Many myths surround sleep. The section Fact or fiction about sleeping? We will explore these myths and clarify them. Today’s message: “A weighted bedsheet can solve your sleeping problems.”
A weighted cover is just what it sounds like: a heavy blanket to use as a bed. The blanket can weigh between 4-10 kilos and is often used to help people fall asleep. You will also be able to sleep deeper and less stressed than a regular blanket. Metro Stephanie Molenaar spoke about these blankets. sleep expertShe is the author of 11 books on sleep.
Molenaar: “Everyone knows the effect of sleeping well when you are under a thick and fluffy duvet, or when you have someone lying against you. You can see that weighting is associated with relaxation, feeling safe, and happiness. Those feelings come from, among other things, serotonin, which also happens to be the precursor of the sleep hormone.”
Although this sounds wonderful, Molenaar warns that there are certain caveats. A weighted blanket can be used as a sleep association. “That is a link you make with sleep, so that your body knows that sleep is coming and that you can actually sleep. Baby can get that feeling with a pacifier, for example. Problem is, you will eventually need it. However, you cannot take the blanket with you on holiday.
Relaxation is one of the benefits of a weighted blanket. The production of stress hormones is less, which allows for a more relaxed sleep environment. Molenaar says that sleeping under a blanket with a weighted cover is not the only way you can achieve this effect. “You also relax by simply applying good sleep hygiene, such as a nice evening ritual and a good sleeping environment.”
Molenaar says that the weighted blanket works better than the former. Molenaar says that there is not enough scientific evidence to support this claim. It remains to be determined if scientific proof of this effect will ever be available. “It is difficult to study, because there is no placebo to give. You notice it when there is no weighting.”
Molenaar also wants to stress that these products can be used as a symptomatic treatment. “There’s a reason sleep doesn’t come naturally. It is usually in your head, or your lifestyle. It is then healthier, cheaper and better to work on the cause, and not to stick plasters all the time.”
Molenaar says it’s better to choose proven treatments. These are cheaper and less addictive. “However, if you’ve already tried all that and the only option is sleeping medication, then you can of course try a weighted blanket first. Carefully consider the blanket you purchase. The weight of a blanket that is weighted is not effective. It should be approximately 10% of your body weight. Too heavy or too light does not help.”