Can a weighted blanket help with insomnia?

Can a weighted blanket help with insomnia?

In this blog post, we are going to find out whether a weighted blanket can help with insomnia, what are the benefits of weighted blankets and what is proper sleep hygiene. 

Can a weighted blanket help with insomnia?

Yes, a weighted blanket can help with insomnia.

This type of blanket minimizes body movement by applying weight to the body, helping you fall asleep faster and rest better, inducing relaxation and relieving anxiety.

Studies have shown that using a compression blanket can improve your sleep by creating a feeling of relaxation and peace by simulating a hug.

This simulated hug calms you by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system and helps you relax as soon as you stay in bed, giving you the best sleep your body deserves.

Can a weighted blanket help with insomnia?

What exactly are weighted blankets?

I think everyone remembers the wool blankets that weighed a lot and once you wrapped yourself in such a blanket you didn’t move.

You didn’t shy away at all and the sleep was deep and very good.

For some time, the place of blankets has been taken by light feathers that promise a lot of warmth and advantageous prices.

The weighted blanket is a reinvented duvet, brought in the contemporary era using new materials and technologies.

The weighted blanket is not a simple blanket, it should not be bought to be placed on the bed, but to be placed on the shoulders, to be wrapped in it like a hug.

This blanket is an invention made from the current need to remove as much stress as possible.

The weighted blanket has three layers, the outer layers are the coating and in the middle, there is a heavy filling. There are several types of fillings here.

You can choose between plastic granules and glass granules (hopefully they are recycled materials). The glass ones are heavier.

The outer covers are made of 100% Cotton but there is the possibility of purchasing a cover for a soft feeling and for protection.

The blanket can also be covered with a regular linen cover.

The weighted blankets are made of several layers of material, among which there is a filling with materials that give them weight.

Hence the name of weighted blankets or heavy blankets.

Several studies by researchers in the United States have shown that sleep occurs faster the heavier the blanket.

The reason is simple: light touches excite the nervous system, while strong but gentle ones calm it. This works for most people.

The scientific name is “deep pressure touch stimulation” (DPTS). The pressure produced acts as a kind of massage: it relaxes you, eliminating stress and giving you a feeling of comfort.

This is the same as when someone lifts us in their arms, hugs us, or slaps us on the shoulder.

Heavy blankets mould to your body like a warm hug.

The pressure exerted by it works in such a way that it relaxes the nervous system and leads to the production of serotonin, the “hormone of happiness”, which then turns into melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating circadian rhythms.

The weight of the blanket acts as a deep touch therapy and acts on the receptors throughout the body.

When these receptors are stimulated, the body relaxes and transmits to the brain the feeling of security and comfort. Serotonin production is also increasing at that time.

Several studies have shown the importance of heavy blankets in therapies to cure anxiety in various patients or in hyperactive children, and the results have been a total success, writes Brightside.me.

The weight of the blanket depends on personal preferences and weight, but for adults, a blanket weighing between 5 and 14 kilograms is recommended.

However, heavy blankets are not recommended if you suffer from respiratory problems or you have just had surgery.

Can a weighted blanket help with insomnia?

The effects of a compression blanket

The compression blanket helps you sleep better in the following ways:

  • Deep sleep – the pressure created by the blanket mimics the feeling of hugging to stimulate the level of melatonin, which improves the quality of sleep
  • Feel calmer – Increases serotonin levels, calms you, sensory processing and finally reduces the activity in the nervous system
  • You live happier – Reduces anxiety and stress by bringing the feeling of refreshing mornings and helps increase productivity
  • Fall asleep faster – Due to the weight, the blanket helps to relax and makes you feel less stressed and much more relaxed.

A proper sleep hygiene

Maintaining a regular sleep schedule is the most important measure to combat insomnia.

This involves observing a constant sleep interval, going to bed at the same time every night, waking up at the same time, day by day. 

First of all, you need to notice what your optimal sleep schedule is.

For one or two weeks you can experiment, going to bed at the same time in the evening, and you will wake up without an alarm clock for a few days in a row.

You may initially tend to sleep more to recover from previous fatigue.

Afterwards, bedtime must be observed daily, including weekends.

If you need to wake up earlier in the morning than at the convenient time observed during the trial period, then it is probably necessary to go to bed earlier in the evening, needing several hours of night’s sleep.

If you feel the need for extra rest, it is more useful to sleep at lunch than to prolong your morning sleep.

You can also try relaxation exercises. Avoid falling asleep after dinner, dealing with other tasks (for example, washing dishes, a discussion, a walk).

The circadian rhythm (sleep-wake) must be adjusted naturally. Under the effect of light exposure, the pituitary gland secretes melatonin, a hormone involved in the generation of the sleep-wake cycle.

Thus, in the dark, more melatonin is secreted which facilitates drowsiness, and when it is light, the secretion decreases, allowing you to be alert, awake.

Because strong light from a TV or computer screen can suppress melatonin production, it is not advisable to fall asleep with the TV on.

It is also advisable not to read before bed on a gadget with a bright screen (iPad, smartphone, kindle) and it is preferable to read with a warm light lamp.

