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Sleep Science

Undercover: investigating the history & biology of our blanket obsession

Let’s delve into a little history, a little biology, and a little psychology to explore the world of our beloved blankets.

6 minute read

SLEEP SCIENCE

Undercover: investigating the history & biology of our blanket obsession

6 minute read
wonderful weighted weaves girl in napper red

You know the feeling – you’re lying in bed, it’s summer, and the room is just too hot. You shuffle around and toss off your blanket, then finally the sheet. Only a few moments pass before you can’t help but pull that sheet back over you – it’s just too unsettling to sleep uncovered another second!

The desire to be covered at night is a phenomenon that befuddles many, but we don’t mind. Our weighted blankets keep us warm, allow for cool airflow, and even help us sleep better. Still, we can’t help but wonder why? Why do we love to sleep with blankets? Why does being covered give us so much comfort? And how can we use this habit to our advantage?

Let’s delve into a little history, a little biology, and a little psychology to explore the world of our beloved blankets.


The history of blankets


These days, most people have at least a small collection of blankets at home. There’s the standard bed blanket set (complete with weighted blanket, of course!), guest blankets, picnic blankets, fort blankets, camping blankets, pet blankets, holiday blankets – you name it. We love our blankets, but this is a newly common luxury to us humans.


towels

Did you know?
Early on, blankets and bedsheets were so expensive to make that they were included in wills.

In ancient times, having covers for your bed (if you had a bed at all) was an indulgence reserved for the wealthy. Without industrialized textile manufacturing, blankets were woven by hand with materials like linen (ancient Egypt), wool (Roman empire), and cotton (medieval Europe).

By the Middle Ages, technology made weaving bed sheets and blankets slightly more attainable. Still, beds and bed linens were an investment and often the most expensive items in a home. Those who could not afford blankets would keep warm at night by sharing beds or even sleeping with livestock.

As technology continued to improve and textiles became more and more affordable, it became more commonplace to have sheets, blankets, and quilts (perhaps an early version of a weighted blanket) as bed coverings. And for that we are grateful!

Blankets are an obvious cure for cold and blustery nights, what about those in hotter climates? Anthropologists discovered that even cultures in hot or tropical climates have used some form of bed covering (cloths, plant matter, or other material) throughout history. It seems that no matter where we are, we crave the comfort of a cozy blanket as we slip into sleep.


It’s how we’re wired.


Biology plays a big part in our comfort cravings. As night falls and your brain anticipates sleep, your body temperature naturally drops. This cooler temperature correlates with increases in melatonin (the sleep hormone) and a reduction in reactivity and alertness – the perfect cocktail for a deep, restorative sleep!

The temperature of our natural environment also drops in temperature as the night goes on. It’s usually around the same time (after a few hours of sleep) that the brain enters REM sleep. In REM, our body loses the ability to maintain body temperature through the normal means of adjusting, sweating, or shivering. To keep warm, we need a barrier between us and the outside environment. Enter: blanket.


It’s how we’re conditioned.


Aside from the cut and dry biology of why we need blankets, there are some external reasons we seek their comfort. Most of us were raised with blankets at bedtime from our very first day. As we grew up, we learned to associate blankets with comfort, rest, and sleep.

The reason we continue to use blankets as adults is part habit, part conditioning. While you may not be aware of the psychological power blankets have over you, it’s likely that the soft embrace of your favorite blanket triggers feelings of safety and lulls your brain to sleep, simply by association.


It’s in our nature.


It’s human nature to seek comfort. We’re attracted to things that ease our suffering and make us feel good. We love the reward of feeling comforted by a great blanket, and that’s a good enough reason for us!


The blanket of the future


We think you’ll agree, blankets are amazing! Even more amazing? The blanket of the future…a Bearaby weighted blanket.

Bearaby is dedicated to creating the smartest, coziest blankets around. We’re proud to make blankets that are not only a joy to own, but real trailblazers:

Keeps you warm and cool
You’ll never have to choose between being cool and being covered. Our weighted blankets are designed with the right amount of airflow to keep you feeling comfy while helping your body keep the perfect sleeping temperature. Say goodbye to hot and restless nights!

Improves your health
Can your blanket change your health? Our Napper can. Weighted blankets have been proven to reduce stress, relieve anxiety, and encourage restful sleep (and all the amazing health benefits that result).

Benefits the environment
Our future relies on making the right choices now. That’s why Bearaby is committed to creating sustainable, zero-waste, earth-friendly blankets for a healthier future.


blanket

As long as humans need blankets (which we hope is quite a while!), we’ll be here to make the very best ones.


Bearassentials

• Hot or cold, we crave the comfort of a blanket while we sleep.


• Blankets have been prized possessions since the dawn of time and often reserved for the wealthy.


• Our deep love for blankets is both biological and psychological – and totally normal.


• Bearaby makes weighted blankets to heal people and protect the planet, and our future.

line

Did you know?
Early on, blankets and bedsheets were so expensive to make that they were included in wills.


THE LAY LOW

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