Home / Blog August 30, 2022

5 Ways a Weighted Blanket for Sleep Apnea Could Help You

Sleep apnea is a condition affecting the sleep of 25% of men and 10% of women. Serious health problems can follow if left untreated, and while weighted blankets shouldn’t be the only remedy, they may offer some much-need relief.

weighted blanket for sleep apnea

Bearassentials

When used in partnership with proven sleep apnea treatments like CPAP machines, weighted blankets may allow for more restorative sleep

Weighted blankets can also relieve some of the stress related to sleep apnea by lowering cortisol levels as well as blood pressure

Through a natural boost to hormones like serotonin, weighted blankets can also lighten your overall mood 

Did you know?
Mindful eating and consistent exercise can lead to a 30% improvement in the severity of sleep apnea symptoms.

It’s important to note that if you have sleep apnea, you shouldn’t reach for a weighted blanket before you consult with a medical professional. This is because untreated sleep apnea can impact your ability to breathe at night, and added weight might pose a problem.

If your doctor gives you the green light, here are 5 ways a weighted blanket for sleep apnea could help you

1. Weighted Blankets Work as an Aid to Deeper Sleep

The list of sleep apnea symptoms is long, and some are more serious than others. But one problem likely to rear its ugly head for most people suffering from the condition is fatigue from lack of sleep.

It’s not hard to understand why, as frequent interruptions to sleep are one of the best-known attributes of sleep apnea.

A 2007 study found that patients with sleep apnea had irregular natural melatonin production throughout the night when compared to a control group. This could be linked to the fact that the condition interrupts proper sleep cycles.

Because of that, the quality of existing sleep is more crucial than ever. Weighted blankets can help with that, as they aid in the body’s natural production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.

While a little melatonin goes a long way, taking pills has its downsides. That’s why the boost to natural melatonin from weighted blankets can be so useful. It can lead to much higher quality sleep for those who need it most.

The extra melatonin comes as a result of the grounding effect produced by the weight of these blankets. They provide a sense of relaxation and security making it easier to fall asleep.

When used with proven medical interventions like CPAP machines or dental guards provided by licensed medical professionals, weighted blankets could be your ticket to a good night’s rest. If this is your first time trying a weighted blanket, our versatile Cotton Napper might be a good place to start.

Cotton Napper

Cotton Napper cta

Dreamy, buttery softness

Calms body & mind for deeper sleep

Hand-knitted huggable comfort

It's Napper Time
Cotton Napper cta

2. Weighted Blankets Can Reduce Cortisol

With frequent night time interruptions comes fatigue. But droopy eyelids are only one of many symptoms for someone suffering from sleep apnea.

The problems associated with the condition stem from the soft pallet and tongue relaxing and closing off the airway during sleep.

Just hearing about that is unsettling for most people, but living with it is another battle altogether. And it’s one that leads to a lot of stress.

A 2017 study confirmed this fact, noting the impact sleep apnea has on the body’s stress system. One piece of that machine is the stress hormone, cortisol, which spikes during the night when suffering from the sleep disorder.

It should be said that cortisol isn’t all bad. The body releases it as we enter hectic situations.

It can be useful if you’re about to fight a tiger (we hope not!) or give a big presentation (more likely!), but it’s the last thing you want as you’re trying to drift off to la la land.

That’s where a chunky knit weighted blanket comes in.

Through deep touch pressure, weighted blankets help to lower cortisol levels. This, mixed with the boost to melatonin mentioned above, may be a helpful sleep apnea treatment.

Our signature chunky knit weighted blanket design applies deep touch pressure through weighted yarn instead of harmful fillers, which helps ensure an even weight across your whole body. That means you can enjoy the stress-relieving benefits of a weighted blanket without having to constantly readjust.

3. Weighted Blankets Can Help With High Blood Pressure

Cortisol doesn’t only affect your ability to get a good night’s rest. It can also raise blood pressure long-term.

And while a variety of factors, including raised cortisol, may be responsible for sleep apnea-related high blood pressure, weighted blankets may be able to help regardless.

A study from 2006 showed that the use of weighted blankets led to lower stress levels based on several different signs, including blood pressure. The reason for this is that the deep touch pressure acts as a calming aid, providing a feeling of safety that’s not quite the same with lighter blankets.

They may also help regulate breathing and pulse rates, and since studies have shown there’s a link between type of breathing and blood pressure, this could be yet another reason to give weighted blankets a try.

In particular, blood pressure rises when you let out a breath. So if used in combination with proven sleep apnea aids that allow air back in, weighted blankets could be a powerful tool that keeps blood-pressure issues at bay.

Keeping airways open with devices like CPAP machines is a crucial sleep apnea treatment. You might find that weighted blankets become the cherry on top, keeping your breathing steady.

Weighted Blankets for sleep apnea

4. Weighted Blankets Aid Sleep Apnea-related Anxiety

While the sleep apnea aids mentioned are necessary for many people, they can also be hard to adjust to. Add worries about what could happen to you in the middle of the night onto that and you have a recipe for anxiety.

This is another area where weighted blankets can help.

Also known as weighted anxiety blankets, these cozy covers have been used as a therapeutic tool for decades. In particular, medical professionals have turned to them as a treatment option for anxiety as a byproduct of autism spectrum disorder.

Research shows that the grounding effect delivered by the weight of these blankets allows patients to feel safe, thereby relieving anxiety. Just make sure that the weight suits your body to see results.

We recommend choosing a blanket that weighs about 10% of your total body mass. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you’ll want a blanket that’s roughly 20 pounds in total.

Beyond the weight, it’s also important to pick a blanket that matches your individual sleep style. Temperature can make a big difference: if you tend to sleep hot, you may want to invest in a moisture-wicking option like our cooling Tree Napper.

With a weighted blanket that fits your size and sleep style, you may find your worries melting away

5. Weighted Blankets Aid Sleep Apnea-related Depression and Mood Changes

Other common symptoms of sleep apnea include depression and mood changes during waking hours.

When you see what the science says on the connection between lack of sleep and mental health, it’s not hard to understand where those issues come from.

As sleep apnea wakes you up, it interrupts your natural sleep cycles. This affects how much REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and NREM (Non REM) sleep you get, both of which are important for mental well-being.

Weighted blankets may help with this in a few different ways.

The first is by improving the sleep that you do get, as mentioned throughout this article. The second is via a boost to your natural serotonin production.

Serotonin, sometimes known as one of the feel-good hormones (along with oxytocin and others), is one of the body’s tools for regulating mood. Research shows that weighted blankets help with the release of serotonin.

So when you snuggle up with your Napper and doze off, you’re also setting up for a happier morning!

And that extra mood boost could make a big difference for those experiencing sleep apnea-related mental health issues.

Conclusion

The effects of sleep apnea start with a lack of sleep, and the poor health outcomes snowball from there. Weighted blankets may do more than just help you get better sleep: they can also counteract this snowball effect, easing stress off of your body and mind.