Insomnia is a type of sleep disorder that 10% of adults in the United States report experiencing. Insomnia includes problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early over a period of about three months. If proper treatment is not being issued, insomnia can continue to affect an individual. One study showed that 37.5% of patients who suffered from insomnia said they still experienced it five years after the fact. One way that insomnia can be treated without medication is through ‘sleep hygiene.’ Sleep hygiene pertains to proper sleep habits, like maintaining a quiet bedroom in the evenings and turning off your phone before going to sleep. However, sleep hygiene isn’t the best course of action to treat insomnia alone. If used alongside cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, it can be an effective method of treatment. But oftentimes, searching for a clinician in this field can be daunting and hard to find.
many people are turning towards other options like mindfulness-based practices and yoga, as well as including supplements into their diet like valerian, melatonin, and chamomile. Insomnia is a disorder that also commonly accompanies other psychiatric disorders because of the crisis cross of neurobiology. For instance, someone who suffers from insomnia is ten times more likely to have depression as well. Research done at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden found in a study that participants with insomnia who sed a weighted metal chain blanket reported decreased insomnia symptoms. Additionally, depressive and anxious symptoms lowered far more with the weighted blanket than with the light blanket. Although these are interesting findings, more research is still needed to understand its true effects.
Weighted blankets are inspired by a therapeutic technique known as deep pressure stimulation. This uses firm pressure to create a feeling of calmness in the body, which in turn can help with sleep. They work very similar to the way a tight swaddle helps babies feel secure and warm. The pressure from these kinds of blankets may also help to produce the hormone serotonin, reduce stress, and increase melatonin, which is the hormone that helps you fall asleep. They are also believed to help calm the nervous system. If someone has an overactive nervous system, this can sometimes cause anxiety, hyperactivity, and a rapid heartbeat. Providing your body with an even amount of weight and pressure can help calm and relax the body, preparing it for a better night’s sleep.