When I was a kid, getting a good night’s sleep was super simple. I went to bed at a decent hour, closed my eyes and slept until morning when I woke up feeling rested and alert. These days, getting my nightly rest isn’t quite as simple and it seems I’m not the only one facing insomnia and frequent waking during the night. I’m so happy to be partnering with our sponsor, Tranquility, to spend some time talking about what’s keeping America awake at night and what we can do to try and catch that elusive good night sleep!
What is keeping us from getting a good night’s sleep? Unfortunately, it isn’t just one thing that is impacting most people’s sleep – it’s a combination of many. We are going to talk about some of the more common ones, but it’s really up to each person to take an honest look at their lifestyle and habits (and health) to determine what might be at the root of their sleep problems.
Hormones: As we age, our hormone balance changes and this can absolutely impact the quality of sleep. I personally noticed a drastic change in the number of times I woke up during the night once I hit perimenopause. Even though I wasn’t waking up with the sweaty hot flashes my friends were all talking about, I was waking several times a night and taking a long time to fall back asleep. Not very restful!
Blue Light: So many of us spend the hours before we go to bed in front of blue light. When I was in grad school, I could work on a paper until the wee hours of the morning and then drop into bed and immediately fall asleep. Not anymore! I make sure to finish all of my screen work at least 30 minutes before I need to be asleep. I also have “blue light glasses” that are supposed to filter out the effects of blue light and hopefully help me fall asleep more easily.
Stress: As we get older and our lives get more complicated, we encounter more stress and that can absolutely impact our ability to get a good night sleep. I always love when “experts” tell us to reduce our stress level. I wish it were that easy! It’s not like most of us are voluntarily choosing to be stressed. I have found that using some meditation apps can help me to fall asleep more easily and help to turn my racing mind off at bedtime.
One of the things I have learned to do to help me get that good night’s sleep is to listen to what my body is telling me. As long as I can remember, I have had to have covers on me while I sleep. I grew up in a house with no air conditioning and still spent even the hottest summer nights with at least a sheet and usually a blanket over me as well. (My family thought I was nuts.) Once I started learning about weighted blankets and their benefits, it all started to make more sense.
Weighted blankets tap into aspects of a therapy known as Deep Touch Pressure Therapy (DTP). This is the same principle behind swaddling an infant or giving a calming hug to someone needing comfort. DTP is firm tactile sensory input that provides proprioceptive input to the whole body. When administered to the entire body, deep touch pressure therapy has a calming effect on both children and adults.
When I first learned about weighted blankets, they were definitely not mainstream and were mostly being used by my friends who had kids on the autism spectrum or with sensory issues. They were buying handmade blankets that were really expensive but they loved how well they worked. Since it does get hot here in the summer, a few expressed concern about using the blankets in the warmer temperatures.
These days, weighted blankets are much more common and can be found in stores like Target and Walmart for a fraction of what they used to cost. My favorite brand, Tranquility, has really made some fabulous improvements on those first-generation, homemade blankets. They are available in weights from 6 lbs to 20 lbs. (It is recommended that a weighted blanket be about 10% of your total body weight.) and start as low as $35 so they are much more accessible to the average person.
Tranquility weighted blankets available at Walmart also have a removable cover, which makes keeping them clean and fresh SO much easier. The cover has temperature-balancing technology which cools and wicks moisture as it gets warmer making it perfect for summer nights.
Who should use a weighted blanket?
While weighted blankets have been marketed to people experiencing insomnia, anxiety, stress, PTSD, ADHD and even Autism, weighted blankets are perfect for anyone wanting to relax. Not only do we have weighted blankets on all the beds in our house, we have them in the family room as well as they provide a great way to unwind and relax on the couch while reading or watching TV.
Tranquility weighted blankets come in a variety of weights ranging from 6 lbs to 20 lbs so there is a perfect blanket for every member of the family. The 6 lb child weighted blanket is great for kids!
Hopefully these tips will help you with your quest on how to get a good night’s sleep. If you pick up a weighted blanket, I’d love to hear about how it works for you. I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews so far – even from my own teen who was so reluctant to try it and now won’t go to bed without it!!
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