An indoor hammock is definitely a good addition to your living room and any room for that matter. Many people would find an indoor swing interesting. Kids would definitely adore taking turns swinging on the hammock. However, did you ever wonder where hammocks originated? Find out below.
The History of Hammocks
Indoor hammocks first originated in Central America during the Mayan Indian era. Mayans sleep in hammocks made of Hamak tree bark and Sisal plant. Brazilians would usually sleep in hammocks during their afternoon siesta.
When Columbus made circumnavigated the world to search for the “New World”, he came into the shores of the Bahamas and saw the natives sleeping in their hammocks. Instead of just bringing spices, gems and fine silks, he brought with him hammocks to Europe as well.
Soon after, many sailors found hammocks useful and became widely used in Europe. French and British sailors particularly found them useful. They would set up indoor hammocks on the ship. The hammocks were made of canvas cloth but were narrow and cramped. However, they can be stored easily and they stashed on the ship’s gunwales. They served as protection against gunshots for the Navy.
Later on, during the 19th century, British prisons started adapting indoor hammocks. The cloth was tied at both ends with brass hammock loops. Unfortunately, the brass part became a weapon for the prisoners so the used of indoor hammocks was discontinued. It was also during the late 19th century when Americans came up with wider hammocks.
Hammocks now come in different materials, designs and colors. It has reached Asia, particularly, China and the Philippines. It has also reached Africa, North and South Americas. There are many varieties of indoor swings and hammocks where one can lounge or even sleep. It depends on the size and the overall theme of the room. Some of the recommended ones can be found in the later part of the article.
The Effects of Sleeping in a Hammock
According to a study published in Current Biology, a rocking or swinging motion can have positive effects to the brain. The 12 subjects were all males who agreed to have their brain activity, eye and muscle movements monitored. The subjects were made to sleep on a rocking bed and a stationary bed. The rocking bed was made to sway very gently every four seconds. Two of the subjects, though, dropped out before the study was finished.
The results showed that subjects fell asleep faster in the rocking bed than in the stationary bed. Based on the electroencephalogram results, the slow, rocking motion increased sleep spindles and slow-wave brain activity. The increase in sleep spindles indicated longer dreamless and deeper sleep, a sleep phase known as N2.
Due to this breakthrough study, Professor Ron Grunstein of the Woolcock Institute (Sydney), believe that insomnia can be cured by the rocking mechanism while mimicking the brain activity resulting from sleeping in a rocking bed or hammock. This theory reflects the way parents put their babies to bed, usually by rocking them to sleep.
Benefits of Sleeping in a Hammock
Apart from improving sleep quality and duration, indoor hammocks also have other health benefits. If set up correctly, an indoor hammock can help relieve back and neck pain. Hammock beds mold well to the body. When the body stretches out and starts to relax, the muscle also relaxes and heals in the process.
The ideal sleeping position would be lying on one’s back with the head slightly elevated to about 10 to 30 percent. This ideal position allows for better blood circulation to the brain and throughout the body. This is according to Dr. Steven Park of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. If you come to think of it, sleeping in a hammock promotes this position more than sleeping on a flatbed does.
Hammock chairs are also good for increasing concentration. In fact, some therapists would put indoor hammock chairs in their clinic and let their patient rock gently back and forth while doing mental activities to increase concentration and focus. For those who lack concentration and focus, try reading a book or studying while seated in a hammock chair.
Babies feel more secure and do not easily wake up from noises and disturbances in their environment while sleeping in hammock. Instead of stretching the hammock, though, it would be best to hang the hammock in such a way that a baby appears wrapped in a cocoon to mimic a mother’s womb. This also reduces stress on babies and helps improve their metabolism and strengthens their immune system.
In fact, there is what is known as hammock therapy wherein premature babies are placed inside mini hammocks, which in turn, are placed inside incubators, to help the preemies sleep better and minimize sleep apnea.
Meditation, Yoga and Hammocks
Aerial and anti-gravity yogas use hammocks when performing poses. The use of hammocks increases the range of movement, allowing the practitioner to assume various poses while relieving pressure on points otherwise caused by assuming yoga poses on the floor. Added with the gentle, swinging motion, anti-gravity yoga increases relaxation. Both the mind and the body stays peaceful and harmonious.
An indoor hammock provides many benefits aesthetically to your home. It can serve as a striking centerpiece to any room in your home, office or apartment. Aside from adding life to a room, it also provides many health benefits. It is imperative though that you set up your indoor hammock securely and correctly. If done so, it can induce relaxation both for the mind and for the body. If you are searching for the right hammock style for your needs, there are many designs out there in the market. Some hammocks are made for lounging both indoors and outdoors. Others are only good for seating while others double as a hammock chair and sleeping hammock. Some hammocks can be suspended from the ceiling while others can be hanged on a hammock frame. The possibilities are endless. It totally depends on your style and preference.