Happiness is a hammock!
Babies love being rocked to sleep – and research has found that gentle rocking helps adults nod off, too. A recent study from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland showed that rocking not only helps people to fall asleep more quickly but also improves the quality of their sleep.
This isn’t news to Matthias Saul, the founder and CEO of Amazonas, the leading European brand of hammocks, baby hammocks and baby carriers. He became a convert to curling up while travelling in South America in 1992.
“I spent time with the Huaorani tribe of Ecuador and Peru,” he says. “In my hammock, I slept like a baby, even in the rainforest. That’s how I learned that sleeping in a hammock is something special. I decided to return home and tell people all about the benefits!”
Amazonas is known for the quality of its Brazilian, cotton hammocks. “Brazilian hammocks hang in a curve, not straight,” says Saul. “You lie diagonally, with the soft cotton supporting the sensitive parts of the body.”
The hammocks are made in an environmentally responsible way. “We use recycled yarn, taken from cotton discarded during textile production, mixed with 15 per cent polyester,” Saul says. “The wood comes from responsibly managed forests.”
Production is in an undeveloped area of north-east Brazil, where more than 50 families are supported by employment at the factory. Profits go towards a project for local street children. “Around 25,000 children in Brazil live in total neglect,” says Saul. “The charity Der Kleine Nazareno was founded in 1994 to care for them. We support it with a generous annual donation.”
The creation of Amazonas Baby World was a natural step for the brand. It makes baby carriers, hammocks and Amazonas Baby World’s eco-friendly hammocks and baby carriers are the last word in comfort for babies and parents alike hanging chairs for children.
“All the Huaorani babies I met in South America slept in hammocks, alone or with their parents,” says Saul. “During the day they were carried in a simple sling. I rarely heard them cry. When I became a father, I remembered what I had learned.”
He designed his first baby hammock for his daughter, who is now 17. “That is how Amazonas Baby World was born,” he says. “Since then we have evolved with the input of midwives and paediatricians. We produce the best baby hammocks.
There are companies that make similar products, but our technical, physiotherapeutic and medical know-how sets us apart. The many benefits of using a baby hammock include providing support for a newborn’s spine. “Babies are born with rounded backs,” says Saul. “In the womb, the curved spine was the perfect posture. Now the spine has to stretch. This is a gentle process that takes a year, until a toddler stands up and starts walking. This why it is important to allow your newborn to have a rounded back when lying down.”
Amazonas also specialises in baby carriers – papoose-style slings that are ergonomically designed to further support the development of the baby’s back and pelvis, as well as to feel comfortable for the wearer. “The perfect weight distribution across your hips allows hours of carrying without back pain,” says Saul, who has personally roadtested all of his products. “My wife and children have been with me on almost all my travels. We always take our hammocks with us, whether we’re going to the Himalayas, Africa or around in Europe in our caravan.”
Happiness is a hammock, Saul believes. “Twenty-seven years ago I started my adventure."