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What is a Weighted Blanket, and is it Worth the Weight?

Dr. Celeste Holder

07/04/2020
By Dr. Celeste Holder

All of us are dealing with the ongoing quarantine in different ways. But many of us are finding it tough to cope with the loneliness that has emerged from self-isolation. The heightened anxiety can disturb our sleeping patterns, which only adds to our stress. However, there is one thing that can help you get better sleep at night, and it’s called a weighted blanket. But, what is a weighted blanket?

Let’s be honest. Our parents never used anything of this sort to get a good night’s sleep, so it’s natural for you to be skeptical about its usefulness. But, the hype around weighted blankets is definitely justified for multiple reasons.

What is a Weighted Blanket?

The answer to this question is simple. A weighted blanket is heavier in weight compared to a normal blanket, and they are known to help with sleep and anxiety. The excess weight of the blanket puts pressure on your body. This causes your serotonin (the happiness hormone) levels to increase, helping you calm down and enter a relaxed state. In academic terminology, this is called deep-pressure therapy.

You can find a variety of weighted blankets on the market, such as a cooling weighted blanket or a gravity blanket, with unique features that allow you to improve the quality of your sleep. Although these blankets usually cost more than normal blankets, they are definitely worth the investment.

Grey weighted blanket. What is a weighted blanket?
What is a Weighted Blanket? (Image Source: Shutterstock)

However, before we delve deeper into the numerous benefits offered by weighted blankets, please know that they may not be for everyone. You should beware of putting the blanket on someone who would not be able to comfortably move underneath them, such as children or the elderly. It’s better if you first consult a doctor about using a weighted blanket to improve sleep.

Also, a weighted blanket will not solve all of your sleeping problems. You might want to reevaluate your bedtime routine to assess whether you have some habits that prevent you from getting a good-quality shuteye. For example, many people make the mistake of using their mobile phones in bed at night. According to research, this exposure to blue light tricks your brain into thinking that it’s daytime. So the brain forces the body to remain awake.

Young african american woman sleeping in her bed at night, she is resting with eyes closed
How is Your Sleep Quality (Image Source: Shutterstock)

But even some with a healthy bedtime routine have reported a bad quality of sleep at night. According to a study, around thirty-three percent of people in industrialized countries have said they have poor sleep. The problem is widespread, and hence the demand for weighted blankets remains high.

Do Weighted Blankets Work?

According to a study, a weighted blanket has a calming effect if it’s heavier than ten percent of your body weight. It can provide relief from insomnia symptoms. It also helps people suffering from irritative medical conditions feel more comfortable in bed.

A crucial point identified by researchers is that the weight of the blanket needs to be adequate, which means it should not be too heavy or too light. The ten percent rule applies here. For example, if your body weight is 150 pounds, then ten percent of that would be fifteen pounds, so you should get a weighted blanket that weighs at least fifteen pounds.

Do Weighted Blankets Really Do Anything? – SciShow Psych

For most people, a fifteen-pound weighted blanket is the most suitable option, like this AG Adults Weighted Blanket. It provides deep touch pressure stimulation that distributes an even pressure throughout your body. It is made with seven layers that are very breathable and comfortable. A number of weight options are available, from seven pounds to twenty pounds, so you can choose the most appropriate one.

This weighted blanket by AG Adults has the following pros:

  1. It does not feel too hot on the body.
  2. The weight is just right and does not feel too heavy.
  3. It helps you fall asleep much quicker.

The only downside of getting this weighted blanket for yourself is that you will no longer need a quarantine bae to help you endure these difficult times. It is the best blanket for sleeping, providing you a good night’s sleep.

How to Sleep Better

There are a few tips for sleeping better that you should follow to improve the quality of your sleep.

Make Sure Your Room Is Very Dark

When your surroundings are really dark, your body registers it as nighttime and automatically starts shutting down. It releases a sleep hormone called melatonin from the pineal gland,. This relaxes your muscles, calms down your brain, and reduces your body temperature, making you feel drowsy. If you expose yourself to any light at this time, your body reduces or stops the release of melatonin, making it tougher for you to fall asleep.

A woman sleeping in a very dark room.
Make Your Room Very Dark (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Develop A Sleep Ritual

If you indulge in stimulating activities closer to bedtime, such as surfing Facebook or playing video games, it could take longer for your brain to calm down when it’s time to sleep. Instead, engage in more calming activities before bedtime. Consider self-care rituals including a warm bath, listening to music, or reading a book.

Here is a short, six-minute video with a great sleep ritual that you can follow in the evening to improve the quality of your sleep.

My Simple Evening Ritual for a Great Night’s Sleep – PowerLife

Change Your Habits

According to tips recommended by the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, it is important for you to:

  1. Avoid consuming stimulating chemicals at least four to six hours before bedtime, especially caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. 
  2. Develop a consistent sleep schedule as your internal clock will know when it needs to release the sleep hormone in your body. In case you fall asleep later than usual, try to wake up at the same time to avoid tiredness.

Take a nap earlier in the day, preferably before 5 PM, to recharge your body for the rest of the day. If you take a nap later on in the day, you will not feel tired enough to fall asleep at your regular time.

A relaxed woman napping during the day.
Take a Nap During The Day (Image Souce: Shutterstock)

Try a Weighted Blanket to Improve Your Sleep

In short, you need to help your body enter a relaxed state in order to improve your quality of sleep. This may include modifying your bedroom environment, habits, and sleep schedule, getting a fifteen-pound weighted blanket for added comfort, or a combination of these things.

Regardless of your current sleeping habits, a weighted blanket is a great addition to your nighttime routine and will leave you feeling comfortable, calm, and rested.

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