Benefits of Sleeping in a Hammock
Have you ever thought about swapping your bed for a hammock? Many people swear by sleeping daily in a hammock, and its popularity is growing.
You might be wondering if sleeping into a hammock is better than your traditional bed.
First let's dig deeper into the history of why ancient people slept in hammocks.
Why Ancient Peoples Slept in Hammocks
The first hammock mentioned in writings was around 450 B.C Invented by the Greek Alcibiades, student of Socrates Athenian general.
Anthropologists working in Central America have found that ancient peoples slept in hammocks from at least 700 years ago. However, ‘sleeping in nets between trees’ as Columbus exclaimed when he discovered the Bahamas, goes back much longer.
Throughout history it was common to see hammocks used in tropical climates and on military ships. Even up until the Vietnam war, soldiers were hammocks to rest between battle.
However, this practice coming from ancient times doesn’t necessarily mean it offers the highest quality of sleep. It could very well be that ancient peoples only looked at the practical benefits, being safe from venomous spiders, stinging ants, snakes and other dangerous creatures on the forest floor.
The saying, The Gift of the Gods, as the Maya call their hammocks suggests otherwise though.
Healthy Home Hack
Recent studies have uncovered some intriguing benefits of sleeping in a hammock. In fact, it seems to be one of the best cures for a good night sleep that man has ever invented.
Sleep Like a Baby
Recent research has shown that the swinging effect of a hammock provides the same kind of brain waves in adults that make babies fall so quickly into a deep sleep.
Not only do they make you fall asleep faster, but you will also doze off into a deeper and longer sleep.
In a June 2011 article published in the journal Current Biology, researchers found that the swinging motion provided by a hammock affords a faster route to sleep and the benefit of deeper sleep throughout the night.
This research provides insight into why rocking to sleep is the best method for lulling babies. The brain wave synchronization occurs much easier through a rocking motion and allows the baby to feel more at home (i.e. it feels closer to being in the womb).
The gentle rocking of a hammock will boost brain wave oscillations associated with better sleep and has been shown to provide pleasant sleep. More specifically, the rocking fortifies the brain waves that are naturally present during sleep which maintains you in a deeper sleep.
Is Deeper Sleep Better Sleep?
According to the researchers deeper sleep is not necessarily healthier but deeper sleep usually means a better recovery. All stages in the sleep cycle are beneficial but the deeper sleep stage and REM sleep stage are particularly important.
This is when our body repairs itself. Energy is restored, tissues and muscles are repaired, and the immune system is fortified. Different sleep cycles have different effects on the functions of our organ systems and it is hypothesized that during sleep the brain and other organs are recovering. .
Sleep is not a passive event, but rather an active process involving characteristic physiological changes in the organs of the body. (Source: National Institutes of Health)
The Laziest Way to Make You Smarter
The benefits of sleeping in a hammock include improved concentration, and as a result better reading and learning. Let’s see how this works.
The particular brain waves monitored during the research are directly related to memory. Michel Muhlethaler, professor of neuroscience in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Geneva, Switzerland said it like this;
..the type of waves that you see, which are reinforced here, have also been associated with an increase in memory for recent events. So it’s true that from that point of view, this type of ameliorated sleep could be beneficial also for cognitive purposes. source: NPR.org
Hammocks provide a fantastic way to relax after a hard day’s work. Who doesn’t like to doze off a little before dinner. And when you are reading in your hammock they provide valuable relaxation. Here’s how.
The research on the brain waves indicates that reading actually becomes more pleasant because of increased concentration. It also helps you remember what you have read. Which obviously is a real benefit for studying.
What do you think about sleeping in a hammock versus a bed? Please share this blog post and feel free to comment.