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Science Explains Why People Love Heavy Blanket With Air-Con In Summer For Sleep

Science Explains Why People Love Heavy Blanket With Air-Con In Summer For Sleep

Blasting the air conditioner (AC) in the summer while sleeping cozily beneath a plush, heavy blanket or two may seem crazy to some; but, for others…it’s just what the doctor ordered for a good night’s rest. Many people love sleeping under heavy blankets while running the AC in the heart of summer. They’re often criticized for wasting energy, but scientific evidence endorses this paradoxical trend.

Studies highlight four reasons why some individuals dare to sleep under a heavy blanket in the summer with the air conditioner on. This rationale will help the guilty indulgers as well as the bemused pessimists. Who knows, by the end of this article you may be wondering if you should invest in a heavy / weighted blanket, too.

1. Sleep aid and relaxation purposes

Sleeping under a heavy blanket with the AC going strong has a calmative effect. The added weight signals the brain to release chemicals like serotonin, melatonin and dopamine. They operate as neurotransmitters regulating mood, sleep and sensory perception. These calming substances have sedative, comforting properties that incite relaxation throughout the body and resolve insomnia discomforts.

Heavy blankets supply natural, safe and effective therapy for remarkable slumbering in very cool environments. The core body temperature decreases and summons the sandman with unrestrained yawns.

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“This decline in body temperature helps you fall asleep, stay asleep, and cycle appropriately through the nightly sleep stages,” explains Dr. Alice Hoagland, Director of Insomnia Services at the Unity Sleep Disorders Center in Rochester, N.Y.

The heavy blanket becomes an all-natural sleep aid as it evenly distributes pressure throughout your body. It feels like a firm hug making you feel secure, protected, tranquil and grounded.

Psychology Today remarks, “This is the reason many people like to sleep under a comforter even in the summer. Better sleep improves concentration, productivity, relationships, job performance and health.”

Weighted blankets replicate deep pressure touch stimulation (DPTS). Their delicate touches excite the nervous system; the firm but gentle touches calm it down. DPTS loosens your muscles and nerves, getting rid of your stress. This is the same effect as when your mom took you in her arms, hugged you snugly, and patted you on your back creating a soothing, sheltered, serene peacefulness.

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2. Help to overcome or better manage known health concerns

Whether using them in the summer with air conditioning or in the fall, winter or spring, weighted blankets bring much needed relief. Many health issues are positively contained by their usage. For both children and adults, heavy blankets help improve sensory disorders, nervousness, stress, awareness and focus. They also supply relief for military men and women in War Zones, as well as those who have returned home apprehensive, wounded, and demented.

Heavy blankets are reported to significantly assist with memory maintenance, detoxification processes, treatments for various illnesses, the alleviation of anxiety (validated by several studies), depression, PTSD trauma, aggression, chronic pain, paranoia and bi-polar neurological problems.

Employees dealing with work related stress and shift work changes, people battling night terrors, and mania have reported relief from symptoms as a direct result of sleeping under heavy blankets. Other health concerns that are being overcome or better managed via the usage of heavy blankets include:

  • ADD/ADHD Spectrum Disorder
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Asperger’s Syndrome
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Cerebral Palsy (CP)
  • Dementia
  • Downs Syndrome
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, (FASD)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Jet Lag
  • Narcolepsy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Peri-menopause and Menopausal Symptoms
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD, PDD-NOS)
  • Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)
  • Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis joint pain
  • Schizophrenia
  • Seizure Disorder
  • Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

3. Peace and comfort when sleeping in the room with someone who prefers cold temperatures

Spouses, roommates and even siblings have different predispositions when it comes to body temperatures. The plot thickens when a wife is cold-natured and her husband prefers only a thin sheet in a 65 degree room. One roommate likes the room frigid; the other one likes it roasting. It’s of dire necessity to quickly find a joint resolution for these conflicts in order to preserve good relationships.

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Body temperature is regulated by an internal thermostat located in the brain – the hypothalamus. Various dynamics govern whether that thermostat will go up or go down, i.e., the use of kidney, blood-thinning, diabetes and cancer medication, low blood pressure; poor blood circulation. The amount of muscle mass is a factor. Nearly one third of your body heat is generated by muscle. Women tend to have less muscle mass than men.

Age makes a difference, too. Women are affected by hot flashes resulting from menopause. Men tend to incur circulation maladies sooner than women.

