Hey everyone, it’s Medicine Mondays again. Recently, I’ve been talking about Sleep Hygiene, mostly in regards to Sleep Apnea. However, today I wanted to talk about something a little different — Weighted Blankets.
As long as I’ve known my wife, she’s had problems sleeping for any long period of time. Over the course of any given night, she wakes up at least a few times, and it usually takes her awhile to fall back asleep.
Of course, my own snoring did not help this. So, I’ve tried different methods to try to help this, while stumbling upon the fact that I have Sleep Apnea. However, now that my snoring and sleep apnea is somewhat under control, my wife’s inability to get a good nights’ sleep still weighs on me.
As such, after some research, I’ve decided to give a weighted blanket a try. Supposedly, the added weight of the blanket provides a feeling of “security” while asleep. It’s almost like if someone is hugging you while you sleep, at least that’s how I think about it. My hope was that this would help her get some better sleep.
Just so we’re clear, there is no concerete evidence for the benefits of using a weighted blanket.
Anxiety and stress weighing heavily at night? A new blanket might help
(Harvard Health Publishing – Harvard Medical School)
For a more in-depth analysis, this article talks about some studies that were performed with weighted blankets:
The TL;DR is that there isn’t great evidence in them helping. That said, I felt it was worth giving it a shot.
We opted for:
There are a lot of different kinds. For example, you could opt to get the bamboo version of the weighted blanket. Supposedly this is a better for those who live in warmer climates and would feel “hot” with a normal weighted blanket.
The rule of thumb to use is ~10% of person’s weight for the blanket. So if you weigh 120 lbs, get the 12 lb blanket, etc.
When you first get the blanket, it will feel very heavy since it is folded up. However, if you actually lay it down in its full size on a bed, the weight is evenly distributed. It will still feel “heavy”, but not necessarily like a weight is pressing down on your chest.
Also, the duvet covers are optional. I just felt it was easier to take care of the blanket if you only needed to change the duvet cover.
How did it go?
We’re still in testing phase. The recommendation is to give your body a week or so to get used to the additional weight. However, there were some issues in making sure the blanket was spread out enough and not just clumping in one area. I think the key is really the even distribution of the weight, which is harder than it looks.
I think to start off with, using a weighted blanket is kind of a two person job. Someone else should lay the blanket over you and evenly distribute it for you when you lay down. Trying to do this by yourself when you first start out is difficult, if not impossible.
For example, my wife woke up one morning with a somewhat sore neck and upper back. I think what happened is that when she was adjusting the blanket to sleep she instinctively grabs for the blanket and pulls it toward her toward one shoulder (snuggles it) , which bunches it up on one area. Since then, I’ve tried to adjust the blanket for her when she gets ready to sleep to keep it evenly distributed. Overall, we’re still learning, but I’m hopeful it will help.
There was an unexpected side effect to using this weighted blanket. My daughter Kylie really likes it. Of course, the adult weighted blanket is simply too heavy for her, so I’ve decided to try a weighted blanket for kids for her.
However, she doesn’t normally sleep with blankets. She likes having her huge cat body pillow and wearing pajamas. For that reason, we opted to go with this:
This set comes with 2 different duvet covers. One which is thinner for summers and one which is thicker for winters. 5 lbs of weight is good for a child who weighs between 30-70 lbs, so it should last her a little while.
Like my wife, she tends to get up a lot at night and have trouble falling back to sleep. I am hopeful that this will help her get more restful sleep.
Please note, don’t use a weighted blanket in a child unless the child is strong enough to be able to move the blanket themselves. In general, the child should be around 7 years old at least, or you if get the ok from your healthcare provider. There have been cases of kids getting hurt (and even dying) from using a weighted blanket that was too big/heavy for them.
Weighted blankets, trying them out.
Agree? Disagree? Questions, Comments and Suggestions are welcome.
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