How to Sleep in a Hammock: Techniques for a Dreamy Rest

Updated Sep 3, 2023

To sleep comfortably in a hammock, start by ensuring the hammock is properly set up with a good sag. Lie diagonally across the hammock to achieve a flatter position, and consider using a sleeping pad or underquilt for insulation and support. Experiment with different sleeping positions and adjust the tension of the hammock to find what works best for you, and don’t forget to stay warm by using appropriate bedding and clothing.

how to sleep in a hammock

Immersing oneself in the serenity of nature while drifting into a peaceful slumber is a cherished experience, and one of the best ways to achieve this is by sleeping in a hammock. Sleeping in a hammock offers a unique blend of comfort, freedom, and tranquility, making it a preferred choice for outdoor enthusiasts, campers, and relaxation seekers. It’s even become a great option for thru-hikers traversing big trails like the Appalachian Trail!

However, mastering the art of hammock sleeping requires some know-how and a few essential tips. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of hammock sleeping, exploring techniques, equipment, and expert advice on how to sleep blissfully in a hammock, enabling you to unlock the true potential of this remarkable sleeping experience.

Choose the Right Hammock

When embarking on the journey of hammock sleeping, the first crucial step is to carefully select the hammock that suits your specific needs and preferences. With a wide array of options available, it’s important to consider various factors to ensure the utmost comfort and satisfaction.


One key consideration is the material of the hammock. Parachute-style hammocks (like this Wise Owl Hammock), crafted from lightweight, durable, and breathable materials, prove to be an excellent choice for camping and backpacking adventures. Their ability to strike the perfect balance between comfort and support contributes to a restful night’s sleep. On the other hand, rope hammocks, while showcasing a classic aesthetic, may leave imprints on your skin and can be less comfortable for prolonged periods of use.


Hammocks are available in various sizes, including single and double hammocks. If you plan on indulging in the pleasure of hammock sleeping frequently, it is highly recommended to opt for a double hammock. The extra width provided by a double hammock grants you additional space and enhanced comfort. With more room to maneuver, you gain the freedom to explore diverse sleeping positions, enabling you to find the ideal angle that suits your personal preferences and body alignment.


While selecting a hammock, it’s worth considering the availability of accompanying accessories that can further enhance your hammock sleeping experience and help you get a good night’s sleep. Some camping hammocks come equipped with integrated bug nets, an invaluable feature for camping in areas where pesky insects abound. These bug nets effectively shield you from unwanted intruders, allowing you to enjoy a peaceful slumber without the nuisance of bug bites. Alternatively, if your chosen hammock does not include a bug net, it is advisable to acquire one separately to ensure protection as needed.

Furthermore, investing in a reliable rain tarp proves advantageous in safeguarding you from the elements while you fall asleep into a tranquil slumber within the cozy confines of your hammock. This protective covering guarantees that unexpected rainfall won’t disrupt your peaceful rest, enabling you to fully immerse yourself in the soothing ambiance of nature without concern.

Set Up Your Hammock Correctly

Setting up your hammock properly essential for a comfortable and restful sleep. Here’s how to hang your hammock correctly for optimal comfort:

Hang at the Right Height

Ensure your hammock camp is hung at a suitable height to avoid dragging on the ground or being too high off the ground. A good rule of thumb is to hang your hammock straps so that the lowest point is about 18 inches (45 cm) off the ground.

Use the Right Hanging Angle

A common mistake people make when hanging their hammock is pulling it too tight, which can lead to discomfort and a constricting sleeping experience. Instead, aim for a 30-degree hanging angle to maintain a natural curve in the hammock. This curve allows for a more comfortable and flatter sleeping surface.

Use a Ridgeline

A ridgeline is a piece of rope or cord that runs from one end of the hammock to the other, providing structural support and helping to maintain the ideal hanging angle. Using a ridgeline can also help reduce tension on the anchor points, such as trees or other structures.

Master the Hammock Angle for a Comfortable Sleep

One of the most crucial aspects hammock camping is mastering the hammock angle. This diagonal sleeping position allows for a flatter and more comfortable surface, distributing your weight evenly across the hammock.

To find the perfect hammock angle, start by lying in the center of the hammock. Then, shift your legs about 8-12 inches (20-30 cm) to one side, and move your head and upper body in the opposite direction. This should result in a nearly flat sleeping surface, with your body at a 30-degree angle across the hammock.

Experiment with Different Sleeping Positions

The beauty of hammock sleeping is the variety of positions available for a comfortable rest. Here are some tips to help you find the ideal sleeping position:

Back Sleeping

Back sleeping is the most common position for hammock sleepers. When combined with the hammock angle, this position provides excellent support for your spine and allows for a comfortable night’s sleep.

Side Sleeping

If you’re a side sleeper, you can still achieve a comfortable sleep in a hammock by utilizing the hammock angle. Adjust your body position slightly, and you’ll find that the hammock’s material will conform to your body’s natural curves, providing support and comfort.

Stomach Sleeping

While stomach sleeping may be less common in hammocks, it’s still possible to find a comfortable position with the right adjustments. Experiment with different angles and positions, and you may discover a comfortable way to sleep on your stomach in a hammock.

Stay Warm and Cozy with Hammock Quilts

Staying warm and comfortable during your hammock sleep is crucial, especially when camping in colder environments. Hammock quilts are lightweight, insulated blankets designed specifically for use with hammocks. They provide warmth without adding significant weight to your pack and can be used both above and below the hammock for insulation and comfort. You can also use a warm sleeping bag combined with a foam sleeping pad for insulation, all placed inside your camping hammock.

Protect Yourself from Bugs and Rain

When camping in areas with high insect activity or unpredictable weather, it’s essential to be prepared. Use a bug net to keep insects at bay, and invest in a rain tarp to protect yourself from the elements. These accessories will ensure you have a peaceful and undisturbed night’s sleep in your hammock.

Create Extra Support with Pillows or Rolled-Up Clothing

Sometimes, you may need a bit of extra support for certain parts of your body, such as your neck, legs, or knees. To alleviate discomfort, use a pillow or rolled-up clothing to provide additional support and cushioning where needed.

Consider Using a Sleeping Pad for Insulation

A sleeping pad can provide insulation and added comfort when sleeping in a hammock, particularly on colder nights. Place the sleeping pad inside your hammock, and adjust its position to suit your needs. To prevent sliding, raise the foot end of the hammock slightly to keep the sleeping pad in place.

Stay Dry with a Drip Line

A drip line is a simple yet effective way to keep rainwater from seeping into your hammock. Attach a piece of rope or cord to your tarp’s attachment points, about 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) away from the tree or anchor point. This will divert rainwater away from your hammock, ensuring a dry and comfortable sleep.

Practice, Experiment, and Have Fun!

Just like any new skill, learning how to sleep in a hammock takes practice and experimentation. Spend time adjusting your hammock camping setup, experimenting with different sleeping positions, and finding what works best for you. With patience and persistence, you’ll soon be enjoying restful and comfortable nights in your hammock.

Sleeping in a hammock offers a unique and enjoyable experience that’s perfect for camping trips or just relaxing at home. It can be a great alternative to tent camping, and by following these hammock camping tips and techniques outlined in this guide, you’ll soon become one of the most expert hammock campers and enjoy the many benefits that come with this versatile and comfortable sleeping option.

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About the Author

Hey there!

We are Derek and Ashley of Know Nothing Nomads. Whether it is hiking, camping, climbing, or just generally being outside, we love it. We are so happy that you have found our little blog and hope that you stick around a while.

Safe Travels,

Derek and Ashley


Know Nothing Nomads

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