Probably the first aspect of our health to suffer as a result of busy and stressful lives is our sleep. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 35% of adults in the U.S. don’t get the minimum recommended amount of 7 hours of sleep per night. Moreover, these adults are more likely to report 10 chronic health conditions compared to those who get 7 or more hours of sleep. Among these conditions are heart disease, cancer, depression, and diabetes.
Gravity Blanket is a 25 pound blanket (which recently raised almost $5 million on Kickstarter) that promises to alleviate some of the main causes of sleep deprivation - stress and anxiety. The blanket is designed to weigh approximately 10% of a person’s body weight and uses the power of proprioceptive input. Also called “deep touch pressure stimulation”, the approach is a well regarded therapeutic method that stimulates pressure points on the body linked to improved sleep, mood, and relaxation. The result is a reduction in cortisol levels and an increase in serotonin production, which decreases heart rate and blood pressure. In fact, weighted blankets are well known within the medical community, where they’ve been used to calm patients' anxiety and promote deep, restful sleep.
Academic studies back Gravity's claims. A study (published in 2008), titled Exploring the Safety and Therapeutic Effects of Deep Pressure Stimulation Using a Weighted Blanket, showed that using a 30 lb weighted blanket is safe while at the same time it results in 63% of participants reporting lower anxiety after use, and 78% preferring it as a calming method. Another study from 2012 showed similar results where individuals who used a weighted blanket reported significantly greater reduction in distress and clinician-rated anxiety than those who did not. A 2015 study from Sweden found that using a weighted blanked resulted in an increase of sleep bout time and reduction of movements of the participants and concluded that “a weighted blanket may aid in reducing insomnia through altered tactile inputs, thus may provide an innovative, non-pharmacological approach and complementary tool to improve sleep quality.”
The Gravity Blanket evenly distributes pressure across the body and stimulates pressure points that increase serotonin and melatonin levels while decreasing cortisol. It can be used not only during sleep but also for general relaxation while reading, sitting on the couch, or meditating. The creators say that it "is designed to hug you back at night, closely mimicking how a parent swaddles their child while they sleep."
Gravity Blanket comes in a range of weighted options – 15, 20 and 25 pounds to suit a wider segment of users. The filling is a High Density Plastic Poly Pellet – an odorless, non-toxic, and food grade material. Live somewhere warm, or looking for a summer option? Gravity comes with a removable top to accommodate for warmer temperatures. Most options cost around $279.
Sure beats sleeping in too-light hotel sheets!