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Believe it or not, the blanket you use to sleep with each night can have a big impact on the quality of sleep you experience. For example, wearing a cool blanket on a hot night, or a cozy one on a cold night has been proven to increase the length and quality of sleep you experience. Studies have shown that the best temperature to sleep at is somewhere between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and that extreme temperatures in either direction while sleeping will cause disturbances and wakefulness.
Sleep is an important part of the human life cycle as it is the time when most cell growth and revitalization occurs. Without enough sleep, not only is the body unable to heal and grow properly, your brain is not able to function either. Some forms of heart disease have been linked to sleep disorders, making insomnia an even greater risk to those with high blood pressure. Business Insider writes; In the United States alone, roughly 10% of the population is affected by a sleep disorder, and a staggering 18% of the population lives with an anxiety disorder. More than 11 million people suffer from ADHD. And this is just the beginning of the problem.”
Fortunately, there are ways to remedy broken sleep patterns aside from doctor prescribed medication and sleep scheduling. It turns out that weighted blankets, which have been used for deep touch pressure therapy in cases of ADHD and autism are also a great sensory tool for troubled sleepers.
Weighted blankets work by offering an even layer of gentle pressure across the body using DTP or deep touch pressure therapy. Most of these blankets are designed using a soft exterior layer, and an internal layer of poly-fill plastic beads. The evenly distributed weight feels like a hug while you’re sleeping, and has been linked to lower anxiety and greater levels of relaxation. Researchers from the Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders studied the use of weighted blankets on 31 individuals aged 21 to 66. When describing the results, they write; “When the participants used the weighted blanket, they had a calmer night’s sleep, with a decrease in movements. Subjectively, they believed that using the blanket provided them with a more comfortable, better quality, and more secure sleep.”
An occupational therapist living in the Franconia region of N.H. swears by the power of these blankets, explaining that they are a staple in the field of occupational therapy for individuals in psychiatric care who suffer episodes. Apparently, the blankets decrease severity and frequency of these episodes by creating a calm and safe space for patients.
Choosing Your Own Blanket
If you decide to try a weighted blanket, keep in mind that occupational therapists and physicians suggest using one that is 10% of your body weight plus 1 to 2 pounds more. This should be 10% of the ideal body weight for your height and structure, not necessarily the weight you rest at now. If you’re not sure what your ideal weight is, ask your doctor.
Weighted blankets come in a variety of sizes and colors, making it easy to coordinate them with different family members, uses, or rooms in your home. Whether you want a lap blanket for reading, or a full-sized blanket for your bed at night, you can be sure there’s something to fit your need. Travel sized blankets make great airplane companions, or comfort tools for children attending school with special needs including sensory issues. In fact, there have been studies including weighted vests which have proven that deep touch pressure therapy technology can improve focus in classrooms for children with ADHD.
Objects of Comfort
Remember when you were small and a favorite stuffed animal or blanket brought the security necessary to fall asleep in a new bed or big change? Weighted blankets are much like these comfort objects of the past, and while many adults think that it’s only children who require comfort objects, experts feel otherwise. Dr. Hoagland, an insomnia expert from a sleep disorder center in New York is quoted by Psychology Today in saying; “Adults can also have serious preferences for a particular blanket. Regularly using a favorite blanket for sleep can help to develop a conditioned response so that sleep onset is quicker.”
This is especially good for individuals who travel often and have difficulty sleeping in new beds or without loved ones nearby. The sensation of the “hug” provided by your weighted blanket makes it easier to transition into new surroundings, and find a comfortable spot in a strange bed. This is another reason that so many parents of children with special needs turn to these blankets for support during environmental and life changes. From home to school, or from an old house to a new house, weighted blankets offer support and comfort to kids who have trouble dealing with new environments or big changes in their lives.
Where to Buy Your Blanket
The best way to test the theory of blankets and sleep patterns is by trying a weighted blanket for yourself. At The Weighted Blankets company, we pride ourselves on providing only the highest quality materials and designs to our customers. Choose from a variety of colors and sizes to customize your weighted blanket experience. Whether you’re shopping for a child, a family friend, or yourself, you can be sure you’ll find something to suit your tastes and needs.
Before buying a weighted blanket, check for the quality of materials, the type of fill, and that the weight is correct for your height and build. Select something that will offer longevity of use, and a safe sleeping experience for you or your child. Be especially careful when choosing a weighting blanket for a child, and always keep the blankets away from the face and mouth while sleeping.