Hammocks are amazing alternatives to traditional tent camping. They are comfortable to sleep in, easy to carry, and safe in the wild. However, if you are a side sleeper, you might be a bit skeptical about sleeping in a hammock.
We see hammockers sleeping on their back inside the hammock but we rarely see people sleep on their side as we do in our bed at home. I am a side sleeper myself and my first hammock camping experience was not very good. But overtime, I experimented with different things and found my sweet spot.
The question is, are hammocks good for side sleepers? Yes. Hammocks are as good for the side sleepers as for the back sleepers. To sleep on your side comfortably, you have to get a double hammock, hang it with a 30-degree sag and sleep diagonally instead of sleeping along the hammock line to make a flatter surface.
In this article, we are going to discuss ways to comfortably sleep in your hammock for those who are habitual side sleepers.
#1 Change your sleeping angle
Most hammock campers use gathered-end hammocks because, they are lightweight, easy-to-carry, comfortable, and cheaper than other hammocks.
But when you sleep straight in them (aligning your body with the line of the hammock), your body takes the curved shape of the hammock. For people who sleep on their back, this is great but for those like me (and you), not so much.
Unlike your backbone, the side of your body cannot conform to the curvature of the hammock and hence it becomes very uneasy to sleep on your side.
Easy solution? Change your sleeping angle. Sleep diagonally rather than along the hammock line.
If you sleep diagonally on the hammock, you tend to increases the contact area, which by default, reduces the pressure by distributing it evenly on your body. By sleeping diagonally, you also make the underlying surface flatter which helps in your side sleeping.
As per my experience, if you sleep diagonally and slightly roll a few degrees on your back, you’ll find that one sweet sleeping spot you are looking for which will help you sleep peacefully.
#2 Correct tensioning of hammock
Being a newbie side sleeper, this can be a tricky one to for you to ace the first time.
Tensioning the travel hammock can go wrong at times. I agree with the fact that a loosely bound hammock is also quite uncomfortable but, sleeping on a tightly or closely bound hammock can put unnecessary pressure on your body while sleeping, and your body ends up being sore.
A general rule of thumb is to give 30-degree slack to your hammock at each end. This angle is measured between the suspension rope and the ground. A 30-degree slack ensures correct tensioning for most sleepers but you can toggle with the angle to find your own sweet spot.
#3 Go for Spacious Hammocks
For a side sleeper, choosing the correct size of hammock is quite important. While back sleepers tend to sleep straight, they don’t need as much space as a side sleeper.
When you sleep on a single hammock, on your side, you either sleep diagonal or like a fetus (in C shape). This requires more space than a single hammock provides because either your head or your feet will hang out from the hammock.
Buying a double hammock with extra length and width allows you to sleep better diagonally because the excessive fabric tends to provide coverage that supports your body completely. Double hammocks are more comfortable in general compared to single hammocks even if you sleep straight in them.
#4 Appropriate hammocks for side sleepers
When it comes to buying a hammock, there are many options available in terms of material, style, usage and cost.
As a side sleeper, you need a hammock that is a bit wider and flatter so you don’t sink inside the hammock and sleep contentedly.
If you have already tried all the above-mentioned ways, and are still not satisfied with your traveling hammock, then these hammocks might change the way you camp.
Bridge Hammocks with spreader bars
Apart from being a pleasant looking hammock, these bridge hammocks serve a better purpose.
It’s is pretty obvious why these hammocks are popular for side sleeping, because the ropes in spreader bar allows the hammock to provide similar tension in every section.
Which is why, sleeper gets enough room to toss and turn, sleep in any position they like comfortably.
The only drawback of these hammocks is the added weight; hammocks have a reputation for being a light weighted camping gear and the spreader bar adds additional weight.
But, that’s still bearable because you get to sleep peacefully at nights and isn’t that what you want?
One of my favorite bridge hammocks is the Warbonnet Ridgerunner hammock because they make hammock camping for side sleepers a bit easier as they are not only light weighted but comes with a double-layered bottom and bug net to ensure better sleep. They are also equipped with spreader bars on both ends to prevent gathering up.
Haven’s LayFlat Hammock are also quite popular in this category. These hammocks do not only have spreader bars, but also has ridgeline, suspension arcs, and air mattress. The suspension arcs and spreader bars cater to the curling up ensuring a perfect night’s sleep.
Hennesy patented a special shape of hammocks that are more suitable for diagonal sleeping compared to traditional end-tied hammocks. Their special design allows a flatter sleeping surface which is ideal for side sleepers
T shaped Hammocks
T-shaped hammocks are quite versatile and are very different from traditional hammocks. These hammocks require not two but three trees or sources to tie.
The plus point is, that after being tied from three ends, the center becomes so tight that you get the feeling of being on a bed.
The triangular shape helps with the posture because it is much tighter and provides way more room than any hammock with two ends does.
Another good quality of this hammock is, that it is generally spacious enough for two people to sleep in, which mostly covers the cost as these hammocks are slightly costlier than traditional hammocks.
In this category, the Tentsile’s Double T-Mini Hammock is one of the most popular hammocks amongst side sleepers because of its firmness and comfort.
Hammock camping for side sleeper is quite tricky. Sleeping comfortably for a camper is non-negotiable. You obviously require sleep to be able to function the next day.
But, side sleepers have always been unlucky in that domain, since the normal gathered end hammocks deprive them of the comfort they need.
More than 50% of people in the world are either side or stomach sleepers, if you are one of them, then the above-given advice will not only help you sleep better, but the hammock designs will enhance your camping experiences well!
This blog post is part of our comprehensive Hammock Camping Guide. If you are new to hammock camping, read the complete guide to get ready for your next camping trip.
Recommended Camping Gears: I have compiled a list of my favourite camping gear in one place. The selection is based on my own personal experience using them for many years camping as well as feedback from fellow campers. Check them out on my Recommended Camping Gears page