This Blanket Helped Me Get Better Sleep in Postpartum

April 16, 2024

Vanessa Leveille

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I'm a therapist-mom who writes in hopes of helping moms of color navigate the matrescence journey and create a more harmonious and fulfilling life.

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Hi, I'm vanessa

New mothers often face a maze of sleepless nights and unpredictable naps that disrupt their well-being. If you’re navigating the postpartum period and struggling with postpartum sleep, achieving even a semblance of rest can feel nearly impossible.

Struggling to reclaim your postpartum sleep? You’re not alone.

In this blog post, I’ll explore how a weighted blanket might be the sleep solution you’ve been searching for. With over a decade of experience as a therapist and my own journey through postpartum sleep, I understand the profound exhaustion that comes with parenting a newborn.

Here, I combine professional insights with personal experience to guide you towards better sleep, demonstrating how a weighted blanket helped me—and could help you—sleep more soundly.

What Happens to Postpartum Sleep

Postpartum brings a whirlwind of changes, particularly to how you sleep. For many postpartum moms, the notion of a “good night’s sleep” quickly becomes a distant memory.

  • Frequent wake-ups? Absolutely. Newborns need constant care, often waking several times a night. This interrupted sleep cycle can significantly impact your ability to reach deeper, restorative stages of sleep.
  • Feeling off during the day? It’s not just the quantity of sleep that changes, but the quality as well. Hormonal fluctuations after childbirth can disturb your sleep patterns, leaving you feeling tired even after what seems like sufficient rest.
  • Quick naps might become your new best friend, as catching up on sleep often means grabbing a few minutes whenever possible. This patchwork sleep schedule is a common scenario for mothers in the early stages of postpartum.

Why Postpartum Sleep is Important to Overall Wellness

Sleep isn’t just a break for your body—it’s foundational to your postpartum recovery. I get we get told countless times that sleep is important, but I don’t know about you, but I like understanding the whys and hows (probably why I am a therapist). The benefits of sleep during postpartum extend far beyond just rest.

  • Physically, sleep is a healer: It aids your body in repairing itself post-childbirth, supports hormone regulation, and contributes to weight normalization.
  • Mentally, sleep acts as a reset button: It sharpens your cognitive functions, aiding in better decision-making, improving memory, and maintaining emotional stability. A lack of sleep can cloud your judgment and amplify stress.
  • Emotionally, sleep serves as your support system: It supports emotional resilience, enabling you to better manage the new stresses and joys of motherhood. Adequate rest can lead to a more positive outlook and fewer feelings of anxiety and depression.

Recognizing the importance of sleep can transform your postpartum experience, turning overwhelming days into manageable ones. As a holistic therapist, I emphasize restorative rest with my clients so you can thrive during their transition into motherhood.

Sleep isn’t just a break for your body—it’s foundational to your postpartum recovery.

3 Tips for Improving Postpartum Sleep

Before I give you all the deets on my weighted blanket, achieving good sleep when you are postpartum might sound luxurious, but these practical tips can make it attainable. Here’s how to enhance your sleep hygiene and enjoy restorative rest:

  1. Establish a bedtime routine: Consistency is key. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps set your body’s internal clock and improves sleep quality. This may be easier to do later in postpartum, however. Wind down with a relaxing activity you enjoy, like reading or a warm bath.
  2. Create a restful environment: Ensure your bedroom is cool, quiet, and dark. This isn’t just great for baby’s sleep but yours too. Consider investing in blackout curtains and perhaps a white noise machine to drown out disruptive sounds.
  3. Practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation Technique: This involves lying down comfortably, closing your eyes, and taking deep, slow breaths. Visualize your muscles relaxing from your toes to your head. This technique can help calm your mind and prepare your body for sleep.

After implementing these strategies, then you can consider adding a weighted blanket to your sleep routine. Many find the gentle, even pressure of a weighted blanket helps reduce anxiety and promote deeper sleep—it’s like a reassuring hug that lulls you into a peaceful night’s rest.

