You've found a good hammock, you've set in up in your garden, and you're ready to have a good night’s sleep. The only thing is - how do you even get into it?
For many people, using a hammock as a bed can seem slightly confusing. With so many different possibilities for hammock sleeping, it can be hard to know where to start. If you want to enjoy sleeping in a hammock to its fullest, we've got all the tips you need to be as cozy as possible.
Choosing the right supplies won't be confusing, and achieving the perfect camping set up will be effortless. Many users choose to sleep in them long term, so you may even find yourself swapping your regular bed for a hammock!
This guide will provide all the details you need to spend a comfortable evening in a hammock bed. If you'd like any further information, scroll to the bottom for the answers to some commonly asked questions.
How to Sleep Comfortably in a Hammock
When you're looking to try hammock sleeping, there are several things you can do to ensure that you have the most comfortable night possible. Here are a few ways you can make sure you have the best supplies and camping set up for you.
Choosing the Right Supplies
Making sure you have the right supplies will really boost your experience, and make sure that you wake up from your sleep feeling refreshed.
Hammocks come in many different style variations, but not all of them are suitable for getting a good night’s sleep. Models made with rope or wooden components won't support you properly, and may actually hurt you as you move around at night.
Choose a hammock made of a soft fabric that will conform well to your body, while providing firm support. It’s also a good idea to select a breathable fabric which will help to regulate your body temperature as you sleep.
Some of the best hammocks are made from parachute nylon, which is incredibly durable and breathable. It’s very light and dries fast, and is also resistant to mildew. Parachute nylon is both strong and smooth, so you'll get all the support you need and stay snug, too.
Another important factor is the size of your hammock, as you'll need to find one suited to your height and weight. The general rule is that a wider and longer hammock is the most comfortable to lie in for long periods of time.
It's a good idea to look for hammocks that are at least 2ft longer than your height. If you're a taller person, something that's over 8ft long will be a good choice. If you're not sure which size to go for, try to pick something on the larger side, because this will reduce the risk of the hammock being too small and not being able to support you as you sleep.
You'll also need to decide if you want a single or double size. If you'll be sleeping in a hammock alone, a single size will be perfect. If you want more space, or will use the hammock as a couple, always choose a double size for maximum comfort.
There are a range of added accessories that will make using a hammock just as luxurious as a regular bed. You may need to tailor your supplies to your specific climate or preferences, but here are few places to start:
- Bedding: This may depend on the weather, but having an extra pillow and blanket as a minimum can really boost your experience. Using a sleeping bag appropriate for your climate is also a great choice, and is especially useful for cooler evenings. Even a sleeping pad will provide extra comfort.
- Clothing: If you're going to be sleeping outside in your hammock, make sure you wear appropriate clothing for the weather, such as long-sleeved items, socks, and a hat in winter.
- Extra Support: If you have lower back issues, placing a rolled-up blanket or small pillow under your knees will help you to maintain a healthy sleeping position as you sleep and may reduce discomfort.
- Sun and Rain Protection: This can be a really important idea if you live somewhere with changeable weather conditions. Setting up a parasol or even a weatherproof tarp will help keep you secure, and also protect your hammock when it’s not in use. Staying out of direct sun or rain will make sure you have a great night of sleep without disturbances, and feel refreshed in the morning.
Setting up your Hammock
Once you've found the right supplies, you'll need to put your hammock together. Choosing the right placement and set up will undeniably make hammock sleeping much more enjoyable.
Firstly, you'll need to select a good environment for your hammock. You should find somewhere with objects that can support your hammock for a long period of time, such as trees. Make sure you choose something sturdy that won't sway in the wind.
If you're going to be sleeping in your hammock all night, make sure that your garden or outdoor space is quiet and secure, so you won't be disturbed. Somewhere with natural shelter from wind, rain, or sun will also allow you to sleep soundly.
Make sure that you put up your hammock in a space without objects that could shift or move. This way, you'll be safe and secure all night long. Don't choose dead trees or ones with loose branches that are prone to falling off. Avoid hanging your hammock above water where possible.
When you've found the perfect space, you'll need to make sure your trees or poles are a decent distance apart, so you can hang your camping hammock properly.
