If you’ve ever found that you sleep better under loads of heavy blankets during the winter months or that sleep seems to arrive more quickly while snuggling with a partner, a weighted blanket may be just what you need to ensure sound sleep throughout the year.
The Sleep Foundation explains that “A weighted blanket is a blanket that contains glass beads, plastic pellets, ball bearings, or other materials that add to the blanket’s overall weight. The intent behind the extra pressure is to reduce anxiety and help stimulate sleep.”
Anxiety-induced insomnia makes it difficult to fall asleep within a reasonable amount of time and stay that way throughout the night. According to WebMD, when the constant worry from the day follows you to bed at night, it can cause mental hyperarousal, making it difficult to fall into a deep sleep, leaving you feeling exhausted the next day.
Recommended for people suffering from autism, PTSD, anxiety and depression, weighted blankets simulate deep pressure, calming the nervous system, lowering your heart rate and slowing your breathing – allowing sleep to take over.
The Cleveland Clinic explains that deep pressure is gentle pressure applied over the whole body and has been used by occupational therapists to help children with autism spectrum disorders. It’s thought that deep pressure touch can help with stress and anxiety in many other people, too, and weighted blankets are thought to be a means of applying deep pressure while sleeping.
The blanket can be made from a range of fabrics from 100% cotton to bamboo and may be filled with glass or plastic beads to add weight without bulk.
Cotton weighted blankets filled with tiny glass beads conducts heat much more effectively than blankets filled with plastic beads so, keep this in mind when selecting the best blanket for you.
Doctors recommend a weighted blanket that is no more than 10% of your body weight. Any more than that could make you feel claustrophobic and anything less could be ineffective.
When using a weighted blanket for your child, keep in mind that the child must be at least three years old and weigh a minimum of 23kg. Always check with your doctor first, though.
Travel-friendly versions are also available for those who have to be away from home from time to time.
According to doctors, it might. The concept is still relatively new so, there isn’t currently enough research on the subject for conclusive evidence. But, according to two small studies cited by the Sleep Foundation, it does seem to work for some.
If you do battle to sleep check out our handy tips on how you could sleep better tonight.
Discover everything you need to know about sleep and mattresses on our sleep blog.