The weighted blanket has been around for years, traditionally used by occupational therapists to help people with autism. But they’ve recently been hitting the headlines as a hero product for people suffering from insomnia and anxiety.
What’s the science behind it?
Research shows that the deep-pressure touch simulated by a heavy weight reduces stress. The weight increases the release of serotonin (the happy hormone) whilst simultaneously reducing cortisol (the sad hormone) levels.
What is the chronic illness community saying?
The weighted blanket doesn’t just help you feel calmer. Some spoonies have also noted its soothing properties for joint and muscle pain.
Victoria Finney from Portsmouth, who has been diagnosed with PTSD, Bipolar Disorder, Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Psoriasis and Lou Gehrig’s Disease, finds her weighted blanket eases her symptoms.
“The feeling of crawling under it to sleep at the end of a painful day is out of this world. Being under it, my pain levels fall.”
What did I think?
I tried the Gravity Blanket, which comes with 28 nights guarantee and claims can ‘reduce self-stimulatory movements and thus contribute to a deeper REM cycle’.
After the 6kg package arrived, I was excited to get to bed. The recommendation is to swap your duvet for the blanket (but some people like the extra weight of both). I tried both on top of the duvet and instead of. But after getting used to the heaviness, I was weighting for something amazing to happen. I hoped for an overwhelming sense of relaxation to wash over me, but nothing happened.
As a Joint Hypermobility Syndrome ‘zebra’, I am always moving my legs and ankles around at night to help ease stiffness and pain. The blanket makes this much harder because it is keeps you still. So maybe it’s not the best choice for some spoonies. In terms of helping me drift off to sleep more easily, I still spent a good half an hour to an hour trying to sleep. For me it wasn’t the magic solution I’d been hoping for.
So, I thought I’d give it another go, but this time on the sofa. As I sit here writing this article, with my Gravity Blanket draped over my legs and tummy, I do admit I feel cosy. The weight feels nice on my sore knees and I find the soft crumpled noise the material makes quite soothing.
Maybe this is how the blanket suits me?
Now it’s over to you to decide if a weighted blanket is for you
Everyone is unique and how we sleep is no different. For some people a weighted blanket will take a weight off their minds and aid a deep and refreshing night’s sleep. For me, I didn’t notice enough of a benefit after using it at night, but for evenings on the sofa it helped.
So, if you’re thinking of making the investment, then make sure you choose a blanket that comes with a guarantee, just in case it’s not for you.