A good rule is to make sure that the trees you choose are at least 12 to 15ft apart. This will allow you to make the most out of your hammock size, and won't leave you with excess fabric. You should attach your hammock using sturdy rope or bungee cords so you’re guaranteed a secure hold.
Don't forget to hang you hammock a good distance from the ground. This may come down to your preferences, but make sure it’s high enough that it won't drag on the ground once you get in. Try to hang your hammock so that the bottom is at least 12 inches from the floor. Avoid exceeding a height of 18 inches as this can make your hammock difficult to get in to and could possibly become dangerous.
Keeping your hammock off the ground will help you stay warmer and more comfortable as you sleep, and will also stop your hammock from getting dirty.
When you set up your hammock, choosing the correct tension can really impact your camping experience.
You might be tempted to pull the hammock as tight and flat as you possibly can, but this will actually make hammock camping much less comfortable. If the fabric is pulled too tight, the hammock walls can really restrict you, and can even put more pressure on your supporting objects, potentially causing damage.
It might seem strange at first, but it’s really important when you hang your hammock to make sure that there is a deep curve in the fabric. This way, you'll actually have more room when you lie down, and won't be restricted as you move around. The large curve will also help prevent there being too much excess fabric, which can wrap around you uncomfortably as you sleep.
A general rule is to make sure there's enough tension to support you when you lie down, while still maintaining that ideal deep curve.
Using Your Hammock
Once you've got everything set up, you’re ready to enjoy your hammock camping experience! Here's a few tips for making the most out of having a hammock for a bed.
Getting in to Hammocks
Because of how a hammock is curved, and the fact it can move, getting in to one can seem confusing.
The easiest way to get into a hammock is to sit down on it first. This way, your weight will be distributed evenly at the center, and the hammock is less likely to move around.
Next, turn slightly to the side, and slide your legs and upper body into the hammock. You should now be lying down comfortably!
Choosing the Right Angle
Once you’re lying down in your hammock, choosing the right angle can actually free up more space and create a flatter surface for you to lie on when you want to sleep.
Start by lying directly down the center of the hammock. Slide your legs and feet a few inches towards one corner of the hammock, and stop when you notice your legs are lying flatter than they were in the center. You can then shift your head and upper body in the opposite direction, until your body is lying diagonally across the hammock.
When you’re in the correct position, you should be lying at around a 30° angle from the center. You should also notice that you’re lying almost entirely flat, despite the hammock being curved. When you lie in the middle of a hammock, your body will simply conform to its shape. However, by shifting into the 30° position, you cut across the curve of the hammock, allowing it to better support your body and making it perfect for sleep.
When you lie in your hammock at the correct angle, your body should end up in one of the most ideal sleeping positions. Your head and feet will be slightly elevated, which is commonly agreed to be the best way to sleep. The flat center of the hammock will gently support your spine, which can help alleviate back pain.
Many people who can only sleep on their sides are able to fall asleep comfortably on their back while using a hammock. This is because the soft fabric conforms to the shape of your body without a single pressure point. Sleeping in a hammock can actually be kinder to your body.
Overall, sleep in your hammock in whichever way feels the most comfortable. A correctly sized and set up hammock will give you enough space to move around as you please, and won't restrict you at all.
Sleeping in a Hammock FAQS
1. Is it OK to sleep in a hammock?
It is definitely OK to sleep in a hammock. In fact, in many countries people regularly choose a hammock for bed-time use. Hammock sleeping is a really comfortable option, and is great if you enjoy being outside or struggle using a standard bed. However, before you start regularly sleeping in a hammock, it’s important to consider a few key factors.
Make certain that your hammock has been correctly set up before you use it. Our handy guide has more information, but a general rule is ensure you choose a safe environment with sturdy supports. Hammock poles and trees are always useful, but check there isn't a risk of dead branches falling down overnight. Stay away from water, or objects that could move around, too.
Ensure your supports are a good distance apart, to minimize the risk of getting caught up in extra fabric as you sleep. Aim for a distance of 12 to 15 feet, which should be perfect for most hammock sizes. You'll need to hang your hammock at a good height, so that it doesn't touch the floor when you lie in it. Aim for 12-18 inches from the ground, as this will keep your hammock off the floor without getting too high.
