What Are Gravity Blankets?

What Are Gravity Blankets?
Alexandra Gorn

What Are Gravity Blankets?

Studies show that anywhere from 20-33% of adult Americans suffer from chronic sleep and wakefulness disorder. An estimated 70% of adult Americans have trouble falling asleep at least once weekly.

The emotional tolls are devastating: Sleep loss leads to anxiety, anger, and depression. The physical toll can be even worse: poor sleep can lead to weight gain, weakened immune response, higher blood pressure, and reduced sex drive. If left unchecked, sleep disorders can lead to stroke, Alzheimer’s and heart disease.

Traditional methods of alleviating sleep disorders—such as sleeping pills—can be destructive and devastating.

What if you were to learn that you could improve your sleep—and thus your mood and health—with one little heavy blanket?

A couple years ago, a group of twenty-something ex-insomniacs pooled together their talents in trying to devise a way to help everyone get better sleep.

• In 1999, occupational therapist Dr. Tina Champagne began employing weighted blankets as a mental-health treatment for adults. She found that it was a “grounding technique” that enabled “engagement in the act of nurturing one’s self.”

• A small study in 2006 found that more than three-quarters of test subjects found that weighted blankets helped them calm down and lowered their anxiety. A cross-study from that same year found that 63% of adults who used weighted blankets reported that it lowered their anxiety levels.

• A 2015 paper released by the Swedish company Somna AB concluded that consistent sensory pressure while asleep “can reduce physiological levels of arousal,” which reduces fidgetiness and leads to deeper REM sleep.

• A 2015 study found that insomniacs experienced longer sleep time and less sleep disruption after using weighted blankets. It said that subjects “liked sleeping with the blanket, found it easier to settle down to sleep and had an improved sleep, where they felt more refreshed in the morning.”

So how do the blankets work?

They are engineered to be around 10% of your body weight and will relax your nervous system by emulating the feeling of being snuggled or hugged. It also employs the healing properties of what is called “proprioceptive input,” AKA “deep touch pressure stimulation”), which effectively means that your body’s pressure points are being massaged the entire time you sleep.

This will all increase your levels of serotonin and melatonin while decreasing your cortisol levels—which improves your mood and your overall health without the dangers of prescription sleeping aids.

Armed with this knowledge, the group developed the “Gravity Blanket” and launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund it. Their initial goal was slightly over $20,000. People were so excited by the project, though, that they raised nearly $5 million.

According to one happy user:

My husband has said more than once, and I agree, that it’s slightly addicting and makes getting out of bed much harder, especially now that winter is coming and mornings are darker and colder.

So if you’re restless, anxious, and are having trouble finding restful sleep, don’t reach for the pill bottle—snuggle up under a Gravity Blanket. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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