As someone who deals with anxiety on a regular basis, one way it manifests in my life is through my dreams.
Nighttime is usually rough, as I have a hard time stilling my brain long enough to fall asleep and once I am asleep, the vivid dreams that follow usually pull me right out of my slumber.
I regularly wake up between 3 and 4 a.m., too riled up from my dream to go back to sleep. So I grab a blanket and go lay on the couch until my kids wake up at 6:30. Some days I can get a couple more hours of sleep but some days I can’t. Those are the hard days.
I have tried melatonin. I’ve tried aromatherapy. I have an elaborate bedtime routine that includes showering or bathing by candlelight with soft music. I’ve been in therapy for a few years now.
I. Need. Sleep.
Earlier this month I purchased a weighted blanket after hearing all my Twitter faves rave about theirs, and with “SAD season” upon us, I figured it couldn’t hurt.
Weighted blankets are supposed to promote calm and restful sleep by applying gentle pressure all over your body. Multiple people have said it’s like being hugged, with the same effect that swaddling has on newborns.
I found a 15-pound blanket on sale on Amazon, waited two days and gave it a test run.
My first thought? I should have gotten a 20-pound blanket! It felt too lightweight to do what it’s meant to do but I had used the standard formula (10% of your body weight) to get one safest for me to use.
That first morning I popped out of bed at 5:30, feeling refreshed. I actually got up and packed both my kids’ lunches, something I stopped doing back in 2013. I felt good.
But I wasn’t sure if I just felt better because I needed to feel better (placebo effect) or because the blanket was actually helping. So I waited to try it a few more nights before I reported to all my friends who were eagerly awaiting my review.
So far it’s been two weeks. I’ve slept with the blanket about 10 of those nights — I traveled a little and wasn’t about to lug a 15-pound blanket through the airport! – and I have to say:
I haven’t had any nightmares during the nights that I’ve slept with the blanket and I know my husband is happy when he wakes up and sees that I’m still in bed and not fitfully trying to squeeze out another hour of sleep on the couch.
- I fold mine in half so that the weight is more concentrated. I sleep under my regular comforter and place the weighted blanket on top. Once I pull that weighted blanket up to my chest, I know I’ll be asleep in about 7 minutes. Before it would take me 30-40 minutes to drift off.
- I woke up early a couple times (I believe because the blanket slipped off) but once I readjusted everything I was able to go back to sleep quickly!
- I feel like I move less while asleep. I’m about 80% sure.
- Don’t listen to folks who say it doesn’t get hot. My husband forgot to turn on the ceiling fan one night and I almost died. Everyone on Twitter said it wasn’t too hot but I realize my body isn’t great at regulating my its own temperature. I also sleep with an additional blanket so it’s basically an oven. I have to have the fan on or it’s not that comfortable.
If you are having trouble sleeping, I do recommend a weighted blanket. It’s a nonmedicinal option to help you rest and once you buy it, you don’t have to worry about running out to get another one.
Got questions? Let me hear them in the comments.