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Hang in a Hammock for Better Mental Health

August 04, 2022 6 min read

Young woman sits in a Brazillian hammock chair holding her dog

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Hang In A Hammock For Better Mental Health

Hammocks remain popular worldwide, with the market expected to grow by more than USD 470.76 million by the end of 2024.

The gentle sway of a hammock underneath a shady tree on a warm day is the picture of relaxation. However, hammocks aren't just for the backyard. Many people choose to sleep in a hammock rather than a bed, and doing so may bring certain benefits.

What are the benefits of hammocks, and why do so many people love them?

If you're interested in how to live a stress-free life, keep reading! We cover plenty of advantages backed by science, including how hammocks affect the vestibular system. By the end of the article, you'll be ready to try one for yourself.

What Is the Vestibular System?

The reason hammocks can help calm your nerves and have a positive effect on your health is because of the vestibular system, which creates your sense of balance.

Your vestibular system is a set of complex neural pathways and structures that affect your sense of equilibrium, balance, and proprioception— your body's ability to sense movement, location, and action. The vestibular system affects your sense of orientation, and it helps a person coordinate their movements. And what’s more, the vestibular system is what gives us that adrenaline rush (or woozy feeling) when we ride a roller coaster. This hints at its role in our mental health, too.

As it turns out, swinging in a hammock stimulates the vestibular system.  Studies have shown that rocking or swaying gently in a hammock can also help us fall asleep faster, encouraging a deeper state of sleep compared to a standard bed. This rocking motion can help increase the duration of stage N2 sleep, during which we experience a ton of rapid eye movement.

Think about how: how do you get a baby to fall asleep or calm down? You rock them gently. Think of a hammock as a grown-up version of the same. They soothe and relax our minds with a comforting motion.

diagram of the vestibular system

Hanging Out and Swaying in a Hammock Can Help Your Mood

It's been a long day at work, you're stressed, and your muscles are tight as you think about your long list of tasks you need to finish. You might feel anxious, burned out, or depressed.

It's time to utilize a stress management technique.

Some people turn to yoga or exercise or take a moment for meditation and deep breathing. Yet other people turn on music or take a long bath. And yet, sometimes, we forget to unwind and make time for self-care.

Swinging in a hammock is an easy form of self-care. The gentle back and forth creates a relaxing sensation, which helps reduce anxiety. The swinging motion reinforces endogenous sleep rhythms, creating a calm or sleepy feeling.

Hammocks as Therapy for Autism in Children

A hammock swing is often used in movement therapy to help children with autism as it allows them to process their senses in a safe and playful way. This system balances us as we move and orientates us within our surroundings. Think about a time when you’ve woken up in an unfamiliar place (first morning on your vacation for example) – your vestibular system will use sensory perceptions to try and coordinate itself. This can often be stressful, especially for those who may have some form of vestibular dysfunction.

Hammocks also boost the sense of balance and reestablish the vestibular system. Plus, as the hammock wraps around the body, it helps comfort the child, making it a great therapy tool.

Woman swings in beige hammock

Top Mental Health Benefits of a Hammock

There are several mental health benefits of using a hammock as well. It can calm your nerves, result in better sleep, and much more.

Here are some of the biggest advantages.

Better Sleep

Consider for a moment why rocking soothes a baby.

As it turns out, our brains are evolutionarily programmed to respond to that particular motion. Studies have found that rocking in a hammock may improve the quality of sleep and help even you fall asleep faster.

The same way that rocking helps a baby rest easy also helps us as adults achieve better and deeper sleep.

Better Mental Focus and Concentration

Hammocks not only help with sleep but using one is good for your brain, too. Rocking improves memory and results in increased stigma activity.

Rocking helps to synchronize brain waves and boosts memory consolidation. It can also help with recall.

It makes sense when you consider that hammocks result in better and deeper sleep, as it gives the brain time to recharge.

Reduce Stress

As we mentioned earlier, the gentle rocking motion associated with hammocks can work as a stress-management technique.

When we're stressed, the blood pressure goes up, and the heart rate increases. This is called our stress response.

Unwinding in a hammock calms us and helps us relax, which lowers our blood pressure and heart rate. This is known as a relaxation response.

Helps With Anxiety

What's the connection between hammocks and anxiety relief?

Similar to how hammocks help with stress, they can also lower anxiety levels, especially when used with other relaxation strategies.

We experience anxiety for many reasons, such as chronic stress. Many techniques that help you live a stress-free life also help you reduce anxiety levels.

Person reading an e-book in their pink and yellow hammock

Top Physical Health Benefits of a Hammock

 

Keeps Your Back Healthy

People often wonder, do hammocks help with back pain?

Back pain can happen for several reasons, but sleeping in a position that puts pressure on your spine or joints is a leading cause.

You rest in a hammock on your back rather than in an unusual position, which may help decrease back pain. Also, a hammock can reduce pressure on your spine and allow you to relax in a more natural position.

Improves Blood Circulation

When you use a hammock, your upper body is slightly elevated, which helps with blood circulation to the head. Also, you're putting less pressure on your joints, which improves circulation overall.

Better circulation can improve blood pressure, remove toxins in the body, help reduce congestion, and more.

Reduced Physical Stress = Improved Mental State

When your body aches, it affects your mental state as well. There's a definite link between your body's health and your mind's wellbeing. For instance, chronic stress wears down the body and can result in headaches, stomachaches, and more.

Reducing your physical stress by relaxing in a hammock will improve your mental state too!

Protects From Parasitic Diseases (and Dust Mites)

In areas of the world where parasites are a definite concern, hammocks can help protect people by keeping them out of reach. Chagas disease, caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, is transmitted by a certain type of blood-sucking bug.

In the Yucatán Peninsula, sleeping on hammocks makes people less accessible to the pests.

Hammock use can also reduce dust mites, which feed on dead skin cells. Mattresses are often filled with dust mites, and these tiny nuisances can cause all sorts of health issues.

Improves Heart Rate

When you're relaxed, your heart rate slows down. Relaxation techniques, such as gently swinging in a hammock, can help you decompress and calm down. It's good for your heart, especially if you deal with chronic stress and anxiety.

Other Ways To Improve Your Mental Health

If you really want to know how to live a stress-free life, you need to combine healthy habits. In addition to taking a break in your hammock, consider these relaxation methods to boost your mental health:

 

  • Practice breathing techniques
  • Take a moment for self-care
  • Eat right for your body
  • Get enough sleep each night
  • Learn how to respond to stress
  • Seek counselling or therapy if necessary
  • Create a support system
  • Get active
  • Value yourself 

The Takeaway

Even those who consider themselves to be successful know that self-care is essential to mental health and they know that it’s not a one-time fix. Self-care is an ongoing, never-ending process. It’s imperative to remember that only you can take preventive measures to ensure you maintain good mental health. Having your own personal hammock to relax in and escape everyday demands can provide a much-needed break anytime of day.

As you can see, there are many hammock benefits for both your physical and mental wellbeing. The best part is that you can experience them right away.

So, if you want to know how to live a stress-free life, start by taking a look at our wide selection of hammocks.