Oct 2, 2017

There is something comforting about sleeping with a blanket. Even if we live in a tropical country, a lot of people still use blankets in their sleep. I don’t have an air-conditioner in my room and I rarely use an electric fan, yet I still value my blanket. For me, using thin blankets make my sleep more pleasant and the ambient temperature becomes more suitable for sleep.

The primary purpose of blankets in our sleep is for thermoregulation. Although our bodies are able to regulate temperature, the ability to thermoregulate is gone during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep. During this stage and the coldest hours of the night, a blanket definitely comes in handy.

The REM stage also triggers a decrease in serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for making us feel calm and happy. Sleeping with a blanket can help your brain produce more serotonin. However, study shows that weighted blanket is more effective in doing so.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Weighted blankets work in various ways. According to Inc., it promotes deep touch pressure stimulation (DTPS). The gentle and steady pressure points from weighted blankets are apparently responsible for serotonin production. “In psychiatric care, weighted blankets are one of our most powerful tools for helping people who are anxious, upset, and possibly on the verge of losing control,” occupational therapist Karen Moore tells Inc.

Aside from that, weighted blankets are also used to regulate the circadian rhythm. If you want to enjoy the benefits of a heavier blanket, you should find a weighted blanket that’s roughly around 10 percent of your weight.

If there is a more accessible reason for the need to sleep with a blanket, it’s entirely habitual. Dr. Alice Hoagland, the director of the insomnia clinic at the Unity Sleep Disorder Center in Rochester, New York, calls this phenomenon “pure conditioning.” “Chances are you were raised to always have a blanket on you when you went to sleep,” she says.

Some say that our need for blankets is reminiscent of that comfortable enclosed feeling of our mother‘s womb. Although we cannot really recall the moment we spent in the womb, the blanket is an icon associated with sleep. And for some, it’s a reminder of their childhood—when their parents would tuck them to sleep under a blanket with a warm hug.

Header photo courtesy of Pixabay

Read more:
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Complete silence is not the only way to achieve peaceful sleep
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