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9790Re: [Hammock Camping] Beginner's Question on Sleeping Arms

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  • Dylan Anderson
    Jul 19, 2005
      Hi Robbert,

      First off, welcome to the community. And also let me
      say that talking with a physician as another suggested
      is a good idea. But that said, here is a similar
      experience I had and the result I came to.

      As to your experience so far, I think there are a
      couple of issues at work. First is the shape of the
      hammock. Somebody correct me if I am wrong, but as I
      understand, that Amazonas hammock is rather rounded in
      it's lay and it does curl up rather tighter than the
      ones most of us use. By that I am talking about the
      "banana boat" effect, as compared to the Speer or
      Hennessy types which are designed to be much flatter
      and more open inside. For this reason, it is
      certainly possible that the waterbed like cocooning on
      your lower half is contributing to some restriction of
      the blood vessels particularly in your shoulders
      leading to the numbness of your hands.

      The second issue could be how you are used to laying
      in your bed. All my life I have slept sort of halfway
      between my side and my stomach. It is a little hard
      to describe, but basically imagine laying on your side
      and then extend your top leg (Left leg if you are
      laying on your right side) out infront of your body.
      When I slept like this, it also necessitated having my
      arm (right arm if on my right side) fully extended
      under my pillow. I had layed like this so long
      because it was the only way I could get to sleep in a
      bed, that this is how I started laying in my Hennessy.
      What I found very rapidly is that my arm that was
      under my pillow would go numb very quick because it
      was rather far up the slope of the fabric. More
      important, I found that my other arm (left staying
      with the example) would start to go numb later too,
      and I believed it was due to a sort of pinching of my
      shoulders that would result from my lower arm being so
      high up.

      How did I fix this? Well there were two parts.
      First, I found that unlike my bed, I can be
      comfortable enough on my back in my hammock, as well
      as full out on my stomach, and several other ways in
      between. I set about re-training my body to fall
      asleep in these other positions and that sort of
      worked. I say sort of because I would occasionally
      wake up to find I had shift back on my side, with one
      arm high up and both going numb again. Guess old
      habits really do die hard! I determined I must do
      something else, and quickly I found that due to the
      flexable, moldable nature of the hammock, I could
      actually fold my arm under the pillow, which also
      helped to elevate my shoulders a bit and cured the
      numbing entirely. Also, the fact that my arm is sort
      of trapped prevents me from extending it in my sleep.
      The only dissadvantage to this is that I do wake up
      once or twice a night to switch sides, but I would
      gladly accept that over long term damage from poor

      Hope some of this helps, and happy hanging!

      Though I may die tomorrow, at least I can do it with the knowledge that once I did know true love -unknown

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