It is customary for humans to sleep while lying down. For many people, feeling rested and sleeping well is essential. Professionals consider that the best sleeping position is to sleep on your back with your head elevated 10 to 30 per cent. Professionals and those who follow this sleeping position believe that this position helps with breathing and your blood circulation throughout the night. So, is sleeping in a hammock healthy? Keep reading:
Usually, this is related to the way gravity affects our bodies. If you sleep standing or sitting upright, your muscles must work extra hard to maintain your posture. Sleeping in an upright position can make it difficult to sleep.
Also, sleeping in a lying-down position is necessary to experience REM sleep. It is an important phase of sleep where memories are consolidated, and it stimulates the areas of your brain that are essential for learning and forming or maintaining memories.
Most people sleep lying on the mattress. But some prefer to sleep on a hammock. Sleeping on a hammock is common in some parts of the world. If you have an uncomfortable bed, you may wonder if it’s better to sleep in a hammock. Experts claim that it has health benefits, but minimal research exists.
So, Is Sleeping in a Hammock Healthy?
If you are new to the hammock world and haven’t slept in one before, let me share some of the advantages and disadvantages of sleeping in a hammock.
Yes, this sleeping style is somewhat unusual, and no, it is not for everyone.
I hope this article will help you to find out whether a hammock bed is suitable for you or not.
Here are some pros and cons:
- Deeper and more restful sleep
- Pressure point relief
- Low risk for bugs
Benefits of sleeping in a hammock
To date, scientists have not extensively researched the benefits of hammock sleeping. Most studies involve children. Besides, many of the purported advantages for adults are anecdotal.
There are some pieces of evidence that says, sleeping in a hammock can provide many benefits:
Deeper and more restful sleep
Many people find sleeping in a hammock more comfortable or as good as sleeping on the ground. A small “survey” was conducted in 2011, where 12 men took two separate 45-minute afternoon naps on different days. They took a round of naps on a stationary bed and one on a swinging bed(hammock).
The survey conclusively proved that a rocking motion helps you fall asleep faster, and it also prolongs stage 2 sleep, where your body is in light sleep and prepares to enter deeper sleep. Researchers found that a nap in a hammock accelerated the transition from wakefulness to sleep.
According to researchers, motion can facilitate internal sleep rhythms, helping you to sleep deeper. The rocking nature of hammocks can also promote relaxation by creating a feeling of calm.
Although hammocks were not used in the survey, it is a reasonable assumption that a hammock will move more than a typical bed. This survey was a limited study, but it bolsters the long-held belief that rocking is beneficial for sleep (hence, why we rock babies to sleep).
Pressure point relief
Pressure points are your body parts that make contact with the bed. These are mainly your buttocks, shoulders, and knees.
The general idea is that hammocks reduce pressure points on your body which helps you sleep better. The idea is that the surface of the hammock is more flexible, so there is equal pressure on all parts of your body. It also moulds to your natural curves.
Although no scientific studies have confirmed this, fans of hammock sleeping say it helps with their pressure points, a purely theoretical benefit. Scientists have not investigated how hammocks sleeping affects pressure points.
Low risk for bugs
Sleeping in a hammock may be beneficial if you sleep outside or if your mattress is on the floor. Sleeping in the hammock makes you less accessible to insects.
In a bedroom, sleeping in a hammock can reduce the risk of dust mites accumulating on mattresses. However, sleeping in a hammock won’t ultimately mitigate your exposure to all of the bugs. You can still come into contact with flying insects.
Can you sleep in a hammock full time?
Research on hammock sleeping is lacking. Thus, there is no proof that sleeping on a hammock every night is good or bad for your health.
According to fans of the exercise, it can:
- Promote deep sleep
- Low sleep onset
- Reduce insomnia
- Reduce back pain
Again, these benefits are anecdotal. Talk to an expert if you’re interested in sleeping in a hammock full time.
Potential disadvantages of hammock
Hammocks are not flawless, and there are some obvious limitations:
Some studies show that hammocks have a lower quality of sleep than a bed
Yes, I know it was listed as a benefit before, but…
- Some sleepers object to even a tiny bend of the banana, which can be mostly but not entirely solved by an elaborate asymmetric hammock or bridge hammock.
- Some people feel a little squeezed in the hammock. In general, bridge hammocks feel a little stiffer than assembled hammocks.
A study was conducted by Science Direct in 2020 to measure the sleep quality of bed sleepers and hammock sleepers. 33-bed sleepers and 35 hammock sleepers were selected to participate.
When these participants were asked about their sleep quality, their sides had no different responses. However, when tests were conducted to measure sleep quality, they found that hammock users had a poorer sleep, slept for shorter periods at a time, and were more active in their sleep than bed users.
The study concludes that hammock users also claim to sleep on the bed because they have been conditioned to sleep on the bed and have no reference point. This study had a small and limited sample size, so it must be taken here along with a range of other evidence.
Are hammocks bad for your back?
Sleeping in a hammock is not for everyone. It depends on your sleeping style and overall health; you may undergo unwanted side effects.
It may include:
- Back pain
- Pain in the neck
- Postural change
- Rigidity (due to limited space for stretching)
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Some people sleep in hammocks out of necessity or preference. Reportedly, it can promote deep sleep and relieve your pressure points. But there is not sufficient evidence to back these claims. Most of the benefits are anecdotal.
For most people, the occasional nap in a hammock is considered safe. But if you want to do it at night, talk to an expert first. Sleeping in a hammock can cause side effects for some peoples such as back pain or poor posture. So, the best way to find out if one is better than the other one for you is simply to try it out for yourself. If you want to know more about hammock, you can read my article “6 Best Rated Camping Hammocks” and if you have any comments or stories you want to share, let us know in the comment section below. Be Safe and Happy Sleeping.!