Per Don Young of the International Facility Management Association, “Women tend to have more constricted blood vessels, which places blood closer to the surface of the skin, which means you’d be cooler and men would be just the opposite.”

So gender, age, physical condition, and personal preferences influence how the hypothalamus operates. The best solution is to learn to cope in a way that serves the greatest good for all concerned. Because of the numerous benefits, sleeping under a heavy blanket even in the summer with the air conditioner running is an awesome resolution. A weighted blanket chases the chill, fretfulness and tension away.

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4. Weight loss and weight management

Is sleeping in a cold bedroom really better for you? Indeed it is based upon recent innovative research. Certain scientists have discovered that sleeping in colder temperatures raises your metabolic rate and improves your overall health. Experts believe “brown fat” increases in colder bodies. Brown fat (often called “good fat) produces 300 times more heat than any other organ in the body which in turn causes calories to burn off rapidly, and dispose of excess blood sugar.

Scientific findings by the National Institutes of Health, based upon a test done under controlled temperature conditions support the theory that sleeping in a cold room has weight loss and weight management rewards.

Dr. Francesco S. Celi, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism Chairman, reported that “These were all healthy young men to start with, but just by sleeping in a colder room, they gained metabolic advantages that could, over time, lessen their risk for diabetes and other metabolic problems.”

No wonder people love sleeping beneath heavy blankets with the air conditioner on in the summer!

Additional Tips

  • A cool room helps you to keep your head nice and cool which is favorable for a good night’s sleep. Research suggests that you reduce your room temperature to 65 degrees and cuddle up under a few layers…or a heavy blanket.
  • Heavy blankets should not be used by persons recuperating from surgery, experiencing cardiovascular problems, temperature control issues or respiratory challenges unless approved by a physician or occupational therapist.
  • The suggested blanket weight for adults is 13 to 33 pounds according to your personal preference and body weight. Studies by scientists in the United States affirm that “the heavier the blanket you use, the easier it is to fall asleep”.

These links will provide supplementary data on this subject

  1. https://www.powerofpositivity.com/heres-how-weighted-blankets-are-helping-people-with-anxiety/
  2. http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidhochman/2014/04/25/weighted-blanket-can-help-more-than-just-sleep-problems/
  3. http://undergroundhealthreporter.com/weighted-blankets-for-insomnia-and-anxiety/#ixzz3vursfnsx
  4. http://www.davidwolfe.com/weighted-blankets-sleep-and-anxiety/
  5. http://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/sleeping-temperature

Disclaimer: The text and links to educational content furnished herein is produced for informational purposes only. Dependence upon any facts provided in this article is solely at your discretion. The author is not responsible for claims of external websites.

Featured photo credit: Glamour Magazine via glamour.com

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Last Updated on October 15, 2018

Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

“Why am I so tired?” is a question that people ask themselves pretty frequently. Everyone gets tired at one point or another, particularly after something like an illness, a long night up with a sick child, or a busy week at work. When tiredness is persistent, however — when you feel tired as soon as you wake up in morning or when sleep doesn’t seem to help, no matter how much rest you get— it may often indicate a deeper, underlying problem.

While there are a lot of possible reasons for tiredness, here’re some of the most common causes of fatigue:

1. Dehydration

If you want to boost your energy levels, first check whether you are dehydrated. The human brain is 85% water, and needs to maintain this level in order to perform its essential functions.

If you fail to drink enough water, the brain extracts fluids from your blood to compensate for the deficit. As a result, the oxygen levels in your blood drop, reducing the amount of energising oxygen available to your organs and tissues. Fatigue and sleepiness set in rapidly, leaving you more vulnerable to the 2 pm post-lunch crash that many of us experience.

You cannot cure this crash with caffeine – the only long-term, effective solution is to drink hydrating fluids throughout the day.

2. Lack Of Exercise

A workout will surely leave you feeling even more tired, right? Wrong! As counterintuitive as it may sound, physical activities have an energizing effect. Moving your body releases endorphins, increases your heart rate, and boosts your concentration.

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Try to fit in at least 30 minutes of medium-intensity exercise every day. It’s easiest if you can make this part of our everyday routine, either as soon as you wake up or right after work.

3. A Poor Diet

The food you eat has a direct impact on sleep quality and the amount of rest you get every night. For maximum energy, stick to protein, slow-release carbohydrates, and a moderate amount of healthy (unsaturated) fats. The majority of your food should be plant-based, high in fiber, and low in sugar. These choices will prevent blood sugar fluctuations, which can leave you feeling exhausted.

