When you think of sleeping, you probably think of a bed with a firmness of your choice, clean sheets, your favorite blanket, while the slight breeze blows through the open window or a fan and the background noise trances you to slumber off.
How about when you think of sleeping in a hammock? You probably think only of extreme outdoor adventurists when they take a short break from their week-long hike through the jungle and in need of a few hours of shuteye.
Well, you might be surprised to learn that some people around the world sleep in hammocks every night, and they wouldn’t trade it for your thousand-dollar memory foam mattress which has fancy features that elevate and adjust your feet and head as well as air chambers that allow your partner to sleep in a separate firmness than your own.
Many claims have been made that state hammocks relieve this and that and have worked wonders. Whether or not it’s an option for you is ultimately trial-and-error and your decision, but there are several types to choose from, several ways to hang them, and several possible benefits of using them so long as your sleep ailments can be cured with being curled up in a supportive position while swaying gently.
Claims of Sleeping in Hammocks
Many claims are made for sleeping in hammocks regularly. I believe the first show of proof is that they are still used around the world in rural areas by many different cultures and peoples.
Some even claim that sleeping in hammocks creates a deeper, faster sleep that is best for the myriad of health-related issues that come with lack of or poor sleeping habits. It can alleviate back pain, and issues in concentration, memory, and readiness. Sleeping in a hammock also alleviates other problems like a collection of dust mites and sloughed off skin cells that typically accumulate on your mattress and create allergic reactions to your body.
Types of Hammocks
The Brazilian Hammock is a fabric hammock that is tightly woven, comfortable, and supportive. It is good for cooler climates as it is made to keep the breeze out and the body heat in. Still made for nightly sleeping in some areas of Brazil, these hammocks are handcrafted or machine made.
The Nicaraguan Hammock is a super soft, tightly woven yet pliable and comfortable bed style hammock. It is usually decorated and handmade with string or cotton cord.
The Mayan Hammock is an extremely lightweight, vibrant, loose weave hammock that would be good for warmer climates. They are mostly made of cotton material. It can be extremely long and have high weight tolerances.
The Ecuadorian Hammock is very similar to the Brazilian Hammock in shape and size but seems to be a bit more flashy and decorated. However, the material of the Ecuadorian runs more popular in polyester which is lighter in weight, easier to clean and less expensive.
The Camping Hammock is a very well known option for outdoor adventurists and longtime hikers. They are mostly made of some sort of nylon material, easy to set up, extremely light, and easy to clean and store. Depending on the company, they are most likely the least expensive option on our list. However, the nylon material doesn’t protect you from the cold as the fabric materials of the others do.
Things to Consider
When choosing a hammock some things come to mind:
First, make sure to set a decent price range for your budget. The idea “you get what you pay for” does carry merit, and because this is going to be a permanent bed, you don’t want to skint on the budget just like you would make a mattress your financial priority. Craftsmanship and material quality should be considered, and you should want to put out a bit more cash than you would for say, a backyard occasional lazing hammock.
Next, let’s heed a warning of which one is not good for sleeping in – The Spreader Bar style.
These hammocks can either be fabric or rope and they aren’t necessarily any one style or another. However, if the hammock has a spreader bar – which is a bar, usually wood, that is drilled through and allows the hammock ropes to pass through keeping the hammock stretched and preventing it from bunching or cocooning, you’ll probably want to stay away from it for long-term nightly sleep sessions.
Keeping the hammock bed flat is awesome for short stints of sunbathing. However, the firm flat, stretched out hammock bed doesn’t conform well to the body, it doesn’t cradle and support, and it won’t alleviate pressure points. They are also known to flip over somewhat randomly and sporadically – not a stable situation.
Consider your climate. There are two main styles of hammocks: fabric and rope, the former is best for cooler climates and the latter is best for warmer climates. The fabric is going to keep the warmth in and the breeze out, while the rope is going to do the opposite.
Which leads me to the idea of the “Cold Butt Syndrome”, because your hammock sags, your rear end is going to be the closest to the ground and doesn’t have enough body heat. It’s going to be more open to the wind and other elements, thus – “Cold Butt Syndrome” is a real thing to worry about. After all, it isn’t easy to just flip over and sleep on your stomach to allow your behind to warm up.
