A good night’s sleep doesn’t just depend on where you lie down; It’s also about what you lie under.
Recent research has shown that the type of blanket you use at night can affect your quality of sleep. In fact, heavier blankets have shown time and again to provide more deep, peaceful sleep.
How Does It Work?
Deep touch pressure is the sensation of touch that comes from cuddling, holding & squeezing. It’s been proven as an effective therapy in helping ease anxiety (1) and calming children with autism (2). Weighted blankets mimic this effect.
The weight stimulates pressure points around the body. This creates an unconscious perception of safety, which promotes the release of dopamine and serotonin (3).
These compounds activate the parasympathetic nervous system. In doing so, feelings of stress, fear, and anxiety give way to relaxation and a feeling of safety.
A 2012 study published in Australasian Psychiatry (4) noted that:
“individuals who used the weighted blanket reported significantly greater reductions in distress and clinician-rated anxiety than those who did not.”
Similarily, Occupational Therapy (5) published research that found that out of 32 adults using a 30 pound blanket:
“33% demonstrated lowering in electrodermal activity (EDA) when using the weighted blanket, 63% reported lower anxiety after use, and 78% preferred the weighted blanket as a calming modality.”
By reducing stress and promoting sleep, weighted blankets help maintain proper memory function. That’s because sleeping strengthens memories you’ve formed throughout the day. It also helps to link new memories to earlier ones (6).
“We’ve learned that sleep before learning helps prepare your brain for initial formation of memories,” says Dr. Matthew Walker, a sleep scientist at the University of California, Berkeley.
“And then, sleep after learning is essential to help save and cement that new information into the architecture of the brain, meaning that you’re less likely to forget it.”
Who Should Try It?
Weighted blankets are suitable for people with:
- Bipolar disorder
- Sleep disorders
How To Use
The weight of your blanket is entirely subjective. Most adults prefer a weight of between 15 to 30 pounds. This weight is considered safe as it does not interfere with normal vital functions. Children and elderly adults should seek medical advice before using a weighted blanket. Also, people suffering from respiratory, circulatory and other medical conditions should consult a doctor before use.
DIY Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets can be purchased online or in specialty shops. Watch the video below to learn how to make one yourself!