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Can’t Sleep? Try a Hammock

March 14, 2020 5 min read

Can’t Sleep? Try a Hammock

Audio Version

How Sleeping in a Hammock Can Give You a Better, Deeper Sleep

Sleep is a powerful thing. Not to sound scary, but it’s been found that regularly lacking sleep can lead to some serious physical and mental strains that cascade into all major pillars of your life. No pressure!

But did you know, there have been studies done that suggest sleeping in a hammock improves sleep and helps you sleep deeper and longer? Pretty neat, right?

To learn more about just how powerful sleeping in a hammock can be, especially for promoting deeper sleep, read on.

HOW HAMMOCKS PROMOTE A BETTER SLEEP

It’s no surprise that the gentle rocking of a hammock helps people fall asleep faster. But the rocking motion also contributes to having a deeper and longer sleep.

The position of the body in a hammock also promotes a better quality of sleep than the many unhealthy sleep positions we find ourselves in on flat mattresses.

When you sleep on your back with your head slightly elevated—as you would in a hammock—your breathing will be unobstructed, and your brain will have optimal blood circulation instead of congestion.

Hammocks also provide zero-pressure-point ergonomics, so there is no pressure placed on your body as you sleep, which is something even the most comfortable mattresses can’t provide.

So, when you use a hammock as a bed, you’re more likely to benefit from a relaxing, comfortable, and healthy sleep.

THE SCIENCE BEHIND ROCKING MOTION AND AIDING SLEEP 

According to a study published in Current Biology, sleeping in a rocking motion makes it easier to fall asleep and also improves the quality of sleep by causing stronger brain waves.

While studying the brain waves of participants in a rocking bed vs a stationary bed, researchers found that rocking decreased the transition time for falling asleep and increased the length of N2 sleep—a type of non-REM sleep that makes up half of a good night’s sleep.

Rocking also increased the amount of slow oscillation, or slow-wave activity—an indicator of deep sleep—and sleep spindle brain waves. Sleep spindles are correlated with tranquil sleep in noisy environments. So the spindles could be a sign that the brain calms sleepers stuck in noisy environments, along with other sensory stimulation, such as sleeping in a rocking motion.

The swinging motion synchronizes brain action and supports endogenous (self-sustained) sleep rhythms—e.g. like other constant sleeping conditions, such as complete darkness.

Spindles are also associated with the ability to remember new information, along with the brain’s ability to rewire itself—which is referred to as brain plasticity.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU GET A DEEPER SLEEP?

While all stages of a sleep cycle are beneficial to your mental and physical health, the deeper sleep stage and REM sleep stage are especially important.

During deeper sleep stages, your body repairs itself. Energy is restored, the immune system is strengthened, and tissues and muscles are repaired. Your brain is also restoring itself, so a deeper sleep improves brain plasticity and the ability to remember new information.

Getting enough quality sleep improves your overall mental, cognitive, and physical health and function, including hormone regulation. So, as a result of getting a deeper sleep every night, you can benefit from:

Elevated Mood

Feeling well-rested when you wake up—especially if you’re not a morning person—can help you wake up on the right side of the bed—or hammock—as they say.

Having a quality sleep with a healthy amount of deep sleep will prime your mind for the day. Your hormones will be better balanced, and your mood won’t be as cranky as it would be if you slept too little.

Improved Performance

The brain activity of a deep sleep improves concentration, which is important for performing well in your day-to-day life, including at work or school. The increased ability to form new memories makes for successful learning, studying, and performing. And this can also affect your ability to perform in your personal life as well, such as being more attentive and proactive in your home life.

Better Memory

Being forgetful can be a nuisance at the best of times and downright frustrating when it affects your quality of life. We can be forgetful at times, especially when we’re distracted or stressed out. But our ability to make new memories is so important for our life experiences and ability to function well at work, school, home, and in life in general.

More Physically Active

When you are well-rested, your energy is restored, and your muscles are repaired, so it’s easier to stay motivated to exercise daily. You likely won’t want to hit up the gym or go for a jog if you’re feeling sluggish after a poor night’s sleep. But if you had a deeper sleep, you’ll likely have more pep in your step and feel empowered to push your body.

READ MORE: 6 MAJOR HEALTH BENEFITS OF SLEEPING IN A HAMMOCK

HAMMOCKS AND INSOMNIA

Since the gentle rocking of a hammock can help people fall asleep faster and have a longer, deeper sleep, swapping your regular bed for a hammock might be the cure for your insomnia. So if you have trouble sleeping, falling asleep, or you wake up periodically throughout the night, try sleeping in a hammock.

HAMMOCKS CAN BE SLEPT IN EVERY NIGHT

Say what? Hammocks aren’t just for afternoon naps?

Though it’s a wild idea, you can actually sleep in your hammock every night for healthy sleep. Just make sure it isn’t a spreader-bar hammock—or you’ll risk flipping over. And consider sleeping in a double-sized hammock for the ultimate comfort.

Also, hang your hammock properly with a loose curve, so it isn’t too taught, and you can sleep in any position comfortably.

Sleep Position

We tend to toss and turn at night while sleeping on a mattress, thanks to the pressure points. But since hammocks don’t have pressure points, you can sleep in one position all night without feeling pain or discomfort.

As mentioned before, sleeping on your back with your head slightly elevated is considered the healthiest sleep position to promote a clear airway and blood circulation to your brain. Yet, you can still sleep on your side in a hammock if sleeping on your back is difficult.

But even those who have trouble sleeping on their backs on a mattress tend to have no trouble sleeping on their backs in hammocks. So try it out!

THE TAKEAWAY

We often take for granted the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. But getting enough quality sleep every night is the difference between barely functioning and performing successfully in all aspects of your life.

So if you have trouble sleeping, try swapping your bed for a hammock so you can rock into a relaxing, deep sleep that can help improve your quality of life.