Yes, it does sound unbelievable but that's exactly what we want to say. If you have been finding it hard to get back to shape, you should invest in a weighted blanket (along with other exercise equipment, gym membership, diet food, etc. though). Not many people are aware of the relationship between sleep and weight loss and, that’s why our recommendation to buy a weighted blanket for adults may sound completely baseless to you, but, in this blog, we are going to explain how sleeplessness can make you gain weight and how a heavy blanket can help you lose weight and improve your overall health. To begin with, let’s first understand how sleep and weight are related.
Sleep deprivation can cause weight gain
Do you know why many Americans are obese or overweight despite trying to eat the best food available on the planet? Because most of them are sleep deprived!
According to a study conducted by Gallup, an average American sleeps for 6.8 hours a night, whereas the recommended time is 8 to 9 hours. (1) The study has concluded that the availability of the latest gadgets, specifically mobile phones are responsible for our sleep deprivation. Since we do not sleep well, we are more prone to various health risks such as depression, diabetes, ADHD, obesity, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. Sleep deprived people are even not fit for driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving causes over 1500 deaths and 40,000 injuries every year.
While most of us are aware of our sleeplessness, we are hardly bothered about it. We have developed a very casual approach towards our sleep without realizing its effects. Even if we realize, we hardly do anything unless it has started affecting our body. Unfortunately, one of the first effects of sleep deprivation is obesity. Sleep deprivation causes weight gain, which, in turn, causes diabetes, respiratory problems, cardiac problems, and much more. This is not just an assumption. The relationship between lack of sleep and obesity is clinically proven by numerous studies.
According to a study published by the US Department of Health and Human Services, sleep deprivation is associated with higher risks of weight gain and obesity. (2) The researchers from the University of Chicago had conducted a study to understand the relationship between sleep and weight gain. They found that sleep deprivation minimizes the production of Leptin, a hormone that regulates hunger and appetite. Leptin helps control the appetite and encourage the body to use up the available energy instead of asking for more. When you are sleep deprived, the leptin level reduces in your bloodstream and triggers the production of ghrelin, the hormone that makes you feel hungry. (3) Researchers at the University of Colorado, in their study, have concluded that sleep deprivation also changes your food habits. It makes you crave for fat and sugar-laden food, which is another reason why you tend to gain weight when you sleep less. (4)
There are a lot of other studies that too have concluded that poor sleep can cause obesity in adults as well as kids. One significant study found that sleep-deprived children have 89% chances of being overweight, whereas for adults it is 55%. (5) No wonder why our kids are obese too! In fact, one study has concluded that sleep deprivation and obesity runs in a vicious cycle. When you sleep less, you tend to become obese. Obesity can further cause sleep apnea, stress, anxiety, etc. which again make it difficult for us to fall asleep, causing even more trouble. (6) This vicious cycle is very difficult to escape from. Thankfully, weighted blankets can be of great help.
Weighted blankets can ease off sleep deprivation and help you reduce your waistline
There is sufficient evidence available to prove that your increasing waistline is directly connected to your poor sleeping habits. So, if you have been hitting the gym hard and yet are unable to get rid of the excess fat, it’s time to evaluate your sleeping pattern and determine if you need help. Irrespective of your diet and lifestyle, you are not likely to achieve good weight loss results, unless you sleep well at night. This is where the weighted blankets come in. Being heavy in weight, they provide you a very cozy and warm feeling that helps you feel relaxed. The more relaxed you are just before your bedtime, the faster you will fall asleep. These are not assumptions; the effectiveness of weighted blankets for insomnia has been clinically proven.
According to the American Sleep Association (ASA), a weighted blanket can help people who are suffering from insomnia, anxiety, stress, ADHD, Autism, panic attacks, restless leg syndrome, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and other diseases that can affect the quality of sleep. ASA states that weighted blankets for adults provide an even, deep touch pressure on our body that makes us feel as if we are being hugged. This deep touch pressure is a form of therapy that helps our body shift from ‘fight or flight’ mode to ‘rest and digest’ mode. The fight or flight mode is the one in which our body generates stress hormones that make us feel anxious, which, in turn, causes sleeplessness. In rest and digest mode, our body produces the hormones that make us feel happy and sleepy. (7)
Deep touch pressure is a form of therapy, known as deep pressure therapy or deep pressure stimulation. It is clinically proven to release serotonin, the happy hormone. Occupational therapists have been using this therapy for decades and heavy blankets are known to provide you an almost similar effect. A study published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine & Disorders concluded that weighted objects such as blankets and vests can increase the sleep time and decrease the movements during the sleep. This will help the users feel more refreshed in the morning and active during the day. (8) The more active you feel, the more productive you will be. You will experience reduced cravings for sugary food and would want to go out for a walk or a jog or maybe hit the gym. This is how the weighted blanket will help you reduce your waistline. So, even if the stress blankets have nothing to do with your weight, they can definitely help improve your metabolism and your lifestyle, thereby helping you get back in shape quickly.
