Did you know that hammocks offer the perfectly-balanced sleep position for humans? If you did not, you know it now. Even physicians consider a hammock offers the best sleep position for most of us. Many doctors say the perfect sleep position is “. . . lying on one’s back with the head slightly elevated, about 10 to 30 percent. This is postulated to give the brain optimal blood circulation rather than congestion and also allows for more unobstructed breathing.”
You can learn that many native cultures sleep this way in hammocks, “rather than on flat surfaces,” as is common to most western cultures. According to Janet Kinosian, writing for the Huffington Post in 2010 in her article “What Your Sleep Position Says About You,” she examined the link between personality and typical sleep positions.
For example, hardworking businesspersons and entrepreneurs seem to be more likely to sleep on their backs (called the royal position), while persistent, goal-oriented people seem to favor sleeping on their stomach – stomach-sleepers also appear to exhibit dominant compulsive traits.
Health Benefits of Hammocks Are Being Studied
Finally, science is realizing what native cultures have known for hundreds of years. Hammocks provide ideal sleep positions for humans, including children. Medical hammocks constantly become more popular with physicians from all types of specialties. Now hammocks are actively being used to treat premature babies, arthritis, acid reflux conditions, autism, and sleep apnea.
Scientific studies indicate that sleeping in a hammock is an effective road to better health and fitness, along with delivering deep, restful sleep to recharge your human batteries to successfully face a busy day. Quality hammocks slept in properly, with your head slightly raised, reduce stress, while eliminating the chance of falling out on the ground or floor.
A gently rocking hammock has proven to help you fall asleep faster, while having you enjoy a deeper sleep than on a traditional bed. Why gentle rocking motions encourage sleep in babies and adults remains a mystery? But it works, as every parent learns when it’s time for their babies to sleep.
A 2011 study by the University of Geneva (Switzerland) determined that participants fell asleep faster with hammock-like rocking motion, but also changed the type of sleep they enjoyed. Researchers noted a “dramatic boosting of certain types of sleep-related [brain wave] oscillations.”
During each participant’s nap or sleep time, researchers monitored brain activity with an EEG, so they had proof of the brain wave changes. While this pleasantly surprised researchers, they noted the lack of increased brain activity when there was no gentle rocking when a non-rocking traditional flat bed was involved.
The study results displayed the rocking bed heightened bursts of brain activity called “sleep spindles,” which correlate to deep sleep and “memory consolidation.” Study researchers determined the rocking lengthened the duration of “N2 sleep,” non-rapid eye movement sleep that on good nights consumes about one-half of a good sleep.
The gentle rocking you feel with a perfectly-balanced hammock when you sleep does more than give you a super nap and a good night’s sleep, but also improves your brain activity while you sleep. The scientific question fueling future studies: Will the results of this university study encourage further study to learn if hammock power can be focused on treating various sleep disorders, e.g., insomnia.
If you use a balanced hammock to nap or sleep for the night, you will enjoy the sleep of your life, and wake refreshed and alert. The rocking motion you receive from a quality hammock will only help you stimulate your brain while you get the deep sleep you need to function high levels.