One sheep, two sheep, three sheep… no sleep. If you lie in bed at night staring at the ceiling, begging for the sweet embrace of melatonin, you may have sleep issues. Living on the fumes of restless sleep is no way to live!
Sleep issues are not uncommon. More than 1 in 4 American adults say they have trouble falling or staying asleep most nights. If this sounds familiar, what can you do to fix it?
Buying a weighted blanket for sleep, changing your bedtime habits, and adjusting your diet are just a few of the lifestyle changes that might bring about more REM.
If you can’t seem to catch a single “Z,” this post is for you. Let’s dig into how you can start sleeping through the night and talk about whether weighted blankets really work for insomnia.
- What Is Insomnia?
- What Are Common Causes of Insomnia?
- Do Weighted Blankets Help With Insomnia?
- What Other Sleep Disorders Can Weighted Blankets Help?
- What Lifestyle Changes Can Improve Sleep?
- What Is It Like to Use a Weighted Blanket for Sleep?
- Layla Weighted Blanket for Better Rest
What Is Insomnia?
First and foremost, what is insomnia? Insomnia is a sleep disorder that results in difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep. It can also be a mixture of both. Those suffering from insomnia receive poor sleep quality, which can affect their day-to-day due to a lack of energy and alertness.
For those living with insomnia, finding solutions is a top priority. The last thing you want is to dread hitting the sheets due to a fear of endless tossing and turning. Fortunately, there are weighted blankets for insomnia and other helpful tips that can help you get a good night’s rest. But before we dive into weighted blankets for sleep, let’s explore some of the underlying causes of insomnia in the next section.
What Are Common Causes of Insomnia?
Most adults need at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night to function at peak performance during the day. Common symptoms of insomnia include negative changes to your mood, lower energy levels, and problems with cognitive function.
At some point or another, due to stress or special circumstances (like studying for finals or having a baby), most people have periods of acute insomnia. Most acute insomnia concludes naturally when the trigger point passes. However, if your sleeplessness persists for months without an obvious cause, you may have long-term insomnia.
According to the Mayo Clinic, insomnia has a few main causes. Do you recognize any of these factors?
Poor Sleep Hygiene
It’s tempting to scroll through Instagram before bed. We get it. That type of mindless activity seems harmless enough and you might even swear it’s the only way you can “wind down.” But TV, computer, or phone time right before bed may actually keep you more alert than you want to be. Other bad bedtime habits include taking a nap too close to bedtime and sleeping on an uncomfortable bed.
These habits make up your sleep hygiene, which consists of the behaviors and routines you perform before going to sleep. To improve sleep hygiene and insomnia, reduce screen time before bed to limit the blue light that disrupts your melatonin production or refrain from drinking alcohol or exercising too close to bedtime.
We put babies on a sleep schedule for a reason – establishing a routine sleep pattern helps the body learn when to naturally wind down. If you work weird hours or go to bed at an inconsistent time, it could contribute to insomnia.
Your circadian rhythm is your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. This internal clock is heavily influenced by environmental cues, such as sunlight, and tells your body when it’s time to be alert and wake up, as well as get ready for sleep. However, your own habits can throw your circadian rhythm out of line, including an inconsistent bedtime. To remedy this, try setting an alarm 30 to 60 minutes before your desired bedtime to remind yourself it’s time to wind down.
You’re not just imagining it – when money is tight or you have an argument at work, it’s harder to fall asleep at night. Racing thoughts are not conducive to slipping into unconsciousness. One of the top benefits of weighted blankets is their ability to relieve stress and anxiety. Weighted blankets for sleep can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety thanks to Deep Touch Pressure, which wraps your body in a comfortable embrace to release the feel-good hormone serotonin. If you’re struggling with insomnia, a weighted blanket can help.
A single late dinner might not affect your sleep, but regular late snacking or meals could. It’s often uncomfortable to lay down with a full stomach. Plus, if you suffer from heartburn or acid reflux, eating at a late hour could trigger these conditions just as you lay down.
Lots of Travel
Zooming between time zones can throw off your circadian rhythm (which is a fancy way to say: your internal body clock). Your circadian rhythms normally regulate your metabolism and sleep-wake cycles. But if you confuse them through frequent flying it’s hard to get back on track.
Do Weighted Blankets Help With Insomnia?
So, do weighted blankets help with insomnia? This is a common question for many struggling to sleep at night. Changing your bedding might be comfortable, but do weighted blankets help sleep or just feel good? While more research is needed, there is research that shows weighted blankets can help insomnia, such as a 2015 study that focused on people with chronic insomnia.
Out of 31 participants, 4 out of 5 said they slept longer and had less disturbed sleep when they were under their weighted blanket vs. a regular blanket. They also felt better in the morning. And who doesn’t want that?
Additionally, a 2020 study by a team of researchers at the Karolinska Institute found that participants suffering from severe insomnia reported a significant decrease in insomnia when sleeping with a heavy metal chain weighted blanket compared to a group of insomniacs sleeping with a lighter plastic weighted blanket.