If you live in a cooler climate or even if you tend to be colder at night, consider purchasing a hammock sleeping mat. It’s a thin mat that will insulate your hammock by keeping the cold out and the warmth in.
How to Sleep in a Hammock
The hammock provides the perfect sleeping position which experts agree is having your head elevated by 10-30% to keep your sinuses from stuffing and your breathing from being obstructed.
You’re best sleeping position is probably on the diagonal, especially in the larger double sized hammocks. This will create a wider (read: flatter) surface area to sleep on, and it will prevent the cocooning effect, cramped feeling, and keeps you from falling out. Initially, you would believe it is best to just sleep in the natural curve of the hammock, but it is best to sleep against the curve to allow you to stretch out and also sleep in different positions.
If you’re a stomach sleeper, the hammock probably won’t be your best option as a sleeping apparatus. One merit of sleeping in a hammock is that it will cradle your body and keep your head and feet slightly elevated. If you flip over on your stomach, your spine from your neck to your toes will be arched in the wrong direction, and you’ll be highly uncomfortable.
For the long run, it’s probably best to keep it to one person per hammock. So, if you like a good snuggle at night, you may not want the hammock as a choice. Even the double sized hammocks that are made for two people can leave you pretty cramped and may even leave sleeping on top of one another. As little room as there is in a hammock (which is how it is designed), there will be even less adjustment room if you have another body to compete with.
In my opinion, it’s best to keep the double sized hammocks for the short naps or hiking trips.
How to Hang a Hammock
When setting up your hammock, you don’t want the hammock bed tight. You’ll want to set it up so it has quite a bit of slack. Tightening the hammock bed will eliminate the benefits of sleeping in a cradled and supportive position. Keeping the bed taut will mimic the aforementioned spreader style.
There are several methods to hang a hammock, of course. If you’re sleeping outside, you can use chains or ropes to hang them from trees. But if you’re moving inside with your hammock, you are still able to use the stand or better yet use the ropes and chains to hang the hammock from the ceiling or between two walls that are fairly close together. The last option is if you happen to have stability beams in your bedroom you’d be able to hang the hammock from the beams.
Ultimately, what you want to look for are two solid structures that will keep you safe and your hammock consistently stable.
Best Sleeping Hammock Reviews
1. Bear Butt Double Parachute Hammock
- Warranty – Their Forever Promise is to replace or refund any product for any reason, for any person.
- Weight – 1.5 pounds with gear included.
- Height – 10’ by 6′
- Material – 75D Nylon Taffeta
As a rule, Bear Butt is the ultimate camping hammock made of a weatherproof nylon blend that is super sturdy and very lightweight. With your purchase, you receive all the setup care you need for the outdoors, however, you’ll have to add just a few more items to complete your bedroom, nightly setup.
The hammock holds up to 500 pounds officially, unofficially 900 pounds. The company promises affordability and no hassle, satisfaction guarantee, no questions asked, no timelines or expirations for any reason at all, promise over promise warranty.
- Extra durable
- Super affordable
- Lightweight even with all the gear
- Awesome guarantee/warranty aka promise
- American startup with honest roots
- Hardware included
- Lots of color options
- Can’t think of any! Even if there is a flaw, or you just don’t like it, they will replace the product or refund your money instantly.
2. Vivere Double Hammock
- Warranty – There is a one-year limited warranty from the manufacturer on this product.
- Weight – 33 pounds
- Height – 108” x 42” x 41”
- Material – Cotton, Sunbrella, or Polyester
The Vivere Double Hammock is a Brazilian style hammock that is tightly woven with three different material blends: cotton, polyester, sunbrella.
Each has their own pros and cons:
The cotton is durable, but a little more delicate and needs more dedication in cleaning. However, it is warmer and softer.
The polyester is more durable, less tiresome in care and maintenance, however, it is more expensive than the other options.
The Sunbrella material is the easiest to take care, long lasting, and it is said to repel environmental toxins. But this is the least comfortable of the three.
