Recently I was researching hammocks to have some hangouts in our yard. Which then lead me to further research on sleeping in a hammock soundly without falling out. Which was my main concern! The kids thought it would be great to fall out while sleeping!
I discovered that enjoying a hammock for either reading a book in or to seriously sleep either in your backyard or in the wild is not just a matter of slinging one up between a couple of trees.
These lovely relaxing hammocks actually need some real expertise to purchase, hang, sit, lay and sleep in.
I will give you a quick answer now! It is to make sure you have a hammock that is long enough for you and also wide enough. You should be using a hammock that is gathered at either end and made from parachute material or similar. Making sure you hang your hammock correctly is also very important.
There are a few quick and easy tricks to hang them to suit you. Read on and you will learn that there is a lot more about hammocks than you thought you needed to know. As well as simple tips for sleeping in a hammock…
Choosing the Perfect Trees to Attach Your Hammock Too!
Remembering that there is no exact science for hanging a hammock. This is where you experiment to find your “sweet spot”.
You should choose trees that are approximately 12 to 15 feet apart. If the trees are further apart than that to achieve the 30-degree angle you will have to place the straps higher on the tree.
Also, make sure the trees can withstand your weight and not sway too much if it gets windy. You don’t want one of your trees falling over in the night while you are sleeping.
This measurement generally works the best to achieve the angle you will need for a comfortable sleeping position.
Working out the 30-degree angle is easy. You take your pointer finger and point it parallel to the ground and your thumb should be pointing up towards the sky. When both fingers touching the line or rope of the strap you’ve got it!
When attaching the hammock straps to the trees you have chosen there is a neat trick. By hanging the foot end 6 inches higher than the head end this angle helps to keep the pressure off your back and legs.
Hanging Angles for Hammocks!
Firstly, the most common mistake is the immediate inclination to hang the hammock flat.
The hammock angle is so important because hammocks are not comfortable when pulled flat like this. This is because the hammock will be very unstable and you will not be able to stay in the hammock. This is why the sag is required.
A 30-degree angle achieves the best angle for comfort. Along with a reasonable amount of sag. Who knew?
Do You Need a Structural Ridgeline?
What is a structural ridgeline? It is a line that is attached to both ends of the hammock.
It is designed to make sure you have the perfect sag in the hammock to get the best possible flat lay.
Rule of thumb is a line of 83% of the length of the hammock.
So for example 12 feet long hammock would require a structural ridgeline of 8 feet 4 inches.
If you attached directly to the ends of the hammock it can be folded up with the hammock and you have ready for next time. One less job on your next sleep out.
Tip: – you can attach a bag to your structural to store your nighttime supplies and other bits and pieces. Glasses, beanie, tissues, water bottle and anything else you may need.
Entering and Exiting Your Hammock!
When hanging your hammock you should remember that you will also be getting in and out of it. Or just sitting in it to relax.
How To Sit In A Hammock
So when you sit in the hammock it should be low or high enough so your that legs are at right angles to the ground when sitting in it.
Laying in Your Hammock!
Laying straight up and down is the most uncomfortable position. As it is not a natural laying or sleeping position because your body is shaped like a banana and is bending the wrong way.
This causes discomfort as there is pressure on your knees, lower back, legs and also your shoulders.
You need to lay in the hammock asymmetrical or on the diagonal. Laying on the diagonal also spreads a gathered hammock out so you feel as though you have more room.
You then need to move around until you are flat. Wiggling around so your torso is in the middle of the hammock allows the hammock to spread wider for a flatter sleeping position.
When you feel comfortable this is your own sweet spot.
The taller you are the wider your hammock should be so you can find the best asymmetrical position for you.
If you find that your hammock has creases and it makes pressure points on your body so you start to experience pain. For example, if the hammock is bunched up under your calves they will start to ache.
To relieve this just raise your knee and use the bottom of your flat foot to push the hammock flat. Do the same and smooth it out under your arms, shoulders, and back.
Tips for Comfortably Sleeping in Your Hammock!
Comfortable clothing that you can move around in and not feel restricted is a must. Remember it is always cooler outdoors than inside. So clean warm socks and maybe a bean on hand just in case it cools down through the night.
You can use a blow-up horseshoe pillow. Tuck the round end under your neck for support. Point the two ends towards the top of the hammock this position will hold your head in place.
