Post by Kyle St. Romain.
It is often said that variety is the spice of life, and this is true even when it comes to sleeping. That said, I’ve woken up on the sofa more than I’d care to admit and I would always tell you I prefer the bed. However, there are those nights when I succumb to the call of the siren, or sofa, in search of something different. Fortunately, the sofa isn’t the only alternative out there. For example, you can easily trade those achy zzz’s on the couch for a bohemian nap in a hammock.
I was first introduced to sleeping in a hammock when I was about 13 years old. That summer, the family took a vacation to California for my cousin’s wedding. The place we stayed at was a relatively small townhouse, and even a Spartan would describe it as sparse. Since it didn’t have enough beds to accommodate us all, and since I always draw the short stick, I was relegated to sleeping in a hammock that occupied what I imagine was supposed to be the living room.
At first, I was nervous about sleeping in something I could fall out of so easily. However, my fears quickly drifted away once I climbed in, and I now appreciate the simplistic beauty of sleeping in a hammock. I even purchased a hammock several years ago for precisely this reason. Sadly, however, I have yet to live somewhere with a big enough room to hang it in.
Writing this article got me curious about any possible side effects of sleeping in a hammock. Certainly, it can’t be good for your back. Can it? To my surprise, it appears that the side effects of sleeping in a hammock are all positive. Indeed, one study on WebMD suggests that “rocking to soothe and induce sleep is an adaptive human behavior that has evolved over the years to encourage the natural oscillations that occur in the brain during sleep” and hammocks are very good at inducing these oscillations. In fact, many people report that sleeping in a hammock helps them sleep better. Digging a little further I even found a number of web communities that advocate sleeping in hammocks as a fulltime alternative to beds.
While I’m not ready to burn my mattress in favor of sleeping in a hammock fulltime, I anxiously await the day I can hang a hammock of my own; even if only for an occasional Spanish-style siesta.
Until next time, duerma bien mis amigos (sleep well, my friends).