Michel Muhlethaler, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Medicine in Geneva, Switzerland, is well known for his research regarding complicated topics about sleep and the brain. One of his most famous discoveries is as elementary as rocking a baby to sleep. During one of his visits to Paris, Muhlethaler noticed that the people on the train were falling asleep on their way to work at 6 and 7 in the morning, hardly a time when non-train riders doze off.And so he began his research. Over the course of the next few years, Muhlethaler found that the rocking motion of say, a train, lulls its passengers to sleep in the same way that a baby is lulled to sleep while swaying in a mother’s arms. Since most grown people were at one point conditioned as infants to sleep when rocked back and forth, they slept better as adults while gently rocking back and forth on a train on their way to work.
After observing what happened with the train, Muhlethaler created an experiment to see if the same rocking motion could help people sleep in a hammock. Muhlethaler had volunteers sleep in a bed for 45 minutes while others slept in a hammock for the same duration. He compared their brain waves to determine the quality of deep sleep. Those who slept in the hammock experienced deeper sleep than those who slept in a bed.
But what shocked the researchers was that the brain waves stayed consistent throughout the napping period. Not only does sleeping in a hammock help you fall asleep faster, the rocking ensures that you stay in a deeper sleep.
Deeper sleep means that you recover in a much shorter period of time. Instead of having to sleep eight hours, you can sleep for six hours and awake energetic. Not to mention, deeper sleep can improve your memory and focus. Even if you don’t plan to sleep in them, hammocks can still put you into a focused state because the swinging motion can trigger your prefrontal cortex. If you lay in a hammock correctly, it can promote a natural rhythm of relaxation. If you sleep on a mattress, every contact point will send a signal to your brain, and light up the neuromatrix. While some mattresses can alleviate these pressure points, when you sleep in a hammock, it eliminates the pressure points that can cause pain.
Another reason to own a hammock? No more making the bed! Instead of needing fitted sheets, you sleep on the bottom of the hammock. The set up takes two minutes for putting it up and tearing it down. Afterwards, just unhook the hammock and fold it up in the corner. Not to mention, hammocks are good for circulation. If you have ever seen hospital beds, they were designed so that patients could lie on their back while having their head elevated. This leads to better blood circulation in the brain because your breathing is less obstructed.
Hammocks are an all-around good choice, and they cost much less than what you would pay for a quality mattress or bed with the same advantages of better sleeping.There are many ways to sit in a hammock. How many of them do you know?