You also need to secure your hammock correctly. Using strong rope or bungee cords will guarantee you’re supported as you fall asleep, and will allow your hammock to move with you. Be sure to provide sun and rain protection that will also be secure and withstand weather conditions. A sturdy parasol or weather-resistant tarp will be durable and keep you safe in all climates.
Additionally, you'll need to bring the right supplies to stay warm and snug while you sleep. This will depend on the weather in your area, but bringing the right gear to keep warm and dry will ensure that sleeping in a hammock is especially enjoyable. An extra pillow or blanket will mean you feel much more cosy, and dressing appropriately will stop you getting too hot or cold.
Overall, hammock sleeping can be a great experience, and taking a few extra steps will help you stay prepared and get the best night of rest possible.
2. Is sleeping in a hammock healthy?
Many people are used to sleeping on a flat mattress or bed, so sleeping in a hammock with a deep curve may appear strange. However, there's a reason that hammock sleeping is so popular in some countries, and the practice can actually carry several health benefits.
Firstly, the right sized hammock can provide an incredibly comfortable environment for people to sleep in. Hammocks that are appropriate for your height are able to provide a large and supportive space to sleep, while correctly protecting your back. You won't be weighed down or restricted in any way, and can even find hammocks large enough to comfortably fit two people, too.
Additionally, sleeping in a hammock can actually provide pressure point relief. Even the most high quality mattresses can put pressure on your shoulders, back, and lower body, whereas hammocks do not have a single pressure point. So many of us often suffer from bad back pain, but the support provided from sleeping in a hammock may help you feel better long term. The soft fabric is able to conform to your body shape, and relieve as much pressure as possible.
Not only this, but lying correctly across a hammock can allow your body to rest in a particularly beneficial sleeping position. Placing yourself at a diagonal, 30° slant will allow the majority of your body to be flat and supported, while your feet and head are slightly elevated. This sleeping position is one of the best for back health, and can even help side sleepers to fall asleep comfortably on their back.
The gentle rocking motion of a hammock can also encourage deeper and more fulfilling sleep. Just like when we rock a baby in a cradle, a swaying hammock may be able to improve your quality of sleep.
Ultimately, sleeping in a hammock can be an excellent way to combat back pain, sleep more deeply, and feel refreshed in the morning. It will come down to personal preference, so trying hammocks out whilst camping is a great way to test them out before you commit.
3. Can you sleep in a hammock long term?
Sleeping in hammocks long term is certainly a viable option. It’s a common choice for many people around the world and is something you can incorporate into your daily life.
If you do decide to try sleeping in hammocks long term, you'll need to make certain that your hammock is comfortable and durable enough for regular use. Hammocks with wooden or rope construction may work well for the occasional nap, but can feel uncomfortable after a few hours.
Your best option is to get a hammock made from parachute nylon. It's incredibly durable and mildew resistant, so you can be sure your new bed is long lasting. It's very soft and breathable, so you won't feel restricted at all.
You'll also need to ensure that you get a hammock you can use in all weather. If you live in a warm climate with little rain, choosing a space with natural protection, or using a water resistant tarp or parasol will keep you covered and dry as you sleep. If you live in a cooler climate, you may want to consider a hammock you can construct indoors, so you won't have to compromise in bad weather conditions.
If you will be sleeping outside, ensure you dress appropriately. Choose clothing that's suitable for the expected temperature, and consider extra blankets, socks, and hats in the event of cooler evenings.
It's entirely possible to sleep in hammocks long term, but you may need to adjust your plans to suit your specific environment and personal preferences. There are many benefits to regularly using hammocks, and they can be a lot of fun to try out, too.
4. Where can I buy a hammock?
When you're looking to get a hammock, it can be hard to know where to start. Many outdoor shops and online retailers have a wide variety of models, so you're sure to find something to suit your needs.
If you want to get a hammock for long term use, try to stay away from products made from rope or with wooden spreader bars. They won't be very comfortable to sleep in, so you may not be able to get the most out of your purchase.
The best hammocks are made of parachute nylon, and they're readily available at the majority of outdoors stores, where you'll be able to try out different models and choose the best size for you. Parachute nylon is incredibly durable, so you won't need to worry about wear and tear.
You can get nylon hammocks from many online retailers too, where you'll be able to read the reviews and work out which will provide you the best night's sleep.
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