Hammocks: A Simple Idea with Big Benefits

With a glass of fresh juice on your hand, imagine yourself lying in a hammock. The fresh and cool summer breeze touches your face as you swing back and forth. Isn’t it a perfect way to relax the body and clear the mind? Surely it is a restful way to spend some quiet time outdoors.

An Interesting Beginning

The native residents of sub-tropical islands developed hammocks for sleeping purposes. Surprisingly, the civilization embraced the idea of hammock after Christopher Columbus transported numerous hammocks back to Spain. The popularity of hammock grew especially in Central and South America. They discovered tons of other advantages of hammock apart from sleeping on it. Hammocks kept them away from insect stings, animal bites and sickness. It also serves as a cooling device.
Hammocks are used by Marine Corps and navies and were utilized for use in multiple sailing ships in 1590. The naval hammocks were designed similar to a cocoon, which gave the occupants more protection
than lying in bed. For instance, a slung hammock rocks in unison with the movement of the vessel so there is less or no risk that the occupant can fell off their beds or be thrown to the floor during a rough wave.
As of today, Garden hammocks are known across the globe. The wide assortments of hammocks are sold in the market. Depending on types, styles and designs, hammocks cater to a specific market. They can be a symbol of luxury for highly developed areas, or a mere basic necessity for most people.

The Surprising Benefits of Hammock

Reducing Back and Neck Pain
Does your neck or back hurts for working all day? Or sitting long hours in front of your laptop is the culprit? Often times, there isn’t much ointments could do and you hate taking pills to ease the pain, well give a hammock swing a try. 
Many therapists recommend lying in hammock to patients suffering from back pain and neck pain. Unlike lying in bed, the hammock “hugs” the entire body, resulting to distribution of weight over the body’s surface area. This lessens the amount of weight resting on the muscles, allowing the spine and muscles to realign, thus reducing the pain in those pressure points.

Gaining Increased Concentration
Are you familiar with cerebral cortex? It is the area of the brain that helps you focus and concentrate. According to specialists, the swinging motion aids in stimulating the cerebral cortex, hence providing you better concentration. So why not read a book while lying in a hammock? It is far more relaxing, more comfortable than sitting on a chair.
Easy to Set Up, Easy to Store
Do you love camping? Many hammocks are designed for backpacking and constructed with mosquito netting and space for storage. They are thin and lightweight so you do not have to suffer carrying heavy loads while hiking. Using a hammock on a camping trip instead of tent offers a safe and sound sleep. Being elevated above ground will keep you away from rock poking underneath, crawling insects and animals.
Maximizing the Space
A slung hammock saves space. It is cute—its well-designed structure fits to small areas, yet offer maximum comfort. This is the reason why hammocks have gotten on space craft! The Lunar Module during the Apollo program was equipped with hammocks in order to use available space when the occupants were not resting or sleeping.  Hammocks showcase a variety of benefits, including health, functional and aesthetic. They are small, handy but ingenious invention that owing one can instantly improve the way you relax, sleep and have fun.

How Hammocks Help Sleep

In the study, 12 healthy adults napped in a custom-made bed that could rock gently like a hammock or remain stationary. Each participant took one 45-minute afternoon nap while the bed was stationary and another nap while it was in motion.
During each nap, researchers monitored brain activity using an electroencephalogram (EEG).
Researchers found that not only did participants fall asleep faster in the hammock-like bed, but the gentle rocking motion also changed the nature of their sleep.
"We observed a faster transition to sleep in each and every subject in the swinging condition," researcher Michel Mühlethaler, also from the University of Geneva, says in the release. "Surprisingly, we also observed a dramatic boosting of certain types of sleep-related [brain wave] oscillations."
The results, published in Cell Biology, showed the rocking bed increased slow oscillations and bursts of activity in the brain known as sleep spindles, which are associated with deep sleep and memory consolidation.
Researchers also found the rocking motion increased the duration of stage N2 sleep, a type of non-rapid eye movement sleep that usually takes up about half of a good night’s sleep.
In addition, eight of the participants rated the rocking hammock-like bed as “more pleasant” than the stationary bed.
Researchers say the results suggest 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.
They say the next step is to find out whether harnessing the sleep-inducing power of the hammock may be used to treat sleep disorders, such as insomnia.



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