I was fairly certain that I wouldn’t find it in a thrift store, not even an upscale one. I recognized, too, that it
wasn’t going to be cheap.
But when I found it, I also knew it would be worth every penny.
Yesterday, after confirming a few weeks ago that it was at last being put together, then tracking its packaging and likely delivery date, it arrived at my front door.
And today, this Girl Clown couldn’t be happier.
I’m talking about my new weighted blanket.
Used most often these days as a calming tool for children who are autistic; have documented Attention Deficit Disorder, or suffer from a variety of sensory issues, these blankets are now being marketed to adults for an entirely different reason: to help them get a good night’s sleep.
So, given my bouts with insomnia, along with always wanting to try a natural approach first, I knew this kind of sleep aid was going to be in my very near future. (This GCD blog from last year tells more about my tossing and turning, at http://hilaryrobertsgrant.weebly.com/blog/let-me-sleep.)
Although there haven’t been a lot of studies into the science of it all, some experts say that the blankets work because they increase the serotonin in our bodies, the chemical which helps regulate mood and encourage relaxation. Consequently, serotonin is necessary to create melatonin, another chemical that tells us when it’s time to sleep. In addition, the weight of these blankets—optimally, about 15 pounds for an adult—reduces tossing and turning at night, which makes for a more restful slumber.
I’ve already experienced the calming effects of other weighted objects.
Sometimes in my yoga classes, we place small fabric weights on our chests to help us achieve the best Shavasana, that final pose which releases tension and promotes deep relaxation. I’ve noticed that I can go more profoundly into the pose when this tool is added. I also know that I’ve long enjoyed sleeping with heavy blankets on top of me, even during the summer. (My late partner used to say I looked like a burrito once I bedded down.)
Moreover, having the glorious opportunity to work with special needs children in a classroom environment, I’ve seen firsthand how weighted fabric collars, vests and lap blankets can result in easier transitions and less meltdowns. I’ve even been able to “try them on” for myself, but sadly, many seem to be made out of synthetic, cheap fabrics which didn’t feel good on my skin. Also, the weights themselves felt, well, too weighty.
But luckily, there are more than a few niche companies offering what I was hoping to find.
There’s Sensacalm, which also sells special bath salts and fidget tools along with blankets, and The Magic Blanket, founded by a California dad who started the company because he liked the way a Beanie Baby hugged his shoulder after his daughter put it there while he was driving. There’s also Mosaic, with lots of blanket sizes, including tiny lap versions, for both kids and grown-ups.
But I knew I’d hit pay dirt when I came upon Weighting Comforts, launched two years ago and based in
Making blankets for adults only, the company was founded by former family therapist Donna Durham, who began noticing how much better her clients slept when they used weighted blankets. But Durham also has a background in home economics education, and the beautiful fabric choices, and quality of construction, reflect that. I also love the fact that Durham’s product is sewn by international refugees who have resettled in Tennessee. (This has been made possible
by partnering with the non-profit Sew for Hope, which provides sewing machines and classes to this vulnerable
and worthy population.)
Of course, none of these facts mean anything if the blanket itself isn’t fabulous.
I carefully opened the box that mine came in, noting the matching tissue paper and easy-to-follow instructions. (Yes, it’s machine washable. Also, the evenly, perfectly distributed weight comes from tiny white plastic pellets that are non-hazardous and FDA approved. ) I was also immediately impressed by the quality and feel of the material, and very happy that the product itself is a decent size—almost as large as a sheet for a single bed.
Given that I’m getting over a stubborn cold right now, I was pretty sure that my new bedtime accessory wasn’t going to guarantee a perfect sleep.
But at some point, I blacked out for a good three hours, feeling like a sweet and loving hug had completely
Of course, the blanket is an inanimate object.
But as Humphrey Bogart said to Claude Rains in the final scene of the classic film Casablanca, “I think this is
the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
What helps you stay calm and reduce anxiety, either during the day or at night? I look forward to your stories