Why do we use Blankets?

Sleeping is a vital process that helps the human body repair itself.

It's highly advisable to get around six to eight hours of sleep every night. You need it to stay healthy and happy. Scientific studies prove that and medical experts all agree in unison.

If you were unable to get a restful sleep, you become sluggish and grumpy. Over time, chronic sleep deprivation can lead to pressing health problems. You cannot deny the fact that you need to sleep. Each time you go to sleep, it’s imperative to be comfortable and in a relaxed state of mind. Thinking about too many things only makes you anxious and restless. It won’t help you sleep at all.

There are a lot of things that help you fall and stay asleep. Things like a mattress, supportive pillows, comfortable sheets, and a relaxing bedroom ambiance are essential. Understanding what your body goes through during sleep is another important matter. It’s another piece of information that justifies why certain conditions must be met to get a good night's sleep.

Have you ever wondered why using a blanket helps you sleep longer?

Why do we use blankets?

When we were young, there were a lot of things we were afraid of.

Using our blankets helped us feel safe and comfortable around bedtime. The soft texture of the material touching our skin made us relax. Our parents lovingly covered us with blankets when they read bedtime stories to us. It helped us get ready to sleep. Using blankets, since then, became a part of our bedtime routine.

We carried that habit into adulthood because our minds already associate the use of blankets with sleeping. Following a routine puts you at ease because you know what’s next.

However, there’s also another reason why using a blanket is essential while sleeping.

You lose the ability to regulate your core body temperature when you get to the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase of sleep. It’s that period in your sleep when you have dreams.

It usually happens around dawn, the coldest part of the day.

Aren’t you wondering why that sort of thing happens even if human beings are warm-blooded mammals (needs to regulate body heat to stay alive)?

The science behind it is that when you’re awake, your core body temperature is higher to keep you alert. When it’s time to rest, your core temperature drops as you relax to get ready to sleep. Your body temperature drops to its lowest during the deepest (REM) part of your sleep.

The REM phase of your sleep lasts for about three to four hours during the whole time you’re sleeping. During that instance, you’re helpless and need to rely on external factors to keep you warm momentarily. Things like the room temperature, mattress, blankets, pillows, or the clothes you wear while sleeping keep you warm and comfortable to continue sleeping.

Your body decreases the production of serotonin and dopamine during REM sleep and slowly increases the production of cortisol. The level peaks when you’re about to wake up. Aside from being known as a stress hormone, cortisol is also the hormone responsible for helping you wake up and feel hungry in the morning.

When did people start using blankets?

People have long been using blankets since the ancient times.

From the time of the mighty Egyptian Pharaohs to the rise and fall of the Roman empire, and up to the middle ages. During this time, blanket use was not universal. Only by the wealthy and influential people of its time can afford to use them. Blankets were considered precious heirlooms. They were often included in the last will of a wealthy individual to hand down the item to the succeeding generation.

Poor people, on the other hand, used plant leaves or the skins of the animals they killed during hunting to keep them warm.

Right after the middle ages or during the early modern period, only then that it became widely-used.

The production costs of blankets dramatically went down. It became more affordable that its use became universal. Even the ordinary and poor people can now afford to buy one for themselves or their respective families.

The use of blankets quickly became widespread and universal because of its benefits.

Why do we sleep with blankets?

People have long associated the use of blankets with bedtime or sleeping.

It’s a habit passed on from one generation to the next. Parents teach their young kids what a blanket is for and how to use them. Habits formed at a young age continue to be observed well into adulthood. When the child becomes a parent, the cycle continues.

Using a blanket is like getting hugged by your loved ones. It gives off a relaxing feeling. Being in a comfortable state helps you get ready for sleep.

It’s also useful for shutting out distractions like noise, movement, or light.

How does a blanket keep you warm?

A blanket keeps you warm by covering your entire body. It encloses the space between you and the bed.

It’s just like putting on an additional piece of clothing to keep you warm during bedtime. Putting on another layer of clothing keeps you warm but restricts your movement; making you uncomfortable. That’s why blankets are preferred.

The fabric’s qualities also determine its ability to regulate temperature.

Blankets made of breathable and highly-absorbent materials keep you fresh. Thicker sheets act like the fur of polar bears to keep you warm effectively. It’s important to note that it’s not only the thicker blankets that are effective warmers.

There are lightweight and thinner fabrics that also keep you warm. Synthetic fabrics like polyester, fleece, and minky all keep you warm.

On the other hand, blankets made of cotton or linen keep you fresh because they’re made of breathable materials.

Why do we feel safe under blankets?

We feel safe under blankets because it separates us from the outside world.

It’s like we’re inside our world or bubble and shutting down the outside world.  Even though we’re alone, we feel safe because of the barrier made by the blanket.

We know we’re in complete control of the situation. Other people can only come in if we allow them to.

Why can’t I sleep without a blanket?

You’ll always have trouble sleeping when your brain is still actively processing thoughts.

It will take some time to become accustomed to sleeping without a blanket. When you try to sleep without covering yourself, your brain will tell you something’s not right. You know that sleeping without a sheet to cover you is not part of your usual bedtime routine that’s why you become restless.

Exposing your lower extremities or feet cools your entire body. If you get cold feet, you become uncomfortable and unable to sleep.

Using a blanket covers your feet and sends a signal to your brain that it’s time for bed.

That’s why people with sleep disorders are taught relaxation and meditation techniques. It’s a skill that needs time and constant practice to take effect.

It’s meant to override what the brain is telling you. You do it by clearing your mind of any thoughts or ideas while taking deep breathes at the same time.