When you reach retirement age it’s time to rest, relax and enjoy life. But unfortunately, many older people find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. It doesn’t seem fair at all that when you finally have the time to sleep in, you simply can’t.
It is recommended that adults get at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night in order to feel well-rested. Reasons seniors may not be sleeping well may be due to conditions such as dementia, heart disease, depression, anxiety and nervous system ailments. Other reasons may be a lack of exercise, changes in the body’s natural internal clock, use of stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, and having to get up frequently to urinate.
How Weighted Blankets for Seniors Help
An article titled “Non-medicinal treatment of poor sleep for older adults” by Dana Wheatley MSc. States that up to 40% of older adults complain about poor sleep quality. They report light sleeping, waking up more often and waking up early in the morning. Poor sleep leads to myriad problems, the most obvious of which are tiredness, irritability and an inability to concentrate. The fatigue that results from sleep deprivation has been associated with causing falls, accidents and an overall decrease in quality of life.
Wheatley notes that weighted blankets for seniors are a non-medicinal option that can assist older people in falling and staying asleep. They also aid with attaining deep sleep and improving overall sleep quality. Weighted blankets work by applying what is known as deep pressure touch stimulation, which results in a relaxing and calming feeling. The even weight provides both physical and psychological benefits, encouraging the production of serotonin, which then help to uplift moods. The overall calming affect decreases heart rates and reduces blood pressure, which is ideal for older adults. The comforting sensation they produce may even assist with combatting loneliness.
Weighted blankets are a totally natural solution and are safe for all ages. In fact, weighted blankets are often used in psychiatric, trauma, geriatric, and pediatric hospital units.
Choosing the Right Weighted Blanket
The psychologytoday.com post “Choosing a Blanket to Help You Sleep” speaks of the importance of the right blanket in helping with sleep. Achieving a moderate temperature is important, with experts recommending from 16 to 20 degrees Celsius. The numerous fabric choices we have at Hippo Hug will provide all different types of sleepers (both hot and cold) the options they need, and all are friendly to those with allergies. We are also happy to lend out blankets for you to test before buying.
A section in “Choosing a Blanket to Help You Sleep” speaks specifically of the benefits of weighted blankets. “In psychiatric care, weighted blankets are one of our most powerful tools for helping people who are anxious, upset, and possibly on the verge of losing control,” says Karen Moore, an occupational therapist. She advises that older adults with medical conditions should consult their doctor before using a weighted blanket.
In addition, the article points out that the right blanket can provide a sense of security, and that those who have a favourite blanket tend to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Many sleep study centres ask that patients bring the blanket they normally use in order to help them fall asleep more easily.
What Weight is Right for You?
We typically recommend a customizing your blanket to about 15% of your body weight, however we have found that weighted blankets for seniors should be slightly lighter so they are easier to move on and off the body.
We can change the distribution of the weights to better fit the specific needs of seniors. For individuals who are worried about the blanket causing pain in their hips, we can place lighter weights in the middle of the blanket and the heavier ones closer to the edge. We can also create blankets where the top half is lighter so individuals can easily take it on and off. Since our blanket are totally custom-made, we can thoughtfully place each weight and are happy to individualize the distribution to suit your specific needs.
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