I climb into bed, and sleepily reach forward to pull my blanket over me. Only it’s too heavy to do it with one hand as usual, so I’m forced to sit up and use all my strength to lug the blanket onto my body. When I do, I immediately sink flat into the bed, and realise I won’t be moving again. I’m buried under 8kg of blanket.
This is my first experience with a weighted blanket. It looks just like a normal blanket - some of them are soft and fluffy, while others fit into a standard duvet cover - but it’s typically filled with beads or pellets to make it heavier. They can weigh anything from 2kg to 14kg, and are currently being billed as the latest solution to insomnia, stress and anxiety.
The idea behind it is to mimic the effect of swaddling a baby; in the same way that snugly wrapping up a newborn helps them feel secure and allows them to sleep better, weighted blankets2020欧洲杯足球即时比分 simulate a comforting hug, which is believed to calm and settle the nervous system.
It isn’t actually a new concept - weighted blankets have been used for many years for children with autism or behavioural disturbances, and are often included as a ‘sensory tool’ in psychiatric units, to calm down patients in distress. But in 2017, the weighted blanket had its first resurgence as Gravity Blanket launched a crowdfunding campaign to create a blanket that would ‘naturally reduce stress and increase relaxation.’ It received almost $5 million dollars in backing, and since then, companies like Pinterest have reported a 259 per cent increase in interest for weighted blankets online.
For someone like me, it feels too good to be true. I was diagnosed with anxiety several years ago and have struggled with fitful sleep ever since, often waking up three or four times in the night. I’m not convinced that a blanket I could use in a gym workout will suddenly improve my poor sleep, but obviously, I can’t wait to try it out.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分I test two - one is the £110 hypo-allergenic glass pellet Mela Comfort blanket which promises the ‘best sleep of your life’ and donates a portion of every sales profit to mental health charity Young Minds. The other is a £169.99 Sommio pocketless blanket that uses a special weightex fabric to ‘restore natural sleeping rhythms.’
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分All brands suggest ordering a blanket that’s 10 per cent of your body weight, so I order a 5.5kg version. But as I’m the kind of person who prefers a lot of pressure in a deep tissue massage, I decide to try an 8kg one too. It turns out my unscientific-based logic works; while the gentle weight of the 5.5kg blanket is soothing, it’s the heavier feel of the 8kg blanket that really sends me straight to sleep.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分I’m surprised by the fact that the results are so instant. But there’s something about sliding under the heavy weight of the blanket that instantly makes me sleepier in a way my normal duvet doesn’t, and after a few nights’ sleep, I notice I’m sleeping more solidly than before, and instead of struggling with my morning alarm, I’m waking up just before it goes off. It seems my body might really be returning to its natural rhythm.
Unfortunately, every night is not the ‘best sleep of my life’, and the results vary on my mood and stress levels, but I am getting up much less frequently than before. It’s dropped down to waking just once or twice, and now it’s more likely to be at 5am rather than 2am. My inner cynic is wondering if this is all just a placebo effect. But one 2008 study published in Occupational Therapy and Mental Health found that 63 per cent of adults reported lower anxiety after sleeping with a 14kg blanket. Similarly, a 2011 study found the “deep touch pressure” offered by the blanket “gives subjects the feelings of safety, relaxation and comfort.”
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分This is something I can relate to. I feel like I’ve been tucked into bed by my parents, and it does create a secure, relaxing feeling. On one day when I find myself coming down with a cold, I even take my blanket onto the sofa, and cuddle up with it around my shoulders while I indulge in bad TV.
The only real downside for me is the temperature. If I sleep with just a weighted blanket, I’m too cold. But if I add my normal duvet on top, I wake up sweating. I need to explore alternate covers for the blankets - all the covers are detachable and both brands sell other options - but in the meantime, I decide the push grey Mela Comfort makes it perfect for the sofa, while the Sommio’s 100% cotton cover is ideal for bed.
James Wilson, a sleep expert known as ‘the sleep geek’, says that it’s impossible to bill weighted blankets as a ‘miracle cure’ for poor sleepers - in his experience, they have a different effect on everyone. ‘They are sold as reducing anxiety and I find that if you are the sort of person who likes a heavy duvet or really tucks yourself into your bedding then weighted blankets can help. However if, like me, you are the sort of person who hates bedding being tucked in, and likes a light duvet, then they are more likely to make you stressed, raise your heart rate and have a negative impact on your sleep.’
Ultimately, they’re not for everyone - and the expert advice is always to see a medical professional if you’re struggling with your mental health - but they could be worth a try, especially with brands like Mela Comfort offering customers 100 nights ‘ free trial. I can’t say it’s ‘cured’ my anxiety and sleep problems forever, but it has taught me that I’m definitely the kind of person who feels calmer being tucked up in bed. Especially with 8kg on top of me.