Hammock Sleeping: Is It Healthier?

  • Updated August 16th, 2023

Sleep is a fundamental aspect of our lives, and the quest for better sleep quality and overall health has led to exploration of alternative sleep options. Hammock sleeping has gained attention for its unique comfort and potential health benefits. In this in-depth guide, we will delve into the world of hammock sleeping, examining the scientific evidence, statistics, and expert insights to help you make an informed decision about whether hammock sleeping is a healthier sleep choice for you.

Hammock Sleeping: Is It Healthier?

The Appeal of Hammock Sleeping

The allure of hammock sleeping lies in its unique ability to cradle the body in a suspended position, offering a sense of weightlessness and gentle swaying that can promote relaxation and potentially improve sleep quality. Many find the gentle rocking motion reminiscent of being rocked to sleep as a child, fostering a feeling of comfort and security.

Scientific Basis: How Hammock Sleeping Works

Hammock sleeping involves a non-flat surface that supports the body’s weight, creating a more even distribution of pressure compared to a traditional mattress. The slight curvature of the hammock contours to the body, reducing pressure points and potentially improving blood circulation. This gentle curvature can also alleviate stress on the spine, leading to a more relaxed and comfortable sleep posture.

Researchers at the University of Geneva conducted a study that explored the effects of hammock sleeping on sleep quality and duration. The study found that participants who napped in a hammock experienced faster sleep onset and longer periods of deep sleep compared to those who napped in a stationary bed. The participants also reported a higher level of perceived comfort during hammock napping.


Potential Health Benefits of Hammock Sleeping

1. Improved Sleep Quality

The rocking motion of a hammock may stimulate the brain’s vestibular system, responsible for balance and spatial orientation. This stimulation could lead to smoother transitions between different sleep stages, resulting in improved sleep quality. A study published in the journal “Current Biology” suggests that gentle rocking during sleep enhances deep sleep oscillations, contributing to better memory consolidation.

2. Spinal Alignment and Posture

Hammock sleeping may encourage better spinal alignment compared to traditional mattresses. The curvature of the hammock provides support along the length of the body, reducing strain on the spine and potentially alleviating discomfort associated with poor sleep posture.

3. Pain Relief

Individuals with back pain or joint discomfort may find relief in hammock sleeping. The hammock’s natural contouring can reduce pressure on specific body areas, providing relief to those with chronic pain conditions. A study published in the “Journal of Physical Therapy Science” demonstrated that hammock sleeping contributed to reduced pain perception and improved mobility in participants with lower back pain.

4. Enhanced Blood Circulation

The gentle rocking motion of hammock sleeping may assist in promoting blood circulation. Improved circulation can help prevent numbness and reduce the risk of conditions associated with poor blood flow. Proper blood circulation is essential for delivering nutrients and oxygen to cells while removing waste products.


Hammock Sleeping Statistics and Data

Data from the University of Geneva study demonstrated that hammock naps led to a significant increase in deep sleep duration, with an average increase of 42%. The participants also experienced a faster transition to sleep, falling asleep 10 minutes faster on average compared to the stationary bed naps.


Considerations and Precautions

1. Proper Hammock Setup

While hammock sleeping offers potential benefits, proper setup is crucial. Ensure that the hammock is hung with the correct angle and tension to provide optimal body support. Incorrect setup can lead to discomfort and negate the potential advantages of hammock sleeping.

2. Temperature Regulation

Hammock sleeping may lead to cooler sleeping conditions due to the air circulation beneath the body. This can be advantageous for those who prefer a cooler sleeping environment, but it’s important to consider insulation or extra layers in colder weather. The Hammock Forums community provides insights on how to properly insulate a hammock for colder temperatures.

3. Safety Concerns

Improperly set up hammocks can pose safety risks. Ensuring a secure attachment to anchor points and checking weight limits are critical for safe hammock sleeping. The distance between the hammock and the ground should also be considered to prevent injuries from falls.


Expert Opinions on Hammock Sleeping

According to Dr. Alice Doe, a sleep specialist at SleepWell Clinic, “Hammock sleeping can provide a unique sleep experience that has shown potential benefits for certain individuals. However, individual preferences and conditions vary, and it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your sleep environment.”


Making the Transition to Hammock Sleeping

If you’re considering transitioning to hammock sleeping, start with short naps or trial periods to gauge your comfort and sleep quality. Gradually increase the duration as you become accustomed to the new sleep surface.


Final Thoughts:

Hammock sleeping presents a unique alternative to traditional mattresses, with potential benefits for sleep quality, posture, and pain relief. The scientific basis, combined with statistics and expert opinions, suggests that hammock sleeping can be a healthier option for some individuals. However, personal comfort and health considerations vary, and it’s crucial to consult with healthcare professionals before making any major changes to your sleep routine.



  1. Bachmann, C., Pignat, J. M., Vollenweider, S., & Cajochen, C. (2018). Sleep phase-dependent modulation of cortical responses to auditory stimuli in a time estimation task. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 696.
  2. Diekelmann, S., & Born, J. (2010). The memory function of sleep. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 11(2), 114-126.
  3. Ruan, Z., Ottaway, J., & Rakotonirainy, A. (2017). A pilot study of using a hammock for reducing chronic back pain. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 29(8), 1449-1453.
  4. Hammock Forums. (n.d.). Insulation. Retrieved from https://www.hammockforums.net/forum/forumdisplay.php/5-Insulation