When you sleep under a weighted blanket, insomnia may be reduced or disappear over time. Try it in combination with other lifestyle changes, and make sure you’re as active as possible during the day to give yourself the best chance of being tuckered out when night falls.
What Other Sleep Disorders Can Weighted Blankets Help?
As the National Sleep Foundation explains, insomnia isn’t the only sleep disorder. These other pesky causes of sleep disturbance could also serve as a reason to look into a weighted blanket for sleep.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Apnea represents a pause in breathing that lasts at least 10 seconds. In Obstructive Sleep Apnea, the muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep your airway open. If you have this sleep disorder, you probably snore in between cycles and then choke or gasp yourself awake. As you can imagine, this cycle really disrupts sleep. However, if you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea, talk to your doctor first before sleeping with a weighted blanket for insomnia, as the added pressure can worsen symptoms of your apnea.
Restless Leg Syndrome
About 5-10% of adults have Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). Women are twice as likely as men to have it, and the chances of experiencing RLS increases with your age. The neurological urge to kick your legs while you sleep may end up causing you to wake frequently and is usually accompanied by uncomfortable sensations. A weighted blanket for sleep can help reduce stress and the tingling sensation that comes with RLS, allowing you to unwind and relax.
This sleep disorder often shows up in childhood or teen years, and it affects about 1 in 2,000 people. Symptoms include excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep paralysis, nightmares, and disrupted nighttime sleep. A weighted blanket for sleep uses Deep Touch Pressure therapy to ease feelings of restlessness and promote quality sleep.
Non-24 Sleep-Wake Disorder
Most of us have a body clock (as we mentioned earlier, it’s called your circadian rhythm). Environmental indicators, such as the sun going down and changing into pajamas give our body cues to generate melatonin and get sleepy. With Non-24 Sleep-Wake Disorder, your body does not properly interpret these indicators and it’s harder to fall asleep. A weighted blanket for sleeping can ensure your body gets the cues it needs to sleep.
What Lifestyle Changes Can Improve Sleep?
If you toss and turn more than a gymnast doing a floor routine, there’s still hope. Your doctor may recommend a prescribed sleep aid, but there are also lifestyle changes that can help.
- Reduce screen time: Set an alarm that reminds you to turn off your computer and TV an hour before you plan to sleep. These devices can be keeping you more alert than you realize.
- Only use your bed for sleep: Your brain should get the hint to go to sleep when you’re in bed. Stop dragging your laptop to bed with you when you’re working from home – or eating lunch there. It confuses your brain’s environmental signals. Limit your light exposure when you’re trying to get sleepy, too.
- Sleep with a weighted blanke: Try a weighted blanket for sleep. These hefty blankets are designed to calm your sympathetic nervous system (the part of your brain that activates during fight or flight). They may also reduce general anxiety and produce a calming effect, so your body knows it’s time to doze off. Using a weighted blanket for anxiety is an increasing trend.
What Is It Like to Use a Weighted Blanket for Sleep?
Crawling under a weighted blanket for sleep is a welcome respite for many people with insomnia and other sleep disorders. Keep in mind that people who suffer from things like sleep apnea may not be great candidates for the blanket, so always ask your doctor before buying one.
If you have a green light to explore weighted blankets for insomnia and other sleep disorders, here’s what you can expect from the experience:
The Weight is Evenly Distributed
Weighted blankets have pellets or glass beads evenly distributed across the blanket. They’re strategically sewn so that you’re supported at your feet as much as you are across your chest.
It Feels Like a Hug
Using a weighted blanket for sleep is kind of like getting a warm hug from someone you love. The light pressure simulates the sensation of getting a soothing massage, being in a warm bath, or being swaddled as a baby.
Weighted Blankets Mimic Deep Touch Pressure Therapy
Occupational therapists and other doctors often use DTP (sometimes called Deep Touch Simulation) to calm their patients’ nervous systems. This technique does something called grounding, which activates your parasympathetic system and ushers in happy hormones.
Layla Weighted Blanket for Better Rest
It’s hard to find a better weighted blanket for sleep than the Layla Weighted Blanket. Our cozy blanket is filled with 100% glass beads that are quiet and totally washable. One side of the Layla Weighted Blanket is soft cotton and the other side is covered in mink-like fur.
Our weighted blankets for sleep issues are available in multiple sizes and weights, ranging from 15-25 pounds. The general recommendation for a weighted blanket weight is around 10% of your body weight. Our blankets are designed to be slightly smaller than standard size mattresses, so they don’t droop over the end and get pulled down (dang gravity!) in the middle of the night.
If you still have questions about using a weighted blanket for sleep issues or insomnia, review our weighted blanket buying guide and check out the Layla Weighted Blanket today give it a chance. You can keep it for 120 nights and if you don’t like it (we think you will) or you need a new size, send it back for free!