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How To Sleep In A Hammock Properly

How do you sleep in a hammock properly and correctly? Is there a right or wrong way to sleep in a hammock? Most importantly, how do you sleep comfortably in a hammock without feeling like you are always about to fall off the darn thing?

This may sound tricky, but fortunately, the second task is very easy and straightforward to accomplish once you master the first, and it is this first task that we will discuss in some depth in the article we have provided below.

Getting A Good Night’s Sleep

two camping hammocks in the forest

A hammock can be a wonderful device in which to catch some much needed rest, relaxation and even slumber. Hammocks, which can be made from a variety of materials and fabrics (cotton, mesh, nylon, etc), are typically suspended between two fairly nearby trees (or poles), forming a bed of sorts under the outdoor skies.

On a warm night or a cool spring day, a hammock makes for a refreshing place to get some peaceful rest. In a hammock you can enjoy the fresh breezes and calming sounds of nature as you gently rock side to side in perfect comfort.

Hammocks are particularly great in certain camping situations, especially when there is wet or snow-covered ground to contend with, or when creepy, crawling insects prevent you from setting up camp in a more traditional shelter or bed.

According to many experts, hammocks can also provide a number of health benefits when used properly. They facilitate better breathing, excellent circulation, sound and relaxing sleep, and can help to vastly reduce stress.

All of these restful and healthy benefits can be yours in a hammock but first you need to know how to properly erect and use the device—how to place the hammock and your body to achieve the maximum advantages we described above. To help you accomplish this, here are some helpful tips for setting up a hammock and using the device properly.

Choose the Proper Hammock

person hammock camping

Here is a little tidbit of information that will always hold true regarding hammocks: unless you choose a high-quality hammock, finding comfort or achieving the maximum health benefits is going to be a dicey to impossible proposition. There are a lot of cheaply made hammocks on the market, but fortunately, there are also a variety of great hammocks available for purchase, most of which offer users the very best in comfort for a price they can easily afford.

So what exactly should you look for in a top-notch hammock? Here are just a few factors and considerations you will want to keep in mind:

  • Breathable. When choosing the ideal hammock, try to select one that is made from a cool and breathable fabric (or combination of fabrics), perhaps nylon or cotton. Sleeping on heavy canvas or polyester hammocks may give you some extra support when necessary, but because they are not breathable you will not be very comfy.
  • Soft. If the fabric you select for your hammock is not soft, smooth and comfortable it will not feel very nice against your skin. This can make relaxation very hard to come by—and this is not good.
  • Durable. If you want to enjoy your hammock for years to come you will need to choose one that is made from durable materials. This not only goes for the actual sleeping area, but also for the ropes and cordage that help suspend the hammock between structures. By looking for tough, durable materials that won’t wear out you can be sure to enjoy your hammock for many years to come.
  • Built-in pillow. Many of the best hammocks today are equipped with a built-in pillow to promote the very best in comfort and serenity. This is a major perk that means you won’t have to use one of your bed pillows when using the hammock outside. These types of hammocks may be a little more expensive, but the cost is well worth it for the comfort you will receive in return.

Hang Your Hammock Loosely

woman hammock camping

Many people make the unfortunate mistake of hanging their hammock very tightly between the two trees or poles, believing—in error—that this will create a nice flat sleeping surface. This is not the best strategy. The reason we say this is that the tighter you hang your hammock the more it will pinch in towards your upper body when you lay upon it, making your shoulders feel pinched, cramped and awkward throughout your use of the device.

To achieve the most comfortable and natural position in a hammock you are actually better off hanging it with the straps just a bit looser so that the hammock takes on the traditional curved shape. This shape will help to cradle your body rather than pinching it and putting too much pressure on your shoulders from the side.

Lie Diagonally

When most people get onto a hammock, they tend to lay parallel to the outer sides of the fabric, with their head and feet lined up with the ropes on either side. This is actually a mistake. What tends to happen when you lay in a parallel position is that the cloth gathers around you, making it nearly impossible to find a comfortable resting or sleeping position. So instead of lying parallel on the hammock, try to get on the device in a diagonal position.

To lie in this diagonal position, start by placing your bottom towards the middle of the hammock, and then carefully lay your head on the far side. As you are doing this, move your legs onto the hammock, with your toes pointing toward the near side of the canvas. On most hammock types you are sure to find that this position is much more comfortable and advantageous than the parallel position, because the edges of the fabric will not be pinching inwards on you. This position will also prevent you from falling off the hammock for the balance it creates.

Cross Your Feet

Another tip for ensuring the fabric of the hammock does not pinch inwards on you is to cross your feet when lying diagonally on it. Because your upper body will be at the far end of the hammock, you need a counter weight on the near end to balance things out. By crossing your legs you are moving both of them over to the near side, thus providing that needed counterweight. As a bonus, this is also a very comfortable manner in which to lie.


If your hammock is not equipped with a built-in pillow, you should definitely think of adding one for maximum comfort. A pillow will help to keep your head and neck in the proper sleeping position. It will also aid significantly in your rest. Blankets are also a great way to accessorize on a cold night, but when using a blanket make sure that you cover yourself carefully so as not to upset the balance of the hammock.

The Benefits of Sleeping on a Hammock

If you enjoy sleeping on a hammock, you’re in luck. That’s because there are several health benefits associated with sleeping in these types of suspended beds—benefits other than mere comfort and serenity. Here are just a few of those benefits:

Help Your Aching Back

If your old bed is causing you to have chronic back aches you might want to think about substituting a hammock for a few nights. A well-designed hammock, one made from durable fabrics, such as one that is hand-woven, can provide excellent support for your aching back, as it is designed to carry your weight and shape perfectly, without causing any pressure points that are often a problem with traditional beds. Hammocks made out of stretchy materials are even better for your back because they provide more “give.”

May Help with Insomnia

Insomnia can be a nagging problem, one that can affect your work, your social life, relationships, mood and family life. If you are bothered by this irritating condition, your doctor may have advised you to try alternative methods to help you fall asleep, and what can be more “alternative” than sleeping in a beautiful, large hammock. Sleeping in a hammock will treat you to all the peaceful sounds of nature and just may cure you from those piercing thoughts that are keeping you up at night.

Stress Relief

The suspension and rocking motion of a hammock, coupled with the beauty of nature, is the perfect recipe for treating stress after a long day. In a hammock you can let go of all your worries and cares, and simply rock yourself to sleep to the sound of birds flitting in the trees. Doctors warn that stress is a major contributing factor to many dangerous conditions, such as heart disease, obesity, hypertension, strokes, depression, anxiety, and maybe even in cancer. Because of this, try to take just a few minutes each day to just relax and unwind on your brand new, high-quality hammock.

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