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How adding 20 pounds helped improve my sleep

Being overweight can disrupt your sleep. But a weighted blanket may help you sleep more soundly.

Weighted blankets are the latest buzz in sleep technology. They are designed to facilitate restful sleep by placing gentle pressure on the body. It has similar benefits to swaddling an infant to encourage calm and rest. A weighted blanked is a big body cuddle, and who doesn’t feel cozy and relaxed being cuddled?

Is all the buzz a big snooze? Maybe not!

According to the National Sleep Foundation, there are  benefits to a weighted blanket such as:

Increased serotonin. We all want more serotonin, a key neurotransmitter in the human body that helps regulate mood, memory, sleep, digestion, social behavior and sexual desire. Yes! There may also be a link to low serotonin levels and depression. Read more about serotonin here.

Decreased anxiety. A weighted blanket hugs your body, and that may produce a calming effect. The concept reminds me of the Thundershirt I bought for my nervous dog, Sazerac, to alleviate his anxiety when we travel.

Reduced restlessness. The weight promotes stillness and prevents you from kicking and thrashing if you are a restless sleeper. This can help you sink into a deeper sleep.

Improve sleep quality. If you are less anxious and moody, not thrashing about, feeling cuddled, cozy and warm, of course you may sleep better!

My blanket observation

I decided to give a weighted blanket a try. After months traveling frequently in different time zones, my sleep clock was out of whack. I was also dealing with some anxiety and added body weight from all the travel. I was waking up at 4 and 5 in the morning. Melatonin helped  as did was my nightly warm mug of almond milk. Still, I needed better quality sleep.

I never considered a weighted blanked, content to sleep under two down comforters and rest on four down pillows. I was offered a Corala Blanket to test-sleep. Yes, it was free, but I made no guarantee on coverage. I said I would try it and decide. After a month or so sleeping under the Corala Blanket, I felt my sleep was more restful.  So, I can recommend this product with comfort.

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The Corala Blanket is made from 100 percent cotton and filled with special hollow fiber blend. Tiny lead -free, non-toxic glass beads are used instead of plastic pellets for weights. The company claims the glass beads are superior to plastic pellets because they evenly distribute throughout the blanket, avoiding lumps and bunching up. The glass beads are super fine and precision stitched into the blanket interior. You won’t feel like you are sleeping under a fancy sack of small pebbles.

The Corala Blanket comes in one size and measures 60 inches wide by 80 inches long, so it fits a queen size bed (somewhat) and twin but not our king bed. It’s a blanket for one in our household.

Safety Smarts

Twenty pounds is heavy! The Corala Blanket packaging states it is intended for adults who weight between 140 and (yikes!) 340 pounds. If you have a medical condition or take prescription medications, you should consult with your physician before buying and using a weighted blanket.

I would not recommend a weighed blanket for young children, pregnant women, anyone who has a heart or chest condition or a back or spine ailment. Take special care if you sleep with your pets since they could suffocate under the blanket.

I was concerned about the pressure on my body since I weigh under 130 pounds. Initially, I had a mild lower backache using the blanket; or maybe it was from maneuvering it on top of my bed. My husband had to help me lift and place it on/off the bed.

The Corala Blanket packaging is impressive: a giant bright coral color box and a beautifully wrapped blanket inside along with two duvets, one for winter and another for summer. Detailed use and washing instructions are included. I am still not sure about machine washing this 20-pound blanket to be honest. I have been spot cleaning it instead.

The cost for a good night’s sleep

There are numerous weighted blankets on the market at different price points. My local grocery store even advertised them on sale for $25. You will pay more for a luxury product and should expect better quality.  The Corala Blanket retails for $259, here is the Amazon link The company offers a 30 day return policy.

There are other inexpensive ways to improve your sleep: 
  • Turn your bedroom into a rest sanctuary and not a media room (no TV, no phones, no computers).
  • Buy good ear plugs. I swear by them at home and on planes and trains.
  • Eat lighter at night and allow two hours between dinner and bedtime.
  • Avoid drinking caffeine in the afternoon or over-indulging in alcohol
  • Take a warm bath or shower before bed.
  • Have a nightly calming ritual. I like to read a few chapters of a book or write in my journal.
  • Melatonin pills work and are safe. I am not a fan of sleeping pills. Taking them made me depressed.
  • CBD tinctures work for some people but not for me.
  • Spritz your pillow with lavender, orange blossom or rose mist.

Credit: Sarah Comeau, Unsplash

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I have discussed managing sleep disorders several times on my radio show, Fearless Fabulous You! Here is my most recent show on this topic with board certified sleep expert, Dr. Thanuja Hamilton. She underscores that the quality of your sleep is even more important than the amount of time you sleep. (link to listen) or click below:

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