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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Want to change your life? Get a hammock.

As I write this column, I’m lying in my backyard in an old, Brazilian hammock, letting spring’s gentle breeze rock me into a comfortable half-sleep.

Not only is this experience relaxing, but according to a 2011 study published to Current Biology, it’s also coaxing my brainwaves into a state similar to deep sleep. This relaxing side effect of the hammock life is only one of many, which range from improved memory and focus to deeper sleep. There are even Hammock Sutras floating around the Internet, which were allegedly created by the Mayans.

Many believe the comfort found by gently rocking in a hammock is attributed to preconscious memories from babyhood. While that initially sounds like crazy-talk, researchers found a distinct difference in brain waves of those napping in a hammock compared to those not. The brain waves recorded during a short, 45-minute hammock nap resembled those found in deep sleep.

These same brain waves are associated with a better memory, improved concentration and an overall improvement in cognitive ability. This makes a hammock the perfect study buddy. Researchers also found that hammock sleepers fell asleep more quickly, reported a more refreshing rest and even claimed to have less back pain after converting to the hammock life. These results led researchers to wonder if hammocks might provide relief from sleeping disorders.

This makes a hammock the perfect bed for the stressed, sleep-deprived UA student. By trading out your clunky, spring-loaded mattress for a hammock, you’re not only decluttering your living space — you’re choosing a more energetic and healthier brain.

College students should consider throwing a hammock up and relaxing during downtime between their classes. This easy, refreshing act could lead to a restful, in-sync mind and potentially better grades.

The only real criticism I’ve heard when spreading the good word about the hammock life is that it doesn’t accommodate anything more than a solitary slumberer. It’s hard to cozy up with a significant other in a hammock. Luckily, this claim couldn’t be further from the truth and I’m not the only one who attests to this. Mayans, who were pioneers of the hammock life, allegedly left modern civilization a detailed guide on how to effectively get down in a hammock.

I’ve done extensive research into the glorious world of hammocks and have found what I’ve determined to be the Tempurpedic of hammocks: the Mayan, double-size hammock. At this point, this hammock has effectively replaced my bed. Its elegantly woven design allows it to conform to the curves of your body. When I first got this hammock, I spent a half hour marveling at it’s intricate, net-like design. Best of all, it’s cheap, and can be found for under $50 online, which is less than half the cost of the average, twin-sized mattress.

The hammock life can be intimidating. Some may find throwing away their love-stained, dandruff-encrusted mattress too emotionally strenuous. There are the brave few, however, who will cross into the land of hammock bliss. Don’t be afraid to dive into the world of hammocks. The benefits of great sleep will far outweigh the puzzled looks from your friends. 

Follow Jonathan Terry on Twitter.

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