How to buy a weighted blanket for insomnia and weight loss
The buying instructions for weighted blankets for weight loss are the same as the ones meant for insomnia, ADHD, Parkinson’s, and other diseases. This is because there is no specific blanket designed to treat each of these individual diseases. It is the same blanket that can be used to address various issues. If you have finally decided to give it a try, here is how you can choose the best weighted blanket for adults:
- Weight: These heavy blankets are available in various weights but you can’t just pick any of them. You need to buy a top-rated weighted blanket whose weight is 10% of your body weight plus two pounds. The additional 2 pounds are optional. If the user is an elderly person, you can ignore the extra weight so as to make them feel comfortable. The 10% body weight is scientifically proven to provide you adequate deep pressure stimulation required to make you feel relaxed and comfortable.
- Fabric: The concept of weighted blanket is to make you feel comfortable so that you doze off quickly and wake up feeling refreshed so that you can take out some time for exercise. So, we strongly recommend that you must not fall in for fancy minky or fleece blankets. They are definitely cozy but, after some time, you will start feeling hot. Further, fleece and mink are known to cause allergic reactions in many people. You could feel itchy and this could disturb your sleep. This is why cotton is undoubtedly your best choice. Make sure you buy an anxiety blanket that is made of 100% pure cotton. It shouldn't be blended with any synthetic fabric. One such product that you can consider is AG weighted blankets for kids and adults. These blankets are hypoallergenic, non-toxic and are made of 100% natural breathable cotton. They won’t make you feel hot or uncomfortable, unlike the mink and fleece ones.
- Filling: The word organic sounds very tempting but remember that organic fillings such as rice, corn pellets, barley, etc. are not washable. You can’t just toss organic weighted blankets in the washing machine. The filling will rot in some time and will start stinking. It will soon get infected with bacteria and molds. If you want your weighted blanket for insomnia to last long, buy the one that is made of glass beads such as the AG weighted blanket. Here is the link to it: https://www.agbedding.com/products/weighted-blanket?variant=24628565573732
So, we hope we have provided you enough evidence that proves that proper sleep can provide you better weight loss results. Please note that weighted blankets are therapeutic tools and not an alternative to medicines. If you are suffering from insomnia or severe sleep deprivation, please consult your healthcare physician for help instead of solely relying on the weighted blankets.
References and Citations:
- Howe N. America The Sleep-Deprived. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/neilhowe/2017/08/18/america-the-sleep-deprived/#4e19773f1a38. Published August 18, 2017.
- Molecular ties between lack of sleep and weight gain. National Institutes of Health. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/molecular-ties-between-lack-sleep-weight-gain. Published July 13, 2016.
- Beccuti G, Pannain S. Sleep and obesity. Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3632337/. Published July 2011.
- Breus M. Sleep deprivation and weight gain. Your Guide to Better Sleep. https://thesleepdoctor.com/2018/04/10/sleep-deprivation/. Published April 5, 2018.
- Cappuccio FP, Taggart FM, Kandala N-B, et al. Meta-analysis of short sleep duration and obesity in children and adults. Sleep. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2398753/. Published May 1, 2008.
- Romero-Corral A, Caples SM, Lopez-Jimenez F, Somers VK. Interactions between obesity and obstructive sleep apnea: implications for treatment. Chest. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3021364/. Published March 2010.
- Best Weighted Blankets: Reviews and How They Work – American Sleep Association. American Sleep Association. https://www.sleepassociation.org/sleep-products/weighted-blanket/.
- Positive Effects of a Weighted Blanket on Insomnia. Journal of Sleep Medicine & Disorders. https://liu.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1081315/FULLTEXT01.pdf.