The Secret Sleep Cure Everyone's Talking About
Why weighted blankets aren't just a fad.
Looking for a trendy, semi-scientifically backed-up new way to get better sleep at night? Why not try a weighted blanket? It's all the rage among the Goop crowd.
Amazon is selling a weighted blanket by YnM that markets itself as being "great for anxiety, ADHD, autism, OCD, and Sensory Processing Disorder." The weighted inner layer is "made of 100% cotton and its compartments are filled with hypo-allergenic, non-toxic, odorless, sand pellets which feels more delicate and comfortable than plastic pellets."
But the thing that really makes this blanket different from the IKEA duvet you currently have in your bedroom is that it uses deep touch pressure stimulation (DTPS), a type of therapy that is similar to the one used to calm babies in by swaddling them. It basically gives one the sense that you are being gently held or hugged.
The DTPS relaxes the nervous system and sends waves of dopamine and serotonine, the happy hormones, into your brain, thereby reducing your anxiety levels and promising a more restful sleep.
Unlike most sleeping trends, this one not only makes sense, it's also backed by quite a bit of science. The blanket pushes your body down during sleep in a process known as grounding. A 2004 study showed that grounding helps normalize cortisal secretion with natural circadian rhythms, especially amongst women. Nearly everyone that took part in the study reported that, as a result of grounding, "sleep dysfunction, pain, and stress, were reduced or eliminated."
A more recent study specifically looking into the therapeutic effects of a weighted blanket found that, out of the 32 adults that use a weighted blanket, 63% reported lower anxiety after use, and 78% preferred the weighted blanket as a way of achieving a more restful sleep.
There are quite a few of them on the market now, but the YnM blanket seems the most well-reviewed and, at $123 for the 12 pound option, the best value for money.
This blanket also comes at a variety of weights, which is perfect because the best weighted blanket is one that is 10% of your current body weight (so, say, a 12 pound blanket for a 120 pound woman, or a 20 pound blanket for a 200 pound man). The fact that blanket is 100% cotton also helps because it means it's less likely to trap heat, which means it'll provide all of the snuggly security of falling asleep in the arms of a beloved partner, without the inevitable waking-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-sweaty-and-gross that comes with cuddling.
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