Many adults and children struggle to get a good night’s sleep. The reasons vary: Many people with autism, dementia, and other health conditions find it hard to fall asleep easily. The consequences of sleep deprivation are often severe. Some researchers have pointed out that a failure to get a good night’s sleep can have the same effect as drinking alcohol, diminishing a person’s reflexes and cognitive functioning. Severe sleep deprivation can even lead to psychological distress.
While sleep medications are an option, many people are concerned about side effects. If you or a family member are struggling with sleep problems, a trip to the doctor is in order. One drug-free option that you might want to discuss is a weighted blanket.
Why Weight Works
It turns out that a person’s bedding can have a huge effect on how well they sleep. In fact, many people find that they sleep better when they feel “cocooned” and protected. These folks will often heap multiple blankets over themselves while sleeping. The added weight provides a sense of comfort and security. This is particularly important for people with dementia, anxiety or developmental disorders. The added sense of security can help these people feel safe enough to fall asleep.
The Problem With Multiple Blankets
Multiple blankets may seem like a good way to provide weight and the cocooning sensation. The problem is that too many blankets can make a person feel hot, which is uncomfortable and disturbs sleep. There is also the cost of buying, and cleaning, multiple blankets for one person.
Fortunately, an alternative to multiple blankets exists. Weighted blankets are made with materials that add weight without bulk. This makes these blankets easy to store and transport. Hospitals, schools and other institutions routinely use weighted blankets to provide patients, students and clients get their rest.
Another interesting thing about these blankets is that people who do not have special needs or sleep disorders often report improved sleep after using them. Improved sleep is always a good thing!
Is a weighted blanket the best blanket ever? Quite possibly. It functions not only as a way to keep sleepers warm, but also address a number of issues that keep people from getting the quality sleep that they need.
Have you used a weighted blanket or do you have a child or other family member who does? Share in a comment!