Why You Should Start Sleeping In A Hammock
Perhaps you've sequestered your hammock in your backyard, and only lie down on it occasionally to read a book or drink a glass of wine. It may be a good idea to set one up in your bedroom, or even let a hammock replace your actual bed, though. Okay, perhaps that is going a little too far, but you should know there are some benefits to catching some winks in one of these swinging cocoons that a traditional bed doesn't offer. Considering that we rock babies in our arms to help them fall asleep, it should come as no surprise that that same rocking motion can help an adult get deeper rest.
Research has found that the rocking motion of a hammock can help you get better N2 sleep (that's the second phase of the REM cycle). The research suggests that the swinging sensation activates something in your brain that tells you it's time to doze off. Sleeping in a hammock also helps you fall asleep faster. If you waste a lot of time trying to shut your brain off at night, consider using a hammock. The swinging motion has also been found to increase sleep spindles. These are essentially periods of time when your brain is purposefully not processing new information so that you can stay asleep. If you're someone who is easily woken by small sounds or movement, you could benefit from an increase in sleep spindles — they help your brain disregard surrounding stimuli and remain tranquil.
Lying in a hammock is good for your body, too. Some chiropractors say that the best position in which to sleep is on one's back, with the head slightly elevated. That sounds a lot like sleeping in a hammock, doesn't it? When you sleep in a hammock, there is almost no pressure on any part of your body. This can make hammocks ideal for those with certain back problems. Even the softest of mattresses still put some pressure on your body. If you struggle with night sweats, sleeping in a hammock can also mean the end of waking up to a soaked mattress. In many ways, a hammock can be far more comfortable than a bed.
The History Of Hammocks
Most historians agree that the indigenous people of Middle and South America invented the hammock around 1,000 years ago. The word hammock comes from the Taino word hamaka, which means fishnet. The Taino people were indigenous inhabitants of the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Trinidad. The first hammocks were likely made from plant fibers or tree bark and people hung them above the ground to sleep away from snakes, bugs, and other creatures that might have bothered them during the night. It's believed the original hammock sleepers would build a small fire beneath their swinging bed to stay warm.
In the 16h century, during his explorations of the Bahamas, Columbus and his crewmates observed the natives sleeping on hammocks and decided to bring the concept back to Europe. Not long after, canvas and cotton were introduced to the New World, and Europeans began weaving their hammocks from these fabrics. The European and Spanish navies quickly adopted hammocks as their main way of sleeping. Because they swing, they were much safer than the bunk beds the sailors had previously slept in – they would often fall out of these on rough waters. But the navy tended to make them from canvas, which isn't as well-ventilated as the materials the indigenous people of central America used and some sailors were too hot.
In the 19th century, hammocks started to appear in British prisons. They were hung from the bars of the jail cells until inmates started using the hooks as weapons. After that, under the rule of a strict chairman of the Prison Commission, British jails started using hard wooden slats as beds. The first American commercial hammock manufacturer didn't come about until 1889, on Pawley's Island in South Carolina. From there, hammocks graduated from being utilitarian items on navy ships and in prisons to being luxury items found in family backyards and the favorite sleeping vessels of campers.
What To Look For In A Two-Person Hammock
When you get a two-person hammock, you can enjoy the swinging splendor of this item with a loved one. Set it up near some outdoor heaters with your projector, and you can have the coziest outdoor movie night. Just make sure your two-person hammock is rated to handle a lot of weight and features interlocking stitching so it can support you and your honey easily. Some have built-in pillows to give you neck support if you like to read in your hammock or keep your head elevated while you sip a cocktail.
If you plan on using your hammock outdoors and your area sees all sorts of weather, make sure your model features some waterproof fabric or coating to survive the rain. You may also want one with an attached mosquito net, especially if you plan on taking it camping in tropical regions. You don't want bug bites and malaria scares ruining a lovely evening outdoors. Some two-person hammocks also feature storage pockets, which are very helpful when you're camping and want to keep your valuables nearby when you sleep. If you do plan on traveling with your hammock, make sure it is lightweight while still durable, and packs down into a small size. Some come with a drawstring carrying bag, too, that keeps your hammock compressed.
Something else to consider is whether you like the curved hammocks that offer a cocoon environment, or flatter models that resemble a floating lounge chair. There is no right or wrong answer; it's all about your preference. Just know that if you prefer a flatter hammock, you'll want one with sturdy spreader bars on either end. Meanwhile, the cocoon-style ones typically won't feature spreader bars.