If you find yourself having difficulty drifting off to sleep at night or waking up hours before your alarm and unable to go back to sleep, you may be one of the millions of Americans suffering from insomnia. While insomnia can be caused by a variety of factors, stress and anxiety are common culprits. Approximately 70% of Americans report experiencing anxiety and stress on a daily basis, and studies show a high correlation between persistent stress and anxiety and sleep difficulties. There is research suggesting that snuggling under covers offering a little extra weight may help you drift off faster and improve the quality of your sleep.
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What Are Weighted Blankets?
One of the latest sleep trends is the weighted blanket. These specially designed blankets are typically filled with plastic pellets and weigh anywhere from 4 to 30 pounds. The extra weight of these blankets creates deep pressure stimulation reminiscent of a hug, massage, or being swaddled, which provides a feeling of security and helps you feel calmer.
Is There a Scientific Evidence Supporting the Use of Weighted Blankets?
Scientific research into the biological effects of weighted blankets is somewhat limited; however, one study suggests that grounding the body using a weighted blanket may help reduce nighttime levels of cortisol and realign cortisol production and secretion with the body's natural circadian rhythm. Not only did the subjects in the study show a normalization of cortisone levels, but they also reported fewer subjective symptoms, such as pain, stress, and sleep dysfunction. Another study showed that participants experienced less wakefulness and movement during the night and increased sleep time when using a weighted blanket. These effects did not persist once the participants stopped using the blanket. It is important to note, however, that weighted blankets are not a substitute for good sleep hygiene. If you haven't done so already, be sure to check our other blog posts about healthy sleep habits that can help you achieve a more restorative sleep.
Choosing a Weighted Blanket
Most experts and companies offering weighted blankets suggest choosing a blanket that is 7% to 12% of your body weight. If you tend to sleep hot or live in a warm climate, you should keep the following in mind:
- Blankets designated as "all season" that are made from a mixture of cotton and polyester are designed to wick moisture away from the body and keep you cool.
- While weighted blankets often use fleece and other man-made fibers, there are options available that use bamboo viscose and other naturally breathable fibers that will help you sleep cooler.
- Blankets with cotton covers don't trap as much heat, so you will stay cooler during the warmer months.
- Look for blankets with high-quality poly pellets or micro glass beads since they tend to adjust to the ambient room temperature.
Are Weighted Blankets Suitable for Children?
Weighted blankets may not be suitable for infants or children with certain developmental disorders. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against using blankets of any type with infants. Parents should talk to the child's pediatrician before using a weighted blanket with their child.
Land of Sleep has been serving Venice, Sarasota, and the surrounding areas since 1974. Our team of sleep professionals is passionate about helping our customers achieve the perfect night's sleep. Whether you are not waking up refreshed after a full night's sleep or your mattress has seen better days, we can help. We offer a full line of quality mattresses to suit every sleep need. Visit one of our two convenient showrooms today and find out for yourself why we are consistently voted the best place to buy a bed in the Venice and Sarasota area.