As I’ve mentioned, we’re vacationing at the beach this week with Jon’s family and as usual, I’m astonished by just how much stuff that four people (Jon, me, C & G) seem to need to take with us for only a week away, especially when the place where we we are staying already provides a lot of the things you need while staying there, like pots and pans and blankets for your beds.
But as we were loading up the trusty Outback before we left for our trip, I couldn’t let us pull out of the driveway without me adding one more item to the pile of clothing and towels and sandals and sunscreen stashed away with our boatload of packed items: my blanket. That’s because my special blanket – my weighted blanket – has become basically indispensable to me for my general well-being.
Weighted blankets are basically like quilts with little weighted pellets sewn into the pockets of the blanket created by the stitching. By adding these pockets of weighted pellets, you end up with a blanket with serious heft. The blankets are intended to help alleviate stress and provide for a good night’s sleep.
The original idea that firm pressure on various parts of the body can help calm animals and people down came when autistic savant and researcher Temple Grandin discovered that deep pressure could alleviate stress in farm animals (and for herself). Today, people with anxious, freak-out prone pets can buy “Thundershirts” – special vests that offer a firm body squeeze that reportedly ratchets critters’ anxiety down a notch. And parents of many autistic children have learned that by offering pressure-providing products to their children, products that feel something like an all over body hug, they can often calm their kids down and lessen autistic behaviors.
As for myself, I’ve always noticed that I have a weird sensation of relaxation whenever they put one of those leaded vests on me when I have x-rays taken. So last year, when I started running across articles touting the sleep-inducing, anxiety-reducing benefits of weighted blankets, my interest was immediately piqued. I often saw these articles at 1 or 2 am in the morning when I was suffering from one of my frequent bouts of insomnia and found myself searching “insomnia” on the internet.
I mentioned on my Facebook page that as an insomniac, I was interested in learning more about weighted blankets, and I asked for feedback from people who had actually used one of these blankets. My crafty mother saw my FB post and when Christmastime came around, I found a very heavy, wrapped package from her under the tree. It was, you guessed it, a weighted blanket.
Fast forward 8 months and I basically can’t sleep without my 20 pound weighted blanket (they also come in 15 and 30 pound weights. I actually really want a 30 pounder). I still suffer from some of the insomnia that I had before I got the blanket, but I am better than I was before. As far as falling asleep goes, I am at least 75% improved from where I was before I got the blanket. My success with using the blanket to stay asleep once I get there isn’t quite as impressive but I’ve definitely seen significant overall improvement in my ability to get asleep and stay there since I began using my weighted blanket. I know for a fact that if I didn’t have it available, I wouldn’t sleep much at all. That’s why, whenever possible, I take it with me when I travel. And I mean it when I say that I would actually really like to have a 30 pound blanket; I think that it would help even more than my 20 pounder does.
Where the blanket really excels for me beyond sleep improvement (because my sleep could definitely still use some improvement) is when I am having a very anxious spell during non-overnight hours. I can lie down for even just a little while under the blanket on my bed, maybe taking a little nap or maybe just reading a book for 30 minutes and I immediately feel a palpable lessening of anxiety symptoms. My 20 year old son E likes the weighted blanket for the same reason; whenever he’s at the house, he asks if I’ll get the weighted blanket from my bed for him so that he can take a nap with it on the couch for 30 or 45 minutes.
My weighted blanket is only a full size – just enough blanket for me to use comfortably myself. Jon wants no part of it. He has his own, very light blanket to sleep under on his side of the bed at night and he says that the thought of being pinned down by a 20 pound blanket sounds horrifying. He also says that he thinks he would get really overheated using my blanket. I can’t explain to someone who would feel freaked out by having twenty pounds on top of them how good that the weight actually feels but I can speak to the idea that the weighted blanket will leave you overheated. It won’t. The one that I have is covered in some sort of cool max-like fabric that keeps you pretty cool even though the blanket is so heavy.
So if you’re a person who suffers from anxiety or insomnia, I can highly recommend a weighted blanket to provide at least a partial solution to your problems. It’s not a magic bullet but it helps me a lot. There are multiple brands of weighted blankets available online and they’re all fairly expensive. The blanket is definitely an investment item. My mother got be the Zonli brand, which is a better deal than many of the others, and which is available on Amazon. My blanket is holding up great and I’d definitely go for this brand again.
Now that I’m a believer in how great weighted pressure can feel on my body, I’m ready to move onto my head; the next thing I want is the NodPod, a weighted eye-mask/headwrap (Santa? Are you listening?)
This post was not sponsored. If you’re interested in having me review your product here on my blog, here are my sponsorship guidelines.