Side sleeping may not be the number one best sleeping position in terms of overall health benefits (back sleepers take the win on that one), but it comes in a pretty close second. Indeed, side sleeping is associated with many benefits, including improved digestion and gut health, reduced snoring and better protection against cognitive decline. And that’s good news for the 74 percent of Americans who seem to favor the side sleeping position.
From knee pillows to latex mattress toppers, there are a slew of sleep products available to help side sleepers get high quality Zzzs. But there’s one product in particular that side sleepers shouldn’t overlook: weighted blankets. Known for their stress-busting, sleep-enhancing abilities, these snuggly blankets are the perfect addition to any side sleeper’s bedtime routine.
In this guide, we’ll explain how weighted blankets can help side sleepers get more shut-eye and provide a few tips on choosing the best weighted blanket for a good night's rest.
How Do Weighted Blankets Work?
Weighted blankets use deep touch pressure stimulation, a scientifically-proven technique that helps switch your body from running its sympathetic nervous system (the system responsible for the fight-or-flight response) to its parasympathetic nervous system (the system responsible for the rest-and-digest response). When the parasympathetic nervous system takes over, your breathing and heart rate slow, your muscles relax and you start to feel less anxious. The result is typically a calmer, more restful slumber.
What Are the Benefits of Weighted Blankets for Side Sleepers?
If you’re a side sleeper in desperate need of better sleep, a weighted blanket is a must-have addition to your sleep arsenal. But why?
We’ll let the benefits of weighted blankets speak for themselves:
1. Encourages Deeper Sleep
The deep touch pressure from weighted blankets is believed to increase melatonin, the hormone responsible for synchronizing your circadian rhythm and regulating your sleep-wake cycle. This may help improve sleep quality and lead to a deeper, more restful night's sleep.
2. Instills a Feeling of Calm
When your parasympathetic nervous system kicks in, it releases “happy hormones” such as serotonin and dopamine, making you feel calm and content. There’s also a psychological aspect: wrapping yourself in a weighted blanket gives you a sense of comfort and security that helps put your mind at ease.
3. May Ease Morning Soreness
Most side sleepers favor the fetal position, but some experts warn that being curled into a tight ball all night long can lead to muscle soreness and back pain in the morning. The solution? Sleeping with a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets are designed to melt away stress and ease muscle tension, which is more conducive to sleeping in a looser (and healthier) position.
4. Reduces Tossing and Turning
If you’re training yourself to sleep on your back or your side, a weighted blanket can be a helpful sleep aid. Weighted blankets gently push your body downwards, making you less likely to flip back into your go-to sleep position. For this same reason, many people find weighted blankets helpful for combating restless leg syndrome.
Choosing a Weighted Blanket for Side Sleepers
Regardless of your preference for a particular sleeping position, weighted blankets promise to help you fall asleep faster and achieve better quality slumber. But as a side sleeper, you may want to take extra care when choosing a weighted blanket — especially in regard to weight. That’s because side sleeping can put additional stress on your shoulder and contribute to rotator cuff injury, bursitis and other shoulder injuries.
So, how heavy should a weighted blanket for side sleepers be?
Weighted blanket manufacturers typically recommend choosing a weighted blanket that is approximately 10 percent of your body weight. However, suppose you have existing shoulder problems or predominantly favor one side for sleeping. In that case, you may want to go a little lighter and opt for a weighted blanket that comprises seven percent of your body weight instead.That way, you can reap the benefits of weighted blankets without putting unnecessary pressure on your shoulder.
Like any other type of sleeper, you’ll also want to consider the materials of the weighted blanket. For instance, if you’re a hot sleeper, you may prefer to sleep with a cooling weighted blanket that’s specially designed for sweat-free slumber. Do you prefer a warmer sleep experience? Opt for a weighted blanket made from insulating fabrics, like flannel and polyester.
Cozy Up to One of Our Premium-Quality Weighted Blankets
Whether you favor side sleeping, back sleeping or stomach sleeping, weighted blankets have the potential to be a massive boon to your sleep. On top of enhancing sleep quality and duration, these snuggly blankets can help lower stress and provide you with a sense of comfort and safety.
Still unsure about investing in a weighted blanket? Take one of our premium weighted blankets for a spin and experience the difference for yourself. We know you’re going to love it!