wellness

ROAD TEST: I caved and bought a weighted blanket to see if it really helps you sleep better.

We all know someone who constantly sleeps like a rock and lets you know about it.

“I had such a good sleep last night, feeling so refreshed…” I mean you can’t blame them but you also want to punch them in the face, right?

You’re not alone. Sleeping through the night is becoming more of an occasional godsend, with one in three Aussies having little or broken sleep on a regular basis.

While sleep teas, meditation apps, masks, lights, cuddle pillows and even sensor-based mattresses are marketed to help us get a good slumber, many of them are gimmicks.

Watch: How to sleep in four simple steps. Post continues below. 

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While I enjoy a green tea to wind down and use the Calm app to help me fall asleep, I have trouble actually staying asleep – tossing and turning with restlessness throughout the night.

I never find that sweet spot that puts me back to sleep, while my partner could sleep unphased if an earthquake, cyclone and volcano erupted all at once.

I couldn’t take another terrible night’s sleep, so I spoke to a friend who is a borderline insomniac and she suggested purchasing a weighted blanket like hers.

I dug up as much research as I could before buying the pricey product. I discovered that weighted blankets have been traditionally used for children with certain conditions including autism, ADHD, and anxiety and are gaining popularity amongst adults.

What are the benefits of a weighted blanket?

Essentially, the pressure from the evenly-distributed weight of the inner blanket is similar to a therapeutic technique called deep pressure stimulation; the hands-on pressure helps to relax our nervous system. Being wrapped in a weighted blanket can help relieve pain, improve your mood and decrease feelings of anxiousness.

At this point, I was willing to try anything and my prayers had been answered when a Calming Blankets advert promoted their sale on social media (they must’ve been listening to my conversation). I checked out their website and found the adult blanket was down from $299 to $179 – score.

When the package arrived it was bloody heavy (duh) but as soon as I unwrapped the soft mink-style blanket and threw it over myself on the couch, all I remember is saying “mmm” and feeling like I was in a warm hug.

Calming blanket
Image: Supplied/ Alexia Frangos.
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The first few nights with the blanket were interesting as I wasn’t used to the weighted feeling yet, though I noticed I woke up less frequently. By the time the first week with my blanket had passed, I was sleeping like a baby with a full belly at nap time.

However, my body is a bit of a menace. I’m super cold when falling asleep but get hot and sweaty in the middle of the night, and end up stripping to my bare essentials, only to wake up cold! While the mink-style blanket is perfect for the freezing nights as it warms you up in an instant as it traps heat easily (much like an electric blanket without the costly bill), it’s not what I’d recommend for warm sleepers or summer nights.

Which weighted blanket cover is best for me?

Already obsessed with the blanket and using it everywhere in the house, I decided to get the Calming Blankets bamboo cover for good measure at just $49. As the original mink-style fabric has a soft, fuzzy feel and a decent thickness to it, the bamboo has a contrastingly light and silky, almost slippery fabric.

It was easy enough to change the covers and re-tie the inner knots to stabilise the inner weighted blanket — once the bamboo cover was secure, I felt a huge difference in the breathability and temperature.

Getting into bed with the bamboo cover weighted blanket is a cooler sensation than the mink-style, and the night sweats were eradicated. As weighted blankets can be pricey, I thought of it as an investment into my sleep; we don’t realise how much sleep really impacts how our bodies function, and what sleeping well does to combat stress and strengthen our immune system.

weighted blanket
Image: Supplied/ Alexia Frangos.
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What else should I know about weighted blankets before buying?

Weighted blankets may be unsuitable for children under two years old as a risk of suffocation, as well as people with certain conditions including obstructive sleep apnoea, asthma and claustrophobia, which the tightness of a weighted blanket may trigger.

If you want to see if you’ll benefit from the feeling of a weighted blanket, grab the heaviest blanket you can find and fold it in half and try sleeping with it for a few nights. Calming Blankets also have a 30-day refund policy, so if you’ve tried it for a few nights and don’t like it you can send it back with ease.

I’ve also found they’re simple to wash so if you spill a hot choccie on there (coming from experience), you can easily untie the cover and put it on a delicate cycle and hand-wash the inner blanket. Be sure to check the product pages and see what weight and size works best for your situation.

weighted blanket
Image: Supplied/ Alexia Frangos.

Is it for me?

I wasn’t sure if the blanket would be right for me, but after having it for almost a month now I can admit I’m sleeping better than I have in a long time and don’t think I could go without it! If you want to invest in your sleep (look out for the sales) you can get a great deal on a weighted blanket, and return it if it’s not for you. You might find out you enjoy the feeling of that warm hug and reap the benefits almost overnight!

Feature Image: Supplied/ Alexia Frangos.

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