Blankets promote our overall sleep quality by providing comfort that ensures the necessary sleep duration.
Human characteristics such as our circadian rhythm, the production of serotonin and melatonin, and maintaining core body temperature during sleep all depend significantly on blankets or some form of body covering.
Sleeping without blankets in hot climates may appear to be the most logical response to prevent overheating; yet in retrospect, those who try this without thinking through why people need to cover themselves when they sleep usually end up compromising their quality of sleep.
Uninterrupted sleep is one of the leading factors that define sleep quality.
Most people don't pay significant attention to using the correct type of blanket for different seasons or the regulated indoor temperature of your home.
A person's sleep environment should only be created after considering all the factors that influence the quality of your sleep.
We look at why blankets are essential for sleep and look at ways to maintain or improve your sleep quality, especially during the hot summer months.
Sleep quality is often confused with the number of hours spent in bed, and although both are essential, they can be worlds apart.
You can "sleep" for the usual 8 hours and feel exhausted and drained when you get up in the morning, but you can sleep for 8 hours and wake up feeling refreshed, recharged, and revitalized, ready to meet the day.
Sleep quality is measured using four factors that determine the actual quality of your sleep. Let's run through them so you'll be able to measure your sleep quality.
To calculate your sleep quality, you'll need to use the values in minutes of the four listed variables.
Determine your actual sleep duration by taking your total time in bed with your eyes closed, ready to sleep, and subtract the time it took you to fall asleep as well as the time spent awake during the night.
Next, divide your answer (actual sleep time) by the total time in bed, then multiply your answer by 100. Your answer will be your sleep efficiency percentage.
Just before we fall asleep, our core body temperature, which is linked to our circadian rhythm, will begin decreasing.
This is a natural process that helps the body conserve energy and redirect some energy to systems in the body that still have work to do, like the digestive system.
The body will continue decreasing its temperature for roughly 5 to 6 hours during an 8 to 9-hour sleep period at tiny increments before it settles.
During this sleep period, we will need some form of covering over our body to prevent waking up from being too cold.
The opposite is true; if we cover ourselves completely with blankets, body heat will get trapped under the covers, which will wake us up because we are getting too hot.
For this reason, thermoregulating blankets and sheets are the best options to maintain the right sleep temperature or the goldilocks temperature range if you prefer using an analogy.
Another important aspect about sleep and blankets is that we are conditioned from birth to snuggle up under a blanket when we ready ourselves for sleep.
Babies get wrapped in blankets, children get tucked into bed, and as adults, we continue the habit of covering ourselves when we sleep.
Now, you know how difficult it is to break a habit, and I'm sure you're familiar with the phrase "cold turkey."
Well, when we try and fall asleep without a covering, be it a blanket, sheet, or both, our brain will keep letting us know that something is missing, and it should be resolved before any sleep is possible.
I'm sure you are aware that the brain is responsible for sending signals to the body to increase the production of serotonin and melatonin, which are "feel good" hormones that help us relax and promote quality sleep.
Without your trusted blankie, these messages may have trouble getting through.
It's not just how warm or cold you get during the night that dictates whether you'll have a good night's rest or not.
There are other factors like the darkness of the room, our surrounding noises like the 4th of July fireworks show, or perhaps just a noisy neighbor.
Even the sound of the fan you use in your bedroom to cool the room down may appear amplified and will interrupt your sleep periodically throughout the night.
Most people think and believe that wool blankets are too hot for summer. This is because we all relate to the term "winter woollies"; however, if you look at the thermoregulating characteristics of pure wool, you'll understand why sheep can graze in an open field under a blazing all day not suffer heat exhaustion.
Wool is nature's best temperature-regulating fiber, and its moisture-wicking ability helps regulate our sleep temperature.
I mentioned wool because, for some "winter woollies" reason, it is placed at the end of the scale reserved for things that keep us warm in cold weather, period. But…
A thin wool blanket has more benefits that contribute to quality sleep than any other blanket of the same thickness because it has superior characteristics.
Ever wondered why the Basotho wear the same wool blankets throughout the year? Because it keeps them warm when cold and cool when hot. It's not magic, just the beauty of nature at play.
All bedding should be breathable, like wool and other natural fabrics. 100% cotton sheets may wrinkle easier, but they are such a great asset to sleeping more comfortably for much longer.
Purchasing the correct bedding to suit your sleep requirements is a personal choice. Not all people are the same; some suffer from night sweats, others have insomnia or sensory-related issues, while some get instantly cold as soon as they fall asleep.
The bedding you use must complement the type of sleeper you are and address the sleep issues you're facing.
This can be an expensive exercise, but it will be well worth the effort and sacrifice concerning the quality of sleep that results from your investment.
In the meantime, while you study your sleep pattern and research what bedding will suit you best, I have a few hacks that may help improve your sleep quality.
People do sleep without blankets, but many of us struggle psychologically with the absence of their blankie, and the adjustment robs them of much-needed quality sleep.
To remedy this, it is best to purchase suitable blankets and other bedding that suit your sleep requirements.
After you have read this article, you will agree with me that there are several reasons why people struggle with sleep, but these can be reduced to two things; lifestyle choices that affect your health and wellbeing, and poor bed and bedding choices that do not promote quality sleep.
You can systematically address these concerns by beginning with your health, and while you are busy exercising and eating healthy, you can start researching the many bedding accessory options.
With bedding, it's always best to first look at natural fabrics like wool and cotton. Pay attention to the benefits and characteristics of the different materials. Your research will undoubtedly improve the overall quality of your life, starting with quality sleep and your newfound admiration for blankets.
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