- Aesthetically, dare I say exciting and pleasing
- Double hammock
- Lots of options
- Double hammock – non-traditional use single person
- Takes up a lot of space
3. Novica Nicaraguan Hammock
- Warranty – 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
- Weight – 5 pounds
- Dimensions – 90 x 65 inches
- Material – 100% cotton
This hammock is handcrafted by local artisanal artists that are supported by National Geographic and the Novica company.
This is considered a double sized hammock with a 100% cotton design. It is gorgeous, comfortable, and durable – however, it must be cared for properly and consistently in order for it to last. It must be hand washed in cold water, dried completely, and stored properly to assist in its maintained quality.
- Beautifully handcrafted
- NOVICA, Fair Trade, in association with National Geographic
- Comes with story and letter of authenticity
- 450-pound weight capacity
- Doesn’t come with stand
- Very expensive – because of craftsmanship
- Delicate, hand wash
- Not weather resistant
4. Chakana Double Sized
- Warranty – Information can’t be accessed, website might be down
- Weight – 3 pounds
- Dimensions – 5 x 8 x 11 inches (shipping weight – website can’t be accessed).
- Material – Various
These hammocks are created by local artists from the Otavalo people of Ecuador. Each purchase supports Incan families and their artistic trade.
These hammocks are solid pieces of fabric decorated with delicate rope designs. The tight weave of the fabric is great for cooler climates as it prevents wind and cooler temperatures from permeating the hammock bed. The cultural designs are beautifully laid out and will add vibrancy and color to any room.
This lightweight material hangs nicely and holds up to 550 pounds. Each hammock comes with its own carrying case.
- Beautifully designed
- Would work well in cooler climates
- Few Ecuadorian options that can be found
- Very little company knowledge
- Limited information on link
- Can’t access company website (might be down at this time)
#5. Hammocks Rada Yucatan Hammock
- Warranty – 30 days refund return, 90 days return for repair and exchange.
- Weight – 3 pounds
- Dimensions – 5 x 6 x 11 feet
- Material – Cotton and nylon
This company has over half a century of experience working with hammocks, and the material used to create them. They work with small villages to create sustainable jobs for families of over three generations to create Mexico’s highest quality Mayan hammocks.
These hammocks are made to hold up to 550 pounds of weight. They are extremely vibrant, decorated, and highly designed in their open weave, soft, lightweight stature. This particular hammock is designed for up to 13 feet stands.
- Lots of color and decoration
- Holds high weight
- Open weave, won’t work well in cooler climates
- Short warranty
Who Wins the Roundup?
We have quite the selection of options here which always makes it more difficult. However, we’ve been able to personally review two of them on the list, and the others we can deduce from product information availability which ones we would first- take the chance on purchasing, and second- be able to decide what is best for our specific sleeping needs.
I’m not a huge fan of extreme camping, so I’m going to write this one off from the start. Plus the fabric isn’t comfy and cozy like the others, nor would it be as warm as the other fabrics.
The Ecuadorian hammock was extremely hard to find a supply or many options for. What we did find was very difficult to retrieve information from. Although this style looks to be solidly made and would be good for cooler climates, it would be difficult to purchase from a little-known-and-accessed-company or even find an alternate option to purchase this style.
The Mayan hammock is gorgeous, and obviously well made. However the open weave wouldn’t suit for me, or many others who live in cooler climates.
The Nicaraguan hammock is the runner-up for certain. It is delicately made, meaning it is pretty to look at, and it supports a really great company supported by a really wonderful name brand, National Geographic! While this style is found in large supply, purchasing internationally always poses its risks (to note: I’ve heard nothing bad about this international company and its purchases), and although it would be my personal favorite because of the cause it supports, we have a better option.
However, for the ultimate price of the best hammock to sleep in long-term: The Brazilian style has to be the favorite in this case. It is easily accessed and has many options to choose from (company wise). The information is easily accessed, and they are decently priced and well made. If you wanted to find one internationally to support a local artistic cause, you would – or you could purchase locally to hedge your safe bets.
While all of these hammocks are well suited for your sleeping habits, it would really come down to what suits your needs… long-term. Don’t forget you’re purchasing this as a bed replacement, and you want to be as comfortable as possible for as long as possible.