Why You Should Install An Outdoor Hammock In Your Backyard Today
Hammocks can make wonderful additions to any backyard. With the variety of styles available on the market today, you don’t need trees to anchor them and they can match the look of an house from rustic to incredibly modern.
Here is the other thing. Some people believe that sleeping in a hammock can be life changing. We’ll tell you why in addition to the types of backyard hammocks available and things to consider when placing one in any outdoor living area.
Health Benefits of Outdoor Hammocks
Hammocks May Improve Sleep Quality
A study mentioned on WebMD compared the way participants napped in both a traditional bed and a bed that mimics the movement of hammock. The gentle rocking motion of the latter bed caused people to fall asleep faster which resulted in changed brain waves that led to a deeper state of sleep. In a nutshell, hammock sleepers experience longer N2 sleep, a form of non-REM (rapid eye movement) sleep that should take up about half of a good night’s rest, according to NPR. This is a good thing and could be of great benefit to people suffering from insomnia as well as those recovering from strokes and other brain issues. But then again, who couldn’t use better quality sleep?
Hammocks Relieve Stress
Again, it has a lot do to with the swaying motion leading to relaxation and an increased ability to help people forget the world around them. Less stress leads to other improved health aspects such as lower blood pressure, better concentration and increased emotional stability.
Is a Hammock Good for Your Spine?
According to Health Guidance, the curve of a hammock aligns vertebrae properly with the tailbone and head bones of the spinal cord which should automatically transport most into a state of meditation. The consensus is that a relaxing couple of hours or nap is perfectly acceptable especially given the sleep and emotional benefits mentioned above.
However, whether one should ditch a bed for a hammock is a hotly debated subject. Chiropractors argue that the perfect sleeping position involves a flat back. Some hammock enthusiasts mitigate this issue by sleeping diagonal in hammocks which flattens both the hammock and spine. If lengthy naps or overnight stays in the hammock are on the horizon, you’ll need to purchase one that is large for longer sleeps in a diagonal position. Pulling a hammock tight to get rid of its natural curve is not the answer as it will only put strain on its anchors and dip down anyway when you get in it.
People with pinched nerves or back issues should always talk to a doctor before hopping into a hammock.
Where to Place a Hammock
Placement of a hammock is completely personal choice and might determine the type purchased. The most important thing is that it needs to be somewhere where you can truly relax. If the perfect two trees for hanging a hammock happen to be near a busy street, that’s probably not the right place.
Rest assured that hammocks doesn’t need a special structure or trees for anchoring. Freestanding hammocks these days are as beautiful and practical as the traditional hanging versions. But trellis posts and even space between buildings can work as hanging spots.
Be mindful that hammocks can be hazards with young kids around who don’t have the coordination to get in and out of one on their own. And, don’t place a hammock over railings, big succulents like agaves or anything that could hurt you should the hammock fall.
How to Decide Which Hammock to Buy
In a nutshell, you’ll need to consider:
- where it will go
- how you’ll use it
- whether it needs to be portable
Types of Hammocks Available
Think about how you’ll use your hammock and then decide between the different styles. Keep in mind that many people opt for multiple hammocks, like in the setup above.
Fabric Hammocks come in a variety of colors and patterns so can either blend in or provide a little color contrast. They’re one of the most durable options and keep the user warmer than rope hammocks (below) do.
Rope hammocks are designed for hot climates or for those would prefer the airiness that space between the ropes (usually made from cotton or polyester) provide. They also lend a more rustic look. However, if you’re a long napper, you may not want to wake up with rope marks on your back. They call this the human waffle effect.
Camping hammocks are extremely lightweight and portable as they’re designed for camping during times perhaps one doesn’t want to be on the ground.
Forget pitching a tent, these will require less (or no) poles and equipment as well as be easier to carry—a very appealing aspect to backpackers. Special weather covers and mosquito netting can be placed across the hammock if need be. However, the primary appeal of hammock camping is that sleep is more comfortable suspended in the air than it might be on the hard ground. Increased air flow keeps campers cooler in hot weather, though colder when temperatures drop. Enthusiasts also claim that hammocks damage the environment less than piercing topsoil with poles and covering grass.
A hammock you camp with can also hang in the backyard in between trips.
Hammock Chairs and Swings
Hammock chairs and swings tend to keep the user in more of a seated position while still cradling the body. They are often placed side-by-side so people can hang out together and chat while enjoying a view or simply each other’s company.
As the name implies, double hammocks can take up to two people in them. Or, they’re suitable for people who just might prefer the extra space. Some claim that the extra width provides more comfort than a single hammock.
How do you use a backyard hammock?
Photo credit: top, Flickr/33571826@N03