Having the right sleep setting is absolutely essential for optimal sleep health. Experts recommend soothing techniques and calm surroundings that may include putting your phone away an hour before bedtime, having a consistent nightly routine, the use of white noise, ensuring a dark room, utilizing mindfulness practices, and employing other basic sleep hygiene techniques. To further upgrade your sleep game, a beneficial addition to your nighttime setup may be a weighted blanket.
What Are They and How Do They Work?
Weighted blankets are exactly what they sound like – blankets filled with evenly-distributed pellets or beads (or other materials) to add gentle pressure on top of your body as you sleep. This pressure therapy triggers feelings of calm and relaxation by activating your parasympathetic nervous system (similar to swaddling a baby or being hugged when you’re stressed).
Why Use a Weighted Blanket?
Weighted blankets are recommended by experts for people who experience anxiety, sensory processing or overstimulation issues (such as those often seen in people with autism), restless sleep or other sleep disorders, and people with ADHD. They can help to counteract restless feelings when it’s time to go to bed and assist in reaching optimum relaxation at night. Many people find that their anxiety is reduced and they are able to fall asleep faster and stay asleep more consistently when weighed down with the right blanket.
By getting better sleep, you truly make an investment in your overall health and functionality. By getting more (or better quality) sleep, you can see improvements in hormone balance, immune function, blood pressure, disease risk, energy levels, weight management, and much more.
These kinds of weighted blankets come in various sizes (from lap-sized to big enough for a Cal king bed), weights, thicknesses, and materials, all depending on your sleep needs. Weights can range from 3 to 20+ pounds, and the weight you need depends both on your body size and how much pressure/comfort you prefer.
Are They Safe?
For most people, weighted blankets are perfectly safe. However, they should never be used for infants, and if you experience breathing problems or suffer from muscular issues that could be exacerbated by additional weight while you’re sleeping, please consult your doctor before using a weighted blanket at night.
Are Weighted Blankets Too Warm?
A major concern that many people have when it comes to choosing a “heavy” blanket is getting too hot while sleeping. Fortunately, sleep technology has come a long way, and well-constructed weighted blankets are made from breathable materials that are designed to keep you cool and comfortable while you sleep.
Is a Weighted Blanket Right for You?
If your sleep isn’t as restful as you want it to be, a weighted blanket may be just the thing you need to relax and sleep well at night, improving how rested you feel during the day (and therefore improving your overall health).
Weighted blankets can assist with proper circulation, restless leg syndrome, back pain or joint pain due to tossing and turning all night, feelings of anxiety, blood pressure issues, and a host of other sleep concerns. While each person’s body and sleep needs are unique, you can choose the right weighted blanket for those needs to mitigate any concerns you may have and ensure you get the targeted sleep assistance that you seek.
How to Choose the Right Weighted Blanket
Not all weighted blankets are created equal, and not everyone’s sleep needs are the same. Considerations to keep in mind when shopping include your own height and weight, how much weight and pressure you prefer to feel relaxed and secure, and your general sleep needs and preferences. A general rule of thumb is to choose a blanket that’s roughly 10% of your body weight. Blankets that are machine washable and come with breathable tech fabric will be more convenient and comfortable, and general comfort and portability are other traits to keep in mind.
By choosing a weighted blanket to enhance your sleep space, you can reap the rewards of deeper, more consistent sleep and enjoy improved comfort and relaxation at night.