No matter what you’re stressing about (your never-ending to-do list? that tense message from your BFF?), it’s all too easy for our worries to creep up on us at the end of a long day, making it virtually impossible to get a good night’s sleep. That’s where weighted blankets come in.
“Weighted blankets are popular because lying under them provides pressure that can feel very calming,” explains Lynelle Schneeberg, sleep psychologist, author, and fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “Many people do like the feeling of pressure against their body and find it to be quite relaxing.” Weighted blankets reportedly increase your serotonin (the body’s “happy chemical”) and melatonin (the hormone that regulates sleep) levels, while decreasing your body’s level of cortisol, a stress hormone. Translation: Once you throw on a weighted blanket, you’ll gradually become calmer and sleepier.
Using a weighted blanket seems easy enough. But believe it or not, there’s a good chance you’ve been misusing your blanket this entire time (or at least not to its best effects). Here are the mistakes you’ll want to avoid.
You’re Relying On Your Weighted Blanket Too Much
Sure, using your weighted blanket on a regular basis can help you get into a better sleep cycle if you suffer from insomnia. but there’s always the risk that your weighted blanket will turn into a crutch and you’ll become dependent on it. “They can become so strongly associated with falling asleep that a person might eventually have a hard time falling asleep without the weighted blanket,” says Schneeberg. “This is similar to how some people fall asleep with the television on each night and soon have trouble falling asleep without it.”
While being dependent on your weighted blanket may not seem like a big deal when you’re sleeping at home, you’ll likely run into some issues when you’re traveling or staying over at a significant other’s place. After all, a weighted blanket is too heavy to throw in your carry-on. To strike a balance, use your weighted blanket on those nights when you really, really need it.
You’re Getting Overheated
No two snoozers are alike. While some people run very cold while they sleep, others wake up in a pool of sweat. Common knowledge, right? Well, what you may not have realized is that your sleep temperature can play a serious role when using a weighted blanket.
“If you tend to get very hot during the night, then most weighted blankets might not be a good fit, as they tend to get hot,” explains Terry Cralle, a clinical sleep educator and Saatva sleep consultant. If this is the case for you, you’ll want to opt for a weighted blanket made specifically for hot sleepers—otherwise you might find it even harder to destress.
You’re Not Using the Correct Weighted Blanket for Your Body
Weighted blankets are not a one-size-fits-all purchase; it’s important to find the best option for your body. According to Schneeberg, it all starts with determining the correct weight. “It should weigh about 10 percent of your body weight,” she says. “So if a person weighs 150 pounds, the blanket should weigh 15 pounds.”
In this case, sharing isn’t caring. “If you have a sleep partner, you should each have your own weighted blanket, as they are built for individuals,” Fish adds. Now that’s one way to prevent your S.O. from hogging the covers.
More tips for reducing anxiety:
This Blanket Claims to Reduce Anxiety and Improve Sleep
I Tried 6 Nightly Rituals to Help With My Anxiety—This Is What Actually Helped
6 Ways I Restyled My Home to Soothe Anxiety