Outdated idea: Beds are for sleeping, hammocks are for relaxing. Have you noticed that’s what the majority of folks seem to think? Sure, they’ll read a book in their backyard hammock, or doze off in a beach hammock at a resort, but they are only scratching the surface of the benefits of hammock sleeping.
Note: There hasn’t been much scientific research conducted on this topic, but the anecdotal evidence is very convincing! Keep in mind as you read that we are not scientists or doctors — although Kristen is a certified massage therapist with years of experience and some knowledge in this area. We have personally benefited greatly from sleeping in a hammock. We’ve also spoken with hundreds of people who all have had a similar experience. We recommend giving it a try to see if it works for you too!
Pressure Point Relief
A pressure point occurs when a place on the body is exposed to extended pressure (i.e. overnight). This can make the muscle, skin, or joint very sore as well as reduce circulation to the area. Pressure points are a real bummer to overall health and well-being. Mattresses have come a long way in the past couple decades, and a good one will not exacerbate pressure points. Hammocks do the same thing! When you lie in a hammock, you’re almost floating. The material forms to your body and takes the pressure off of your hips and low back. Some people say that traditional gathered-end hammocks constrict their shoulders a bit, but there are many new hammock designs on the market that add a spreader bar on the head end to allow your chest and shoulder area to lay flat. (Check out the Warbonnet Ridgerunner, the Haven Tent (actually a hammock), or the DutchWare Banyan Bridge Hammock for great lay-flat options.)
Traction on the Spine
Back when I was a massage therapist, I performed spinal traction at every session. Throughout the course of the day, the vertebral discs become compacted thanks to gravity and the impact of walking. You are actually slightly shorter at the end of every day than the beginning! Spinal traction is applying pressure to open up the spine and stretch out those spaces in between the vertebrae. Massage therapists, physical therapists, and chiropractors do this regularly for their clients. They may also suggest an inversion table (a device that allows you to hang inverted to relieve spinal pressure.) You can get this same benefit from sleeping in a hammock. The gentle curved shape gives a nice stretch to the spine. If Cal has a sore low back, he knows a few nights in a hammock will work it right out.
Ever been holding a fussy baby who only stops crying when you’re moving? Exhausting for the parents, but we can use this as a clue to human sleep habits. The rocking motion is almost magical in its ability to soothe and relax. One can assume this is ingrained from the time we are infants being rocked by our caregivers, or even go deeper than that to the innate rhythmic nature of life — the ocean tide, human breath patterns, the moon waxing and waning, etc. Whatever it is, it works wonders and can be added to the many benefits of hammock sleeping.
Reduced Allergen Exposure
Mattresses collect dust. In fact, not only dust, but mites, dead skin cells, and oil build up in our mattresses over the years. Folks who are prone to allergies may see exaggerated symptoms – runny nose, coughing, watery eyes, and more – if their mattresses are full of irritating allergens. These folks may benefit from a few nights away from their mattress, or even switching to full-time hammock sleeping! A hammock is one or two thin layers of material that are easy to keep clean. Depending on the brand of hammock, you may be able to wash it gently in cold water, or use our favorite hammock cleaning method – take it outside, give it some good shakes, then allow the sun to do its wonderful anti-microbial thing for a while while it hangs up.
Did you know in some cultures, it is normal for people to sleep in hammocks every night? The Mayan people in Mexico sleep in their beautiful hand-woven hammocks every night instead of beds to stay cool in the hot climate. A nylon hammock has the same benefit – air circulation all around your body on hot nights. And, when the temperature dips, a nice under quilt (like this Cedar Ridge one or this Little Shop of Hammocks one) will keep your backside toasty warm.
Reap the Benefits of Hammock Sleeping for yourself!
- Figure out how often you want to do it. Some people make a point to sleep in a hammock every time they go camping. Others just do it a few nights per month. Then there are folks who have gone all in and replaced their bed with a hammock. We call these folks full-time hammock sleepers. We think you’ll find good results from any amount of time.
- Decide how to hang your hammock. You may decide to fix permanent hooks in your walls to hang your hammock indoors. (Just make sure you do it securely or hire a professional who understands structures!) You may also opt for a free-standing hammock stand like the YOBOgear Cricket, which can be used indoors or outdoors.
- Choose a good hammock! Brands we love: Walhalla Hammocks, Dutchware Gear, Little Shop of Hammocks
Have you experienced the benefits of hammock sleeping? What did we miss? Feel free to reach out and let us know your experiences. We are also here for any questions you might have. Find YOBOgear on Instagram, facebook, or YouTube and e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org any time. Happy hammocking to you all!