In order to reduce daytime drowsiness, it is important to spend as much time outside as possible in natural light, to have a living or working space that is well enough lit during the day and it is preferable not to wear sunglasses in the morning.

Can a weighted blanket help with insomnia?

Creating a relaxing atmosphere in the bedroom is essential. For people with insomnia, it is often difficult to change their sleep schedule because the period until falling asleep (sleep latency) is very long, requiring a long period of relaxation.

That is why it is very useful to create a relaxing atmosphere in the bedroom.

The bedroom should be quiet, airy, temperature around 18 degrees Celsius, comfortable bed.

This is a room reserved only for relaxation.

Before falling asleep you can conceive a relaxation ritual, reading a book, listening to soothing songs or an audiobook, a warm bath.

Stress and anxiety control. Anxious, stressed, angry people often have difficulty falling asleep or wake up frequently during the night.

This is a signal that stress and anxiety need to be controlled. It is necessary to understand your concerns and to control your attitude by thinking positively. 

Learn how to effectively manage your time, cope with stress and think calmly in perspective; this way you will be able to sleep better.

Relaxation techniques to improve sleep can be beneficial for everyone, but especially for those with difficulty falling asleep.

Practising relaxation techniques before bed is an excellent way to calm down, calm thoughts and prepare for sleep. 

Some simple relaxation techniques:

  • deep breaths – close your eyes and try to breathe slowly, deeply, deeper with each breath
  • progressive muscle relaxation. Starting with your toes, tense all your muscles as hard as you can and then relax completely. Try to visualize the relaxation from the feet to the head
  • imagining a soothing place. Close your eyes and imagine a place, a landscape or a pleasant activity that will relax you. Focus on the relaxing, restful effect on you. 

Ways to fall asleep during the night

During a normal night’s sleep, we all have small night-time waking breaks, which we usually don’t remember.

If you wake up at night and can’t fall back asleep, you can use the following tricks:

  • stay in bed, in a relaxed position, with relaxed muscles, “visualizing” the peace during sleep. Focus on the sensations in your body, from the feet, slowly to the head. The goal is to relax the body and not fall asleep, you can try any of the relaxation techniques described above. Although relaxation is not a substitute for sleep, it helps to rest the body and mind
  • If you stay up at night for more than 15 minutes, you can get up to do an activity that does not involve physical effort, reading a book in warm light, for example. It is preferable to avoid any kind of light screens, TV, ebook, mobile phones. A light meal or herbal tea can help you fall asleep again
  • don’t think about the problems of the day, don’t look for solutions. Postpone worries for the next day. But if an extraordinary idea keeps you awake, write it down on paper and fall asleep because in the morning, being rested, you will be able to be more creative and more productive.
Can a weighted blanket help with insomnia?

Conclusions

In this blog post, you read whether a weighted blanket can help with insomnia, what are the benefits of weighted blankets and what is proper sleep hygiene. 

A weighted blanket can help with insomnia.

This type of blanket minimizes body movement by applying weight to the body, helping you fall asleep faster and rest better, inducing relaxation and relieving anxiety.

Maintaining a regular sleep schedule is the most important measure to combat insomnia.

This involves observing a constant sleep interval, going to bed at the same time every night, waking up at the same time, day by day. 

If you have any questions, comments or recommendations, do not hesitate to contact us!

FAQ on can a weighted blanket help with insomnia

Why do I sleep better with a weighted blanket?

You sleep better with a weighted blanket because it can improve your sleep by creating a feeling of relaxation and peace by simulating a hug.

This simulated hug calms you by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system and helps you relax as soon as you stay in bed, giving you the best sleep your body deserves.

What does a weighted blanket help with?

According to several studies, a weighted blanket helps sleep occur faster.

The reason is simple: light touches excite the nervous system, while strong but gentle ones calm it. This works for most people.

The pressure produced acts as a kind of massage: it relaxes you, eliminating stress and giving you a feeling of comfort.

This is the same as when someone lifts us in their arms, hugs us, or slaps us on the shoulder.

Is a 15-pound weighted blanket too heavy?

A 15-pound weighted blanket is not too heavy if you weigh 150 pounds.

That is because a weighted blanket has been designed to weigh about 10% of your body weight to relax you naturally, simulating the feeling of being held in someone’s arms.

If you weigh less than 150 pounds, you should go for a lighter weighted blanket.

Is it OK to sleep with a weighted blanket every night?

Yes, it is OK to sleep with a weighted blanket every night.

The pressure created by the blanket mimics the feeling of hugging to stimulate the level of melatonin, which improves the quality of sleep.

Why would you use a weighted blanket?

A weighted blanket increases serotonin levels, calms you, sensory processing and finally reduces the activity in the nervous system.

It also reduces anxiety and stress by bringing the feeling of refreshing mornings and helps increase productivity.

References

Nosleeplessnights.com

Sleep.org

Sensorydirect.com

Calmingblankets.co.uk

Nadejda Romanciuc

Nadejda Romanciuc holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a diploma in Addiction studies. She is part of the Romanian Association of Integrative Psychotherapy as a psychotherapist under supervision. She's practicing online counselling for over two years and is a strong advocate for mental health.