Now that autumn is (finally) sinking in and the cold seems to be returning, I’m looking for cosy additions I can make to my home that will benefit my body temperature as well as my mental health.
Throw blankets, slippers and scented candles will help to lift my mood and keep me warm, but a weighted blanket’s benefits far outweighs those.
I’m one of those people who always sleeps with a duvet, even when it’s hotter than hell outside. I burrow down hamster-style, wearing a sleep mask and ear plugs every night and every nap, without exception. I create a literal fortress of security, without which I feel exposed and unable to relax. So, when a friend recommended I try a weighted blanket, I was instantly intrigued.
What is a weighted blanket?
Different to an electric blanket, a weighted blanket is a specially designed blanket that has been weighed down with pellets, which are evenly distributed across the blanket.
What are the benefits of a weighted blanket?
The premise behind it is the same as the reasons for swaddling a baby – it keeps you still and supported while you sleep. Studies have also shown that the gentle pressure reduces the body’s level of stress hormone cortisol and boosts the production of serotonin, which is the naturally occurring chemical that regulates mood and sleep patterns.
Both swaddling and weighted blanket use are forms of Deep Touch Pressure (DTP), which researchers have shown has a “calming effect on the alleviation of anxiety”.
In other words, it’s like a giant, full-body hug, which, in a time where national social distancing has been in implemented for over a year, we could all do with. In fact, research has shown that our skin can become “hungry” due to chronic lack of touch, resulting in a number of mental health issues such as loneliness. Could this blanket serve as the solution?
Do weighted blankets work?
I opted for the Mela Comfort Blanket, which recently launched in the UK and is now stocked at Oliver Bonas after roaring success in the states. “We wanted to create Mela Comfort to not only tackle the growing problem of sleep deficiency using natural methods, but to also use business for good by giving back to projects that we feel passionately about in the mental health space.
For every weighted blanket we sell, we donate a portion of our profits to help fund mental health research”, says Matthew King, Co-Founder at Mela Comfort.
The blankets weigh between 15lb – 20lb, and are available in a range of sizes to fit all beds. I chose the 15lb option, which I was glad for when it arrived. Turns out, 15lb is kind of heavy. Top tip: order it to be delivered to your home and not to your office like I did. It’s not exactly travel-friendly.
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The blankets are weighed with SGS certified glass pellets, which are evenly distributed. It comes with the softest, microfibre cover, which while not to my aesthetic taste, feels beyond heavenly. It’s like being cuddled by a huge velvet cloud. As I climbed into bed, I knew that it was the start of the rest of my sleeping life. It felt instantly relaxing, soothing and safe.
Weighted blankets aren’t just for winter – they offer a new way for people to help switch off, calm their mind & get the crucial sleep needed to be the best we can,” says Samuel Hochland, Co-Founder at Mela Comfort. “It’s amazing that something low-tech can have such profound positive effects.”
I woke feeling refreshed having slept deeply and undisturbed. But above all, I felt relaxed.
There are plenty of other options to choose from, especially weight wise. This aqua one from Amazon comes with a matching sleep mask for the ultimate naptime experience, or this one from Oliver Bonas is crafted from vegan silk. You could even go higher-end with this option from Gravity – the experience is, of course, down to your preference.
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