We’ve all been there: we aim to wake up early, can’t fall asleep on time, and reach for that Snooze button the next morning. It’s a vicious cycle that’s not only difficult to get out of, but also causes insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Enter a solution to help those who have trouble sleeping and, quite possibly, your new best friend – weighted blankets.
Based on the name, it’s easy to figure out that it’s a relatively heavy blanket that helps you sleep. But what exactly is it made of?
With coverings generally made of breathable materials, from cotton and flannel to bamboo and rayon, it’s what’s inside that truly counts. What gives the blanket its signature weight is its filling, which are granules such as sand, grain, or different kinds of beads ranging from microfibre to steel. The best beads, however, are glass beads, which are hypoallergenic to keep your skin allergy-free, and stay completely noise-free through the night.
Originally used to help people with autism spectrum disorders, dementia, and other conditions, the calming effects of weighted blankets have recently made them more mainstream in Asia, becoming a bedtime necessity for those who need help sleeping.
- It Lifts Your Mood – Literally
Weighted blankets mimic a therapy called deep pressure stimulation, which involves firm but gentle squeezing, hugs, and holding.
Since it’s been medically proven that touch boosts our serotonin levels – the key hormone that stabilises our mood – the sensation of being touched uplifts our mood and helps us feel happier.
The weighted blanket does just that, except it takes other humans out of the equation. Instead, the blanket creates a sense of being swaddled snugly – yes, like a baby – which provides warmth and security to help you relax and drift off to sleep quickly – yes, like a baby.
- Say No to Night Anxiety
Ever have those nights where all your thoughts cycle through your brain as you’re settling down? And because your mind goes through a showreel of embarrassing moments, or the pending tasks that needed completing all of yesterday, you just can’t fall asleep?
Turns out, you’re not alone. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, night anxiety is common and affects about 80% of the population.
Luckily, weighted blankets could help keep those pesky thoughts at bay due to their deep pressure stimulation, which “grounds” you mentally. This effect has been medically suggested to help improve levels of your body’s main stress hormone, cortisol – a common cause of nighttime stress and insomnia, which helps eliminate feelings of anxiousness at night.
- Sleep Still
Shoutout to anyone who’s an employee by day and expert martial artist by night – in bed, that is.
If you’re one of the people who go to sleep in a regular sleeping position but wake up in an uncomfortable position after having rotated yourself 180º during the night, a weighted blanket could help you avoid that dreaded neck cramp come morning.
Because of their pressure and, well, weight, the blankets help “ground” the body during sleep by pushing it downwards. It also encourages you to sleep on your back, which is great for equal body weight distribution and overall circulation. So you can trade in that black belt in bed karate and sleep better with some less stressful slumber.
- They Feel Like A Hug
Let’s be real: we all need one right now. And if lockdown has taught us anything, it’s that we live up to our classification as social animals.
The psychological benefits of hugging have been medically reported constantly; in summary, hugs release oxytocin, a hormone that helps us relax by slowing our heart rate and reducing our blood pressure. By sending signals that tell your body it’s time to sleep, your lowered heart rate also curbs insomnia and night anxiety.
We know a weighted blanket won’t feel exactly like hugging a real person to sleep, but on the plus side: you won’t have to worry about any dead arms in the morning.
- It Helps You Actually Sleep
Although maintaining good bedtime habits and investing in your downtime should still be your key priorities, weighted blankets can help you sleep at night if you find yourself tossing and turning restlessly – and it’s backed up by science.
Remember when we said weighted blankets can help stimulate the production of serotonin? Serotonin is vital to help you sleep better at night, as it’s been medically reported to trigger the release of melatonin – hormones that regulate your sleep cycle.
If you’re still finding it difficult to fall asleep at night, or if your insomnia has become a chronic pattern, you might want to start giving weighted blankets a try. With that said, we feel it’s only fair to warn you: you might never want to leave your bed again.