in the long dark and they include:

How to improve sleep

  • Maintain a regular sleep and waking schedule and stick to it
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and nicotine before sleeping
  • Do not overeat or drink too much before going to sleep
  • Take a hot shower before bed
  • Relax before bed. Put away your phone and switch off the tv
  • Maintain a cool temperature in your room
  • Do not nap after 3 pm and limit your naps to a maximum of 1 hour
  • Engage in activities until you feel sleepy

What happens if you don’t sleep?

  • Your risk for cancer increases
  • Major cognition issues
  • You get sick
  • Your heart suffers
  • Your memory becomes poor
  • Libido decreases
  • Your risk of diabetes increases
  • You gain weight
  • Your skin suffers
  • You are accident prone


We have discussed important lessons learnt from the video game ‘the long dark’ that you had probably overlooked. We started by discussing what sleep is and also explained ‌the importance of sleep and ways of improving our sleep.

Finally, we noted down how much sleep is enough for us and the dangers associated with sleeplessness/ sleep deprivation. If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.

Frequently asked questions: the long dark how to sleep

Why is sleep important?

Sleep helps your body and mind function properly by improving memory and decision making and making you more creative. It also reduces the risk of getting chronic illnesses like heart diseases and diabetes.

What happens if you don’t sleep?

The high-risk consequences of sleep deprivation are diabetes, obesity, heart attack or stroke. It also reduces the immune system and causes low libido.

Are 7 hours of sleep enough?

The number of sleep hours varies from one person to another, but most adults perform well after getting 7-9 hours of sleep.

How can I get more sleep?

Ensure that you create a routine for your sleeping and waking time, stay away from alcohol, caffeine and nicotine, avoid overeating and drinking too much before bed, take a hot shower before bed and avoid distractions i.e., tv and mobile phones when in bed.


Marcin A. (2019, May 11). 10 things that happen to your body when you lose sleep. Retrieved from

AtriumHealth, sleep explained. Retrieved from

Charles S., (2021, January 10). The importance of sleep. Retrieved from

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?