The Benefits of Weighted Blankets for Better Sleep
Recent studies have shown that anywhere from 50 to 70 million Americans struggle with their sleep. These problems directly lead to more than $16 billion in medical expenses, and let us tell you: that's a big deal.
Fixing insomnia and low-quality sleep can be a complicated process, but it's not necessarily a medical process. There are plenty of small ways you can engineer a better night's rest, and when you add them up, they can have huge impacts on your overall health and quality of life.
One of these easy options has become incredibly popular in the last few years: weighted blankets. They may seem like an odd experience at first, but judging from the overwhelming response of folks in the Hibernate community, there might be something magical to these (truthfully, not-too-heavy) sleep aids.
Read on to learn more about weighted blankets and how you can put them to good use in your own nightly sleep hygiene routine.
To Start, What Are Weighted Blankets?
Weighted blankets aren't some wild new TikTok craze. The original "Magic Weighted Blanket" was invented by a California man named Keith Zivalich way back in that ancient period of pre-history: the 1990s.
Oddly enough, he came up with the idea for this weighted blanket after his daughter put a Beanie Baby on his shoulder while he was driving...and he noticed a change in the way he felt.
Since then, weighted blankets have come a long way. Americans spend more than $220 million on them on an annual basis, and they grew wildly popular at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic (when a lot of folks used them to ease their nerves).
But even as they've grown super popular, the concept behind weighted blankets remains the same. They weigh somewhere between 5 and 30 pounds, and they're used to distribute weight evenly across the body.
All of this weight creates an effect called "deep-pressure stimulation." It helps give your body's serotonin levels a boost while simultaneously bringing cortisol (the stress hormone) down. It can also help promote healthy regulation of melatonin, the hormone that kickstarts your sleep process every night.
What Are the Benefits of Weighted Blankets?
When you snuggle up in bed under a weighted blanket, you'll feel a rush of relaxation wash over you. You might not think that having 10-30 pounds resting on your body would be all that pleasant, but some folks say it makes them feel more comfortable than you'd ever imagine. Here's why:
Reduces the Impact of Stress
According to the American Institute of Stress, Americans are the most stressed-out people in the world. No surprise there. We tend to worry about everything in the U.S., our jobs, diets, elected officials, and the lingering mystery of what Stone Cold Steve Austin is up to today.
Surely you're well aware that stress can play havoc with your sleep. Thanks to the effect of deep-pressure stimulation, a weighted blanket can counteract this. One 2020 study found that adding weighted blankets to your routine can lower self-perceptions of stress and decrease "physiological arousal" (nudge nudge).
And how did it affect sleep?
"...participants felt they fell asleep faster (13% faster), experienced better sleep quality (14% better), felt more rested in the morning (17% more rested), and felt they slept better through the night without waking up (36% improvement)."
Hey, not bad!
Anxiety — as a symptom of stress — is also the enemy of sleep. It can cause you to toss and turn all night and prevent you from waking up feeling like a lion (and a particularly handsome lion at that).
Almost 20% of American adults deal with some form of anxiety disorder, and no surprise, this often coexists with sleep problems. It creates a vicious cycle.
Anxiety produces bad sleep. Bad sleep produces greater susceptibility to anxiety. The fix? Better sleep! And weighted blankets could be just what the doctor ordered.
One 2016 study suggested that a simple weighted blanket was enough to eliminate anxiety in patients who'd just had wisdom tooth surgery. (Who knew wisdom teeth patients were so nervous?)
If a weighted blanket can do that after mouth surgery, you can only imagine how you'll feel at the end of a normal day!
The old post-workout aches and pains. DOMS. Your trick knee. The tweak in your back from using sloppy form on your kettlebell swings. Even diagnosed chronic pain — if it causes you to struggle with sleep, a weight blanket could be a great help.
A 2021 study found that sleeping with a weighted blanket is particularly good at alleviating chronic pain. The process seems to be intricately tied with those same effects of stress and anxiety. But either way, the heavier the blanket, the more pain perception decreased.
Unfortunately, sleeping with a weighted blanket isn't necessarily going to cure any pain you feel on a daily basis. You still need to treat your body well and eat a low-inflammation diet. But if nothing else, it could moderate your pain enough so that you have a better chance of sleeping at night...and giving your body the time it needs to heal.
Outside of Using Weighted Blankets, How Else Can You Improve Sleep?
Obviously, there are plenty of ways weighted blankets can help you engineer great sleep. But, they're only one piece of the puzzle.
To maximize the quality of your sleep in a healthy, natural way, you need to pay attention to your "sleep hygiene" — all the tiny little habits and behaviors that disrupt your hormonal sleep cascade in sneaky ways.
Start by minimizing electric light at night. Photosensitivity is a huge culprit in the insomnia epidemic. Simply glancing at your phone can delay melatonin production by 30 minutes to an hour.
Then, pay attention to the food you eat in the hours before bed. Did you know that simple foods like oranges and chocolate can disrupt sleep cycles?
However. Do you want to know our single biggest tip for increasing sleep quality?
Try micro-dosing with melatonin. By taking a tiny dusting of melatonin (not the egregious "overdose" amounts typically sold over the counter), you can counteract the effects of stress and anxiety, and prepare your body and mind for true rest.
Be careful, however. Taking more than 0.3mg of melatonin can actually decrease the quality of your sleep in the long run. Yet, if you take an optimized dose, you'll give your brain the ingredients it needs to manufacture real sleep...exactly the way nature intended.
(Plus, it'll only make your snazzy weighted blanket work even better!)
That's why we created Hibernate Sleep Formula. We wanted a natural sleep solution that (like weighted blankets) works with your body, not against it.
By taking a healthy microdose of melatonin, wrapped up in an ingenious cocktail of magnesium citrate, zinc orotate, and vitamin D, you'll relax like a baby when you lie down under any blanket.
Then, in the morning, you'll wake up feeling truly recharged, and won't dread the idea of trying to fall asleep anymore.
How to Get Healthy, Natural Sleep
If you're sick and tired of tossing and turning every night, give some thought to weighted blankets. They're just one piece in the puzzle, but they could be the key to decreasing stress and anxiety...and getting better rest every night.
Also consider putting Hibernate Sleep Formula to the test. It can improve your sleep by leaps and bounds, and make the benefits of weighted blankets better than ever.
We all know that weights will make you stronger. Who knew they could help you snooze too? Either way, if getting to sleep is a battle for you, all you need to do is take small steps and we're certain it's a battle you can win.