How a Weighted Blanket Helped Me Get Better Sleep

I’ve been a fan of weighted blankets long before I became a mom. They always helped me sleep better, except during those hot New England summer nights when I just got way too hot and kicked it off. When postpartum challenges struck and sleep became elusive, I wondered if my trusted weighted blanket could offer relief once again.

Whenever I managed a quick nap, or when my husband took over baby duties in the morning, I’d use my weighted blanket. And guess what? It worked wonders. I became less restless, and the quality of my sleep improved dramatically. How do I know? I tracked my sleep with my watch, which clearly showed more deep sleep on the nights I used the blanket.

The nights I used it showed significantly more deep sleep. This wasn’t just my imagination—the improvement was supported by the data, making a noticeable difference in how refreshed I felt.

If you’re a mom wrestling with sleep, give a weighted blanket a try. It’s a simple addition that could significantly enhance the quality of your rest and overall well-being.

What is a Weighted Blanket

Ever wondered what makes a weighted blanket so special? It’s all about the design and materials.

  • Design: Weighted blankets are heavier than standard blankets. The extra weight is evenly distributed across your body, providing deep pressure stimulation that mimics a gentle hug.
  • Materials: Typically, these blankets are filled with micro-glass beads or plastic poly pellets. The outer layers are usually made of comfortable, breathable fabrics like cotton or minky, ensuring the blanket feels as good as it performs.

The science behind weighted blankets is fascinating: They work by reducing cortisol levels (the stress hormone) while boosting serotonin (a mood enhancer) and melatonin (which regulates sleep), resulting in improved mood and better sleep. And all of these are the hormones that are out of whack during postpartum.

In essence, a weighted blanket is more than just a bedding accessory—it’s a sleep aid and comfort tool designed to help you relax, unwind, and achieve better sleep through scientifically-backed methods.

Benefits of a Weighted Blanket

You can see how weighted blankets offer more than just warmth—they are a tool for better health and relaxation. Here’s how they can specifically benefit moms in the postpartum period:

  • Anxiety and Stress Relief: The gentle pressure of a weighted blanket mimics the sensation of being hugged, increasing serotonin and decreasing cortisol, effectively reducing anxiety and fostering calm.
  • Insomnia Management: For moms experiencing sleep disturbances, a weighted blanket can be transformative. By enhancing serotonin levels and promoting a calm state, it helps ease the transition into sleep and improves the quality of rest.
  • Easing Symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome and Related Conditions: The even pressure provided by weighted blankets can offer relief from restless leg syndrome, a common irritant for many in postpartum, minimizing involuntary leg movements that disrupt sleep.

Each of these benefits is crucial for postpartum recovery, helping you regain energy and maintain mental balance. A weighted blanket might just be the supportive tool you need to navigate this challenging yet beautiful phase of life more comfortably.

Recommendations for Use

Choosing the right weighted blanket involves a few key considerations to ensure it’s both effective and comfortable:

  • Choose the Right Weight: Aim for a blanket that’s about 10% of your body weight. This provides ideal pressure to comfort without being overwhelming.
  • Size Matters: Ensure the blanket covers your body from chin to toes without hanging off the bed, preventing it from slipping off during the night.
  • Material Choices: Opt for cotton for breathability and coolness, or minky or fleece for extra warmth in colder settings. Now, I run warm, so while I have a minky one, I found it to be too warm during the warmer months.

Now, let’s make sure we are using a weighted blanket in the most safest manner. The best time to use your weighted blanket post-delivery is when you are not with your baby.

  • Safety First: It’s best to use your weighted blanket when you’re alone in bed, like during naps or when someone else is taking care of the baby. This ensures your baby’s safety and allows you to rest without interruptions. It is not safe AT ALL to use your weighted blanket when your baby is with you.

