Having recently made a promise to myself to try and become healthier and I don’t mean go to the gym more or eat clean. I was thinking of a more fundamental part of my daily routine which stuck out; sleep loss. It’s been something I’ve ignored for years and simply put down to having a busy and hectic life, who hasn’t?
So, this got me thinking, what is it that stops me getting enough sleep and is sleep really that important to be able to function and lead a healthier life.
I decided to take a closer look into the subject of sleep loss and it’s effects; I mean can getting an extra hour of sleep really be that important for your overall wellbeing and general health. Well, according to experts¹ in this field, the difference between enough sleep and too little sleep can have a profound effect on your general health, mood and even your sex life.
Reason enough to dig a bit deeper then...
General Health - Getting your recommended 7-8 hours a night is no guarantee to a long and illness free life. However, links between sleep loss and serious health issues such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes are generally accepted.
Wellbeing - A good night’s sleep can’t ensure you will be full of the joys of spring every day, however, I’m sure the phase “someone’s got out the wrong side of the bed” will be familiar to most of us. By not be exhausted when you rise in the morning will mean you're less likely to be irritable or bad-tempered. When you’re over tired you’re more likely to be emotional and therefore, react to the smallest things whether that’s at work or home affecting not only your mood but the people around you.
Healthy Sex life - Studies have also found a lack of sleep can affect a man’s level of testosterone resulting in a lower sex drive. Which in turn can host other negative consequences for young men, including reduced libido and poor reproduction. So, don’t let that time old excuse for not making love be “I’m too tired” it could be true.
Having been convinced that getting enough sleep is as important to my health as getting enough exercise and eating well, I looked at what I could change to increase the quality and amount of sleep I was getting. The obvious things were quite easy to address, like drinking less caffeine, going to bed an hour earlier.
But then I decided to look at other factors like, my bed and considered changing my mattress, the bedding and even the layout and decor of my bedroom. When I came across the idea of replacing my conventional bed for an indoor hammock. Which came completely out of the blue, as I had only ever thought of a hammock as an outdoor piece of furniture to relax in as a posed to a garden chair.
Although, when you think about it what could be more natural than the gentle rocking motion of a hammock to help you fall asleep and as a recent study suggests they not only help you fall asleep faster they also encourage a deeper state of sleep then a conventional bed. Enhancing the quality of sleep, meaning you’re less likely to wake up during the night and suffer broken sleep.
So, bearing all this in mind I decided to give it a go and share some of the highs and lows of switching to an indoor hammock.
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After the first night or so of “strange bed” syndrome which was to be expected I found myself adjusting to hammock sleeping better than I thought I would. I fell asleep a lot easier and awoke more refreshed and eager to face the day with a new focus and higher level of concentration, ready for whatever the day through at me. Surprising really, what a difference a change to the way you sleep can make.
Other health advantages for making the switch; were reducing the possibility of suffering from pressure points commonly associated with conventional mattresses. I found that I was less likely to toss and turn during the night because of the hammock’s more comforting and natural environment, like a big hug.
Hammock sleeping can also relieve and prevent back and neck pain. Because the hammock adjusts to the natural contours of your body, it supports your whole frame relieving pressure from the pressure points found when lying on a flat surface. Allowing better blood flow, increasing muscle relaxation and recovery, enhancing the quality and benefits of sleep overall making you feel more refreshed and revitalised.
The practicality of sharing a hammock with your partner to sleep in just isn’t there, they are wonderful for those of us that like to experiment and be a little more adventurous in the bedroom, but sleeping together no…. I’m afraid the only option is two separate hammocks; which might suit some.
If you're someone who couldn’t imagine not being able to stretch out over your king size mattress, then an alternative such as a hammock might be a leap into the unknown and a step too far.
Mounting and dismounting last thing at night and first thing in the morning can take a little time to get used to, especially in the morning if your slumber has been top notch. But nothing is insurmountable for the benefits you will be getting from this lifestyle change. Definitely worth persevering with in my humble opinion.
In way of a summary, are there any benefits to switching from a conventional bed to an indoor hammock, simply put yes, absolutely. The quality of unbroken sleep you’ll experience in a hammock, an environment that feels safe and secure, gently rocking yourself to sleep for the recommended 7-8 hours a night, cannot be ignored and at the very least is worth giving a go!
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