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  1. #1
    Scoutmaster Troop 615
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    Question Q: Anyone know of scientific literature on benefits of hanging?

    Curious: does anyone know of literature that demonstrates beneficial effects of hammocks for folks with back problems??? I've seen multitude of posters on this forum who have said that they use a hammock because of back problems. My own experience is such that I KNOW I sleep better when I'm in a hammock. However, as an obtectivist and scientist, I understand that the easiest person to fool is me.

    I'm wondering if anyone knows if there is any objective scientific literature that shows the benefits/risks of hammocking.

    I'm aware of a recent small study that demonstrated benefits of motion while sleeping:
    http://www.cell.com/current-biology/...822(11)00539-2

    Anyone know of other literature?

    Thanks in advance!

    Bruce

  2. #2
    dejoha's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if this qualifies, but I found this article that uses some research on why back sleeping is best for your body:

    > http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/04/19...ion/index.html

    Maybe we should start our own research project? Could we crowd source something with participants from the forum? Provide the parameters and controls in the study? Or would it need to be done like those sleep apnea studies where you have to stay overnight in a lab and be monitored?

  3. #3
    Acer's Avatar
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  4. #4
    Deadphans's Avatar
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    I could do the statistical tests if need be!
    "In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy." -D'Signore's, Tide Mill Farm, Edmunds, Maine.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Pipsissewa's Avatar
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    Good question. The problem with the oft-cited Swiss study is that they used a BED that rocks. They were studying the benefits of ROCKING, not the benefits of sleeping in a hammock. The results of the study have been boiled down, simplified and reduced to a headline to such an extent that the take-away is that it's about hammocks. Unfortunately, it is not.

    Click HERE to see an NPR article about the study. Down the page is a photograph of the swaying bed they used.

    Still, I'll be the first one to state with great confidence that sleeping in a hammock has wonderful benefits--both orthopedic and neurological!

    EDIT: Here's a screen shot of the Swiss swaying bed for the short-attention span types (like me! )

    Swaying bed.png

    It really begs the question, "If they wanted to 'simulate a hammock', why didn't they just use a hammock?!?!?!"
    "Pips"
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    In quiet covers, cool and gray.

    ---Leigh Buckner Hanes

    Surely, God could have made a better way to sleep.

    Surely, God never did.

  6. #6
    Scoutmaster Troop 615
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    Acer and Dejoha: those links are to the study that Pips pointed to... the one article (involving 12 subjects) that "simulated" sleeping in a hammock.

    dehoja: There are a lot of ways to do studies... unfortunately, many of them are extremely expensive to do properly. Example: To do a study looking at changes in sleep patterns in hammocks vs. traditional beds, one would have to do sleep studies on a bunch of folks!! Deadphans would be able to figure the sample size needed to detect a change between groups of 20% of some measure at 95% confidence intervals. Without an NIH type of grant, I don't think I could swing that.

    Would also be difficult to run appropriate controls... not sure how one would do "sham" hammock sleeping. If there weren't proper controls, the participants in the study would know which "treatment" they were receiving, which could influence the results.

    A potentially crowd-source approach could be to do a study looking solely at two cohorts of similar age, similar physical conditioning individuals.... Randomize them to either using a hammock vs a bed for some time period that's long enough to allow folks to get used to the hammock but not so long as to be majorly intrusive (e.g., say, somewhere between 1 week to 2 months???), where participants are asked to keep a daily sleep diary, one that asks specific questions each day and uses a standardized responses or some sort of visual analog scale to assess different sleep/comfort characteristics.

    Would probably need fairly substantial sizes in each group in order to detect differences. All of which would have some costs associated with it to do properly (although getting the stats done grattis would be very helpful!). Those types of studies are less scientifically rigorous than are studies that are blinded... where the participants don't know if they are in the treatment/active group vs. the control group. But, it's a way to start if there isn't other information already available.

    Mmmm... might have to think more about that. This definitely has potential!

    In the mean time, if there are folks that know of other studies of the potential health effects or sleeping impact of hammocks vs. more traditional methods, or the safety of using hammocks in folks with back issues, would appreciate the references!

    Thanks!
    Bruce

  7. #7
    Member Old Dog's Avatar
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    I think personal experience is the best teacher. I’m a full time hanger, but against my better judgment I recently spent 2 nights in a bed. I’m a side sleeper, and after 2 nights on the rack I could hardly raise my arms above my shoulders without pain. Back in the hammock last night, and this morning I felt so good I slept in. Proof enough for me.

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