Do Weighted Blankets Help Sleep Deprivation?

Many of us have experienced mild to moderate sleep deprivation at one time or another. Perhaps you were studying for an exam, looking after a sick child, working overtime, or simply caught dissecting the events of the day. No matter the reason, we can agree that sleep deprivation causes us to end up feeling the same way; it affects your mood, your overall health, and your memory.

Even with the current progression of science and health, professionals have still been unable to answer the big “Why?” regarding our need to sleep. There are many theories, such as regulating hormones, memory preservation, or immune support. If we relate our body to a computer, when we sleep we are going ‘offline’. We are left vulnerable, and do not do anything that leads to greater production output. It even goes further, because our bodies were made to sleep during the night, and be active during the day. When we fight sleep at night and try to allow ourselves sleep during the day, the quality of our dormancy lowers. Consistently working against our circadian clock is only damaging us.

What we can gather from these studies at least, is that sleep is largely a brain-focused phenomenon. Mark Frankos, a neuroscientist from the University of Washington, stated “the central nervous system is always impacted by sleep. There may have been other things that evolution added onto the primary function of sleep, but the primary function of sleep probably has something to do with the brain”. This is where weighted therapy comes into play. The central nervous system is comprised of the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. One of the main functions of the nervous system is sensory functions. Deep Touch Pressure, which is the foundation of how a weighted blanket works, relies on soothing touches, hugs, or squeezing to stimulate the nerves and promote an enveloping sense of rest and calm.

The amount of sleep an individual needs will always vary. The unifying factor between all people, however, is that quality REM sleep is vital for basic human processing during the day. A weighted blanket is a valuable tool to aid in preventing sleep deprivation. The comfortable weight has been shown to decrease body movement and helps the user fall asleep faster, as well as keeping them asleep for a longer period of time. This leads to waking up ‘refreshed’ and having more energy throughout your day. So whether you’re fighting chronic insomnia or studying late for finals, a weighted blanket may be worth a shot.

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