Log out from the Matrix and sleep well in your hammock

Logging out of the matrix is not easy.  What I am learning is that we can be self-sufficient, but only with a lot of cooperation of others around us involved in the same endeavor – It is a group effort and one has to make an effort to find the small tradesmen and small artists and small food producers that still do things right.  Once you have your tribe, everyone helps everyone.

Living in the tropics in a LatAm country, we could dispense with beds and move to sleeping on hammocks.  No more support to the Big Bed Manufacturers that make products often using toxic chemicals and materials.  Buying locally, we could also support local artists that still handmake hammocks.  To our surprise, when we eventually got the hang of sleeping in a hammock, we discovered it is the best sleep ever.   It is also clean because a hammock can quickly be washed and dried.  During the day they are hung on the wall with a quick flip of the wrist and there are no fears of mold growing inside your massive mattress and back-aches and hot-spots disappear.  Hammocks are also beautiful … but, there is a learning curve.

This is a toy – it is not a sleeping hammock:

This is a sleeping hammock but the hang angles are wrong:

I’ll not change back to a bed and I’m beginning to think beds are evil. One just has to know how and the best way to learn how, is to let the locals show you. Its one of those things, you’ve got to be shown and I’ll try to show you right here.

When the local folks realized that I had no idea what to do with this hammock thing, I got laughed out of the house. They could not conceive of someone not knowing how to deal with a hammock. Its all the rage these days among campers and hikers because it is so much more comfortable than any sleeping pad or camping bed.  From Treklightgear I found a professional calculation as to how to hang your hammock:  https://www.treklightgear.com/blogs/trek-life/how-to-hang-your-hammock.

There also is a specific knot to learn and this page illustrates hammock hardware and knots:  https://www.hammocksonline.co.nz/pages/hammock-instructions-use-and-care-guide

The hammock itself must be woven from the right stuff, very soft, fairly tightly woven, light weight, cool and very comfortable if you know how. The ones with the spreader bar are the ones that flip you out. The real ones, hanging like a banana, cannot flip you out. You actually sleep a little diagonally, from say 10am to 4pm on the clock. This somehow, by some magic, straightens out the hammock and you end up with a flat sleeping surface with a slightly raised head portion and slightly raised feet. I can even sleep on my belly which is my preferred sleeping position. I find that I fall asleep very fast and don’t seem to have the need to toss, twist and turn and backaches disappear.

OK, so now you have the correct hammock, fairly tightly woven (you don’t want your toes to hook into the weave) and very soft and hung up on its hooks at the right distance at the right angle and height. Let me see if I can explain how to get in.  In time, this becomes 2nd nature and the moves are easy.  So, you stand with your back to it and the lowest part hangs just below your buttocks. You lift the far side of the fabric up to your shoulders and drape it over your shoulders (easier than what it sounds as the far side is at the same level as the near side).  Then  sit down, elegantly, or simply fall down and lift your legs in. Mine is about 8 feet across and it is almost impossible to flip out. Then you pull the chord that makes the mosquitero (mosquito net – its the tropics) neatly fall down (next step for me to fashion this ‘neatly fall down thing’). (Btw, the Scented Garden or Kama Sutra is completely deficient … it needs a chapter on hammocks).

One does not need a big pillow as your head is naturally elevated. I have a pillow fetish though and bundle my down pillows right in with me. The nurses here tell me that those that bring their own hammocks for a hospital stay never suffer from pressure points or pressure wounds or fluid collecting in the legs or ankles. My husband took to it like a natural and he rocks a little all night through (inner child very alive or very much an ocean creature). He says he does not need to toss and turn as the hammock is not like a bed and one does not feel spots that are uncomfortable once you get “your lie”.

In the tropics we don’t really use bedding in summer. Perhaps a light sheet for cover. Or, if your hammock is big enough, just pull the edge over to limit the air flow if you are in a draft or fan.  Mine is a double hammock (“matrimonial” size in Spanish)  In winter one hangs an under-quilt underneath your hammock and use your blankets or duvets or covers or quilts like normal.

Its easy to wash .. there are hammock bags that you stuff your hammock in, put it in the washing machine with a little soap on a gentle cycle rinse and it dries very quickly after re-hanging. To make the bed is an art. You lift it off the one hook, gather it in your arm more or less in the middle and with an elegant twist or two it becomes a thing of beauty which you then hook onto the first hook and there it is, hanging on the wall. My twists are still not elegant and mine looks like a bundled up thing, but somehow my husband has his down to an art.

Buying a well made hammock is a lifetime purchase. They still have people in our part of the world that make a living out of repairing hammocks.

In the Latin American tropics, houses usually have hammock hooks embedded in the walls.  In the cities or in Western houses of course there are no hammock hooks.  So, you will have to work with a tradesman to place hammock hooks in the walls using structurally strong wall areas to hang your hammock, or find some pillars you can use.  Here in the tropics you can buy hammock hang plates/hooks to embed in the walls.  Sailors and those that can do knots usually find it very easy.  In about 2 weeks, you will be a natural and ‘get your lie’.

Try it, you will like it and this is kinda perfect.


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  1. The Saker

    FWIW – I can confirm that the type of the hammocks described by Amarynth are fantastic. While I still do most of my sleeping in my bed, I do 99% of my resting and reading in a hammock and I absolutely love it!
    Kind regards
    The Saker

  2. ioan

    Excellent description of a hammock, interesting and captivating to read. I just jumped in because I never ever has a hammock in my life, I have seen once but never tested, many years ago on a beach – anyway, it was occupied by a tourist. Curiosity brought me here. Living in an apartment, I have a usual bed, not the best one so I turn and turn around many times in a night. I saw by the way, old pictures where babies where kept in some kind of hammock by their parents in the early 20th century, but earlier this method had been a well spread habit.

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