An easy way to make sure you stick to a good diet is through meal preparation. It’s easy to just get take-out when you’re tired after work, but if you have a meal ready for you in the fridge, you’ll be less tempted by pizza or cheese.

Find out more about healthy meal prep here: 10 Meal Planning Apps You Need To Have To Get Healthier Easily

4. Skipping Breakfast

Physician Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan advises that eating breakfast is key to maintaining a good level of energy throughout the day. When you eat breakfast, you are sending calming signals to the areas of the brain responsible for avoiding danger, along with those that instruct the body to conserve as much energy as possible.

Ingesting food signals to your brain that there is enough food available to ensure our survival. This encourages it to stay relaxed, which in turn, promotes restful sleep.

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Some great ideas for a healthy, filling, and make-ahead breakfasts include overnight oats, smoothies, and freezer-friendly breakfast burritos.

Or if meal-prepping isn’t your think, stock up on easy but healthy breakfast foods like multigrain cereal, yogurt, and fruit: 20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

5. Poor Quality Of Sleep

We all know that it’s important to wind down a couple of hours before bed. But did you know that it’s what you do throughout the day that promotes good-quality sleep? It’s not just about the number of hours you sleep, but how restful and deep that sleep is.

TO feel rested, try to regulate your everyday routine to make your sleep deeper and better. Get up at a regular time in the morning to ensure that you get regular sunlight.

Eat nutritious foods in moderate amounts, and make sure you stay hydrated. Go to bed at the same time. And before bedtime, avoid screens that can give off harmful blue light and also keep you stimulated when you need to prepare for a restful night.

Read more about how to develop a routine that will get you better sleep: Poor Sleep Quality Comes from All the Things You Do Since Morning

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6. Sleep Apnea (A Person’s Airways Get Blocked off While They Are Asleep)

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder where a person’s airways get blocked off while they are asleep, causing their oxygen levels to drop while they are asleep. This often causes people to stop breathing at night and then to jerk themselves awake (this can happen over 30 times an hour).

Because of this, people with sleep apnea can feel short of breath and have low energy levels. Mouthpieces and other devices to aid in breathing as well as the use of a special breathing machine to keep oxygen levels in a safe zone.

If you feel tired all the time and think you might have sleep apnea, consulting with a doctor is important. Do a sleep study, as this can often reveal if there is an underlying problem causing your tiredness — and once a diagnosis is made, treatment to help you get your energy back begins.

7. Depression

Depression is the most common mental health disorder in the United States (and in many other countries of the world as well). It is marked by persistent feelings of sadness or unhappiness but has physical symptoms, too. Apart from fatigue, people may also experience changes in sleeping and eating habits and difficulty concentrating.

Treatment can often center on anti-depressants, counselling and lifestyle changes like stress management to help manage this condition. You can take a look at these 15 Ways To Overcome Depression And Sadness.

Many people also benefit from activities like yoga and meditation, which help regulate both the body and mind.

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8. Hypothyroidism

If a person has hypothyroidism, their thyroid gland does not produce adequate levels of these important hormones— and the result can be a persistent and unrelenting fatigue, even if someone is getting enough sleep. Other common symptoms of this disorder include mood swings, weight gain and feeling cold all the time.

Fortunately, simple blood work can reveal if there is a problem and it can be treated with artificial thyroid hormone pills like Synthroid. Check here for signs of having a thyroid problem. If you suspect that you might have hypothyroidism, talk to your doctor.

9. Anemia

People with anemia are not able to make enough red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the their bodies. This is often due to a lack of nutrients like iron or B-12 and can be caused by problems such as heavy periods, bleeding in the digestive tract or pregnancy (due to the increased demands of the growing baby).

However, in most cases, this can be resolved with treatments like changes in diet, iron supplements or B-12 shots.

While here are some drinks you can try to relieve symptoms of Anemia, it’s best to do a blood test and consult your doctor in case of any hidden medical conditions.

10. Cancer

While you shouldn’t be freaking out about cancer just because you are tired, it is a fact that fatigue is one of the symptoms of cancer. Other common symptoms can include unexplained weight loss and the presence of palpable lumps or growths. This disease is marked by the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells that can do damage to surround tissues and possibly spread to other parts of the body.

Diagnosis is usually by biopsy and treatment often focusses on radiation, chemotherapy or surgery— and generally when a diagnosis is made early, the outcomes for the patient are better.

Featured photo credit: Lily Banse via unsplash.com

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