Are Hammocks Good for Mental Health? (7 Ways They Can Help)

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Mental health is one of the most pressing issues in the world because the symptoms are hard to identify. 

One day you’ll find a person laughing with family and friends and the next day they’ll be in the depths of despair.

According to a study, at least one in 10 people live with a mental health issue. 

But here’s the good news: something as simple as a hammock may be good for your mental health. 

Let me explain…

Hammocks may be good for your mental health because they provide comfort and encourage relaxation. Stress management is the best way to combat mental health issues, and relaxation is a big part of stress management. A few minutes lounging in a hammock can do you, and your mental health, a lot of good.  

Are Hammocks Good for Mental Health?

Person in hammock at sunset

They can be. 

But you have to understand that it is not the hammock per se. 

The hammock is just a vessel that will help you relax, which is an essential way to manage your stress. 

By managing your stress, you are improving your mental health. 

Here are the reasons why hammocks are good for your mental health:

1. They Help You Achieve Deep Sleep

Sleep is closely connected with mental health. 

The lack of sleep may cause anxiety and anxiety may result in sleep deficiency. 

It’s a classic case of which came first, the chicken or the egg. Does anxiety cause sleep deficiency or the other way around?

It doesn’t matter. 

The point is, sleep and anxiety or mental health are related and you must do something about it. 

Hammocks can induce deep sleep (more on this later). 

It’s so relaxing and comfortable that most people end up closing their eyes and the next thing they know, they have dozed off for hours. 

Achieving deep sleep or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep can positively impact one’s mental and emotional health as the brain recharges. 

Poor sleep is said to increase negative emotions. 

As Elizabeth Blake Zakarin, assistant professor of psychology (in Psychiatry) and a clinical psychologist at the Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders, said:

“Just like our electronics need to be charged, sleep may recharge or reset the brain to optimize functioning.”

2. The Outdoors Can Improve Your Mood

Spending some time outdoors can boost your mood. 

And hammocks allow you to spend time outdoors. 

Yes, hammocks can be placed indoors, but more often, their place is outside the house where people can lie down and enjoy the fresh air. 

According to experts, the fresh air increases the oxygen levels in your brain, and in turn, boosts serotonin. 

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in a person’s happiness, among many other things. 

The lack of serotonin is said to play a role in depression and anxiety. 

So, do hammocks help with anxiety? Indirectly, they do!

When you get home from work, try spending at least 30 minutes outdoors in your hammock. 

Don’t think of work and other problems. Give yourself at least 30 minutes of respite. 

3. Hammocks Help You Relax Faster

Why are hammocks so relaxing?

It’s a combination of things:

First, it’s the fresh air, which we just discussed. Of course, this is granting your hammock is installed outdoors. 

Second, hammocks are generally great for your back. They are known to alleviate back pains, which helps you relax better. 

Third, hammocks mold into your body like you are getting a nice hug from someone you love. 

So, when you find yourself getting anxious or stressed, try lying down in your hammock and just relax. 

Within minutes, you will feel the day’s stressors leave your body. 

4. Rocking Is Healing

You know how babies always calm down when they are being rocked?

Apparently, rocking is great for your brain.

Studies reveal that rocking to sleep plays a significant role in achieving a better quality of sleep and long-term memory. 

Rocking was found to synchronize with brain waves during non-REM sleep, which then resulted in relaxation and a better mood. 

“Since immemorial times, we’ve rocked our babies, and often ourselves, to sleep. Our study provides new insights into the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying this phenomenon.”

Konstantinos Kompotis
University of Lausanne in Switzerland

In the same manner, the swinging you get from hammocks is great for your brain. 

5. They Lower the Heart Rate

When you are stressed, anxious, or tense, your heart beats faster. 

But when you are relaxed, your heart rate is lower. 

It suggests efficient heart function and cardiovascular fitness. 

We’ve already established that hammocks are relaxing, so it is sure to lower your heart rate too. 

6. Hammock Meditation Can Do Wonders for Your Mental Health

Foot in hammock

Hammock meditation is certainly a thing, but it requires technique because of the literal balancing act. 

But if you know how to do it, it will do wonders for your mental and emotional health. 

Meditation is a known relaxation method. 

It provides focus, enhances mood, and reduces stress and anxiety

Hammock meditation adds a physical element that improves mental health. 

Besides, meditation is really about achieving mental and emotional clarity. 

Basically, you can just lie down in the hammock, concentrate on a purpose and clear your mind. 

7. Hammocking With Friends Can Improve Social Connection

People need stable relationships, whether they are talking about family, friends, or significant others. 

While we can survive on our own, social relationships will help enhance our emotional and mental well-being. 

You don’t need to spend so much to socialize. 

Organizing hammocking activities is cheap and fun. 

It can be as physically strenuous as camping or backpacking and sleeping in hammocks as a group, or as light an activity as bringing hammocks to the beach. 

The most essential components are the friends and the hammocks to relax in. 

Stanford research states that social connection may result in the following:

  • 50% increased chance of longevity
  • A strengthened immune system
  • Quick recovery from disease.
  • Lower levels of anxiety and depression
  • Higher self-esteem

When you are feeling down, anxious, and depressed, and nothing is improving your mood, then it’s ideal to visit a psychologist or psychiatrist. 

But sometimes, all you need is a few minutes in a hammock to either relax or fall into a deep sleep. 

Why Do Hammocks Make Me Sleepy?

It’s not uncommon for people to get into a hammock with the intention of just resting for a few minutes and end up sleeping for hours. 

There are no two ways about it, hammocks just induce slumber sometimes.

Why do hammocks make you sleepy?

Here are a few reasons why:

  1. It’s very relaxing.
  2. The gentle swaying makes you sleepy, the same way being in a moving vehicle also makes you sleepy. 
  3. The fabric molds into your body like a tight blanket, which always provides comfort when you sleep. 
  4. The hammock also takes the pressure off your spine, which makes you more comfortable and more prone to sleep. 

If you find yourself getting much better sleep in a hammock, then you should try it often. 

Some people prefer sleeping in a hammock rather than a bed

It’s purely a matter of preference. 

But do what works for you because getting at least seven hours of quality sleep is essential for a person’s physical and mental health. 

Final Thoughts

INFOGRAPHIC Answering the Question Are Hammocks Good For Mental Health
Click infographic to enlarge.

Hammocks, per se, don’t improve your mental health. 

But it is an instrument that enhances your emotional and mental well-being. 

Try to give yourself a break every day. 

Just lie down in a hammock, relax, and don’t think about the stressors in life. 

Instead, breathe in the fresh air, get comfortable, and just be at peace…

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