By following these tips, you’ll be set to use your weighted blanket in the safest, most beneficial way postpartum.

Maybe You’re Wondering

You’ve got questions, and I’ve got answers! Here’s what you need to know about using weighted blankets:

  • Post-Delivery Usage: When can I start using a weighted blanket after giving birth?
    It’s safe to start using a weighted blanket as soon as you feel comfortable post-delivery, but ensure you’re using it only for yourself and not while holding your baby.
  • Health Conditions: Are there conditions that make using a weighted blanket risky?
    Yes, if you have conditions like sleep apnea, asthma, or claustrophobia, consult your doctor first. The added weight could affect breathing or cause discomfort.
  • Usage During Pregnancy: Can I use a weighted blanket while pregnant?
    Generally safe, it’s best to keep the weight off your abdomen. Opt for a lighter version and consult your healthcare provider to ensure safety.
  • Choosing the Right Weight: How do I pick the right weight for my blanket?
    Aim for approximately 10% of your body weight to provide enough pressure for comfort without being overwhelming.
  • Alternative Products: What if a weighted blanket isn’t for me?
    Consider weighted lap pads, heavy comforters, or plush throws as alternatives that offer similar benefits without the full weight.
  • Maintenance and Care: How do I take care of my weighted blanket?
    Most are machine washable, but check the label for specifics. Use gentle detergent and dry on low heat to preserve the materials.
  • Assessing Effectiveness: How will I know if my weighted blanket is working?
    Look for improved sleep quality, feeling more rested upon waking, and a decrease in anxiety during use.

These tips should help you maximize your weighted blanket experience, ensuring safety, comfort, and optimal results.

Where to Buy One a Weighted Blanket

Ready to try a weighted blanket? Here’s where you can find high-quality options:

  • Local Retailers: Check out Target, who has plenty, Casper, Amazon has this one and this one, and I read on Motherly that Layla has a good one and Cosy House has one that has great reviews.
  • Specialty stores: Look for shops focused on sleep or wellness products, offering blankets designed for specific health needs.

Tips for Buying:

  • Read reviews: Check what other users say about the blanket’s quality and effectiveness.
  • Check return policies: Make sure you can return the blanket if it doesn’t meet your expectations.

Whether you’re shopping locally or online, these tips will help you find a weighted blanket that brings comfort and enhances your sleep.

Make Sleep a Priority in Postpartum

Let’s make sleep a priority in postpartum!

A weighted blanket isn’t just a cozy accessory; it’s a tool that can revolutionize your sleep quality, lessen anxiety, and enhance your overall health during the postpartum period.

Good sleep isn’t just nice to have; it’s essential for your well-being as you navigate motherhood. Adding a weighted blanket to your nightly routine could be the key to more restful nights and energetic days. Why not give it a try and see the difference for yourself?

I’d love to hear from you! Have you used a weighted blanket during your postpartum journey? Drop a comment below and share your experiences or any questions you might have. Let’s help each other find our best night’s sleep!

Seek Support from a Matrescence Therapist

If you’re a mom of color, who is also high-achieving, in Massachusetts or Texas seeking compassionate and culturally informed online therapy to help you navigate motherhood and Matrescence, I invite you to reach out to me. I am a perinatal therapist who specializes in working with moms of color and can provide you with the support and guidance you need to navigate the challenges of Matrescence and create a life of harmony, confidence, and joy.

Fill out the form on my contact page so we can chat more and explore how I can support you on your journey.

Remember, you don’t have to go through this alone. I’m here to help you overcome challenges, thrive as a mother, and discover the strength and resilience that lies within you.

If you want to learn more about the journey of becoming a mother, called Matrescence, download your free guide today and embark on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment.

Click link here to download the free guide.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this blog post. What resonated with you most? What questions do you have? Share your insights and experiences in the comments section below.

Together, we can create a supportive community for moms of color, sharing our journeys, encouraging each other, and finding strength in our shared experiences.

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