Why Do Sailors Sleep In Hammocks? Fact Check and FAQs

While hammocks are a great relaxation tool, you should know that their origin goes way back. Different people on land and sea have used it. There are rumors of hammocks being used by sailors and even pirates.


There are different reasons why sailors and individuals generally used hammocks at sea. You should also know many things about hammocks being used on the sea. We will discuss all of these things and more below.



Why Do Sailors Sleep In Hammocks?


The reasons why sailors used hammocks can be traced way back to when hammocks were first developed. Hammocks were used in central America for sleeping. It provided a lot of benefits which range from the prevention of diseases to protection from animal bites and insect stings. This was a result of the hammock being elevated from the ground.

Down to the 14th century, Christopher Columbus brought hammocks to Europe. During that time, a lot of countries were into exploration and discovery of new land. Many ships were used to explore different parts of the sea. It was during that period that sailors used hammocks.

Sailors were used to navigating their ships with many ropes, so it wasn’t a problem for them to use hammocks to sleep as there was always a hanging place. More sailors saw the benefits and began using hammocks for the following reasons.


1. Space

This is one major problem sailors in the 15century had. There were too many people on board but too few spaces for beds in their cabins. Sailors began using hammocks because of this. With hammocks, you wouldn’t have to worthy much about space. You can hang 2 to 3 hammocks in only one-bed space.

The fact that it was also removable made it more adaptable to the sailors. With the removable hammocks, they could solve the space problem as they could easily fold their hammocks whenever they were done sleeping.


2. Comfort

Due to the space problem, many sailors were forced to share beds which often led to a high level of discomfort. This problem was easily solved with a hammock.

Since one person could only use a hammock, they were more comfortable. Sailors had a comfortable sleep whenever they got into their hammocks.


3. Reduced chances of diseases

This is another reason why sailors used hammocks. Hammock reduces the chances of getting a contagious disease. In the 15th century, sailors were exposed to many diseases, from chickenpox to rash and a lot more. These diseases quickly and easily spread among themselves because they shared beds.

However, with a hammock, the problem of diseases was solved. Sailors no longer had to share beds which greatly reduced the infection rate of diseases on the ship.


Do Sailors Still Use Hammocks?


Many sailors use hammocks to date. This is because it offers a lot of benefits. With a hammock, most sailors wouldn’t have to sleep on a bunk inside a cabin. They can easily find a good and comfortable place n the ship to hang their hammock.

Once they do this, they often go ahead and have a relaxing time in their hammock. With more exposure to the fresh air of the sea and a better level of comfort, there is no reason for sailors to stop using hammocks. Sailors from around the world often use hammocks on their ships.


Is It Healthy To Sleep on a Hammock?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with sleeping in a hammock. You are good to go if you intend to nap in your hammock in the afternoon. – You don’t have to worry about its effect on your health.

However, some people complained about back pain and other types of discomfort after they spent the night in a hammock. This was often a result of how the hammocks were set up and their sleeping posture. As long as your hammocks are set up properly, you can always sleep in your hammock outdoors or indoors.


When Did Sailors Start Using Hammocks?


Sailors started using hammocks as far back as the 15th century.  In the 1590s, the royal navy ordered over 300 hammocks. It was called hanging cabbons at that time. The reason for such an order was relatively simple.

The navy, at that time, was looking for ways to maximize the space in their ships. It became hard for the beds to accommodate the number of sailors available on the ship, which necessitated using hammocks. Sailors began using hammocks to maximize space and increase their level of comfort.


Do Hammocks Prevent Seasickness?

The conflict in your senses often causes seasickness. It is caused by the disorientation inside your ear where the human balance mechanism resides. You should know that hammocks can help reduce seasickness.

Hammock reduces seasickness in a straightforward way. The motion of the hammock doesn’t correspond with the motion of the sea. Seasickness often happens when you can feel a steady motion on the sea without any horizon nearby.  It is often worse when there is a storm or strong tides.

Hammocks help to reduce the effect of the motion in your nervous system. Since the motion doesn’t correspond with the motion of the sea, there will hardly be any conflict in your sense. Also, the sky is the only thing you see when you often lie in your hammock. You would get nervous or disoriented whenever you get into your hammock on the sea.


Can 1 Person Sleep In a 2-Person Hammock?


Yes, one person can sleep in a 2 person hammock as long as the hammock is hung correctly and accordingly. If the straps are firm and the hammock is properly set up, you can sleep in a 2-person hammock.

However, you should know that 2 persons cannot sleep in a one-person hammock. They would be putting themselves through a whole lot of discomfort by doing so. Also, the hammock strap cutting or overstretching is risky due to the weight it is forced to hold.


What Is The Weight Limit for a Hammock?

Hammocks can hold as much as 800 pounds. It largely depends on the type of hammocks you get and the thickness of the straps. If you get a double fiber or cotton hammock with extra thick straps, the hammock will be able to accommodate the weight of 2 to 3 people.

However, popular hammocks such as Eno and Sunyear can only accommodate 400 pounds if the straps are strong enough.





Many people use hammocks on the sea. Sailors are known to use hammocks as far back as the 15th century till date. There are a lot of benefits you get to enjoy from using hammocks on the sea, such as more comfort, reduction of seasickness, and a lot more.

 All of these and more relating to hammocks on the sea have been discussed in this article. With a read-through, you will get all the relevant information you need.