8 Benefits of Relaxing in a Hammock

Few things are more restful than relaxing in a hammock. We’ve found that putting our feet up in an outdoor hammock can make even the worst and most stressful day feel a bit lighter.

Our lives are busy, and we’ve lost the knack of truly relaxing and releasing some of our daily anxieties. There is something simple and primitive about a hammock that forces us to slip out of our worries the way a snake sheds its skin. 

Here are 8 great benefits to getting outdoors and relaxing in a hammock!

8 Benefits of relaxing in a hammock!

1. Hammocks are a great way to connect with nature

Relaxing in a hammock is an effective method to quiet your mind and build a connection with nature. Lying in an outdoor hammock puts you outside in nature, surrounded by sunlight and shade and birdsong, and in a reclined position where it is difficult to be “busy”.

Allow yourself to sink into the comfort of a hammock and notice your surroundings. The fluttering shadows of the trees, the drifting seeds in the air, the sound of the wind in the grass, and the scents of pine or mown grass put in you a rare “empty” state of mind to be receptive to the world around you.

2. Relaxing in a hammock relieves stress and anxiety

Our modern lives are full of stress and “busyness”. Working long hours, running to events, fixing meals, shopping and chores, the list goes on. Social media and the news cycle of crisis after crisis feeds our anxieties and leaves us feeling overwhelmed and helpless. This sequence perpetuates itself.

It may seem counterintuitive but carving time out of your busy schedule and relaxing in a hammock for as little as 10-15 minutes can help. We often feel that stopping for a moment, sitting still, will only put us further behind, but we need to take breaks, both mentally and physically.

Hammocks can be placed in quiet and relaxing settings, and the feeling of weightlessness and peace can help us shed the weight of all that stress we carry. It gives us the opportunity to connect with nature, something larger than ourselves and our often petty worries.

"We humans have lost the wisdom of genuinely resting and relaxing. We worry too much. We don't allow our bodies to heal, and we don't allow our mind and hearts to heal."

-Thich Nhat Hanh

Girl outdoors relaxing in a hammock
Man outdoors reading in a hammock.

3. Hammocks are uniquely lightweight and portable

Hammocks come in many shapes, sizes, and materials. Many hammocks are compact enough to pack into a pouch no bigger than a softball, and the same can be said of the mounting straps. This means you can take it with you on a walk, pack it off on vacation, or carry it from tree to tree through the yard following the shade.

We carry our portable hammocks with us whenever we travel. Relaxing in a hammock while traveling is a little piece of “home comfort” you can climb into anywhere for a nap or an hour’s reading.

4. Setup your hammock anywhere - from your patio to a mountain peak

Another convenience of a hammock’s portability is the opportunity to set it up anywhere. Whether you live in the city, the country, or somewhere in-between, there is almost always an opportunity to hang a hammock and relax comfortably.

Here is a list of some places where we’ve relaxed in our hammocks:

  • On the porch
  • At night beneath the stars
  • In the shade of some trees in the yard
  • In a public park
  • Alongside a mountain stream
  • In a national forest
  • On the shore of Lake Michigan
  • At a campground
  • At the beach

 That is just brushing the surface of the possibilities, but it gives you an idea of the opportunities – and the relaxing experiences - available.

5. Hammocks are simply comfortable

Hammocks are so simple and understated that we often overlook the fact that they are incredibly comfortable. We routinely spend thousands of dollars on high tech mattresses, mattress pads, comforters, and memory foams in search of a great night’s sleep, and yet the simple old-fashioned hammock remains one of the most comfortable ways to relax and – yes! – to sleep!

Man outdoors reading a book in a hammock

6. Hammocks are great for sleep - especially naps

Hammocks support the body uniformly, leaving us feeling weightless and cocooned, hearkening back to our swaddled youth. The gentle sway of a hammock produces a rocking motion, and this rocking motion is both calming and soporific. Studies have found that people fall asleep faster in a hammock and provide more restful sleep.

This benefit of allowing us to fall asleep quickly makes hammocks especially useful for naps, when time is often in short supply, and less time is wasted trying to find a restful state. 

7. Hammocks fight boredom and boost creativity and productivity

We often assume that boredom is something that occurs when we stop moving, when we stop “doing something”. We see it as unproductive and uncreative time. But the truth is that boredom has become something we no longer experience as “doing nothing”. Instead, we try to fill our boredom with mindless busyness like social media, surfing the web, and watching Netflix.

There’s nothing “wrong” with any of these activities, but they are the incarnation of boredom. Creativity and productivity – artistic, professional, personal, or spiritual – comes from stillness of mind. These things spring from emptiness.

That’s why our best ideas usually come while we are lying in bed trying to fall asleep, or in the shower…or while relaxing in a hammock. We need emptiness of mind, not mindless activity, as the fertile soil of creativity and productivity. Few things provide that emptiness as effectively as lying in a hammock. Leave the smartphone in the house and take a half hour in the hammock. You’ll be surprised at how your mind works. Just don’t forget to write down your ideas before they fly away completely!

8. Hammocks focus our attention upward

We spend so much of our lives looking at our feet, at the ground in front of us, and at our immediate surroundings that we often forget to look UP. There is a whole lot to see above our heads. Stars, clouds, trees, birds, sunsets, rain… Relaxing in a hammock focuses our attention on the sky and all those wondrous sights that we spend so little time observing.

Watch the sunlight filter down through the leaves of an oak. Watch the cloud shapes float past. Search out the constellations or watch a meteor shower from the comfort of your hammock. 

It is good to look beyond our own limited, personal radius. Looking up can make us feel small, insignificant. But it also gives us perspective, shows us the paltriness of our stressors and worries, and helps us find our place in the vast order of things.