an overactive mind and an unhealthy relationship with coffee, drifting off into
a peaceful sleep isn’t something that comes easily to me.
serial insomniac that regularly spends weeknights tossing and turning into the
early hours, only to spend the next day feeling completely wiped out. It’s a
viscous circle that’s had me reaching for everything from pillow sprays and
journals, to supplements and meditations, in search of relief.
to statistics, I’m not alone. Aviva says that as many as 16 million UK adults
are suffering from sleepless nights, with almost half of us admitting we don’t
get the right amount of sleep on a regular basis.
sleep trends have massively boomed in popularity over the past few years, as
more people like me search for solutions. I’d seen weighted blankets popping up
on my social feeds over the last month as a remedy for restless nights – but
how easy are they to use, and more importantly, do they actually work?
bedding down with one for a whole week. Here’s what happened…
blankets are pretty self-explanatory; heavy woven blankets that are equipped
with plastic weights to add pressure to the body as you sleep. The trendy
bedding items, which usually weigh 15 lbs or more, are different from
down-filled duvets, because they distribute pressure evenly across the wearer.
The idea is
that the blanket gives the sensation of being hugged or embraced during the
night. Proponents of the trend say the product works in a similar way to a
technique called ‘deep touch pressure therapy’, which is thought to help
increase the release of serotonin and melatonin in the brain during moments of
stress or anxiety.
blankets were originally designed to be used by occupational therapists, to
help calm and comfort children with autism, but since studies found that they
can also increase the average sleep time of people suffering from insomnia,
they’ve become a mainstream must-have for those in a permanent sleep debt.
they even have their own celebrity fan base, with Kourtney Kardashian and
Gwyneth Paltrow waxing lyrical about the benefits to their followers.
speciality bedding is designed to weigh roughly 10% of your body weight, so I
opt for a 7kg double blanket. After heaving it up the stairs to my flat (it
really is that heavy), I was pleased to unbox an unassuming grey blanket that
could pass as an ordinary throw to the untrained eye.
has a soft velvet feel and comes with a reversible blanket cover which can
easily be tossed into the washing machine with your usual bedding. Following
the instructions, I evenly spread the blanket over my regular duvet, and that
night, I slip under the covers and get comfy.
testing it out, I was worried that the blanket might feel suffocating, but it’s
actually really easy to kick it off if you start to feel hot, and it doesn’t
leave me feeling claustrophobic.
To my own
surprise, I actually enjoy the sensation of being swaddled. Usually, I’d feel
frustrated with my lack of sleep and start turning from side to side – or sit
up to check the time – but the weight of the blanket consciously forces me to
stay still and work on slowing down my thoughts.
take a bit of time to get used to at first, but the extra weight seems to have
a relaxing effect on my nervous system, and the sensation is very comforting –
almost like being cuddled across your entire body. I also find it adds an extra
sensory element to a grounding night-time sleep meditation.
week of sleeping with the weighted blanket, I find that I’m miraculously able
to get to sleep more quickly and don’t wake up in the night, which is something
I sometimes struggle with. Throughout the week, I feel more rested in work and
less like I need to rely on caffeine.
there any downsides? If you have children or pets, the blankets come with a
warning, and extra caution should be taken as they could be a suffocation risk.
also really heavy to carry, which means you can forget about packing them into
your luggage on your next holiday. If you’re someone who struggles to sleep in
hotel rooms as it is, becoming reliant on a weighted blanket for sleep could
make it even more difficult to sleep in new environments.