I Tried a Weighted Blanket, and Now I Know What 8 Hours of Sleep Feels Like
Welcome to I Tried It Month, where we’ll be publishing a new fashion, beauty, or wellness article every day in January that features a first-person account of shaking up an old habit, pushing beyond a comfort zone, or simply trying something new. Follow along for 31 days of storytelling, including everything from going without a cellphone for 40 days to trying the polarizing low-rise pants trend.
Name: Erin Jahns
What did you try?
Sleeping with a 15-pound cooling, weighted blanket every night for 30 days.
Why did you try it?
Sleep has been a constant struggle for me over the past few years. The severity ebbs and flows, but I have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, and since I naturally wake up early (and am a huge morning person), I'm consistently sleep-deprived. Before my weighted-blanket experiment, I'd say I was getting an average of five hours of sleep each night. (which, of course, left me tired, irritable, foggy, and more anxious than I'd ideally feel). I've tried so many different things to help with my sleep without much success. I'd heard good things about weighted blankets, so I thought I'd implement the practice into my routine to see if it could actually make a lasting difference.
How did you prepare?
I was lucky enough to receive one of Bearaby's cult-loved weighted blankets before the holidays as a gift. There are so many different options on the market, but I'm super obsessed with my Bearaby blanket. It's plant based, cooling, and the perfect weight for me.
According to the brand, the recommended weighted-blanket weight is 10% of your body weight. If you’re in-between weights, it recommends opting for the higher-weight option. (The brand also makes adorable eight-pound options for kids!)
What happened during the whole process?
Whenever I try something new, I always try to keep the rest of my routine pretty much the same. If I start altering too many things at one time, it's hard to discern what's working and what's not. To keep things as controlled as possible, I was diligent about wearing my blue-light glasses in the evening (I like to watch one hour of TV while I eat dinner around 7 p.m., so blocking that blue light is important!), and then, I kept lights low, read for about an hour before bed, took my normal before-bed supplements (Solluna by Kimberly Snyder's Feel Good Detoxy 2.0, $30, and one capsule of "sleep support" I found at my local Whole Foods store), and turned out the lights between 10:00 or 10:30. I also love the Calm app. I've found its sleep stories work better than relaxing music or white noise for lulling me to sleep.
Not really! I run super hot at night, so one reason I avoided weighted blankets in the past was for fear I'd get overheated and wake up in a sweat. But since the blanket I have from Bearaby is specifically designed to be cooling, I had zero issues.
Honestly, I was surprised after my very first night. I'd read that it can take several weeks to really notice a difference while sleeping under a weighted blanket, (the brand says it can take up to 10 days to fully adjust), but I slept like a rock that first night. In fact, I woke up in the exact same position I fell asleep in, and I'm not sure if I even moved!
How did you feel afterward? What kind of changes did you notice?
Not only was I falling asleep faster and waking up less, but I also felt significantly more rested in the morning. My quality of sleep definitely improved, and while I'm not an expert on the subject, I'm sure I was getting better REM sleep. Plus, I noticed I felt calmer and less irritable during the day. My anxiety was definitely lower!
What did you like about it?
I love the cozy, cocoon-like feel of sleeping under the weighted blanket. Since it's cooling and breathable, I also appreciate that I never woke up hot or felt claustrophobic. Bearaby does an informative deep dive into how weighted blankets work to improve sleep and decrease stress here, but essentially, it activates Deep Touch Pressure, which increases serotonin and melatonin while decreasing cortisol.
What did you hate?
Nothing. I'm super excited to continue the practice, and now, I want every single model Bearaby makes—the soft Velvet Napper especially!
Would you try it again?
Definitely. I'm continuing the practice, and I recommend it for anyone struggling with sleep, anxiety, and/or stress.
Any advice for anyone who's thinking about trying it?
Not really. Do your research to find a blanket that works for you—from the materials it's made from to its weight and size. I'm lucky I noticed a positive change in my sleep quality right away, but I think this depends on the person, so stick with it for at least a few weeks, even if you don't notice a huge change right away. Also, I know there are tons of brands out there, but I can't recommend Bearaby enough! I think quite a few of its options are temporarily out of stock, but you can easily join its waiting list.
Shop all of Erin's favorite sleep essentials:
This story was published at an earlier date and has since then been updated.
Up next, I Dry-Brushed My Entire Body Every Day for a Month—Here's What Happened
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