Alternatively a bean bag type of horseshoe pillow you can use it in the same way as the blow-up pillow.
Sometimes your knees get hyperextended which is very uncomfortable. A simple solution is to roll up some clothing and stuff it into one of the small equipment covers. Such as the cover for your hammock.
There are other alternatives like a wedge, blow-up pillow or another small pillow.
If you are using the hammock in temperatures above 70 degrees you will not need any insulation under you.
For your top cover, you can use a sleeping bag if it is a little cool at night. All you have to do just zip it open to about 18 inches from the bottom then turn it over. Stick your feet into the closed-end and pull it up to cover yourself.
If it is warmer you can sleep in warmer clothes or use a light blanket.
Using Your Hammock – Below 68 Degrees!
You will end up with a frozen butt if the temperature drops below 68 degrees. The cold comes up from the ground and also the wind blows underneath the hammock so you will need insulation!
Some options are blankets, a sleeping bag, sleeping pads, foam mattresses and under quilts. The under quilt we use is this one at Amazon.
A closed foam mattress is very affordable and lightweight. Which is good if you are hiking.
The foam mattress can be placed directly on the hammock then you just lay on it and hopefully it will stay in place throughout the night.
If you haven’t already bought a hammock the double layer option is probably the best kind to buy if you will be sleeping out in cold weather.
These hammocks will hold the foam in place because you can slip the foam mattress in between the two layers. This then stops the foam from moving around when trying to get comfortable in your hammock.
To keep warm in temperatures 40, 20 and 10 below zero under quilt which is made from goose down is the best choice if you don’t mind spending the money.
These quilts are fitted underneath the hammock and will keep you warm but they can be expensive.
On top you can use the same as above, you can use a sleeping bag. Great as you will be able to pull the hood right up over your face in the cold. An alternative could be a lightweight down blanket that will keep you really warm.
Click on the image below to go over to Amazon and check the awesome price as well as reviews on this hammock!
Be Prepared for a Change in the Weather!
Bad weather can arrive any time at the very least you will need a tarp. You use your structural ridgeline to fold the tarp over. Then secure it to the ground as you would any other tarp.
There are also some very useful hammock/tarp combinations available that could suit you better.
Relax Sleep Will Come!
It may take a while for some to get used to sleeping in a hammock. As I have said before setting up a hammock is not a precise science and it is totally a personal preference for how you want to set your hammock up. There is also a fair bit of wiggling involved.
Make some tweaks to your setup and give it a real go before giving up. If you are camping with a group and have a couple of noisy sleepers or if you want to drown out nature a little!
A good idea is to use some earplugs or white noise headphones. These can be attached to your structural ridgeline so they don’t fall to the ground during the night.
Is It Safe to Sleep in a Hammock
Providing you enter and exit the hammock as outlined above and sleep in the slightly cross position you will not fall out.
Don’t Have a Hammock Yet?
Some things to consider if you have not yet bought a hammock are…
Hammocks are made of parachute material and generally weight less than 3 pounds so nice weight for hiking. You will also have plenty of room for your other accessories like a sleeping bag, pillows and the like.
Remember the quality of hammocks will differ. The price is usually a food gage for quality.
Hammocks come in various sizes so make sure you get one that is long enough for you.
What about a double-layered hammock so you can insert your insulation?
One tip is that pads or foam mattresses can hold the moisture from your body during the night and you may wake up feeling damp or even wet.
So maybe an under quilt would suit you better.
Do you need a tarp for bad weather and will you require a bug net?
This hammock available from Amazon is my favorite check it out here…
To Finish – Sleeping in a Hammock Soundly Without Falling Out
A gathered hammock is the type you will need so you will not fall out while you are sleeping. This is because these hammocks are wide they hug and cacoon around you so you cannot tip out.
Using a hammock will cost you a lot less than setting yourself on the ground with a tent. As you will then have to set yourself and others with bedding. Not only will it be more expensive, but you will need to consider if you are hiking and need to carry your supplies.
Hopefully, the tips that you have learned here with a little practice and finding your sweet spot. You will be sleeping soundly in a hammock without falling out in no time.
As always here’s to better sleep!
If you are undecided about whether you are actually going to sleep in a hammock check out my article all about the pros and cons of doing so…