Weighted Blankets for Psoriatic Arthritis Patients
Healthy, restorative sleep is a must. I don't know any health expert who would disagree with this. Not getting high-quality sleep or enough sleep impacts every system of your body, including your joints and muscles.
As a person living with psoriatic arthritis, my body will send me a message loud and clear when I have neglected my sleep routine. My aches and fatigue are undeniable. They can be hard to cope with on a regular day, but during a week when I'm not practicing good sleep hygiene? That's really rough.
Finding restorative sleep
Though I do have good sleep hygiene, during times of high anxiety, I don't always get enough restorative sleep. Whether I've stayed up too late scrolling or find myself awake at 3AM, unchecked anxiety can make for a bad night's rest.
This is why I decided to give weighted blankets a shot. I started with a 15-lb weighted blanket from SensaCalm. The weight was recommended for someone new to weighted blankets, and I was able to exchange a few emails with someone at the company to ensure I was getting a good starter blanket.
Choosing the right blanket
The customer service person was really patient and helpful. I have a big bed (a California king) so had been looking for a huge blanket that would fit. In reading about weighted blankets on the company’s website, I soon learned that smaller blankets are recommended so that they cover one person’s body instead of an entire bed.
Pulling its folded form out of the box, I wondered if I had ordered the wrong size because this one sure was heavy! Once I spread it out over the side of the bed, it was much easier to maneuver.
The first couple of nights
The first couple of nights, the jury was out as far as its ability to temper my anxiety. I quickly began to look forward to climbing under it at night. I enjoy the physical sensation of it on and around me. It almost felt like a comforting cocoon.
Time marched on, and I kept using the blanket. As news from the pandemic and the political world got worse every day, my stress and anxiety levels seemed to as well. I occasionally find myself waking up in the middle of the night when I’m stressed out. As I sleep with my blanket, I noticed something remarkable. While I woke with some anxiety occasionally, I was able to go back to sleep fairly quickly after having woken up.
In the morning, I woke up refreshed. I did not feel the need to take a nap during the daytime, a desire that has been present with me nearly all of my adult life.
During the summer, I opted to sleep without the weighted blanket. While the version I got is reported to sleep cool, I do live in Georgia, where heat and humidity are a fact of life. I counteract the higher temperatures by wearing summery pajamas and using just one light blanket.
It helps anxiety
After putting it back on the bed in the fall, the blanket’s effects were readily apparent. I do wake up in the middle of the night to visit the bathroom, but I very rarely wake up with a racing mind or heart.
Being able to get a good night’s sleep is instrumental for the body to rest and heal itself. I even notice a decrease in minor aches and pains when I use the blanket. I haven’t noticed any impact on my migraine patterns, but my psoriatic arthritis pain hasn’t been flaring as much.
Understanding the many factors
I can’t claim that that’s due to the blanket, of course, as there are many factors in my life that could be at play. But it certainly seems to help and provides great comfort. The blanket itself is quilted so that each little square has some weighted beads in it which allows for a relatively even distribution of the weight.
As I mentioned, the blanket is designed to fit one person’s body. I’m not sure what it’s like to share a bed with someone else when only one of you has a weighted blanket on. What will this mean for snuggling? Only time (and an eventual change in my dating status someday) will tell!
Have you tried a weighted blanket for anxiety or physical aches and pains? What do you think?
Do you have a sleep disorder (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your PsA?