Weighted blankets – Use your environment to soothe your body
Weighted blankets are all the thing.
I heard of them long ago for children with autism or Sensory Processing Disorder (over- or under-responding to sensory experiences, which affects sleep, clothing, food, mood, etc.). Weighted blankets help their central nervous system integrate touch and inner body sense.
In the last year or so, weighted blankets have been touted for insomnia. Theory is they help your central nervous system with anxiety and sleep, like a good hug or swaddling to babies.
Two pathways to rest
I was curious about how these blankets affect two paths to rest: environment and body.
The path for the environment explores the physical aspects (cool, dark, quiet) and your relationship to it (when it’s warmer, lighter, or noisier than you’d like) so you can rest and sleep.
The path for the body is about how you can connect with your body, vs. thinking about the minimum you can do so it keeps taking care of you.
While there’s not much research on weighted blankets yet, my theory is that they remind your unconscious self about being in the womb before birth. That’s a cozy place, and you likely slept pretty well there – about 90-95% of the day!
In present day life, I wondered this: Would weighted blankets create a cocoon to keep you more in your body than the wakeful mind?
Before I invested $70-175 in a new one, I found one to borrow from my neighborhood online buy-nothing group.
It was heavy and big – I shlepped it home in a giant Ikea bag.
First I wrapped up in it on my sofa. I’ve found that sitting swaddled, wrapping a blanket tightly around me, can soothe my food compulsions. The heavy weight secured me in my body without much effort to hold a regular blanket close. So far, so good.
Instant cuddling at night
That night, I took the weighted blanket upstairs. With a bit of effort, I smoothed it on my bed, then pushed under it at bedtime.
I was worried about smushing my toes as I slept, but they were fine. I expected it to be more like one of those lead aprons used for x-rays at the dentist, but this one had heavy beads – maybe glass – on the edges, the middle was just fluffy fleece blanket.
I didn’t fall asleep any faster, but I noticed the times of lighter sleep were less wakeful…until I got too warm – one of my least favorite things when I want to sleep.
Fortunately, it was a cold night, so I stuck one foot out of the blanket and focused on cool parts of my body. Like I mentioned with the path of the environment, I managed my relationship to the environment so I could rest and sleep.
I’ve since found another one, (I love my buy-nothing group!) without fleece. I’m starting to really like that feeling of being hugged when I’m in bed, and it’s not too warm.
And I’ll shop around for another lighter one – they run from 7-25 pounds – to use on the couch, when I meditate, or when the food cravings strike.
Have you used a weighted blanket? What do you think? If you’re interested in buying one, you’ll find some links below.
Free consultation: Develop your paths to rest and sleep
Beyond cuddling with your blankie, if you’re having trouble at night, let’s explore your pathways to deep rest (the necessary first step to sleep) in a free consultation.
When you join me for 30-40 minutes, we’ll take stock of what really happens during your sleepless hours. What are your biggest barriers to getting the rest you need? We’ll also discuss options to help you move through them.
Just click here to learn more, and to set up time we can talk.